EU judges to decide on pension rights of trans woman in the UK

August 11, 2016

Earlier this week, the UK Supreme Court referred the case of a trans woman who is fighting for her right to the female state pension to the European Union’s top court, BBC News reports.

Despite having voted to leave the EU on the 24th June of this year, the UK exit will take several years to negotiate. Consequently, for the time being decisions made by the EU’s highest courts still take precedence over those made by courts within the UK. 

In the UK, women are entitled to a state pension when they reach the age of 60. For men, the age is 65.

What complicates the case of ‘MB’ – as the plaintiff in this case is known – is that she married her wife before transitioning from male to female, at a time considerably before same-sex marriage was legal, and before trans people had the legal right to change their gender.

According to the BBC News article, the couple were married in 1974 and MB began living as a woman in 1991. She underwent gender reassignment surgery in 1995.

Yet it only became possible for trans people to change their gender officially with the passing of the Gender Recognition Act in 2004, when they were allowed to acquire a so-called “gender recognition certificate.” 

Even so – and this is the crucial point in MB’s case –  this law was passed ten years before same-sex marriage was legalised, and at the time it was not possible for people who were married to obtain a certificate if they did not have their marriage annulled as a result of their transition.

MB, who had two children with her spouse, wished to remain married “in the sight of God,” and did not apply for a gender recognition certificate, the BBC News article reports.

Consequently, when she turned 60 in May 2008, she is said to have applied for a state pension, but to have been refused by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP)  on the grounds that legally she was still a man, and would therefore have to wait until she turned 65.

This DWP decision was upheld by judges at the Court of Appeal in 2014, although some sympathy was expressed for MB’s situation. Lord Justice Maurice Kay described her as the victim of “a real misfortune” and noted that legal developments had come “too late for her to benefit from them.”

MB has subsequently requested the Supreme Court Justice overturn the lower court’s decision. Her legal representative, Christopher Stothers from the law firm Arnold & Porter, has argued that by relying on domestic UK law, the DWP’s decision contravened EU laws.

According to an article by the Thomson Reuters Foundation (TRF), MB’s representatives argued that the decision by the DWP “breached an EU directive on the equal treatment of men and women in matters of social security.”

The Supreme Court then issued a ruling, in which it stated that, “”The Supreme Court is divided on the question, and in the absence of Court of Justice authority directly in point, considers that it cannot finally resolve the appeal without a reference to the Court of Justice.”

Meanwhile BBC News quotes Stothers as saying, “This issue is a matter of principle as well as having financial consequences for pensioners.”

“Where an individual is physically, socially and psychologically a woman, as recognised by the state in their passport and driving licence, and indeed surgically, why should they be required – before the state will recognise their gender for pension purposes – to get divorced or have their marriage annulled, particularly where they and their spouse do not wish to do so and indeed have religious objections to doing so?” 

Stothers added that, “although we are pleased with the result, the slowness in getting the issue resolved is highly frustrating for the pensioners involved.”

 

Sources include: BBC NewsThomson Reuters Foundation

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TJC offers an extensive global network of professional & experienced multilingual translators, proof-readers and interpreters. We also have academic researchers, specialists and speakers, who are all native speakers of over 100 languages. Our expert translators and interpreters are based all over the globe and can assist you with projects of all kinds.

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Italy to run on 0.6% biofuel by 2018

October 16, 2014

From 2018, 0.6% of petrol and diesel used in Italy will be made up of advanced biofuels, the BBC reports. This is set to increase to 1% by 2022.

The Italian government is the first in Europe to take a stand on biofuels. The ministerial decree is in line with the European Parliament target for 2.5% of energy used within the transportation sector to consist of advanced biofuels (made of seaweed and waste) by 2020.

The European Council then downgraded this to a non-binding target of 0.5% advanced biofuels by 2020.
The measures are part of the EU energy directive, which requires renewable energy sources to provide 10% of transportation fuel by 2020.

