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A timeline of key events in the SNCLavalin political controversy

first_imgOTTAWA — A chronology of key developments in the SNC-Lavalin controversy, according to public documents, reports and testimony to the House of Commons justice committee:Feb. 19, 2015 – The RCMP lays corruption and fraud charges against Montreal-based engineering and construction firm SNC-Lavalin over business dealings in Libya. SNC-Lavalin says the charges are without merit.March 27, 2018 – The Liberals table a budget bill allowing for “remediation agreements,” plea-bargain-like deals for corporations to avoid criminal proceedings by making reparations for bad behaviour. SNC-Lavalin lobbied for such a provision in Canadian law.Sept. 4 – The Public Prosecution Service rejects SNC-Lavalin’s request to negotiate a remediation agreement. Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould is informed of the decision.Sept. 5 – Justice Department deputy minister Nathalie Drouin speaks with Wilson-Raybould about the decision and agrees to provide the minister with advice on the powers of the attorney general around remediation agreements.Sept. 12 – Finance Department officials tell Drouin that SNC-Lavalin is in discussions with the prosecution service about a remediation deal, suggesting to Drouin the decision not to pursue a deal isn’t set in stone.Sept. 17 – Trudeau and Wilson-Raybould discuss SNC-Lavalin. Wilson-Raybould says Trudeau asks her to “find a solution” for SNC-Lavalin to avoid job losses, talks about the Quebec election and notes he is a Quebec MP. She said she asked him if he was interfering politically in her role as attorney-general and he said no.Trudeau later says mentioning he was a Quebec MP was not in a partisan context, adding it is up to MPs to advocate for their constituents, and that concern for job losses in Quebec and elsewhere were top of his mind. He says he asked Wilson-Raybould to reconsider her decision and she agreed.Sept. 27 – SNC-Lavalin provides the prosecution service with a presentation detailing a possible plan to split the company in two, move its offices to the U.S. and eliminate its Canadian workforce if it didn’t get a deal to avoid criminal prosecution.Oct. 9 – The prosecution service confirms it will not negotiate an agreement with SNC-Lavalin. The company challenges the decision in Federal Court.Oct. 15 – Privy Council Clerk Michael Wernick takes a call from Kevin Lynch, the chairman of the board of SNC-Lavalin and a former clerk of the Privy Council. Lynch asks about a remediation agreement and what can be done. He tells Lynch the decision is up to Wilson-Raybould.The president of the company sends Trudeau a letter outlining SNC-Lavalin’s concerns about the implications of a conviction and asks for a meeting.Dec. 5 – Wilson-Raybould and Gerry Butts, Trudeau’s principal secretary, meet for dinner at the Chateau Laurier. SNC-Lavalin is discussed, but the two later give differing accounts of the tone of the conversation.Dec. 18 – Wilson-Raybould’s chief of staff Jessica Prince meets with Butts and Katie Telford, Trudeau’s chief of staff. Afterwards, Prince texts Wilson-Raybould, citing Butts as saying, “there is no solution here that does not involve some interference” after being told what is being proposed is political interference in a prosecution. She cites Telford as saying “we don’t want to debate legalities anymore.”Butts later tells the justice committee that he didn’t — or wouldn’t — have used the word “solution” and denies anything nefarious in his comments. The point of the meeting, and anything said, was about getting a second opinion from someone like a former Supreme Court justice because the law had never been applied in Canada before.Dec. 19 – Wernick warns her she is on a collision course with Trudeau, who wants to get a deal done. Wilson-Raybould tells Wernick that if she intervened, it would be viewed as political interference and she wants to protect Trudeau from such a perception.Jan. 6, 2019 – Trudeau talks with Jane Philpott about becoming Treasury Board president and having her help convince Wilson-Raybould to take over Indigenous Services. Trudeau later says Philpott asks him if the move is related to SNC-Lavalin, which he denies.Jan. 7 – Trudeau tells Wilson-Raybould she is being shuffled out of the justice portfolio. Wilson-Raybould says the PMO denies the move is over the SNC-Lavalin file. Butts testified Wilson-Raybould refused Indigenous services, citing her opposition to the Indian Act.Jan. 14 – Trudeau shuffles his cabinet. David Lametti, a Montreal MP and former law professor, becomes justice minister. Wilson-Raybould becomes veterans-affairs minister.Feb. 7 – Citing unnamed sources, the Globe and Mail newspaper reports that Trudeau’s aides pressed Wilson-Raybould to intervene in the SNC-Lavalin case. Trudeau calls the allegations false.Feb. 11 – Trudeau says Wilson-Raybould’s continued presence in cabinet speaks for itself and that he told her any decision on SNC-Lavalin was hers alone. Meanwhile, ethics commissioner Mario Dion launches an investigation.Feb. 12 – Wilson-Raybould resigns from cabinet. Trudeau says she had a duty to tell him about any undue pressure applied to her in her role as attorney general.The same day, Oshawa, Ont., Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes tells Trudeau she won’t seek re-election. Trudeau’s office later says it was an “emotional” conversation; Caesar-Chavannes claims he yelled at her through the phone.Feb. 15 – Trudeau says Wilson-Raybould asked him in September whether he would direct her on SNC-Lavalin. He says he told her he would not.Feb. 18 – Butts resigns. He denies any impropriety, but says his presence in the PMO has become a distraction.Feb. 19 – Wilson-Raybould addresses a cabinet meeting but cabinet confidentiality means nothing can be revealed about what was said or why.Feb. 21 – Appearing before the justice committee, Wernick calls allegations of political interference false and even defamatory and says none of his conversations crossed any lines.Feb. 25 – Trudeau partly waives solicitor-client privilege and cabinet confidentiality so Wilson-Raybould can speak publicly, but not about communication with Kathleen Roussel, the director of public prosecutions.Feb. 27 – Wilson-Raybould tells the justice committee she came under “consistent and sustained” pressure — including veiled threats — from the PMO, the Privy Council Office and Morneau’s office to halt the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin. Trudeau rejects her characterization of events. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer calls on Trudeau to resign. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for a public inquiry.March 4 – Philpott quits cabinet, saying she has lost confidence in how the government has dealt with the ongoing affair.March 6 – Butts tells the justice committee that Wilson-Raybould never complained about improper pressure to halt the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin until Trudeau decided to move her out of her coveted cabinet role. Wernick disputes parts of her testimony as well. Drouin provides more details about the timeline.March 7 – Trudeau holds a press conference where he says he should have been aware that trust had eroded between his office and Wilson-Raybould, but denies anything inappropriate took place. He talks about learning from the events; he does not apologize.March 8 – The Federal Court strikes down SNC-Lavalin’s request for judicial review of the prosecution service’s decision not to negotiate a remediation agreement.March 15 – Wilson-Raybould tells her Vancouver constituents she intends to run for re-election as a Liberal.March 18 – Trudeau appoints former leadership rival Joyce Murray to replace Philpott as Treasury Board president. Hours after being at the swearing-in ceremony, Wernick announces he will step down before the fall election, having concluded he has lost the trust of opposition parties.March 26 – The Liberal-dominated ethics committee votes down an opposition motion to begin another probe of Wilson-Raybould’s allegations. Wilson-Raybould provides the justice committee with her written evidence.March 29 – The justice committee releases Wilson-Raybould’s written evidence and a 17-minute recording of her Dec. 19 conversation with Wernick. Earlier in the day, Trudeau announces Wernick will leave on April 19.April 2 – Trudeau removes Wilson-Raybould and Philpott from the Liberal caucus and as party candidates in the 2019 election.July 20 – Media reports begin to emerge saying Butts is back in the Liberal fold and will play a central role in the party’s re-election campaign.Aug. 14 – The federal ethics watchdog says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau violated the Conflict of Interest Act by improperly pressuring former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to halt the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin. The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Massive challenges highlight key role of global governance says Ban

