iStock/Thinkstock(ANNAPOLIS, Md.) — When a gunman stormed into the newsroom of the local Capital Gazette newspaper, intern Anthony Messenger made his first-ever call to 911. The college senior continued to call for help as shots were being fired — but couldn’t speak into the phone.“I thought we were going to die,” he told ABC News. Messenger then passed his phone to his co-worker Selene San Felice so she could call her family, he said. Once she reached her mother, she tweeted from Messenger’s account: “Active shooter 888 Bestgate please help us.” “Selene deserves all the credit for the tweet,” Messenger told ABC News Friday, one day after five of his colleagues were gunned down in the Annapolis, Maryland, building. Phil Davis, a crime and courts reporter with the Gazette, was tweeting, too.“There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,” Davis tweeted after the shooting. The alleged shooter, Jarrod Ramos, tried to hide under a desk until police quickly responded and took him into custody, according to court documents. He has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder. Messenger, a rising senior at Salisbury University in Maryland, said loved ones checked in on him during and after the shooting.“I am deeply appreciative of the well wishes,” Messenger tweeted later. “My thoughts and prayers go out to my colleagues and their families.” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he is “praying for the victims, those who were injured, and their families, friends, and loved ones in this time of tragedy.”“The Capital Gazette is my hometown paper, and I have the greatest respect for the fine journalists, and all the men and women, who work there,” Hogan said in a statement. “They serve each day to shine light on the world around us so that we might see with more clarity and greater understanding.”Hogan has ordered Maryland flags to be lowered to half-staff in honor of the five victims.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
The financial position of Dutch pension funds deteriorated in the second quarter, according to the country’s regulator De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB).Combined liabilities across the country’s 229 schemes rose by €96bn to €1,463bn, which DNB said was largely down to declining interest rates – the main criterion for discounting liabilities.Based on reporting by Dutch pension schemes, the supervisor said that combined assets rose by €55bn to €1,488bn.Since March, the proportion of pension rights managed by pension funds with a funding level below 104.2% has increased from 56% to 60%. Until recently, 104.2% was the minimum required funding level. Pension funds with a shortfall for a continuous period of five years had to cut benefits.However, as part of the pensions agreement struck between the social partners and the cabinet in June, the government decided to temporarily lower the minimum required funding level to 100%, in order to reduce the chance of cuts.DNB said that pension funds’ coverage ratio dropped by 1.3 percentage point to 106% on average in the second quarter of 2019.The funding level of 51 schemes fell short of 104.2%, while 53 pension funds – representing 20% of all pension entitlements – were more than 104.2% funded.110 pension funds had a funding level exceeding 110%, which would allow them to grant at least partial inflation compensation. Full indexation is allowed only when a scheme reaches a coverage ratio of more than 125%.Despite the government lowering the minimum required funding level to 100%, many of the Dutch pension funds – including four of the five largest – face imminent benefit cuts following the introduction of lower assumptions for future returns.As a consequence, pension funds’ “critical funding level” is to increase. Schemes with a shortfall relative to this critical coverage level must cut pension rights immediately.This has put the €442bn civil service scheme and the €217bn healthcare scheme PFZW in the danger zone. Under the old rules, their funding level at the end of 2020 would have been the criterion for rights discounts in 2021.The large metal industry schemes PMT (€77bn) and PME (€50bn) still facing cuts in 2020, as their funding ratio at the end of the second quarter was below 100%.