The use of fuels made from crops has been a source of controversy within the EU for some years. Many claim the growing of crops used for first generation biofuel production, including sugar, cereals and oilseed, take up land space needed to grow food. In addition, there are worries surrounding the volume of carbon emissions generated by biofuels. Despite this, a number of new second generation biofuels plants have recently opened.

The biofuel industry has also been lobbying hard to promote the use of biofuels within the EU.
A commercial scale advanced biofuels plant was opened in Crescentino near Turin, in Italy last year. The plant produces approximately 75 million litres of biofuel from waste and energy crops, grown on marginal land.

Plans to open three further plants in the south of the country are also in motion.

Chris Malins from the the International Council on Clean Transportation commented on the Italian decree: “This is quite an exciting time, things are finally starting to happen,”

“This shows Italy taking a real leadership role in Europe. It will be an example and a signal to other countries that are interested in this.”

Sources: BBC; The Green Optimistic

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TJC offers an extensive global network of professional & experienced multilingual translators, proof-readers and interpreters. We also have academic researchers, specialists and speakers, who are all native speakers of over 100 languages. Our expert translators and interpreters are based all over the globe and can assist you with projects of all kinds.

For translation and interpreting services in Japanese, please visit our sister site, The Japanese Connection.

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Conference interpreting explained

May 6, 2013

For a free conference interpreting quote, please visit our website or send us an email.

What is Conference Interpreting/Interpretation?

Conference interpreting is the interpretation of a conference, either simultaneously or consecutively.

Conference interpretation is usually divided between two markets: the institutional and the private. International institutions (EU, UN, EPO, et cetera), holding multi-lingual meetings, often favour interpreting several foreign languages into the interpreters’ mother tongues. Local private markets tend to hold bi-lingual meetings (the local language plus another) and the interpreters work both into and out of their mother tongues; the markets are not mutually exclusive.

The Conference Interpreter’s Point of View

Mr Fahr and Mr Macri are interpreters for UN meetings.

“The rule of thumb is we interpret for half an hour simultaneously,” said Mr Macri in a recent interview with the BBC.

“After that your concentration starts to wane…so we interpret for half an hour and then we take half-an-hour break.”

Often as many as 100 interpreters will be required at events like the UN General Assembly, communicating between delegates from 192 countries. Often these interpreters work on a freelance basis, and are booked by the UN through a specialist interpreting services agency.

According to Mr Fahr, the question he is most often asked by his non-interpreter friends is how can someone listen to a complex argument in one language, process it, and then interpret it in another language in time to understand the speaker’s next argument.

“I always tell them it takes a little bit of neurosis,” he said in the interview. “They have to be addicted to their own adrenaline.”

If a speaker becomes passionate the interpretation should also always reflect that passion and remain faithful to the speaker. In this sense, being a conference interpreter is part acting – and interpreters seem to have the same adrenaline rush during a big conference as an actor does on the big stage.

It is also important for interpreters to be up to date on current global events. They also need to prepare glossaries and read up on UN documents, so that they are prepared for technical matters covering a wide range of topics.

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For more information on organising conference interpreting for an event see TJC Oxford’s 10-Step Multi-Lingual Conference Walkthrough.

We can offer translation and interpreting services at any time of the year, in many locations: London, England, UK (Scotland, Ireland, Wales), Europe, USA, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and other global locations. Please contact us for more information. For Japanese interpreting and translation services, please visit our sister site.

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Biofuels not as cheap or as ‘green’ as they seem.

April 17, 2013

A new report by Chatham House has revealed that a heightened reliance on biofuel will cost UK motorists £460 million over the next twelve months. It also claimed that producing vast quantities of biofuels is detrimental to the environment. The think tank even claimed that biodiesel made from vegetable oil is worse for the climate than burning fossil fuels.

In line with the U.K’s Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation program which began in 2008, biofuel will now make up 5% of transport fuel – the highest ever consumption rate in the U.K.  The program requires suppliers to blend biofuel with the petrol and diesel they sell making it cleaner and ‘greener’. The initiative is designed to reduce carbon emissions; utilise renewable fuel sources more effectively and to help achieve long-term EU energy targets.