“As interdependence deepens, some of our old systems and set-ups have not kept pace,” Mr. Ban told the opening session of this year’s World Policy Conference organized by the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI) in Marrakesh. “We simply must find better ways of working together – and build systems that are tuned to our times – ones that are more accountable, more representative and more able to maximize our collective strength and maximize our limited resources to the best benefit of our global community,” he added. “This is what global governance means to me.” The Secretary-General noted that no country or group, however powerful or resourceful, can alone resolve problems which do not respect borders. “Even the United Nations cannot do it alone, without full support of Member States and international organizations, regional organizations, and sub-regional organizations,” he stressed. Mr. Ban pointed to three main areas in which the world must pool its energy and resources. Firstly, he said at the start of the three-day gathering set to draw some 140 representatives from governments, the private sector, academia and the media to discuss global governance issues, the world must join forces to help its most vulnerable people. Developing countries help to drive economic growth and will also help pull the world out of the global economic and financial crisis, the UN chief said. “Yet their voice in global economic decision-making is not what it should be. It is not what they deserve,” he said. “Whatever else we learn from the crisis, this much is clear: global economic management can no longer afford to neglect the most vulnerable or the disadvantaged.” Domestic stimulus packages must never be made on the backs of the poor, Mr. Ban underlined. “It is morally, politically unacceptable to inflict the greatest burdens on those who are the least responsible for the crisis.” Second, the Secretary-General said, stepped up efforts are needed to stave off the challenge posed by climate change. Although last December’s UN climate change conference in Copenhagen did not meet everyone’s expectations, it is important not to underestimate the elements world leaders reached agreement on in the Danish capital, he stressed. For the first in history, leaders agreed to contain global temperature rise within 2 degrees centigrade by 2050, as well as to provide $100 billion annually in financial support to developing countries by 2020. “Looking ahead, it is increasingly clear that the more we delay, the more we will pay – in competitiveness, resources, and most importantly human lives,” Mr. Ban said, emphasizing the need to lock in progress in areas where there is consensus at the next conference of parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) next month in Cancún, Mexico. “Most immediately, we need progress on fast-start financing,” he said. “We have to admit that there is a serious gap of trust between developing and developed world. The best way and quickest way to bridge this gap of trust is to provide fast-start financial support to developing countries.” The Secretary-General also highlighted what he calls the ཮-50-50 challenge’: by 2050, the global population will grow by 50 per cent, reaching 9 billion people and the world must slash its greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent. “Climate change is not a stand-alone issue. It is a crucial part of the broader agenda on sustainable development,” he said. Lastly, Mr. Ban emphasized the need for global governance to face a host of new-generation challenges, including the situation of the world’s more than 200 million migrants, biotechnology, organized crime and terrorism. “The chance that terrorists could gain access to fissile materials has brought new urgency to the nuclear security agenda. Those armed with bombs and guns today could well arrive with more potent force tomorrow. The best response is again international resolve and coordination and cooperation,” he said. “And indeed, in response to these challenges, we have adopted new legal conventions and agreements and new strategies and forged new partnerships all in the name of global problem-solving, not global government.” Global governance, the Secretary-General stressed, is not just about long-term arrangements, but is also about leadership in the here and now, citing the upcoming referenda on the self-determination of southern Sudan and on the status of Abyei, whose residents will vote on whether to be part of the north or south. “The stakes are very high. I think everyone is very much concerned about the future of Sudan, the future of Africa, and the peace and security of the international community as a whole,” he said, underlining the need to help Sudan find a peaceful way through one of the most important passages in its history. “Global governance is too important to be left to just one organization or group,” Mr. Ban told the gathering. “But it is at the United Nations – with its universality, experience and operational presence in nearly every country – where global governance can best come together.” The world body, he said, is the right place, provided it keeps pace. “Institutions and groupings that produce meaningful, positive change – global governance for a better world – will find themselves respected and in demand,” the Secretary-General said. Mr. Ban, who arrived in Morocco yesterday, also held meetings today with Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos and Jean-Claude Trichet, President of the European Central Bank. With Mr. Moratinos, the Secretary-General discussed Spain’s engagement with the UN and the country’s chairmanship of the world body’s MDG [Millennium Development Goals] Advocacy Group, bringing together current and former political leaders, businesspeople and thinkers to spur action on the eight anti-poverty targets with a 2015 deadline. The two men also discussed the forthcoming tour of Mr. Ban’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Christopher Ross, to the region. In his talks with Mr. Trichet, the Secretary-General discussed global governance issues, in particular those relating to global economic recovery. They also conferred on the fiscal and economic situation in Europe, as well as on the upcoming summit of the Group of 20 (G20) to be held in Seoul, Republic of Korea. While in Morocco, he will also meet with the country’s King Mohammed VI and the UN Country Team in the capital, Rabat. He will then travel on to Strasbourg, where on 19 October he will address the Council of Europe on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the European Convention on Human Rights. Later that day, he will also give a speech at a plenary session of the European Parliament. While in the French city, Mr. Ban will hold talks with the Council of Europe’s Secretary-General and with the President of the European Parliament. He will also take part in an extraordinary meeting of the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee and be welcomed officially by the Senator-Mayor of Strasbourg. 16 October 2010The world is facing challenges transcending borders like no other time in history, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told an international conference in Morocco today, underlining the pivotal role played by global governance. read more

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Treasure hunt to recover £45billion worth of British gold trapped in merchant

first_imgThe team are planning to initially target a “cluster” of three ships in one areaCredit:Alamy Britannia’s Gold will launch search and salvage crews which use “state-of-the-art Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicles and other robotic tooling systems” to recover the gold and bring it to the surface.The team are planning to initially target a “cluster” of three ships in one area – two from the First World War and one from the Second World War – which could contain around £750 million. Billions of pounds worth of British gold is hidden in the wrecks of merchant ships sunk during the First and Second World Wars, a team of experts believe.Four research groups have spent 25 years producing a database tracking the gold shipped by the British Government to pay for munitions and goods during both World Wars.Of the 7,500 merchant ships sunk, the teams have identified more than 700 which they believe may have been carrying vast quantities of gold and other precious metals. The SS City of Benares won't be searched by the team  On their website, the organisation says: “From our vast research database, we have access to invaluable information such as cargoes, wreck locations, water depths and legal ownerships. The SS City of Benares won’t be searched by the team Credit:Getty Images All will be treated with respect and those wrecks known to be sensitive and specifically, to have carried evacuee children, will be avoided at all costsBritannia’s Gold Organisation Britannia’s Gold has now amassed more than eight million documents which point to the locations of the ships, which may have carried at least £4.5 billion.  Their research also revealed that during the Second World War, many of the merchant ships were specifically attacked because of their precious cargo and German U-boat commanders were told to make them priority targets.Sinking the boats aimed to reduce Britain’s ability to buy munitions and food and the enemy’s plan was to return and collect the gold after winning the war.But decades later, the gold has not been recovered and in a few weeks, a £15 million recovery operation is due to launch a few hundred miles west of Ireland. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. “The circumstances of the sinking and location of the wrecks are often further confirmed by inquest documentation and survivor accounts.”However the team has stressed that the targeted wrecks are not ships such as the war grave SS City of Benares, which was torpedoed in 1940 by the Germans and resulted in the death of 77 evacuated children.  The website says: “All will be treated with respect and those wrecks known to be sensitive and specifically, to have carried evacuee children, will be avoided at all costs.“As a mark of respect, a commemorative plaque will be placed at each shipwreck location upon completion of the team’s operations.”All British warships sunk since 1914 are classified as both war graves and sovereign territory but most merchant wrecks do not have such protection.Philip Reid, a former banker with Merrill Lynch and chairman of Britannia’s Gold said the first portion of any recovery will go to the British Government which is the owner of the cargo.After covering the operation’s costs, the rest will be shared among investors, with a percentage going to merchant marine charities. The team are planning to initially target a “cluster” of three ships in one arealast_img read more

