The Future Farmstead, a model home for energy-efficient housing, was on display Wednesday, Oct. 14, as part of a dedication ceremony on the University of Georgia Tifton Campus.“This is a culmination of very hard work from a number of people, certainly being led by Dr. Craig Kvien – a dreamer who makes things happen. It’s a test bed for technology and a great example of what’s out there for home builders, farmers and people interested in a sustainable lifestyle,” said Joe West, UGA Tifton Campus assistant dean. “It’s very rewarding to see it finished and to see it put into use.”West and Josef Broder, interim dean of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, as well as state political leaders, were on hand to witness the dedication of this one-of-a-kind, futuristic house. Kvien, a UGA Tifton Campus professor, helped design and construct the farmstead from its inception.“The farmstead incorporates many examples of UGA’s leadership in research, Extension and teaching. It is a very special place,” Kvien said. “Students are living in the house, aiding in the collection of data, giving tours and helping the house stay on the cutting edge of technology.”The farmstead houses innovative technologies from more than 40 companies. Recycled blue jeans and closed-cell foam help insulate the 4,000-square-foot house. Solar panels harness and convert the sun’s natural energy. Electrical use is surveyed through a home-based monitoring and control system.“The Future Farmstead, even though it’s the farmstead of the present, is really as futuristic as we can get right now. That’s the neat thing about it. It will continue to evolve as we go forward. Dr. Kvien has constructed it so that we can put in new technology, new sensing capabilities, things of that nature,” West said. “We’ve actually got a piece of the future right here, starting today.”The Future Farmstead dedication included short remarks from noted political figures, including U.S. Rep. Austin Scott and Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, and Jay Short, president of Short and Paulk Supply Company and a UGA CAES alumnus. Georgia Rep. and UGA CAES alumnus Sam Watson was slated to attend but was unable to due to farm business. “Sam’s also a farmer and he had 3 semi-trucks lined up and they were busy picking squash. And that pays the bills,” said Black as he shared Watson’s regrets for not attending the event.During this remarks, Black cited the farm’s innovativeness and praised UGA and the farmstead team.“Planning for future needs, preparing for future challenges and taking advantage of the latest technology is critical to success in any industry, and agribusiness is no exception,” Black said. “However, it is even more imperative for the agricultural community because so many lives are dependent upon the very nature of our business—growing food. We already know the immense challenge that lies before us.”Studies show that food production will have to increase 70 percent by 2050 to meet global demand, he said. “It is through innovative ideas and bold action, such as the Future Farmstead project, that we will overcome this challenge and do so responsibly,” Black said.Black was especially complimentary of the edible landscape, which consists of seedless lemon and tangerine trees, developed by UGA plant breeding teams, a small vegetable garden and an aquaponics system. The system, a combination of fish and plant production, should generate enough food to feed a small family.“I am proud of the proactive nature of UGA’s Future Farmstead team as well as its progressive response to farming challenges. I look forward to seeing the fruits that this project will bear,” Black said. “Just 61 years ago in Tifton County was the first year there were more tractors than mules in the fields, and today we are talking about net zero homes.”
U.S. coal executives grapple with rising ESG concerns, more costly access to financial markets
U.S. coal executives grapple with rising ESG concerns, more costly access to financial markets FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Contura Energy Inc. executives said the U.S. coal sector is feeling the pinch of investors’ growing focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in making investment decisions.Coal producers are struggling as large financial institutions around the world are increasingly severing ties to the sector over climate change concerns. Bankers, insurers and asset managers are exiting their business with the industry at a rapid clip. The movement to divest from coal is “slowly squeezing the entire coal industry like an anaconda,” Benjamin Nelson, lead coal analyst at Moody’s Investors Service, recently said.“ESG issues are very, very real to us right now,” Executive Vice President and CFO Andy Eidson said on a Feb. 11 call discussing preliminary earnings results. In January, BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest asset manager, announced it would not invest in companies deriving more than 25% of their revenue from thermal coal.“I mean, [ESG issues have] been growing in influence over the past couple of years, and now it seems to have really caught fire,” Eidson said. “It’s almost like a pincer movement that is really creating a lot of cost pressure across the board.”Contura Energy CEO David Stetson said it is increasingly difficult for coal operators to go out into financial markets and obtain the capital to build a new mine, expand an existing mine or get equipment financing. “We really don’t see it changing,” Stetson said.Bonding a coal mine, for example, is becoming “harder and harder,” the executive noted. While much of the coal market is currently in a down cycle, even if prices improve, few companies will be able to put together a supply response due to the inability to economically obtain insurance, finance a mining project, or bond an operation, Stetson said.[Taylor Kuykendall]More ($): Coal exec: ESG trend ‘caught fire’ and is pressuring sector across the board