Yet the research undertaken by Chatham House proves that these changes will result in costs of £460 million for motorists. The figure is represented by both increased costs at the pump and a higher consumption rate. The energy content of biofuel is much lower than fossil fuels meaning drivers will have to fill up more often, and at a higher prices. “Current biofuels are at best an expensive way of reducing emissions,” said Rob Bailey, who wrote the report, “At worst they produce more emissions than the fossil fuels they replace and contribute to high and unstable food prices”. Certainly, the problems with biofuels are various. Land used to grow the biomass required for production takes up space that would be used for growing food, pushing up food prices in under-developed countries. When demand is rising, farmers expand into forested areas, hastening deforestation. Additionally, the energy used to transport imported and exported biofuels, especially refined palm oil from Indonesia, causes even more harmful emissions. “Once you take into account these indirect effects, biofuels made from vegetable oils actually result worldwide in more emissions than you would get from using diesel in the first place,” Bailey stated.

In order to meet EU mandates, the UK needs to further increase the proportion of biofuel used to 10% by 2020. This would, according to the report, triple costs for consumers and car-users in the future. The Think Tank called the strategy ‘irrational’ and urged the EU to reconsider its targets, in order to mitigate the negative effects for both the environment and numerous economies. This may be difficult for the EU to achieve bearing in mind the benefits of the project for countries with large agricultural sectors and their relationship with the oil industry

Sources include: BBC News

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TJC provides professional translation and interpretation services with specialists working in a range of fields including bioenergy, economics and renewable energy. Indeed, our level of specialism coupled with excellent customer service accounts for our ever-expanding list of clients from around the world, including the EU and Japan. For further information about what we can offer your organisation, please visit our website or contact us. You can also visit our sister site for professional Japanese translation and interpretation services.

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Japanese pharmaceutical companies form partnership to combat infectious diseases in developing countries

April 10, 2013

Five Japan-based pharmaceutical companies have announced that they will be forming a partnership programme which will target the treatment of infectious diseases in developing countries.

The public-private partnership will be comprised of Takeda, Astellas, Daiichi-Sankyo, Eisai and Shionogi, along with support from the Japanese government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and will be dedicated to the development of vaccines, medicines and diagnostic tools for lesser economically developed countries.

Known as the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund scheme (GHIT), the partnership, which is a first in Japanese healthcare, follows in the same vein as other public-private healthcare models that have been established across Europe. Such models include the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), which supports research into specific high-priority areas in the global medicine research industry, such as resistance to antibiotics. GHIT will see collaboration between drugmakers, universities and research institutions, as they focus their research into HIV, malaria, tuberculosis and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) such as hookworm infection, schistosomiasis, and trachoma.

The GHIT Fund chair and science adviser to the Japanese government, Dr. Kiyoshi Kurokawa, said that GHIT’s priority is to provide fast and impactful research with the spirit of collaboration, and “make tangible the kinds of contribution in innovation” that they feel Japan should be known for. GHIT’s work forms part of Japan’s growth strategies for the country, and hopes to leverage the individual strengths of each pharmaceutical company involved in order to make the most progressive advancements for developing countries.

Eisai, one of the five Japanese pharmaceutical participating organisations, issued a statement, which said that the company believes the scheme will “lead to further global public-private partnerships focused on the development of new drugs and contribute to global health through advances made in new health technologies in Japan.”

Sources include The Japan Daily Press, Zenopa.com

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TJC Global’s medical interpretation service offers a complete package. Medical interpreting is a highly specialized area, and should only be attempted by qualified, experienced medical interpreters. TJC Oxford has a network of Translators often holding a degree or certificate in the medical sciences, as well as being a native speaker in at least two languages. This means we can provide a bespoke medical interpretation service of unparalled quality, covering all aspects of the industry.