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Mark Carney learns he can bank on British love of letter writing

first_imgBehave for the good and the majority of the population, not the rich, the powerful and favoured groups including  offshore tax evaders!(Anonymous)Wind-up merchantMy agricultural projects greatly requires you to make the following deposit of £1m ASAP. Once again, please stop delaying.Your sincerely, the UK Permanent King, incorporating the universe. With a reputation as the “rock star of banking” having worked in the London, Tokyo and New York offices of Goldman Sachs, Mark Carney could be forgiven for expecting a modicum of respect for his acumen as an economist.But as the Governor of the Bank of England he has had to learn that the Great British public can be at their most vocal when airing opinions about money.Following a Freedom of Information request from the BBC, it has emerged how complaint letters and emails sent to the Canadian have been anything but polite when airing their views about Brexit, house prices, savings and pension policies.The letters, sent since January this year, have sometimes verged on the downright rude as well as remarkably bizarre.Read some of the typical correspondence below.’Rubbish’My grandchildren are going to have to buy tents … because all the housing stock will have been bought up by greedy buy-to-let landlords. I am angry.There are good economists, bad economists and rubbish economists. You fall into the latter category, an economist who couldn’t predict the day after tomorrow.Yours in utter contempt, a better economist than you will ever be.(Name redacted)’Untrustworthy’You people are untrustworthy and have ruined savers and faked the UK’s overpriced housing market.(Anonymous)’Misery and failure’Will you address these issues instead of kicking them down the road all the time? We doubt it and if not, it shows how corruption rules this country.If only HM The Queen and her family knew of her subjects; misery and failure of successive Governments and Bank of England governors. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

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It makes you proud to see The 10th year of the Global

first_img Saturday 16 Mar 2019, 4:00 PM By Stephen McDermott Victoria Falls, one of hundreds of locations that will take part in this year’s Global Greening initiative https://jrnl.ie/4543104 15 Comments Image: Tourism Ireland Mar 16th 2019, 4:01 PM Share515 Tweet Email3 center_img ON THE SURFACE, a leopard statue in Kenya, a DC-3 plane in Hong Kong, and a street-skating event in Paris don’t have all that much in common.If the group wasn’t bizarre enough already, it also includes a competition Finland, in which entrepreneurs stand waist-deep in the freezing Baltic Sea while pitching ideas to potential investors, Dragons’ Den style.But they’re not randomly connected: each is linked by this year’s Global Greening, an initiative that sees locations and events around the world lit up green during the St Patrick’s period.Over the years, the initiative has seen the likes of the Sydney Opera House, the London Eye and Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil daubed in green light to promote Ireland.So how did it all come about?“Like a lot of great things, it kind of happened in a couple of different places independently,” Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland – which co-ordinates the initiatve every year – tells TheJournal.ie.“Rodney Walshe arranged for the Sky Tower in Auckland in New Zealand to be lit up green for St Patrick’s Day in 2009.“Then the following year, a lady called Órla Saul who was in our Sydney office and a lady called Donna Campbell made a local approach to have the Sydney Opera House lit up.“It was so terrific when we saw the pictures afterwards… and I started to show it at various meetings around Ireland, where it got a huge emotional impact.“You could feel the sense of inspiration in the room. Year after year it started to grow and capture the imagination at home.” The Intercontinental Hotel in Abu Dhabi, which is taking part in this year’s Global Greening initiative Source: Tourism IrelandThis year, 425 sites in 53 different countries are set to take part, in what’s expected to be the biggest year for the initiative to date.Famous buildings and sites in the likes of London, Paris, Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi, and Rio di Janeiro are among those that will go green this year.And as can be expected when such a wide range of locations take part, a huge effort is involved in getting some of them over the line.“You can’t take it for granted when you have something happen one year that it’ll happen the following year, and that you can come back every time,” Gibbons explains.“There’s a very Irish approach to it, in that we’re really relying on a number of people to help us.“The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade came on board, and we would never have got places like the Great Wall of China over the line if it wasn’t for the ambassador there.“It’s the same in places like Mexico or Argentina, where Tourism Ireland wouldn’t have a presence. It can take years in terms of asking diplomatically.” Optus Stadium in Perth, Australia is another location joining the Global Greening this year Source: Tourism IrelandSometimes, Irish history plays a part too.“If you look at the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Brazil, for example, we had to run that by the Archbishop of Rio di Janeiro,” Gibbons says.“The pitch that got that over the line was the work that Irish missionaries did in Brazil over 100 years ago. That was nothing to do with tourism at all, but it’s all part of it.”The mammoth effort goes into the ‘greening’ of so many locations around the world every year has proven almost invaluable.Gibbons illustrates the value of the initiative when describing how a 30-second NBC television segment on the station’s nightly news ran coast to coast a number of years ago.“If I was to buy an ad for that long on NBC, it would have cost me $2.5 million, so it’s priceless in terms of its PR value.”Ultimately though, the success of the initiative is a testament to how keeping things simple can often work best.“People identify green with Ireland,” Gibbons jokes. “If you take the likes of France or the UK, where the flags are red, white and blue, you’ve got three colours.“The practicality for us is great!” ‘It makes you proud to see’: The 10th year of the Global Greening takes place this week – here’s how it started The annual initiative will take place in more than 50 countries this year. Victoria Falls, one of hundreds of locations that will take part in this year’s Global Greening initiative Image: Tourism Ireland Short URL 23,234 Views Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

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4 people will win a Nintendo NX for being really good at

first_img We still don’t know exactly what the Nintendo NX console/handheld is, although we have a very good idea. But we can at least confirm it definitely exists as Nintendo has decided to offer one as 1st prize in a Splatoon tournament.The tournament in question is being jointly run by Nintendo and the ESL Gaming Network, and it’s going to be extremely hard to win. Called GoSplatoon Europe, the tournament consists of 6 months of 4on4 Splatoon matches.Each month the 8 best teams in Europe (determined by weekly tournaments) come together to compete with the winner being crowned best team of the month, adding to their overall GoSplatoon points total, and getting a load of Splatoon merchandise. Then at the end of the 6 months there’s a Grand Final, which will see the winning team go home with a Nintendo NX (hopefully one for each member of the team).This all ties in with the release of the NX next March, with that Grand Final likely tying in nicely with the console’s launch and the extra marketing opportunity it will offer. I’d also hazard a guess that a Splatoon game may be one of the surprise launch titles for the NX. Makes sense, right? Competing in weekly tournaments to qualify as one of the best teams, then winning the monthly tournaments to pave the way to the Grand Final sounds like a huge commitment of time and effort. Then you have to win the final! I doubt any of the teams will be doing this purely to get an NX, it will just be a nice extra bonus for winning.You can be sure that by the time the Grand Final kicks off in March we’ll know everything there is to know about what the NX is. That is, unless it gets delayed for some reason… Stay on target <> NX Revealed as the Nintendo SwitchNintendo NX launches December 31 for $450 according to UK retailer last_img read more