Bolivia Boosts FELCN Capabilities as Coca Cultivation Expands
By Dialogo October 01, 2012 Bolivia has begun retooling its anti-drug agency known as FELCN (Fuerza Especial de Lucha Contra el Narcotráfico) to confront coca production moving into remote areas of this Andean nation, as well as a jump in Peruvian cocaine being transported via Bolivia. Felipe Cáceres, deputy minister of social defense and the government’s point man on anti-drug issues, said his government is equipping the FELCN with new planes and helicopters, and will soon implement a new radar system. Speaking to reporters in late September, he said the changes are necessary as cocaine production has expanded into remote areas that are inaccessible by road in jungle departments such as Beni and Pando. “Around 60 percent of the drugs seized in come from Peru. The chemicals used in cocaine preparation allow us to determine the origin,” Cáceres told the press, adding that he’s seen an uptick in the number of Peruvians arrested with cocaine in Bolivia and vehicles crossing the border with cocaine. In one case last year, Bolivian authorities detained a group of Peruvians dressed in FELCN uniforms and transporting more than 50 kilograms of cocaine. The case made headlines, because one of the men arrested is an accused member of Peru’s Shining Path terrorist group who escaped police custody in early 2010. Peruvian authorities confiscated a small plane Sept. 15 carrying 349 kilos of cocaine; nine days later they seized a second plane with 250 kilos. Both aircraft were registered in Bolivia, and both were stopped on remote, clandestine airstrips in the Peruvian Amazon. UNODC: Traffickers diversifying routes Flavio Mirella, director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Lima, said Peruvian traffickers have opened new routes to get cocaine out of the country to expanding markets in the region, particularly Brazil. “There has been a diversification of routes,” he said. “In addition to the maritime route in Peru, there are now land and air routes to get cocaine to the Southern Cone through Bolivia.” About one percent of cocaine entering the United States reportedly comes from Bolivia. Most of the illicit drugs produced in Bolivia are destined for regional markets or Europe. In the first six months of this year, the FELCN seized 24 tons of cocaine, destroyed 700 clandestine drug-producing laboratories and arrested more than 2,300 people on drug-related charges. Troops eradicated some 8,000 hectares of coca plants, from which cocaine is made, through mid-September. Bolivia sees 12% drop in 2011 coca production Bolivia has 27,200 hectares of coca, ranking it third in world coca and cocaine production after Colombia, which has 64,000 hectares and Peru, with 62,500 hectares, according to the UNODC’s latest 2012 report. In addition, Bolivia allows 12,000 hectares to be grown for legal consumption, for chewing and in brews. In its report, the UNODC cited a 12 percent drop in Bolivian coca production in 2011, noting “significant reduction due to effective cooperative coca reduction and eradication.” Coca cultivation in the country’s traditional growing areas, the Chapare, in the department of Cochabamba, and Yungas, in the department of La Paz, fell 15 percent and 11 percent, respectively, last year. The Bolivian government welcomed the UNODC report, with La Paz recognizing it as “an important tool to plan and carry out strategies to control illicit drugs, and sustainable, integrated development in coca-producing regions.” The government of President Evo Morales champions the ancestral uses of coca and even waged a battle to have coca removed from the 1961 U.N. Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. The government warned in 2011 that it would denounce the accord and then rejoin, but with formal reservations concerning coca. That plan was rejected by most member nations, including Colombia and Peru. The International Narcotics Control Board has opposed Bolivia’s effort to remove text related to coca from the 1961 convention, stating that it would open the door to a relaxing of all international counternarcotics mechanisms. Bolivia decertified for fifth year in a row The U.S. government has also expressed concern that Bolivia has not done enough to combat illicit crops and drug trafficking. While Washington recognizes that Bolivia has reduced illegal coca used to make cocaine and interdiction efforts have seized more cocaine, the concern is over incremental increases that have seen coca crops increase almost annually for more than a decade — from a low of about 14,600 hectares in 2000 to a high of nearly 31,000 hectares in 2010. This year’s UNODC report, released on Sept. 17, marked the first substantial decline. U.S. government report also estimates that Bolivian traffickers have also improved production techniques and are now able to produce three times more cocaine per acre of coca than in Colombia. The market value of coca leaf rose from $310 million in 2010 to $353 million in 2011, or about 1.5 percent of Bolivia’s gross domestic product. Bolivia was only one of three nations that were not certified in the annual White House report on the world’s top drug-producing and transit countries. Released Sept. 14, the report certified the efforts of 19 countries, but claimed that Bolivia, Burma and Venezuela had “failed demonstrably” to meet standards. This marks the fifth year in a row Bolivia has been included on the list. It is quite gratifying to see that still we can fight against drug trafficking. This problem has caused a lot of damage to families around the world. Congratulations and the fight must continue.
