Radiohead Shares New Single ‘Daydreaming,’ Announces Official Date For LP9 Release

first_imgThe new Radiohead album finally has a digital release date: this Sunday, May 8th, at 7PM BST (aka 2 PM Eastern). While little else is known about the album, including its title, artwork, and tracklisting, there is at least an end in sight to the highly anticipated “LP9.”In addition to confirming the release of the new album, Radiohead has shared the second single from the new release. Just days after releasing “Burn The Witch,” the British band has come back with the ethereal new song, “Daydreaming.” Spotlighted by piano arpeggios, sustained synths and haunting vocals, “Daydreaming” is a powerful ballad that is sure to be at the center of the band’s new release.Listen to “Daydreaming” below:You can watch their first single, “Burn The Witch,” right here. Stay tuned for more Radiohead updates throughout the weekend!last_img read more

Spotify Enhances Discovery Feature With ‘New Music Friday’ Release Radar

first_imgSpotify users were stoked when the streaming service came out with a new “Discover Weekly” playlist, specifically tailored to each individual’s preferences and tastes. Every Monday, the Discovery Weekly feature refreshes with thirty new tracks that Spotify’s algorithm has matched for over 40 million users. It’s become an exciting part of the week for Spotify users, and the week just got even more exciting.Spotify has recently released a new feature, “Release Radar”, that refreshes a new playlist every Friday, the day that new music typically comes out. Because the songs have only been live for a matter of hours, Spotify incorporates its user-specific knowledge to decide what you might like – then automatically updates a playlist that’s hyper-personalized to you with all the freshest tracks, so you’ll be first “in-the-know” of the songs you’ll love. This automatic feature, thus far, has proven itself reliable. For our specific account, this week’s tracks includes new music from John Scofield, Gov’t Mule, Dr. John, Atmosphere, Bob Moses, Father John Misty, Poolside, Nik West, Wilco, and TAUK, to name a few. We were thoroughly impressed, and look forward to using this feature more.Spotify is literally holding the future of music in their hands, but they didn’t know it would turn into this. “It was a complete surprise,” Edward Newett, the company’s lead software engineer, tells WIRED about the Disover Weekly feature. “At the time,” he continues, “I don’t think we were super focused on music discovery in that sense.” The Discovery page was already there, and the artist and song radio were solid as they were. “This just fell out of luck, in a way.” Now, they’re making over 100 million user-specific playlists – and they’re doing it right. Adding “New Music Fridays” to the mix is just an A+ move.Thanks, Spotify!last_img read more

PREMIERE: Damn Right Shares “Sleep In The Stars (FLOTE Remix)” Ahead Of Album Release

