“This is the first time that I’m so happy to go back to school, although I have to sit a monthly examination on the 8th.”Teenagers sat at individual desks spaced a meter apart, seeing their teachers in the flesh after months of distance learning.Wednesday’s back-to-school was the latest step in a gradual normalizing of life in Wuhan and surrounding Hubei province, where the coronavirus is believed to have emerged late last year before spreading around the world.Only the province’s oldest students were present — seniors who are due to take the make-or-break university entrance exams. Return dates have not yet been confirmed for junior and middle school students.Officials in Wuhan say students and staff must all have had virus tests before going back to school, and campuses have been disinfected and cleaned.In preparation for reopening, some schools spaced out their desks and organized smaller class sizes, according to local media.Thermal scanners greeted everyone walking through school gates, and anyone with a high temperature was not allowed in.State-run China Daily said some places arranged staggered arrival times for teachers and students.Elsewhere in China, schools that have been closed or online-only since January began gradually reopening last month, with Beijing and Shanghai letting some students return last week.China’s major cities are gradually returning to normal after imposing strict travel restrictions and closing huge swathes of the economy to control the spread of the virus.In recent months infections nationwide have dwindled, and there have been no new cases reported in Hubei province for over a month.Over a five-day holiday at the start of the month, there were 115 million domestic trips, with many tourist sites reopening — although with limited attendance.Shanghai Disneyland will reopen next week, the entertainment giant said Tuesday, with enhanced safety measures including temperature screening and social distancing.However, foreigners are still banned from entering the country as China works to contain infections being brought in from overseas.Chinese nationals returning home must undergo 14 days of quarantine. Topics : Chinese youngsters in the global virus epicenter of Wuhan filed back to class on Wednesday, wearing masks and walking in single file past thermal scanners.Senior school students in 121 institutions were back in front of chalk boards and digital displays for the first time since their city — the ground zero of the coronavirus pandemic — shut down in January.”School is finally reopening!” posted one user of Weibo, China’s Twitter-like short messaging platform.
Corporate non-financial reporting does not allow investors to understand companies’ impacts and “by extension their development, performance and position”, according to a group of civil society organisations and experts.The Alliance for Corporate Transparency analysed reporting by 105 European companies. Although the vast majority of companies acknowledged the importance of environmental and social issues in their reports, “more often than not” the information was not clear in terms of concrete issues, targets and principal risks, the alliance said.The solution, according to the group, is for EU rules on non-financial reporting to be more specific about what companies should disclose.“The results of our research suggest the need for the standardisation of disclosure and clarifications on when companies ought to report such information with respect to several key issues,” the report added. For example, with respect to climate change, legislation ought to clarify the requirement for the disclosure of companies’ long-term transition plans to a zero-carbon economy and their economic implications, in line with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.Filip Gregor, head of responsible companies at law firm Frank Bold, the project co-ordinator, said: “Our research shows that most companies don’t disclose sustainability information that really matters, but that there is a not insignificant minority that does provide meaningful information.“To ensure comparable and meaningful disclosure by all companies the legislation needs to be clearer. Standardisation of disclosure balanced with flexibility is absolutely indispensable to enable sustainable finance as well as corporate accountability.”The research project set out to analyse how European companies implemented requirements of the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD) and recommend how it could be improved.European Commission updatesIts report comes as the European Commission is preparing to update the non-binding guidelines that accompany the EU framework.According to the technical expert group advising the Commission, the Commission planned to adopt the revised guidelines in June and to seek feedback from stakeholders on the update with a one-month online consultation to start by the end of February.The technical expert group was tasked with providing recommendations to the Commission about how to include guidance for companies on climate-related disclosures as part of the revision of the non-binding guidelines. These were published in a report last month.The findings of the Alliance for Corporate Transparency chime with those of a project carried out by the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership in conjunction with the Investment Leaders Group.Together they developed the “Cambridge Impact Framework”, a set of metrics that investors could use as proxies for their progress towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, in the absence of data that would allow the social and environmental impact of investment funds to be properly assessed.
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While the departure of goal-scoring dynamos Nick Van Sicklen and Jed Hohlbein may have hampered the offense of the 2005 Wisconsin men’s soccer team, the team’s defensive core only grew stronger in a year’s time.With four incoming recruits joining four returning letter-winners in the back, the defensive outlook looks improved for a Wisconsin team that recorded only one shutout last season.“It all starts with our captain, all-Big Ten central defender Aaron Hohlbein,” head coach Jeff Rohrman said. “I think everybody is a better player because of Aaron’s presence back there. I also think there has been some great improvement by some of the other guys — Hamid Afsari, for example, has done very well. Both Andy Miller and Zack Lambo have also done a good job so far and both played great over the first weekend.”Not only did freshman standouts Lambo and Miller successfully work their way into the starting lineups this past weekend at the Big Toe Invitational, but they also played important roles in securing 2-1 victories in both matches.Against UNLV, Lambo set-up the team’s first goal of the 2005 campaign with a free kick from the left flank. Lambo’s cross found Hohlbein on the back post, whose header brought the Badgers back into the game.In the victory over Drake, it was Lambo assisting again, this time serving in the ball that produced the game-winning goal. Only 46 seconds into overtime, Lambo picked out junior forward Reid Johnson whose flick-on found sophomore Sho Fujita directly in front of the net.“I think Zack brings a very polished left foot,” Rohrman said. “He served a great ball to Hohlbein for the goal on Friday to get us going, and he also served the ball to Reid (Johnson) in overtime allowing us to win the Drake game. His ability to play well in the flow of play and also on set pieces is a pretty nice weapon to have.”Lambo, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound defender from Crystal Lake, Ill., has adapted well to the college game early on, but admits that concentration and focus are aspects of his game he must continue to improve.“The general pace of the game has been the main transition from high school,” Lambo said. “You have to know where you’re going to play the ball before you get it, so the first touch is so important. Everybody is bigger and has a little more pace to them, so it’s been tough. But, it’s encouraging because it’s making me a better player.”Along with Lambo, Miller has made great strides with the team, playing stellar defense in his first career start against Drake. The Barrington, Ill., native is a physical defender for his size (5-foot-10, 150 pounds), but, like Lambo, is still adjusting to the speed of the college game.“Coming in as a freshman, you’re obviously not as developed as some of the other guys,” Miller said. “Dealing with bigger and faster players will probably be the most difficult change. The play is a lot faster too — a hundred times faster than high school.”As Rohrman employs his new freshman talents, he can also enjoy the luxury of having veteran defenders, such as Afsari and reserve Andrew Cardona, available on his roster. “Andrew (Cardona) is a seasoned veteran with the team,” Rohrman said. “He played some key roles for us the first couple of years and right now he is in a bit of a support position for us. He’s done a great job in what we’ve asked him to do and I don’t doubt that Andrew will certainly get on the field — it’s just going to be a matter of where and when.”When the Badgers head to Milwaukee for the Panther Classic next weekend, the young men from Illinois, Lambo and Miller, will most likely be on the pitch, fighting for a win. The influx of talent will provide Rohrman with plenty of room for tinkering with the lineup this weekend and throughout the season.“We’re always looking to tweak and adjust things so that we can be sure we’re putting the 11 on the field that will work best for us going into each game,” Rohrman said. “We changed things from Friday to Sunday this past weekend and I felt they were good adjustments. Going into this next Friday, we’re going to look at a few different things back there and possibly make a few more adjustments.”