Chile Stands Out at Best Warrior 2019
By Felipe Lagos/Diálogo April 24, 2019 The four-day championship sought to test combat abilities with harsh field exercises, but also mental agility. Best Warrior 2019 participants competed in various activities, such as physical aptitude, obstacle course, first-aid simulation, and a written test, to obtain the coveted title that establishes their strength and endurance on the battlefield. The Texas Military Department event gathered 31 competitors at Camp Swift, Texas, February 28 to March 3. Texas National Guard soldiers and airmen, five Chilean service members—two from the Army and three from the Marine Corps—and two Czech Republic Army officers took part in the championship. “The focus of our competition is war tasks meant to enhance skills already in the soldiers’ arsenal,” U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Michael Cornitus, senior enlisted leader of the Texas Military Department, told Diálogo. “Our goal is to show soldiers they can get through anything set in front of them based on their training and know where they may need to train more so they are completely confident when a situation arises.” Day and night tests The competition included a dozen timed events, such as a 20-kilometer march carrying a 20-kilogram rucksack; physical endurance with push-ups, crunches, and a 6-km run; night navigation; and assembly, disassembly, and shooting with M9 pistols and M4 rifles. Participants also carried out a first-aid simulation with radio communications for a medical evacuation and took an exam on military history. “This competition is an excellent professional experience, especially the knowledge exchange in different events,” said Chilean Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Mayquel García, who took part in Best Warrior 2019. “From holding a rifle to carrying a rucksack, reading a topographical chart, everything is aimed at sharing knowledge and techniques to fulfill the different requirements in the best way possible.” The competition concluded with a mystery event, in which participants had to conduct several tasks during a simulated chemical attack with protective suits and gas masks. Although all exercises are difficult, Chief Master Sgt. Cornitus said that all except the mystery event are known beforehand, which allows participants to prepare. “It’s a great opportunity for our personnel to interact with other top-level military forces,” Chilean Marine Corps Sergeant Major Luis Hernández, who led the Chilean team, told Diálogo. “Working with military personnel from different countries, getting familiar with new material, procedures, and training areas, all this increases our knowledge [and] strengthens bonds of friendship.” Reinforcing bonds of cooperation The Chilean officers’ participation took place under the U.S. Department of Defense’s State Partnership Program, which joins a state’s national guard with partner nations’ armed forces to reinforce bonds of cooperation. Chile participates in the program since 2009, with Chilean service members first joining the Best Warrior competition in 2016. “The reason we have included our partner nations is to enhance mutual relations and pass on some of our expertise in these combat training scenarios,” said Chief Master Sgt. Cornitus. “Interoperability between our forces is very important and keeps us on the same level.” Now in its 18th edition, the annual competition is divided into two categories: officers and noncommissioned officers. Winners from the competition in Texas will be able to take part in the same competition at the regional, national, and international levels. “Although official results won’t be submitted until May, our performance was very good,” Staff Sgt. Hernández said. “The competitors did their best, exceeding our previous participation.” Chief Master Sgt. Cornitus agreed with his Chilean counterpart and noted that one of the 2018 winners was from Chile. “They are very competitive soldiers, and each year our U.S. soldiers train thinking how they will compare to the Chilean soldiers in each event.” Every year, the Chilean Armed Forces take part in many knowledge exchanges with the U.S. military. For example, units of the Chilean special forces conducted the biennial exercise Northern Star with their U.S. counterparts in Camp Shelby, Mississippi, January 2019. “We had very nice moments of camaraderie with the different participating units and great support from the whole organization during our stay,” Staff Sgt. Hernández concluded. “In a nutshell, we all feel like winners in this competition; there are no winners or losers. Yesterday, we met as soldiers, and today we gain friends.”
Coram Man Killed in Crash
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A 56-year-old man was killed when a car he was a passenger in crashed into a truck in his hometown of Coram on Wednesday morning.Suffolk County police said Joseph Reilly, 48, of Port Jefferson Station, was driving a Toyota eastbound on Route 25, when he collided with a northbound Ford van with an attached trailer at the corner of Route 112 shortly after 11 a.m.Dennis Reilly, a passenger in the Toyota, was taken to Stony Brook University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.Investigators said Joseph Reilly may have disregarded a traffic signal when he entered the intersection before the crash, but the driver was not charged.Neither Joseph Reilly nor the driver of the van was injured.Highway Patrol Bureau Motor Carrier Safety Section officers inspected the van. The Toyota was impounded.Sixth Squad detectives are continuing the investigation and ask any witnesses that have not yet been interviewed by detectives to call them at 631-854-8652.