first_imgPhiladelphia/Brooklyn pair Tom Bradel (drummer/producer/designer) and Johnny Fissinger (bassist/producer/vocals)–also known as Damn Right–formed onstage at legendary Baltimore venue 8×10 and immediately noticed a distinct improvisational chemistry. The dynamic duo made a name for themselves as a live act, performing all over the country with the occasional sit-ins from improvisational wizards such as Bernie Worrell (P-Funk, Talking Heads), Marco Benevento, and Billy Martin (Medeski Martin & Wood). More recently, Damn Right has turned their focus to studio production with their upcoming masterpiece, Zeitgeist, due out December 8, 2017.The new album is split into two-sides, with Side A featuring Damn Right’s signature composition style, hinting on chill-wave and psychedelic indie-rock, and Side B exploring instrumental electronic territory with hypnotic beats and fuzzy synths. The duo worked alongside Lotus’s Jesse Miller to produce and mix the album, with contributions from producer FLOTE and guitarist Wes Schwartz (Grimace Federation).Live For Live Music is thrilled to share the seventh track of the album, coming from Side B, dubbed “Sleep In The Stars (FLOTE Remix)”. The track features dreamy sequences of disco vibes and melodic transfusions of soothing goodnes, complete with the glitched out contributions of FLOTE himself.“This track is about reflection,” explains FLOTE about “Sleep In The Stars (FLOTE Remix)”. “I wanted to make something cold and meditative, but also upbeat; something that would have a calming, centering effect without feeling like it is dragging. I help give it an introspective feel I highlighted certain frequencies and tuned my synths to 432 Hz (said to be the natural frequency of the universe) as opposed to the standard 440 Hz tuning. Studies have shown that music tuned to 432 Hz helps ease anxiety, bring down heart rate and blood pressure, and generally has a soothing effect.”Listen to “Sleep In The Stars (FLOTE Remix)” below!<a href=”http://damnrightmusic.bandcamp.com/album/zeitgeist”>Zeitgeist by Damn Right</a>The album will be available digitally as well as on vinyl, with pre-orders available here. There will be two album release shows, including Friday January 19 at Milkboy in Philadelphia and Saturday January 20 at Nulbu in New York City.Damn Right – Zeitgeist1. Our Love Is Blue2. Nan Man3. Zeitgeist4. The Calling5. Hawaiian Justice Part I6. Hawaiian Justice Part II7. Sleep in the Stars (FLOTE Remix)8. Wait For Me9. This Is Leather10. OutroDamn Right Live Shows1.19.2018 Milkboy – Philadelphia, PA w/ American Dinosaur, Greg D1.20.2018 Nublu – New York City, NY w/ Argonaut & Wasp, Greg Dlast_img read more

Soft robotic arm acts as extension of human hand

first_imgThe human arm can perform a wide range of extremely delicate and coordinated movements, from turning a key in a lock to gently stroking a puppy’s fur. The robotic “arms” on underwater research submarines, however, are hard, jerky, and lack the finesse to be able to reach and interact with creatures such as jellyfish or octopuses without damaging them.Previously, the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and collaborators developed a range of soft robotic grippers to more safely handle delicate sea life, but the devices still relied on hard, robotic submarine arms that were difficult to maneuver into various positions.Now, a new system built by scientists at the Wyss Institute, Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), Baruch College, and the University of Rhode Island (URI) uses a glove equipped with wireless soft sensors to control a modular, soft robotic “arm” that can flex and move with unprecedented dexterity to grasp and sample fragile creatures. The research is published in Scientific Report.