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Researchers Transform CO2 Into Liquid Fuel

first_img Researchers at Rice University developed a way to recycle carbon dioxide into liquid fuel in the form of purified concentrations of formic acid.The latest team working to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas in our atmosphere, they built an electrocatalysis reactor to repurpose CO2 in a cost-effective, energy-efficient way.“Formic acid is an energy carrier,” according to Haotian Wang, an assistant professor at Rice. “It’s a fuel-cell fuel that can generate electricity and emit carbon dioxide—which you can grab and recycle again.“It’s also fundamental in the chemical engineering industry as a feedstock for other chemicals, and a storage material for hydrogen that can hold nearly 1,000 times the energy of the same volume of hydrogen gas, which is difficult to compress,” he said in a statement. “That’s currently a big challenge for hydrogen fuel-cell cars.”The modern method for producing formic acid is expensive and energy-intensive.Rice University’s approach, however, is not.An electrocatalysis reactor built recycles carbon dioxide to produce pure liquid fuel solutions using electricity (via Jeff Fitlow/Rice University)Using a two-dimensional bismuth catalyst and solid-state electrolyte from postdoctoral researcher Chuan Xia, researchers were able to generate formic acid continuously for 100 hours.Even better: They can be made in bulk.“Currently, people produce catalysts on the milligram or gram scales,” Xia said. “We developed a way to produce them at the kilogram scale. That will make our process easier to scale up for industry.”Wang suggested the reactor could be easily retooled to produce higher-value products like acetic acid (used to treat infections) and ethanol or propanol fuels (used in internal combustion engines).In tests, the new electrocatalyst reached an energy conversion efficiency of about 42 percent, meaning nearly half of the electrical energy can be stored in formic acid as liquid fuel.“The big picture is that carbon dioxide reduction is very important for its effect on global warming as well as for green chemical synthesis,” Wang said.“If the electricity comes from renewable sources like the sun or wind, we can create a loop that turns carbon dioxide into something important without emitting more of it,” he explained.The team’s findings are detailed in a paper published by the journal Nature Energy.More on Geek.com:NASA Spacecraft to Use ‘Green’ Fuel For First TimeLondon Buses, Like People, Fuel Up on CoffeeBritish Airways to Fuel Flights With Household Waste Minneapolis Bans Construction of New Drive-ThrusSelf-Healing Material ‘Grows’ Through Reaction With Carbon Dioxide Stay on targetlast_img read more

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Congress Agrees to Provide 400 Million for Lejeune Storm Repairs

first_img ADC AUTHOR Congress has agreed to provide $400 million in funding to repair storm damage from Hurricane Florence last September, Military Times reported.Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller announced the funding on Twitter Friday saying it would go to repair family housing and other structures.“We have received word that Congress has agreed with the administration’s request to reprogram $400 million to help Marines and their families recover from damage inflicted my Hurricanes Florence and Michael,” he wrote.Marine officials also said Friday that that about two-thirds of the funding would go to roof and interior building repairs on the base, with the remainder used for external infrastructure repairs including flight lines, fences and training roads.Neller had warned Congress that without the repair funding, the Marine Corps would have to use its existing budget to pay for repairs, impacting readiness. Neller said the $400 million in funding is a down payment on the $3.5 billion necessary for full storm recovery.Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Ethan Greenlast_img read more

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Editors Note On Base Has a New Look and a New Sharing

first_imgWe hope you enjoy the newsletter’s much-needed refresh and the new feature that allows you to share On Base news stories with your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn networks directly from the newsletter.As ADC’s On Base newsletter continues to cover ongoing military and defense community news, we look forward to hearing from you, particularly on quality of life stories and other activities in your communities that make them great places for our military to live and work. You can send news items to: gtraweek@defensecommunities.org. ADC AUTHORlast_img read more

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Fish and Game seeks to understand genetic differences between pink salmon populations

first_imgHomer-based Fish and Game biologists Glenn Hollowell and Ted Otis started tracking hatchery fish found in wild streams around Kachemak Bay in 2014. That was when Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association’s Tutka Bay Lagoon Hatchery reopened after several years.They wanted to examine how well the hatchery pinks homed back to the Kachemak Bay facility, but they found something strange: salmon from other hatcheries.“When we initially started doing this, we were not anticipating finding any Prince William Sound fish in our samples whatsoever. It was just not something we even considered,” Hollowell explained. ”We were very surprised to find that a number of our streams had very significant double digit numbers [of Prince William Sound hatchery fish] in 2014.”The Prince William Sound pinks keep showing up each year, and just the idea that hatchery pinks could stray so far has heated up a dispute over the potential harm on wild runs – namely whether they could alter the genetics of wild populations in a way that would threaten their survival rate.That caught the attention Fish and Game’s top salmon geneticist Chris Habicht in Anchorage. His lab has processed thousands of samples of both wild and hatchery Prince William Sound pinks through the department’s Alaska Hatchery Research Project. At a recent Alaska Board of Fisheries meeting, he told KBBI that biologists are just starting to understand pink salmon’s genetic variation.“So one of the things we’re doing in the study is trying to understand how related populations are to each other, and in particular in Prince William Sound where there’s a big hatchery program, we’re trying to identify variation among populations,” Habicht said.The hatchery-wild research project found genetic variation in Prince William Sound: that means there are distinct populations. However, it’s unclear how much hatcheries are a factor.Habicht said pinks in Kodiak and upper Cook Inlet are distinctly different from both hatchery and wild Prince William Sound pinks. He’s hoping to explore that variation in his own smaller study.“The big question is where does that break occur?” Habicht noted. “So, the first thing we need to do and collect fish from lower Cook Inlet, and what we’re interested in doing is collecting fish that span from lower Cook Inlet up into upper Cook Inlet.”Habicht said the project still lacks the necessary funding it needs to fully assess whether Prince William Sound hatchery pinks straying into lower Cook Inlet streams could alter the genetics of wild stocks.But he’s still committed to the project. He plans to walk the banks of the Anchor River this summer, picking up dead specimens for further study. A group of researchers from the Prince William Sound Science Center sample pink salmon carcasses near Cordova as part of Fish and Game’s Alaska Hatchery Research Project. (Photo by Aaron Bolton, KBBI)What happens when wild salmon interbreed with hatchery fish?A study by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game looking at chum and pink salmon runs in Southeast and Prince William Sound is expanding to help biologists understand the interplay between wild runs and hatchery strays. There is concern that hatchery fish could alter the genetics of wild populations, posing a threat to their survival.last_img read more

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Jaguar Land Rover volume sales rise in May watch video of top

first_imgPhoto taken on July 6, 2016 shows Jaguar XE car at the 7th International Auto Exhibition 2016 in Xi’an, China.IANSJaguar Land Rover (JLR), the luxury vehicle arm of Tata Motors, sold 45,487 units in May, up 1 percent over its May 2016 retail volume sales, according to a statement by the company.Jaguar sales rose 28 percent YoY to 13,613 units but Land Rover saw volumes plunge 7 percent to 31,874 units, leading to a flattish business.”May brought yet another strong performance from the Jaguar brand, led by further encouraging sales growth in North America and China. The World Car of the Year, the Jaguar F-PACE, has become the brand’s best-seller and is up 89% on last May, while Jaguar XF sales continue to rise,” Andy Goss, Jaguar Land Rover group sales operations director, said in the statement.”Land Rover sales are expected to grow as the new Discovery continues to go on sale across the world. Meanwhile, the stunning new Range Rover Velar is scheduled to go on sale later this year and is already building a strong order bank,” he added.JLR had sold40,385 cars in April this year; Land Rover sales dropped to 28,075 units while Jaguar sales rose 54 percent to 12,310 units.The overall wholesale sales for Tata Motors (including JLR) increased 1 percent YoY to 86,385 units.Tata Motors shares ended at Rs 467 apiece on Friday on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on Friday, up 1.40 percent from their previous close. The stock has risen from Rs 426 as of May 9, translating into a monthly gain of 9.6 percent.Brokerage Motilal Oswal Securities Ltd. (MOSL) has a target price of Rs 635 for Tata Motors, projecting its FY2018 revenues at Rs 3,00,900 crore and net profit at Rs 10,460 crore. Jaguar F-Pace SUV launched in Mumbai on Oct 20, 2016.IANSMay automobile sales show mixed trendData released by industry body Siam reveal that domestic passenger vehicle sales rose 8.6 percent YoY to 2,51,642 units in May as compared to 2,31,640 units in May 2016. Commercial vehicle sales dropped 6.36 percent YoY to 53,457 units while two-wheeler sales saw a growth of 11.89 percent at 16,94,325 units in May.Overall production of vehicles (across all segments) rose 10.83 percent to 2.43 million units. Vehicles moving at a junction in New Delhi on Jan 23, 2017.IANSlast_img read more

