October 18, 2020

Murdoch’s news for Waterloo

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October 16, 2020

Presenting Pets

first_imgThe ARF 2018 Yearbook. Independent/Francine FleischerShowcasing portraits of ARF’s furry rescued friends, the yearbook also highlights the organization’s lifesaving work as part of the #ARFrescuelove campaign, and it includes additional pictures of ARF’s adopted animals submitted by their smitten human companions. The full-color, 8.5 x 8.5-inch hardbound edition is now on sale for $25 at www.arfhamptons.org or at the ARF Adoption Center or ARF Thrift Shop. All sales support the animals at ARF. Sharelast_img

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October 6, 2020

Cardona Field Development Contract Awarded to Subsea 7 (USA)

first_imgSubsea 7 S.A. announced a contract award by Stone Energy valued in excess of US$70 million for the development of the Cardona field in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.The contract scope includes engineering, procurement, installation and commissioning of flowlines, risers, pipeline structures, and a gas lift umbilical.Project management and engineering work will commence immediately at Subsea 7’s offices in Houston. Offshore operations are due to commence in the third quarter 2014, with stalking of the risers and flowlines and welding being performed at Subsea 7’s Port Isabel spoolbase.Ian Cobban, Subsea 7’s Vice President for the Gulf of Mexico, commented: “We are pleased to be awarded this contract and look forward to working collaboratively with Stone Energy. This is an important project for both Stone Energy and Subsea 7, and we look forward to delivering the project in a safe and timely manner, and to building a strong relationship.”[mappress]Press Release, September 13, 2013last_img read more

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October 6, 2020

BOEM to Hold NC Renewable Energy Task Force Meeting

first_imgThe Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is to hold a North Carolina Renewable Energy Task Force meeting on October 7, 2015.The purpose of the Task Force meeting is to provide an overview of renewable energy planning efforts offshore North Carolina to new and existing Task Force members.Also, the Task Force will be updated on the recently completed environmental assessment, and discuss the next steps in the renewable energy leasing process.Participation during the meeting will be limited to Task Force members only while a public question and answer session will be held upon its conclusion.The meeting will be held in Coastline Conference & Event Center in Wilmington. Image: boemlast_img

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September 29, 2020

Why is there such cost variation in social housing?

first_imgThe Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has outlined a report into cost variation across the social housing sector. The report; Delivering better value for money: Understanding differences in unit costs is available on the HCA website and sets out changes to its approach to regulating the value for money standard. The report is the conclusion of a recent analysis of cost variation across the sector.Value for money was first brought in back in 2012. It was created to ensure housing associations are more transparent about their finances, their cost-effectiveness and their services. The standard requires associations to publish a “robust self-assessment”that is transparent and accessible to stakeholders. It was created to better understand return on assets, clearly see the costs of delivering services and show past and expected future value.What does the analysis show?The HCA analysis shows that while registered providers have achieved reductions in social housing costs per unit over the past five years, much of these savings are due largely to the decline in maintenance and major repair programmes and the completion of the Decent Homes programme. The analysis also shows the extent of the cost savings that are being planned by registered providers across the sector in order to offset the cuts in social rent. These projected savings are greater than any the sector has seen in recent years.The question therefore needs to be asked if these savings are realistic and achievable? More importantly if they can be achieved while also continuing to deliver the best service for tenants, new build developments and the maintenance of existing properties.Inconsistency of costsAchieving these sort of savings would have been a tough challenge for registered providers in a strong economic climate, let alone a post Brexit economy. However, in addition to the current market conditions is the issue of the cost inconsistencies highlighted within the report.In short it shows that benchmarking registered providers costs against each other tell us very little about their efficiencyHCA regulation chair Julian Ashby, has now written to the top 350 housing associations to discuss the fact that 50% of the cost variation between landlords could not be explained. While the report takes into account factors such as the level of supported housing activity and difference in regional wages, Ashby states that the variation was “concerning” and “must, at least in part, be due to differences in the operating efficiency of different organisations.”  This has led to the HCA saying that it will increasingly challenge registered providers on their approach to optimising efficiency against their cost cutting plans. In addition, moving forward, the value for money standard will become part of their In Depth Assessments (IDAs). While they state that they are not looking to specify exactly how registered providers must use their assets and resources, they will now be looking to seek assurances from registered providers on that they are delivering value for money.The end of benchmarking?In short it shows that benchmarking registered providers costs against each other tell us very little about their efficiency. In reality, each registered provider is operating in a different environment with completely different tenures, operational complexity, geographic location and size. Cross market benchmarking does not take this into account and shouldn’t be used to record performance. What is key, is value, and simply being below the market benchmark for cost per unit does not mean that a registered provider is operating efficiently.So what does this mean for registered providers?Fundamentally the HCA will now want boards to assure it that they have a comprehensive strategy to deliver on-going improvements in efficiency and can prove that they are delivering value for money. This means board members and their management teams will need to be able to categorically prove that that their costs are correct and they are making the most efficient use of their budgets.Management teams will need to be able to drill down on how their budget is being spent and understand how their costs compare to that of other registered providers .Registered providers (if not already doing this) should be challenging their management operations in a proactive manner. They need to ensure that they have robust cost data which is reviewed on a regular basis. Good contract management and fully understanding their cost base and will be key to this.The responsibility is not with the HCA to tell registered providers that their costs are high but with the registered providers themselves. If they cannot prove that their costs represent good value for money they will risk being downgraded, which is not good for their future.Ken Morgan, head of public sector and asset management, John Rowan and Partnerslast_img read more