“This new soft robotic arm replaces the hard, rigid arms that come standard on most submersibles, enabling our soft robotic grippers to reach and interact with sea life with much greater ease across a variety of environments and allowing us to explore parts of the ocean that are currently understudied,” said first author Brennan Phillips, an assistant professor at URI who was a postdoctoral fellow at the Wyss Institute and SEAS when the research was completed.The apparatus Phillips and his colleagues developed features bending, rotary, and gripping modules that can be added or removed easily to allow the arm to perform different types of movements — a significant benefit, given the diversity of terrain and life in the ocean. Other improvements over existing soft manipulators include a compact, yet robust, hydraulic control system for deployment in remote and harsh environments. The whole system requires less than half the power of the smallest commercially available deep-sea electronic manipulator arm, making it ideal for use on manned undersea vehicles, which have limited battery capacity.,The arm is controlled wirelessly via a glove equipped with soft sensors that is worn by a scientist, who controls the arm by moving his or her wrist and the grippers by curling his or her index finger. Those movements are translated into the opening and closing of various valves in the system’s seawater-powered hydraulic engine. Different types of soft grippers can be attached to the end of the arm to allow it to interact with creatures of varying shape, size, and delicacy, from hard, brittle corals to soft, diaphanous jellyfish. Related The first autonomous, entirely soft robot ‘Aliens’ of the deep captured Soft robot helps the heart beat “The currently available subsea robotic arms work well for oil and gas exploration, but not for handling delicate marine life — using them is like trying to pick up a napkin with a metal crab claw,” said co-author David Gruber, a professor of biology at Baruch College, CUNY,  a National Geographic Explorer, and former Radcliffe Institute Fellow (2017-18). “The glove control system allows us to have much more intuitive control over the soft robotic arm, like how we would move our own arms while scuba diving.”The robotic arm and gripper system was field-tested from a three-person submarine in the unexplored deep-sea ecosystems of the Fernando de Noronha archipelago in Brazil. It was able to interact with or collect mid-water and deep-sea organisms such as a glass sponge, a sea cucumber, a branching coral, and free-floating bioluminescent tunicates. Different modules were quickly and easily swapped into the arm to better maneuver the grippers, or, in the case of any one module being damaged, without needing to dismantle the entire arm.,“This low-power, glove-controlled soft robot was designed with the future marine biologist in mind, who will be able to conduct science well beyond the limits of scuba and with a comparable or better means than via a human diver,” said Robert Wood, a senior author of the paper who is a founding core faculty member of the Wyss Institute as well as the Charles River Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences at SEAS.The researchers are continuing to refine their designs and are incorporating noninvasive DNA and RNA sampling capabilities into the actuating units of the arm system, with the goal of being able to capture fragile sea creatures, experiment on them in an “underwater laboratory,” and release them unharmed.Insights from this work could potentially have value for medical device applications as well.Additional authors of the paper include Kaitlyn Becker, Griffin Whittredge, Daniel Vogt, Clark Teeple, and Michelle Rosen from the Wyss Institute and SEAS; Shunichi Kurumaya from Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan; and Vincent Pieribone, director of the John B. Pierce Laboratory, professor at the Yale University School of Medicine, and vice chairman of OceanX.This research was supported by an NSF Instrument Development for Biological Research Award, the National Geographic Innovation Challenge, and OceanX/The Dalio Foundation. Sleeve attaches directly around the heart Folding polyhedron sampler enables easy catch and release of delicate underwater organisms Powered by a chemical reaction controlled by microfluidics, 3D-printed ‘octobot’ has no electronics last_img read more