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Trump phones to Xi

first_imgIn this file photo taken on 9 November 2017, China`s president Xi Jinping (L) and US president Donald Trump attend a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Photo: AFPUS president Donald Trump on Saturday touted “big progress” on trade following a phone call with his Chinese counterpart, after the tariff war between the world’s two biggest economies helped rattle markets.”Just had a long and very good call with president Xi of China,” Trump said on Twitter.”Deal is moving along very well. If made, it will be very comprehensive, covering all subjects, areas and points of dispute. Big progress being made!”Washington and Beijing imposed tit-for-tat tariffs on more than $300 billion worth of goods in total two-way trade earlier this year, locking them in a conflict that has begun to eat into profits and contributed to stock market plunges.The US-China trade war has been among factors pressuring US and global markets in December, alongside worries over slowing growth, a partial US government shutdown, higher US Federal Reserve interest rates and Trump’s attacks on the central bank.Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin last Sunday aimed to allay investor anxiety by announcing that he had held a conference call with major bank CEOs, but the comments were widely criticized by market watchers for raising new doubts.While investors remain worried, relations have thawed since Chinese President Xi Jinping and Trump agreed to a 90-day trade truce in early December while the two sides work to ease trade tensions by March 1.There have been small signs of progress — and the absence of new threats from Trump.China’s customs administration announced Friday it had approved US rice imports, after Beijing’s major state-owned grain stockpiler said it had resumed buying US soybeans, and China announced it would suspend extra tariffs added to US-made cars and auto parts starting January 1.China is also targeting intellectual property theft in the country — one of the main sticking points in the dispute with the US.Trump initiated the trade war because of complaints over unfair Chinese trade practices — concerns shared by the European Union, Japan and others.Trump is seeking a massive reduction in the US trade deficit with China and deeper reforms to open the economy to foreign companies.’Close communication’Trade negotiators from China and the United States are planning to meet in January for talks, Beijing said on Thursday, but stopped short of confirming the exact date or location.”The Chinese and US economic and trade teams have always maintained close communication,” said commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng at a regular briefing.”In January, in addition to maintaining intensive telephone consultations, the two sides have made specific arrangements for face-to-face consultations.”Deputy US Trade Representative Jeffrey Gerrish will lead the US team for talks during the week of January 7, Bloomberg reported, citing two people familiar with the matter.These would be the first face-to-face talks since the truce was agreed by both nation’s leaders on the sidelines of the G20 summit meeting in Buenos Aires.Last Sunday, Beijing’s commerce ministry said China and the US “made new progress” on the issues of trade balance and intellectual property during a phone call between officials from the two countries.Resolving the bruising spat could help shore up confidence in the Chinese economy, which itself is bracing for a slowdown.last_img

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Fort Myer Gospel Celebration

first_imgJoint Base Myer-Henderson Hall’s Gospel Service will hold their Gospel Service Reunion & Back Home Celebration from July 10 to July 12. The event will take place at the Memorial Chapel on the base, 204 Lee Avenue. Events during the celebration include a Welcome Back Reception on July 10 at 7 p.m., a Fellowship and Worship Concert on July 11 at 2 p.m. and a Family and Friends Day Worship Service on July 12 at noon. The celebration is open to the public. For more information or to RSVP, visit http:// whoozin.com/dur-fpm-up3u or contact Freda Womack at 703-618- 4344 or Tess Bryant at 301-355- 0064.last_img read more

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Chase every dream

first_imgMickey McClearly is a name one doesn’t hear quite often. It seems to be a trend in our nation that artistes working behind the big screen are often not recognized. There are only a very few names that make themselves heard loud and clear. Let us tell you about him though. Remember the songs Khoya Khoya Chand and Hawa Hawai from Shaitan? Well, now you know who re-invented these old tracks and jazzed them up. He is the music composer for so many of Lucky Ali’s albums! Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’All the ad jingles you love to hum were made by this man; from Levi’s, Coca-Cola to Vodafone. His  latest work is his new album, TV Dinners. Listen to this album, and you’ll get the full versions of all the ads you thought were fully existing songs. Millennium Post had a chat with this songwriter, composer, performer and producer.Music for this Chennai born, London educated, and now Mumbai based guy is a language. A language without which the world would cease to exist. Music is inseparable from him. We were keen on knowing how this unique idea of making songs out of the jingles came about. He said, ‘I would often find people looking for full songs whenever an ad jingle would come out. They thought that these jingles were actually songs that already existed. So I thought of making this album.’ Chase Every Dream is the first song from the album. The video features Ranveer Singh, Shradha Kapoor, Kalki Koechlin and Shaan, alongside people from the streets of Mumbai. Yes, you got it right! Chase your dream is the same jingle that we heard in the Levi’s ad. This song has many faces. The reason is very simple. It’s a song about dreams. And hence, it is a message that anyone and everyone can relate to. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixYou’ll also see the amazing Anushka Manchanda in this video. She has sung most of the tracks of this album. McClearly thinks, ‘Anushka has something very special about herself.’ She was also the voice behind the original Levi’s ad jingle. The FIFA fever has gripped the world now a days. And Chase every dream is a happy coincidence, says Mikey. Coming from London, he likes it when England wins. But obviously, it becomes quite hatke when you have to choose it as your favourite team. Mikey’s favourite team is Netherlands. But he thinks it’s Germany that would win it this time! Next time you hear a song and you really like it, our suggestion, know who made it. Isn’t it amazing when we get recognized for the great work we do?last_img read more

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Bidhannagar Police implements major traffic changes to reduce congestion along VIP Road

first_imgKolkata: Bidhannagar Police has planned some major changes in traffic to reduce congestion along VIP Road. Some of the plans have already been implemented.Sources informed that a few months ago senior officials from Bidhannagar Police started planning to sought a way to ease the increasing pressure of traffic on VIP Road.Since the last few months, people travelling from New Town to Madhyamgram had taken at least an hour to cover the stretch between Haldiram to Airport 3 number gate, which otherwise could be covered within half an hour. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeOfficials from Traffic department sat together and prepared several plans. As per the plan, a new exit gate will be constructed beside the existing airport ‘arai’ number gate, which will be used for Barasat-bound vehicular movement only. The existing gate will be used for VIP Road-bound vehicles. The vehicles coming from airport gate number 3 will be given free left turn.Currently, both Barasat and VIP Road bound vehicles operate only through one gate. Due to this, the lane becomes one way for vehicles moving towards a particular direction. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedAfter the new gate starts operating, VIP Road bound vehicles will continue moving even after the Nagerbazar bound signal turns red.”We hope this will help us to reduce traffic congestion. Construction work of the new gate has already commenced. Some more steps will also be taken in this regard,” said an official from the Bidhannagar Police. Sources informed that apart from creation of a new gate, the Barasat-bound flank of Jessore Road will be made wide between airport 2 number gate bus stop and airport 3 number gate. A new cut out will be made in airport 3 number gate area for smooth turning of Belgharia expressway bound vehicles which are coming from the Barasat direction.Apart from these plans, the existing cut out at Haldiram has been shifted a few meters back towards Teghoria. Previously vehicles coming from Teghoria had to go to Kaikhali for taking a turn towards New Town. However, after starting vehicular movement using the new cut out, vehicles could easily turn towards the New Town bound road avoiding traffic congestion.last_img read more

