World Overview (1996)

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    This document has been made available in electronic format
         by the International Co-operative Alliance ICA 
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                         December, 1996

          (Source: ICA News, Issue No.6, 1996, pp.9-10)

                       World Overview
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Canada
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1997 International Credit Union Forum
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Vancouver, Canada is the venue of the World Council of Credit
Unions' 1997 International Credit Union Forum. Diverse Voices in
Concert is the theme of the 1997 Forum, which capitalizes on the
unique flavour of the international credit union movement by
bringing together people of distinct culture, beliefs and
personalities. Diversity brings richness and synergy to every
organization and the 1997 Forum promises to deliver both in
dialogues, educational sessions, networking and comraderie. The
forum will be organised from 29 June to 3 July 1997.

Further information and registration form can be requested from
World Council of Credit Unions, P O Box 2982, Madison, Wisconsin
53701-2982, USA (Fax 1-608 2388020).

Israel
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Conference of Social Welfare
-----------------------------
The 28th ICSW International Conference of Social Welfare will
take place in Jerusalem, Israel, 5-9 July 1998. The theme of the
conference is "Promoting Human Well-Being: Addressing the Forces
Shaping Society". For any further information, please contact the
Chairperson of the Organising Committee, Dr. Yitzhak Brick, Tel
Aviv, fax: 972 -3 517674.

Japan
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Rochdale Club 
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It was in 1844 that the first co-operative was formed in the town

of Rochdale, England. It all started with a tiny rented grocery
shop in an old warehouse with only 28 people distributing only
five staple items. The Rochdale spirit of co-operatives "to
support our life by serving ourselves" is still very much alive
among co-operative followers throughout the world. Osaka
Izumi Co-op opened the "Rochdale Club" in July 1987 with a view
to inheriting the Rochdale spirit and developing new contacts and
cultural activities. After eight years, the number of people who
have used the club has reached over 300,000. The Club is the
center of attention not only from members and employees but also
business traders, scholars and VIPs in various sectors as a new
communication space for meetings, talks, relaxation, improvement
and recreation. It provides musical entertainment on a regular
basis.

New Insurance System for Quake Victims
--------------------------------------
Taking a lesson from the January, 1995 earthquake which hit the
Kansai region of Japan and in particular the city of Kobe, the
Japanese Consumers Co-operative Union (JCCU) and the National
Federation of Workers and Consumers Insurance Co-operatives
(ZENROSAI ), in association with the government of the Hyogo
Prefecture and the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, have
agreed on a joint plan to establish `disaster insurance
contingency scheme' against future risks. They have also agreed
to request the government to use the scheme to provide relief for
the victims of the last earthquake (Hanshin). 

The agreement provides for the establishment of a national
insurance scheme for house reconstruction in case of natural
disasters, such as earthquakes, floods or volcanic eruptions,
covering losses and damages to houses and household articles.

The four organisations launched a campaign and collected millions
of signatures from citizens supporting the scheme, which will be
submitted to the government. The JCCU alone will be collecting
fifteen million signatures in co-operation with its members.

-Co-op Japan Information, Vol. 26, September, 1996.

Children Reporters at JA Fukumitsu - Chuo
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To make children know more about JA, a gathering of children
reporters was organised by JA Fukumitsu-Chuo. This even was
sponsored by JA's information Journal "First" and twelve
elementary and junior high school children participated with the
recommendation of the Fukumitsu City School. Mr. Maeda, the
councillor from JA gave an address taking "Chagurin" the
children's magazine published by Ie no Kikari group as a
reference and explained about JA's activities and future
agriculture.

-(JA-Zenchu News, No. 8, 1996)

Singapore
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Good Results for FairPrice
--------------------------
NTUC FairPrice, the supermarket co-op, reported a group turnover
of $647.35 million for the year ending 31 March 1996. This
represents a 7.7% jump over the previous year. The co-op's group
net profits also jumped over 25% to $50.38 million. With its good
performance, FairPrice will be paying out $31.4 million to its
shareholders through a 6% dividend and an 8% patronage rebate.
The co-op's membership now exceeds 320,000 and, over the next 12
months, another 6 outlets will be opened to add to its current
53 stores in Singapore.

-(SNCF Co-operator, vol. 21, no. 2)

United Kingdom
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Co-operative Bank Introduces Teleworking
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The Co-operative Bank, UK has introduced a pilot scheme with a
number of staff from the Collections Department, who will be
working from home, on the basis of the teleworking agreement
which the bank signed with the banking union BIFU. Based on the
practice already in place in many industries, the agreement
ensures that the bank staff working from home will have
appropriate terms and conditions for their circumstances. For
teleworkers, the benefits include increased flexibility, reduced
travelling time and expenses, more free time and often the
ability to integrate home and work life more effectively.
Teleworking can help the Bank reduce recruiting and retaining
costs, apart from providing additional working options for the
staff. 

Co-op Bank Introduces Schools Affinity Cards
---------------------------------------------
In a most ambitious affinity scheme introduced by the
Co-operative Bank in October, 1996, the parents and their family
and friends will be given the chance to do some fund raising to
contribute towards their children's education, through their
spending. For every card opened in the schools name, P.Stg.5 will
be donated to the school and a further 25p. for every PStg.100
spent on the card. The head teachers of the school will be
involved in the scheme and it is their responsibility to sign up
as many parents as possible. To coincide with the launch of the
Schools Card, a national competition will be launched in
collaboration with the Guardian newspaper, aimed at schools to
find the Young Ethical Entrepreneurs of the Year. The competition
winners will be invited to discover the challenges of handling
an ethical business by running the Co-operative Bank for a day,
besides willing PStg.500 for each age category for their schools.
The competition is aimed at 14-16 and 16-18 age groups.

-(Banknotes, October 1996)

Co-op News on Cyberspace
------------------------
The Co-operative News  has taken its place on the information
superhighway by launching its own web site on the Internet. The
site  contains an outline of the newspaper's history and ideals,
useful contact numbers and subscription details. The web site is
located on the CWS UK Co-op pages and the address is
http://www.co-op.co.uk/UKCM/coopnews/coopnews.html/

-(Co-operative News, November 12, 1996)

USA
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Race Raises $27,000 for Co-op Development
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The Co-operative Development Foundation (CDF) organized its 8th
annual Race for Co-operative Development on 6 October 1996, which
drew nearly 300 runners. The race raised a record breaking
$27,000 to support the Co-operative Development Foundation's work
for promoting community, economic and social development through
co-ops founded on self-help and mutual aid.

-(CDF News Release)