Athletics for the 21st century

first_imgClaudine Gay, Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, recently announced a study of the Department of Athletics that will examine the student-athlete experience, culture of programming, and department structure. “This important work will inform strategic planning for Harvard Athletics over the coming decade, drawing on the proud history, traditions, and the values of athletics at Harvard,” she said. The Gazette caught up with Gay and Bob Scalise, the John D. Nichols ’53 Family Director of Athletics, to learn more about the study, how the program has evolved, and the unique role that athletics plays in the lives of those on intercollegiate teams and the wider student community.Q&AClaudine Gay and Bob ScaliseGAZETTE: Could you tell us a little bit about the history of athletics here at Harvard, and the role it plays in the undergraduate experience?Scalise: It actually started in the early days of Harvard College when the first-year students were challenged by the sophomores to engage in sports, so it was more like intramurals back then. Intercollegiate competition began in 1852 when Harvard faced Yale in crew. We had an invite from Yale to row on Lake Winnipesaukee in a competition, sponsored by the railroads. They wanted to get more people to use the railroads that had just been built so that was the first real competition between two colleges. I’m happy to report that Harvard won.GAy: Good to hear.Scalise: But for a while it wasn’t officially part of the University’s programming; it was just students at Yale and students at Harvard challenging one another. There wasn’t an athletics department or anything like that. After a while we started with some additional sports, baseball being one of them, and then what eventually became football. I think it was more like something that resembled rugby at first. A varsity club was formed, because those sports needed funding, so it was those students, their parents, and alumni that funded it, not the University.GAy: I see, so that’s why the varsity club existed prior to the actual Athletics Department?Scalise: Exactly. In the 1920s we finally formed a department to give it more structure. And athletics not only gave people a chance to learn things, but it was really big for community-building. Going to an Ivy League football game was the social event of the era. So back then you went not only to watch the game, but to be seen and to see other people.GAy: I imagine during that time there wasn’t a lot of organized sports in the Boston area outside of what happened on college campuses, right?Scalise: There were clubs, and some semi-pro entities, but the college games were certainly the main event back then. In the 1950s some of the presidents of universities got together and formed the Ivy League, and the principles were created that to this day apply to all of our sports and all of our athletic activities.,GAZETTE: How have athletics evolved over the years, and how is it continuing to evolve today?Scalise: The principles of the Ivy League are really key to understanding how it has evolved. The No. 1 principle was that students who were admitted were going to be admitted by the same process and standards as every other student. Financial aid was also based on need rather than athletic ability. It was determined that academic authorities should oversee athletics, that participation in athletics should be a part of a students’ academic experience, rather than their sole reason for being here. It used to be that people would play three seasons of sports, if not four. When I was growing up, kids at my high school played football in the fall, basketball, wrestling or swimming in the winter, lacrosse or baseball or track in the spring, then tennis and softball in the summer. Now you see the adult influence in sports, and the specialization of sports, and kids choosing one sport that they focus on year-round.GAy: I remember reading a statistic, and I’m not going to remember the source of it anymore, that said that the vast majority of athletes who are able to compete at the college level are competing in a sport that they specialized in by the age of 9.Scalise: Wow.GAZETTE: When do you think we started to see that change taking place?GAy: I couldn’t pinpoint it exactly, but I think back to when I was in high school in the late ’80s, it was still possible to pick up a new sport in your freshman year, which I did.Scalise: Right.GAy: That was very common. Now I look at my son who just started middle school, and realistically it’s already too late to pick up something new. It’s just not even possible at this point.Scalise: When I first started coaching here, we started the women’s soccer program, and everybody was a walk-on. All of them. Some were completely new to the sport. We were really teaching people the basics, like how to kick a ball.GAy:Wow, what a change.Scalise: Now everybody on the team is already an accomplished soccer player by the time they get here. When I started as the lacrosse coach in 1974, we used to also have freshmen teams. We tried to recruit people from the football team who were great athletes to play lacrosse, and some of them wound up starting for us by the time they were juniors or seniors. Those days have certainly passed.GAZETTE: How does the mission of the College tie into athletics, and how do you see the coaches in particular supporting that mission?GAy: One of the things I’ve been really struck by is the role of coaches as educators, especially around character-building, including resilience, how to collaborate, and certainly leadership. There are a lot of competencies that we want young people to develop over the course of their time here, and coaches put an enormous amount of time and effort into cultivating and developing those important life skills. So that is one of the obvious and powerful ways that the work of the coaches can be seen as educational at its core. It’s very complementary to what we want to do at the College.Scalise: To add to that, from my perspective the University creates knowledge and educates leaders who will serve the world. As Dean [Rakesh] Khurana frequently articulates, the College mission is to educate the citizen leaders of the world. We believe that we educate people through athletics. It’s about building character, risk-taking, giving and receiving feedback, being a good teammate, being on time, working collaboratively with others. More recently we’ve prioritized integrating the aspects of diversity and inclusion. It’s so wonderful that we have people from all different backgrounds, different races and religions, political views, sexual