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September 29, 2020

Heavy lift master class

first_imgHeavy lift safety expert Richard Krabbendam will present an updated version of the two-day master class in Cape Town, South Africa in April 2013; Antwerp, Belgium in May 2013; Istanbul, Turkey in October 2013; São Paulo, Brazil in the same month, as well as Mumbai, India in December 2013.A full educational package is available for companies to train and educate their own staff to handle heavy lifts safely. Full details of seminars and the educational package can be seen online at:www.heavyliftspecialist.comlast_img

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September 28, 2020

Air-rail developments

first_imgKorean National Railroad has opened an unstaffed station at Chongju International Airport. The site was provided by Korea Airports Authority, and North Chungchong Province shared the 300m won cost with KNR. Rail tickets are sold in the airport terminal.H Air passengers arriving in Switzerland from North America can now have their luggage sent to any of 126 stations in Switzerland for US$15 per item, so avoiding the wait for baggage at the airport. Luggage is checked in at the station for the return trip under the extended Fly-luggage scheme.H A US$1·1bn contract to build a 24 km rail link between Pusan and Kimahae International Airport has been formally awarded to a consortium of Kumho Engineering & Construction, Lotte Engineering, Iljin Electric, Econ, and Bombardier Transportation (RG 7.00 p402). H Under a US$1·8bn development plan, Baltimore/Washington International Airport is to build a transport interchange, providing easy access between a peoplemover, Amtrak, and Maryland MTA’s light rail services.last_img read more

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September 28, 2020

Hupac orders Chinese wagons

first_imgSWITZERLAND: Hupac and CRRC International have signed a two-year contract for CRRC Shandong to manufacture flat wagons for the intermodal freight operator and obtain Swiss wagon registration and EU certification for the designs.After the signing ceremony last month, the companies held talks on co-operation in the intermodal sector as part of China’s Belt & Road Initiative, including wagon leasing and maintenance.CRRC said the contract marked its entry to another European country, after wining export orders for France, Poland, Germany and the UK.Hupac has been active on the Chinese rail transportation market for nearly a decade, and established a subsidiary in Shanghai since 2015. Recent projects include the launch of the Xin Ou Di service between Xinjiang and the Mediterranean for a Chinese chemical producer.last_img read more