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Davos: Public funding to catalyse private investment in green technologies

February 6, 2013

At the World Economic Forum (W.E.F) Annual Meeting 2013 in Davos, Switzerland last week there was both good and bad news. Though dire warnings were issued about the dangers of climate change, financial instability, and rising food prices. There were also positive proposals outlining how governments can use public funding to stimulate private investment in green technologies.

The new president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, highlighted a recent report that predicted global temperatures could rise by 4 °C within decades. “My children could be living in a world that doesn’t even resemble the one we live in now,” he said.

There are positive signs that businesses are already paying serious attention to climate change. Nearly 700 of the 2415 companies surveyed in the recent Carbon Disclosure Project in London were already investing in emissions cuts, and 63 per cent of those companies said they were doing so because climate change was a physical risk to their business. 70 per cent of all companies surveyed believed climate change could significantly affect their revenues particularly through supply chain disruption from severe weather.

Currently, the world’s governments spend $96 billion a year tackling climate change. However, according to the Davos Green Investment Report, $700 billion of investment every year will be needed in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions to a safe level, while still allowing economic growth.

The key issue is how to meet the shortfall in funding. The 2008 financial crisis has slashed public funds “We just don’t have that much public money,” said Dominic Waughray, a senior director of the WEF in Geneva, Switzerland, and one of the authors of the report. However, Waughray presents a solution saying that governments can encourage big businesses to step up. The WEF report estimates that if public spending is increased to $130 billion, then governments could use that to unleash a potential $570 billion a year of private capital.

This is the story behind The Catalyst fund set up by The International Finance Corporation, part of the World Bank and launched in Davos. Its aim is to help companies that are tackling climate change by, for instance, building renewable power plants or boosting energy efficiency. Rather than using public money to fund projects like wind farms outright, the aim of the fund is to attract private investors by providing them with a financial safety net reducing their risk and covering any potential losses in the same way that public money already provides this kind of security to major infrastructure projects. Though still in its early days the fund has already raised $280 million.

Sources include The New Scientist.

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TJC provides professional translation and interpretation services with specialists working in environmental studies, business, finance and economy, and governmental and policy-making fields. Indeed, our level of specialism coupled with excellent customer service accounts for our ever-expanding list of clients from around the world. For further information about what we can offer your organisation, please visit our website or contact us. You can also visit our sister site for professional Japanese translation and interpretation services and our blog guide to doing business in Japan.


France Says Lights Out to Cut Carbon Emissions

February 6, 2013

France has decided to be “a pioneer” in preventing light pollution, announced the Environment Minister, Delphine Batho, unveiling a government decree on Wednesday. From July, all shops and offices in France will have to shut off their lights at night.

The decree, from the Environment Ministry, is intended to save energy and “reduce the print of artificial lighting on the nocturnal environment.” The new law, will also cut carbon dioxide emissions by 250,000 tons a year and save the equivalent of the annual consumption of 750,000 households. It is part of a series of government measures announced in December to improve energy efficiency and reduce waste.

Under the new law, the interior lights of nonresidential buildings will have to be turned off an hour after the last worker leaves, and lights on building facades and in shop windows will have to be extinguished by 1 a.m.

Ms. Batho also presented the decree as a matter of public health. Artificial lighting can damage sleep patterns, she said, and also “cause significant disruptions on ecosystems by changing communication between species, migrations, reproduction cycles or even the prey-predator relationships.”

France is justifiably proud of its night views particularly in Paris – the city of lights. Parisians and tourists flock to the Christmas illuminations on the Champs-Élysées, the 20,000 flashing bulbs on the Eiffel Tower and the bright, imaginative shop window displays.

Fortunately this will not change, the decree also states that major attractions like the Eiffel Tower will remain lighted, and local authorities can make exceptions for Christmas lighting and other celebrations.

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TJC provides professional translation and interpretation services with specialists working in a range of fields including climate change, government and policy, France and the EU. Indeed, our level of specialism coupled with excellent customer service accounts for our ever-expanding list of clients from around the world. For further information about what we can offer your organisation, please visit our website or contact us. You can also visit our sister site for professional Japanese translation and interpretation services.

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