orientations, all on the same team working together to achieve a common purpose. This is a really important part of an education for our young people. It’s part of what we do when we bring everyone together as part of the residential community at Harvard. We expect them to work together, and learn from one another. And athletics is one of the vehicles where they can do that.GAy: That’s what I mean when I say that athletics is one of the sites where the Harvard College mission is lived and expressed.Scalise: We in athletics talk about it not as extracurricular, but actually as co-curricular. We believe it is actually a part of the overall educational experience that we want our students to experience.,GAZETTE: Could you tell us a little bit about the study that was announced recently, and what you hope to achieve with it?GAy: Well, the department’s centennial anniversary is rapidly approaching. This study is our opportunity to set our aspirations for the next century, and do so in a way that builds on the successes we have achieved over the last almost 100 years and that maintains our position as a standard-bearer among our peers in the Ivy League. The question is: How do we continue to do that in a context that has changed dramatically since the department’s founding, or even since the establishment of the Ivy League? We were just talking about the change in terms of the professionalization and the specialization of youth sports as one example. But more generally we have a new generation of students on our campus, so how do we reinvigorate our core commitments and principles so that they feel relevant to the students who are here now?Scalise: I’m excited that we’re doing this study, because it will give us a roadmap in terms of where we want to go moving forward, and also tell us what things we might want to emphasize more in athletics. But I also think we will see that we are doing some really positive things here. And one of the challenges is figuring out how we can create that experience for more of our students. So I think there will be some good that comes from this for others, as well as for our department. There’s a real bond that is created with our students and their coaches. And whenever one of our alumni comes back, one of the first things they do is stop by to see their coach. We would love them to stop to see not only their coach, but also a key adviser or faculty member, or maybe someone they got to know in the administration. That would be ideal. So, we want to better understand what we are doing here at athletics that creates these bonds, and how can we do that all over Harvard?GAy: I absolutely agree. One of the hopes is to take what we learn from this study and use it for the benefit of all of our students. For example, there is the strong sense of belonging that is so evident in the student-athlete community, the pride in the institution, much of it forged through their involvement in athletics. That feeling of being “at home at Harvard,” that is something we want for every student. How might we cultivate that for all of our students?GAZETTE: In the announcement you talked about engaging the Harvard community. Can you tell us more specifically who, and what groups you want to hear from as part of this process?GAy: Everybody! First and foremost the students. I’m eager to hear more about their experience. Also, the coaches, athletics staff, faculty, and other campus partners to the department. We hope to connect with alums whose participation in athletics during their time at the College remains a source of continuing attachment and love for Harvard.Scalise: One of the things I’m hoping to get out of this is to make sure we have the right balance between this strong bond and affiliation with their team, and also taking advantage of the rest of what Harvard has to offer. I really want this study to include people who are not athletes. In a lot of the sports programs around the country, you see all these specialized programs just for student-athletes. And so of course the athletes all hang together.GAy: Yes, a world apart.Scalise: Right. It’s not the approach we want to take. So how do we make sure that the student-athlete experience is similar to other students’ experiences, and that they intersect? How do we orchestrate the right balance there so that people can connect with one another?GAZETTE: So while athletics is obviously the focus of this study, it sounds like the goal is to have it ultimately touch on other facets of the University.GAy: Exactly. When we think about the student-athlete experience, at its foundation we want it to be integrated, academically and socially, and broadly similar to the experience of non-athletes. We want every student to take full advantage of everything Harvard has to offer.Scalise: I’m also hoping that this will not just be about intercollegiate athletics, but also look at our club offerings and our intramurals. And a big thing on my mind right now is overall health and wellness for our students. Are we doing everything we can do to ensure the health and wellness, both physically and mentally, of these young people we are about to send off into the world? So, there are a lot of different parts to this study.GAZETTE: What can you tell us about the timing of the study?GAy: Because we want this effort to benefit from extensive outreach and consultation, the work is going to take a while. We hope by early spring the study will be complete and that we will be able to share a public report with the community.Scalise: Claudine has been dean for just about a year now, and over that time we have had extensive conversations where we’ve tried to make her aware of a broad range of athletics issues.GAy: Yes, and that groundwork was critical because it helped me to frame what the questions are that we want to answer. Being able to approach this with the benefit of some contextual knowledge has been really helpful. I’ve spent a lot of time on that in the last year. One thing I also want to emphasize about the study is that we not only want to engage in broad outreach, we want people to participate. And we want them to participate in an open and candid way so that what we learn from the study has real credibility. Good participation is something that will be really critical to the success of the whole effort. Many colleges and universities seem to be undertaking some sort of study or review of athletics, and a lot of it feels very reactive. That’s not what we’re engaged in here. This is about using this moment to think about what the future could look like for Harvard Athletics, and challenging ourselves to be really intentional about it.last_img read more