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Body of missing student found in bamboo grove at Mainaguri

first_imgDarjeeling: A body of a missing student was recovered in a bamboo grove on Thursday.The family members of the deceased alleged that it is a case of rape and murder. One person has been detained by the police in connection with the case. The incident occurred in the Votepatti, Chobarbari area of Mainaguri block in the Jalpaiguri district. The victim, 19-year-old Mampi Karzi had been missing since Wednesday evening. On Thursday morning, her body was spotted in the bamboo grove adjacent to the railway tracks next to her house. Her hands and legs were tied. The deceased had received a call on her cell phone on Wednesday evening following which she had gone out of her house. When she did not return, her family members went out searching for her. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeAfter locals sighted her body on Thursday morning, police were informed. A large police team arrived from Mainaguri police station and retrieved the body. Prima facie the victim had been strangled to death with a towel (gamcha). Police have found some vital clues. They feel it could be a case of love triangle. A youth of the same area had proposed to this girl around two years ago. However, the family members had objected and she had rejected the proposal. “Since then the youth had been constantly disturbing his daughter,” alleged Parimal Karzi, father of Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedthe deceased. Police are probing into this angle. Some diaries and an ATM card of a Bhutan bank was found in her bag after the incident. However, her cell phone is still missing. Police have detained one Sumit Matabbar, a local youth. The body was sent for an autopsy at North Bengal Medical College and Hospital in Siliguri. The police also visited the Mainaguri College and questioned some of the victim’s friends and batch mates.last_img read more

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Why This Legacy Company Is Betting on a Glass Highrise Vision of

first_imgJune 9, 2017 Register Now » If you spend some time at Servcorp’s space in One World Trade Center, you’ll observe a stunning view of New York City and a tranquil silence. Eighty-five stories above Manhattan’s Financial District, you’ll scarcely hear a blaring siren or honking horn.Although it’s partly a coworking space, denim-clad twentysomethings are conspicuously absent. Servcorp’s 155 locations around the world bare no resemblance to college dorm common spaces, archetypal tech startup offices or contemporary cafeterias — think fewer hashtags and foosball tables, more red carpeting and marble. Many are in iconic high-rise buildings, and they’re meant to appeal to a professional clientele that seeks a more formal, or, as Chief Operating Officer Marcus Moufarrige describes it, “premium” experience.If it seems that WeWork is the elephant in the room, it’s not. Moufarrige openly compares his business, founded by his father, Alf (who still serves as CEO), in 1978 and publicly listed on the Australian Stock Exchange since 1999, to the comparatively nascent WeWork (founded in 2010). Until recently, Servcorp’s website even featured a page called “Servcorp vs WeWork” detailing the differences between the two.Related: WeWork Will Give Away $20 Million to Entrepreneurs to Celebrate 100,000 Members“Right now, people think it’s all about this new business model that is WeWork, but it’s actually an old business model that’s just being marketed really well,” Moufarrige says. “The broader base of this industry has grown, which is a great opportunity for us. We want to make sure that we take advantage of the growth in that marketplace and that people understand that there is a premium offering as well.”The global flexible workspace market was valued at $27 billion in 2016, up from $14 billion in 2012, according to a report by Daedel Research, and it’s projected to reach $44 billion by 2021. However, a substantial share of that valuation — $18 billion — belongs to the prodigious WeWork, in which Japanese giant SoftBank invested $300 million in March. By comparison, Servcorp’s stock price sits at more than $4, it has a market cap of about $431 million and generated $239 million in revenue in 2016.Factors that have contributed to the rapid growth in the flexible workspace sector include global business expansion and the rise of alternative work patterns — both fueled by technological advancement — as well as cost efficiency for small companies, especially amid an uncertain economic environment.In this crowded market, Moufarrige emphasizes that Servcorp’s differentiator is the access it provides to prominent addresses, executive assistants and telecommunications services. It distances itself from competitors that play up the value of community and hanging out in common spaces.Moufarrige notes that the company has a particularly strong presence in the Middle East and Asia but says he wants to grow its U.S. footprint, though he doesn’t want to “take over the world” and open thousands of locations. He wants to focus on the niche Servcorp occupies while growing in the U.S. to a modest 50 to 80 locations, up from 22 today. Earlier this year, he even relocated his family from their native Australia to New York with this goal in mind.Personalization via automationOver the years, Servcorp has had the likes of Lyft, Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan and Cartier as clients. The company offers a variety of flexible workspace packages, including executive suites, which start at $1,000 per month in the U.S. and are typically for mature businesses that want access to a furnished office space without signing a multi-year lease. The features included within this package overlap slightly with the other major category of Servcorp’s business: virtual offices.Image credit: ServcorpVirtual office clients are more likely to be small startups, or as Moufarrige calls them, “one-man bands.” They pay $250 a month at minimum. Most work from their homes. The amount of time they can spend in a physical Servcorp space is more limited than for executive suite clients. However, they may put a prestigious address such as One World Trade Center on their business cards and letterhead. Servcorp has 8,000 virtual office clients in the U.S. and 45,000 globally.Related: Why Women-Only Coworking Spaces Are on the RiseServcorp identifies itself as “the recognized world leader in shared workspace technology solutions,” which might be surprising to visitors to its website. The site’s design differs from the Squarespace-esque look of many tech startups today. It’s difficult to distinguish the differences among the features of Servcorp’s various client packages. By comparison, WeWork’s online display of its offerings is easier to digest.When Servcorp talks about the importance of first impressions, it’s referring to its office building addresses, as well as the fact that clients get a Servcorp employee to be their receptionist. They also get IT and secretarial support. One receptionist can handle a few hundred clients, who enter their information into a database. When a call comes in to a client’s phone line, information about that Servcorp client populates a computer interface, along with preferences for how they want the call fielded.“It’s not a call center,” Moufarrige explains. “You know who your receptionist is. You can call them, you can talk to them, and the person who you sign up for is the person who’s going to be answering your calls. So it’s a very personalized service.”Brittany Pizzuta has worked for Servcorp for six and a half years. She started as a receptionist and now works as a senior executive assistant. Pizzuta balances several companies and their clients through research, note-taking and monthly check-ins or “happy calls.” For some clients, she runs errands or books appointments.“We have a company that manufactures certain products, and I’m very knowledgable in what they do,” Pizzuta says, “If I can answer questions about certain products, the caller truly does believe I work for that company, because I’m able to give them the correct answer.”Moufarrige notes that startups that hire before they have enough income end up risking their employees’ jobs. “Having a workforce on tap that doesn’t work for you that you can use on a short-term basis or on demand is a really powerful thing for a small business,” he says. But Servcorp’s on-demand support staff don’t just help others launch their careers. Moufarrige emphasizes that 80 percent of Servcorp’s managerial employees — most of them women — started in receptionist and secretarial roles and worked their way up. For example, Moufarrige says the general manager of the Australia/New Zealand division has been working for Servcorp for 36 years — since she dropped out of high school. Others have gone on to run companies of their own.A different kind of communityWhile Servcorp emphasizes personalization, it doesn’t sell itself on networking or relationship-building. Unlike WeWork coworking spaces, in which teams from multiple different companies share an office floor, Servcorp isn’t about fraternizing.On its website, WeWork calls itself “a global network of workspaces where companies grow together” and “CEOs can help each other.” Its argument is, “Whether it’s getting feedback on your product in real time, asking for a recommendation on a service provider or simply grabbing a beer after work, the power of our community is invaluable.”Moufarrige disagrees with this philosophy.“We don’t think that community or collaboration makes your business successful,” Moufarrige says. “You can be patted on the back as much as you like, but if people aren’t answering your phone, and you don’t have great internet and you don’t have a great address with a great first impression, you’re not going to have the trust. People aren’t going to buy your product as quickly or as easily.”Related: 3 Reasons to Chuck Coworking and Get a Real OfficeMoufarrige does note that he’s learned a lot about the power of leveraging community from WeWork, but that his point of view about how to do so differs greatly. For example, Servcorp’s global network of team members who work with international clients can reach out to employees in another country for travel tips to relay to the clients they work with. The next step, Moufarrige says, is a professional network of the company’s 45,000 virtual office clients globally.“We think we’ve built a really fantastic platform for that, using technology rather than just sitting around the campfire singing ‘Kumbaya,’” Moufarrige says. “That community is actually much broader than the people who you sit around in the lobby with.”Image credit: ServcorpHis clients apparently agree. As Moufarrige works to expand Servcorp’s U.S. footprint, he says he’s had casual conversations with a few World Trade Center clients and encouraged them to spread the word. They’ve replied that they like it quiet on the 85th floor. So in its efforts to grow within the U.S., Servcorp will use its global community platform as a selling point going forward. The company is also going to do more targeted advertising via Facebook and Google, though Moufarrige says Servcorp is “not necessarily targeting millennials.” Instead, it’s targeting businesses based on their flexible workspace needs.Above all, Servcorp is hoping that its amenities and prominent locations in city centers will continue to draw professional clients. As remote work and coworking become more common, the longtime player hopes to take advantage of its field’s newfound prominence.“I think there will always be a need for the personal touch. There will always be a requirement for service,” Moufarrige says. “If people are focusing more on the customers than getting stupid tasks done like booking meeting rooms, then you’re going to find that the level of service is a much better experience.” Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Globalcenter_img Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. 9 min readlast_img read more