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September 27, 2020

Jamaica Tallawahs beat St. Kitts Nevis in CPL

first_imgThe Jamaica Tallawahs jumped to the top of the table in the 2018 Caribbean Premier League (CPL)  on Wednesday, after beating the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots by 47 runs at Sabina Park. The Patriots who were chasing 179 to win, were restricted to 131-9 in their 20 overs with captain Chris Gayle leading the way with 24 off 25 balls. There were two wickets each for Krishmar Santokie, Adam Zampa and Imad Wasim.After the Chris Gayle led Patriots won the toss and sent the Tallawahs in to bat, Ross Taylor slammed 51, Kennar Lewis 49 and Glen Phillips 41 in their score of 178-4. This is the seventh time both teams were meeting each-other in CPL history and the Tallawahs hold the advantage in the head to head statistics with five wins and two losses. The St Kitts and Nevis Patriots were hunting their first win at Sabina Park in CPL history. CPL action continues on Thursday where the St Lucia Stars host the defending champions the Trinbago Knight Riders.last_img read more

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September 26, 2020

Algerians march against president and political system

first_imgNigeria President warns Cabinet against corruption People carry national flags and banners during a protest to demand the resignation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in Algiers, Algeria, on March 29, 2019. (Photo by Reuters) People carry national flags and banners during a protest to demand the resignation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in Algiers, Algeria, on March 29, 2019. (Photo by Reuters)Algerians took to the streets by the millions for the sixth straight on Friday of nationwide protests, trying to push their ailing president from power and bring down an entire political system seen as corrupt and out of touch.Security forces used a water cannon and lobbed tear gas against a crowd that broke through a blockaded street leading to the presidential palace — the only break in what have been massive but peaceful demonstrations.For the first time, all three state TV channels showed the protests live — a stark difference since the mass marches started on February 22 and news blackouts were ordered. It also reflected the changing balance of power within the ruling class as President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 82 and ailing after a 2013 stroke, loses key supporters.Protesters marched in cities across the North African nation.Tens of thousands massed in the boulevards of Algiers, dominated by young people and their families. Police helicopters circled overhead and riot police vans lined sensitive neighborhoods, but the mood was largely festive.It’s the first protest since the army chief called earlier this week for the constitutional process to declare Bouteflika unfit for office. Other politicians and parties backed the idea as a solution to the gas-rich country’s political crisis.Secretive political elite The protests have turned the tables on the elite power structure, but it remained unclear what lies ahead.A billboard above the Place Maurice Audin in Algiers read “Your excellency, The People”, capturing the mood.Protesters see the army chief’s proposal as a way for the secretive political elite to keep their grip on power and name a hand-picked successor to Bouteflika, who has been largely out of the public eye since his stroke.Anger at the constitutional process issue was central to Friday’s protest. Many held signs calling for the departure of army chief Ahmed Gaid Salah, or referring to Article 102 of the constitution, which Salah proposed using to pave the way for Bouteflika’s ouster.One sign accused the political elite of being “Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves”. Another read “Not Moscow, Not Paris, Not Washington – The Choice should be Algerian,” in reference to concerns of foreign interference in the crisis. A former French colony with close ties to France, Algeria was a powerful ally of Moscow in the Soviet era but in recent years has also become a key partner of the US and Europe in fighting terrorism.Powerful supporters Frustration also targeted Bouteflika’s brother, Said. A small group of protesters started shoving journalists from Ennahar Television, considered close to Said Bouteflika, shouting “Shame!,” before other protesters separated them.When the protests broke out last month, the demonstrators’ anger was more focused on Bouteflika himself, and demands that he abandon his bid for a fifth term after 20 years in power.Since then, Bouteflika has dropped his election bid, but also canceled the April 18 vote pending electoral reforms, raising fears he would cling to power indefinitely.Bouteflika is credited with bringing peace to Algeria after the bloody civil war of the 1990s, but some of his most powerful supporters have turned against him this week.The protesters are notably angry at corruption. An Algerian media executive who was detained Thursday and released hours later said he was arrested because he publicly denounced political corruption.Related Kenyan Somalis March Against Al-Shabaabcenter_img Algerians continue rally against President Bouteflikalast_img read more

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