Huang chosen as dean

first_imgRoger Huang shed the title of interim and now serves as the Martin J. Gillen Dean of the Mendoza College of Business, according to a University press release Friday. “I am honored and humbled by this opportunity to assume the deanship of the Mendoza College of Business,” Huang said in the release. “I am inspired by the vision of the founder of the business school, Cardinal John O’Hara, who said that the primary function of commerce is service to mankind. “This vision sets the Mendoza College apart form other business schools, and I look forward to furthering our vision of business as a powerful force for good.” Huang earned the appointment as interim dean of the College when former dean Carolyn Woo left last year to serve as president of Catholic Relief Services. As interim dean, Huang finalized a partnership between Notre Dame and Renmin University in Beijing to offer a graduate business program for Chinese students pursuing careers with nonprofit organizations. He has been a member of the Notre Dame faculty since 2000 and currently serves as the Kenneth R. Meyer Professor of Global Investment Management. “Roger is an internationally respected scholar who during his time at Notre Dame has proved to be an equally accomplished leader,” University President Fr. John Jenkins said in the press release. “His reputation in his field, administrative experience, strategic perspective and commitment to Notre Dame’s mission as a Catholic research university are extraordinary. “I look forward to working closely with him as we continue to build a superb business school that serves the greater good.”last_img read more

Lupita Nyong’o-Led Eclipsed Extends Again Off-B’way

first_img View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on June 19, 2016 Related Shows Eclipsed Off-Broadway can’t get enough of Lupita Nyong’o! The New York premiere of Eclipsed, headlined by the Oscar winner, will now run through November 29; it had previously extended through November 15. Directed by Liesl Tommy and penned by Danai Gurira, the production will begin previews on September 29 and officially open on October 14 at the Public Theater’s LuEsther Theater.Amid the chaos of the Liberian Civil War, the captive wives of a rebel officer band together to form a fragile community—until the balance of their lives is upset by the arrival of a new girl. Drawing on reserves of wit and compassion, Eclipsed reveals distinct women who must discover their own means of survival in this deeply felt portrait of women finding and testing their own strength in a hostile world of horrors not of their own making.The cast will also include Saycon Sengbloh, Pascale Armand, Akosua Busia and Zainab Jah.last_img read more

Peru Aims for Record Coca Eradication in 2013

first_img Peru aims to eradicate a record 22,000 hectares (54,400 acres) of illegal coca crops in 2013, Interior Minister Wilfredo Pedraza announced on January 14. “The goal reflects the fact that the government of President Ollanta Humala has a strong policy to combat drug trafficking, and is proposing to exceed all historic records in this fight,” Pedraza said. For the first time ever, the new plan targets areas in the cocaine-rich Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro Rivers valley. The government says local drug traffickers work in the area along with remnants of the Maoist Shining Path group, which waged a brutal insurgency in the country in the 1980s and 1990s. Coca grows exclusively in the eastern slopes of the South American Andes mountain range. Eradication activities are also planned for the regions of Huanuco, Pasco, San Martin and Ucayali. While the United Nations says Peru is the world’s second largest producer of coca leaf after Colombia, it is the world’s top producer of cocaine, according to 2011 figures from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. Peru hopes to prevent the replanting and expansion of coca-producing areas, and create and reinforce socioeconomic programs that facilitate alternative development. Peru’s DEVIDA counternarcotics agency said that authorities had eradicated 14,171 hectares of coca crops in 2012, exceeding the target of 14,000. Cocaine is produced by soaking coca leaves in ponds with kerosene, gasoline and other chemicals, including hydrochloric acid and ammonia. A solution from the leaves is then filtered, refined and crystallized. By Dialogo January 16, 2013last_img read more