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Millions of dollars in limbo after shuttering of digital currency site Liberty

first_imgPanic spread on the Internet as word about Arthur Budovsky Belanchuk’s arrest reached users of his digital currency business Liberty Reserve, which was shut down on Thursday.Budovsky, 39, was arrested on Friday in Spain as part of a money laundering investigation performed jointly by police agencies in the United States and Costa Rica. U.S. officials likely will seek his extradition.Costa Rican prosecutor José Pablo González said Budovsky, a former U.S. citizen and naturalized Costa Rican of Ukrainian origin, has been under investigation since 2011 in Costa Rica for suspected money laundering using apparent shell companies he created to run Liberty Reserve.Budovsky relocated to Costa Rica after he and partner Vladimir Kats were indicted on July 27, 2006, in New York on charges of operating an illegal financial business, GoldAge Inc. – a precursor to Liberty Reserve – from their Brooklyn apartments, according to the U.S. Justice Department. U.S. officials said the two had transmitted at least $30 million to digital currency accounts worldwide since beginning operations in 2002.Budovsky and Kats were sentenced to five years in prison in 2007 for engaging in the business of transmitting money without a license, a felony violation of state banking law. They received five years probation.Officials have not commented on how much money Liberty Reserve accounts handled (in U.S. dollars and euros), nor how many clients are affected by its closing. But those numbers could be higher than in the GoldAge case. As news circulated of Budovsky’s arrest and the shuttering of Liberty Reserve’s website, anxious clients took to chat rooms and Twitter hoping for information on the fate of their funds, some commentators claiming losses of $50,000 or more.Neither Costa Rican nor U.S. officials have commented on the apparent seizure of the site and the fate of likely millions of dollars of funds, and with a long holiday weekend in the U.S., it’s not clear when those answers will begin to emerge.The Costa Rican daily La Nación reported that Budovsky, a naturalized Costa Rican, renounced his U.S. citizenship last year, after the joint investigation of Liberty Reserve began. The Tico Times could not independently verify that information, as Costa Rican government agencies are closed for the weekend.In 2011, Costa Rica’s financial regulatory authority, the Financial Institution Superintendency (SUGEF), closed the company Liberty Reserve, citing a lack of transparency and accounting of funding sources, La Nación reported.However, Budovsky continued operating the site in conjunction with other Costa Rican corporations, including Silverhand Solutions and Technology S. A, Worldwide E-Commerce Business S .A., Grupo Lulu Limitada, Triton Group A and A, S. A. and Cyberfuel.com.The same year SUGEF ordered Liberty Reserve closed, U.S. prosecutors based in New York asked Costa Rican officials to begin investigating Budovsky and his companies. On Friday, San José prosecutors raided Budovsky’s home and offices in Escazú and Santa Ana, southwest of San José, and in the province of Heredia, north of the capital.Investigators allege that Budovsky’s businesses in Costa Rica were used to launder funds from child pornography websites and drug trafficking.Both GoldAge and Liberty Reserve operated under a similar system, allowing users to nearly anonymously open accounts with limited documentation of identity. Deposits are backed by gold and other precious metals, and customers could withdraw money by requesting wire transfers to accounts anywhere in the world or by having checks sent to individuals.U.S. officials have targeted companies like GoldAge and Liberty Reserve for years, saying they are hotbeds for criminal activity including money laundering, drug trafficking and tax evasion.“The ability to conduct transactions in digital currencies is constantly available, making digital currencies more convenient than other methods of funds transfer, which may be limited by normal business hours and international time zones. Additionally, digital currency transactions can be conducted from any location or device with Internet access,” a 2008 report by the U.S. National Drug Intelligence Center stated.“Because most digital currencies are denominated into internationally recognized weights of precious metals, inconveniences traditionally associated with international financial transactions, such as calculating international exchange rates for another nation’s currency, are eliminated,” the report added.Liberty Reserve, which operated without oversight from any global agency, was a convenient tool for foreign currency brokers, as it allowed them to bypass local legislation and avoid exchange rate fluctuations, particularly in developing countries. It was also a popular payment processing site for the multilevel marketing industry. But its lack of oversight also attracted organized criminal elements, prosecutors said.“Payment in digital currencies makes it easier for traffickers to launder funds that no longer need to be placed into the traditional financial system. Payment can be immediately forwarded to an international digital currency account, perhaps in payment to the original source of supply, or further layered through multiple digital currency accounts and exchangers until reintegrated into the legitimate economy,” the National Drug Intelligence Center stated.To open a Liberty Reserve account, users needed only to submit a name, address, email address, date of birth and occupation.Forex Magnates, which describes itself as a “specialized forex news and research source,” called Liberty Reserve “the leading payment channel for traders in emerging and frontier markets.”Citing a broker and analyst in Pakistan, Forex Magnates said, “Forex brokers have been benefiting from Liberty Reserve’s vast access as a payment provider, especially in countries where traders face difficulties in transferring funds. Liberty Reserve was a ‘gift’ for several traders, especially after the State Banks’ (State Bank of Pakistan) changes to international money transfers.”Online reaction has also come from Nigeria, Malaysia and other countries.On Saturday, digital payment site PerfectMoney.com announced it was no longer accepting U.S. citizens as customers, posting the following message: “We bring to your attention that due to changes in our policy we forbid new registrations from individuals or companies based in the United States of America. This includes US citizens residing overseas. If you fall under the above mentioned category or a US resident, please do not register an account with us.”Other cybercurrency companies, particularly Bitcoin, are already positioned to take advantage of the possible demise of companies like Liberty Reserve.According to cybercrime expert Brian Krebs, domain registration records for Liberty Reserve and several other digital currency exchanges on Friday began pointing to Shadowserver.org, an organization that fights global computer crime.“The trouble started on Thursday,” Krebs writes, “when libertyreserve.com inexplicably went offline. The outage set off increasingly anxious discussions on several major cybercrime forums online, as many that work and ply their trade in malicious software and banking fraud found themselves unable to access their funds.”Krebs’ story cites one hacker who said the Liberty Reserve shutdown “could be the most massive ownage in the history of e-currency.”One strong indication that the action against the site – along with at least five other digital currency exchanges – may have originated from U.S. law enforcement is that domain name servers for Liberty Reserve were changed and pointed to ns1.sinkhole.shadowserver.org and ns2.sinkhole.shadowserver.org. The sites milenia-finance.com, asiangold.com, exchangezone.com, moneycentralmarket.com and swiftexchanger.com also were directed to shadowserver. Shadowserver.org helps Internet providers target malware, but it also helps U.S. law enforcement cybercrime divisions.Krebs reported that shadowserver.org suffered a botnet attack over the weekend, possibly in retaliation by hackers who lost funds.Some Liberty Reserve users, however, are hoping for a different explanation, perhaps that Liberty Reserve competitors attacked the site. In the meantime, they can only sit and wait for updates, frantically clicking refresh on www.libertyreserve.com.“[M]illions of client of Liberty reserve now worried for money around the world , plz give few more info..LR site is down now,” one anxious reader posted on The Tico Times Facebook page.—Were you affected by the Liberty Reserve shutdown? Tell us your story at:dboddiger@ticotimes.netStory updated May 26 at 9 p.m. Facebook Comments Related posts:Costa Rican arrested in Spain for alleged financial crimes A Russian patsy or high-tech criminal? Costa Rica, U.S. call for extradition law to fight organized crime Liberty Reserve: Suspects plead not guilty in fraud probelast_img read more

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To make things worse the divisionleading Cardina

first_imgTo make things worse, the division-leading Cardinals (8-2) are coming to town Sunday for a showdown at Levi’s Stadium. All week, we’ll keep you everything going on in San Francisco as the 49ers get ready for Carson Palmer and Co.It’s Behind Enemy Lines …Saturday, November 28• Carlos Hyde to miss fourth consecutive game; Ahmad Brooks questionable (ESPN.com)Running back Carlos Hyde will miss his fourth straight game as he continues to recover from the stress fracture in his left foot. He was the lone San Francisco 49ers player to be ruled out of Sunday’s NFC West game against the Arizona Cardinals.• Mangini: Acker, Cromartie will split time at right cornerback (CSN Bay Area)San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Eric Mangini said Acker will start but Marcus Cromartie will also see plenty of action at right cornerback — just as they did a week earlier in the 49ers’ 29-13 loss Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.• Arik Armstead gets chance to step up for 49ers (SFBay.com)Armstead has played mostly a reserve role to starters Dorsey, Ian Williams and Quinton Dial this season, playing in just 200 total defensive snaps on the year. The 22-year old from Oregon has recorded 13 tackles and one sack, which, coincidentally, came against the Cardinals in Week 3. A weekly examination of the San Francisco 49ers’ ESPN.com Power Ranking.• Report: Colin Kaepernick had ‘extensive’ labrum tear in left shoulder (ESPN.com)Kaepernick underwent surgery to repair his shoulder Tuesday morning in Vail, Colorado, a source confirmed to ESPN.com. He was placed on injured reserve Saturday.• Brent Jones: 49ers-Kap situation ‘give-up on both sides’ (CSN Bay Area)“You know what the reality is here — this was Roberto Duran. This was an absolutely, ‘No mas,’ by Kap and by the 49ers management. No more. I don’t want you. I don’t like you. And we don’t want you. Because there’s no way that is done with what I’m going to say is a minor injury. Yeah, it’s problematic maybe, but you’ve been playing with it, it’s not your throwing shoulder. You don’t put the guy on IR and just say ‘OK, that’s it.’ As a player you’re just saying ‘I give up. Yeah. I’m gonna go on IR and give up because I’m the backup.’ That’s so discouraging across the board. I can’t remember any time in my athletic career where I’ve seen something like this happen. That’s just bad.” • 49ers QB Dylan Thompson climbs from scout team to second-string (San Francisco Chronicle)On Friday, Dylan Thompson was on the 49ers’ practice squad.• Kaepernick’s shoulder surgery goes smoothly (San Jose Mercury News)General manager Trent Baalke said surgery was advised by both the 49ers medical staff and Dr. Peter Millett, a shoulder specialist who performed Tuesday’s surgery in Vail, Colo. The surgery revealed that the tear was more significant than originally believed, a source said.• Jim Tomsula needs to be fired (NFL Spin Zone)Although San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula’s job doesn’t seem to be in any trouble, the team’s fourth consecutive loss is just one reason why the Niners need to look in a new direction.Tuesday, November 24• Jim Tomsula: 49ers’ defense ‘afraid to miss the tackle’ (ESPN.com)In allowing the Seattle Seahawks’ to run the ball down their throats to the tune of 255 yards on Sunday — the most rushing yards a San Francisco 49ers team has allowed in a game since the Carter Adminstration, Jimmy, not Michael, Andre or even Dexter — the 49ers showed a shocking inability to do one of the most basic principles of the game. Top Stories Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires • 49ers’ DL Dorsey suffers torn ACL, surgery pending (CSN Bay Area)Defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey sustained a season-ending knee injury on the 49ers’ first defensive snap of Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks, the team confirmed on Monday.• Tomsula: No second-guessing 49ers’ late-game punt (CSN Bay Area)Coach Jim Tomsula has no regrets about punting the ball away late in the fourth quarter while the 49ers required two touchdowns and two two-point conversions to tie the game.• What’s behind the decision to shut down Colin Kaepernick (SFGate.com)Kindness was not on the lips of many 49ers fans after quarterback Colin Kaepernick went on injured reserve.Kaepernick, by choosing season-ending surgery on his non-throwing shoulder, looks like he’s abandoning the team.• Is 49ers’ Jim Tomsula a one-and-done head coach? (San Francisco Chronicle)Fox’s Jay Glazer, a frequent recipient of information coming from the 49ers’ leaky pipeline, reported that Colin Kaepernick’s time with the 49ers might not be over. Why? Because if the 49ers hire another head coach, that coach might decide he wants Kaepernick on the team.• 49ers GM says Colin Kaepernick could still return to team next year (SI.com) Friday, November 27• San Francisco 49ers’ Black Friday shopping list includes a DeLorean (ESPN.com)Doc Brown’s time machine is something the 49ers could use, as they surely need a rewrite on the past couple of years.• Gabbert silences critics, faces stiff challenge vs Cardinals (CSN Bay Area)After the game, Arizona defensive back Tyrann Mathieu revealed the simplicity of the 49ers’ offense under coordinator Geep Chryst made Kaepernick’s movements easy to predict. Mathieu recorded two of the Cardinals’ four interceptions and one of their two picks that were returned for touchdowns.Thursday, November 26• Tyrann Mathieu: Blaine Gabbert a ‘better option’ for 49ers than Colin Kaepernick (ESPN.com)“It does (look different),” Mathieu said of the Niners’ offense. “Not to take anything away from Kaepernick, but it seems like Gabbert has a little bit better grip on what’s going on if he gets in a situation. He knows where the ball needs to go.“So, he’s a hell of a passer. I think he’s underrated when you talk about how well he can throw the football.”• Cosell: NFL caught up to Kap, but ‘he will get another chance’ (CSN Bay Area)center_img Comments   Share   “I don’t think that anyone can fairly say that he was great in the way that you talk about guys playing for a long time being great,” NFL Films Senior Producer Greg Cosell explained on KNBR 680-AM on Wednesday morning. “I think he came into the league at a time when read-option and running quarterbacks were new in the league, as far as designed concepts. He sort of rode that wave and the league caught up to it an awful lot … the league has caught up to that. Sooner or later to be a good quarterback, or a higher level quarterback, you have to throw the ball.”• Gabbert focuses on fixing 49ers’ red-zone issues (CSN Bay Area)The 49ers rank last in the NFL as they’ve scored touchdowns on just 38.5 percent of their trips inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. Last season, the 49ers were 29th, scoring touchdowns on 43.2 percent of their red-zone opportunities.Wednesday, November 25• 49ers pass defense suddenly needs help, too (ESPN.com)As poorly as the San Francisco 49ers defense played against the run in Sunday’s 29-13 loss at the Seattle Seahawks, the 49ers pass defense was just as culpable.• 49ers move up two spots in Power Rankings to No. 29 (ESPN.com) The Arizona Cardinals absolutely embarrassed the San Francisco 49ers in Week 3 of the NFL season.The 47-7 loss was one of the worst in San Francisco franchise history. The Cardinals scored two touchdowns on interception returns in the first quarter alone.Unfortunately for head coach Jim Tomsula, things haven’t gotten much better for the Niners since that September afternoon. San Francisco is 3-7, in last place in the NFC West and has been further bitten by the injury bug. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick is on injured reserve with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder. The running back group has been besieged by injuries and Shaun Draughn, who was signed three weeks ago, is now the starter. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Asked if Kaepernick is done with the 49ers, Baalke told reporters, “I wouldn’t say that at all. I think people are reading into that.”last_img read more

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