Common Sense Reminders for Snow on Long Island

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Drivers on Sunrise Highway in Bay Shore ignore warnings to stay off the roads during a snow storm Monday, Feb. 3, 2014.Long Island has survived worse snow than this without the region breaking down like southern states ill-equipped for such winter weather did last week.But, with two more snow storms forecast to possibly hit the tristate area this week after the latest Monday drops up to 8 inches on LI, a refresher is in order.What follows is a friendly reminder of some “Common Sense” measures, most of which are courtesy of the Town of Brookhaven, where offcials are especially eager to avoid a repeat of the infamously Blizzard of ’13.Dealing With Snow 101:Stay off the roads and park your car in your driveway to allow snow plows and emergency vehicles to pass.Clear fire hydrants in your area.Remove ice and snow from steps, sidewalks and walkways.Keep cell phones and other electronic devices charged.Have a battery operated radio and a flashlight ready in case of a power outage.When shoveling snow, dress warm in layers and avoid over-exertion.If you must drive, make sure your tires are properly inflated and windshield wipers are working properly.Keep your pets indoors.Check on elderly and infirmed friends and neighbors.When using a generator, place it outdoors and follow all manufacturers’ safety precautions.Check on the elderly who live alone.Nassau County Non-Emergency Hotline:  1-888-684-4274Suffolk County Non-Emergency Hotline: 631-852-COPSPSEG Long Island’s Customer Service line at 1-800-490-0075last_img read more

PensionsEurope calls for clearing assurance following EMIR delay

first_imgA plenary session of the European ParliamentUnder its proposal, pension schemes’ exemption from mandatory clearing would be extended by two years instead of the Commission’s and Council’s three.The Commission also proposed that an additional two years’ extension be granted if a solution to the problem was “within reach”. The parliament’s proposal was for an additional one-year extension if stakeholders had agreed a solution and needed more time for implementation.The parliament also stated that the next exemption period should be the last. If stakeholders had not agreed a solution, the Commission would need to propose a binding one, but it should not be another exemption.The prospect of a legal gap arising was acknowledged in the parliament’s proposal for amendments to EMIR, as it stated that the exemption from clearing for pension schemes should apply retroactively to all over-the-counter derivative contracts executed after 16 August.“The retroactive application of this provision is necessary to avoid a gap between the end of the application of the existing exemption and the new exemption, since both serve the same purpose,” said the proposal.The solution questEMIR requires central counterparties and their clients to hold cash as collateral for the derivative contracts being traded. However, pension schemes – which use derivatives for hedging strategies and liability matching – prefer not to hold large allocations to cash because this eats into returns.When EMIR was first introduced it was hoped that an exemption from central clearing for pension funds would allow the clearing houses and schemes to come up with a solution, but this has yet to materialise.Last year Commission vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis, responsible for financial stability, financial services and the Capital Markets Union, began organising meetings to bring together central counterparties, pension funds, central banks and investment banks in an attempt to find a solution.According to PensionsEurope’s Verstegen, the solution in the pension investors’ eyes is based on the central repurchase (repo) market, but with central banks acting as a liquidity backstop. The EU’s three bodies are due to commence negotiations on a proposal from the European Commission to amend aspects of EMIR. The Commission tabled this in May 2017 after a “regulatory fitness and performance” check of the regulation.Negotiations between the Commission, the European Parliament and the EU council, the body for member states, could have started sooner but the parliament’s economic and monetary affairs committee decided to have the matter voted on in the plenary rather than going straight to the “trilogue” negotiations. Parliament adopts tougher proposal The EU council adopted its position in December, endorsing the Commission’s proposal, but the European Parliament has taken a tougher stance. European pension schemes could be faced with a legal gap surrounding the obligation to clear certain derivatives after their current exemption from the rule expires in August.PensionsEurope has called for regulators to make clear that the obligation will not be enforced for pension funds if amendments to the European Markets Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) are not effective until after the exemption runs out on 16 August.Matthies Verstegen, senior policy adviser at the trade association, said an agreement between the EU’s law-making institutions could be reached relatively quickly, but it was now impossible for it to be in force by August.“We hope co-legislators find an agreement as soon as possible,” he added.last_img read more