Ed Walsh Trial: Conservative Chairman Paid $200K Without Showing Up, FBI Says
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Suffolk County Conservative Party Chairman Ed Walsh stole more than $200,000 in salary he collected for hours he didn’t work in his job as a former correction lieutenant, an FBI agent testified.FBI Agent Ken Hosey told prosecutors during direct examination Thursday at Central Islip federal court that he tallied the dollar amount by comparing Walsh’s work time sheets with records subpoenaed from golf courses, Foxwoods Casino, the Conservative Party, banks and cell phone data suggesting Walsh was in locations other than the county jails in Riverhead and Yaphank.“There were no overtime slips that I saw that indicated that he worked his hours in his entirety,” Hosey told the court. He estimated that he had poured over 10,000 pages of documents during the investigation. In total, Walsh was paid for more than 1,500 hours of regular time and 1,000 hours of overtime that he didn’t work, Hosey testified.Federal prosecutors charged Walsh with theft and wire fraud for allegedly being paid for hours when he was golfing, gambling and politicking between 2011 and 2014. Attorneys for Walsh, who retired shortly before the trial began so he could collect his pension, have argued that he was free to come and go as he pleased and make up the hours later.Prosecutors had Hosey, who’s assigned to the FBI’s Melville office, demonstrate how he did his math by going over some of the time sheets and comparing them to other records indicating that Walsh was in places other than work during times the correction lieutenant was on the clock. In many cases, Walsh appeared to show up late and leave early. Other records suggested that Walsh never showed up at all—including some days he put in for overtime.Walsh worked a Monday-through-Friday shift, which rotated between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 2 to 10 p.m., depending upon the week. Some evidence showed he was making deposits or withdrawals at a bank near his East Islip home when he was supposed to be at work. Hosey said he counted more than 160 instances in which Walsh was at the Hampton Hills Golf Course while he was still on the clock.On cross-examination, defense attorney Leonard Lato asked Hosey if he knew that the time stamps could have been wrong on the golf cart rental receipts in Walsh’s name, since sometimes there is a lag in entering the records. Lato also asked if it’s possible that Walsh was at work and just not using his cell phone on days when there’s no record that the party chairman’s cell phone pinged a cell tower near the jail. Hosey conceded that he didn’t acquire Walsh’s office phone records during the investigation to see if the ex-lieutenant used his landline instead of his cell phone.The cross-examination is scheduled to continue Monday. Hosey is the prosecution’s last witness. Once he’s done, the defense will present their witnesses. Judge Arthur Spatt estimated that after the testimony and closing arguments conclude, the jury could begin deliberating as early as next Friday.
In April, airports recorded 600 thousand passengers
In April 2018, Croatian airports recorded 601 thousand passengers or 5,4% more than in the same month last year, according to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS).The largest passenger traffic was generated by Zagreb Airport, with 253 thousand passengers (an increase of 5,5% compared to April 2017), followed by Dubrovnik Airport with 151 thousand passengers (an increase of 5,3% compared to April 2017) and Split Airport with 121 thousand passengers (an increase of 0,3% compared to April 2017).The most significant international passenger traffic was realized with German airports, 154 thousand passengers, which is an increase of 12,4% compared to the same period last year. The total number of aircraft landings and take-offs at airports in April 2018 was 8, which is an increase of 024% compared to April 2017.Source: CBS
First Lady Frances Wolf Hosts Pay Equity Roundtable, Encourages Action to End Gender Pay Gap, Increase Minimum Wage in Pennsylvania
May 30, 2019 Economy, Equality, First Lady Frances Wolf, Press Release, Women’s Rights Pittsburgh, PA – First Lady Frances Wolf and members of the Pennsylvania Commission for Women today joined business leaders, lawmakers, and advocates for a roundtable discussion at Prototype PGH focused on creating economic equity for women in Pennsylvania by ending gender-based pay discrimination and increasing the commonwealth’s minimum wage to $15 per hour.“In Pennsylvania today, women make just 80 cents for every dollar a man makes – a wage gap that costs women an average of $10,000 a year. And the situation is far worse for women of color,” First Lady Wolf said. “We have taken steps to eliminate the gender pay gap and increase the minimum wage for Pennsylvania state employees, but we need to do more. Working together, I know that we can make pay equity a reality for all Pennsylvanians.”Governor Wolf is working actively to increase the minimum wage and eliminate the gender wage gap in the commonwealth. In his first term as governor, he signed executive orders to both address the gender pay gap for executive branch employees in Pennsylvania state government and to increase the minimum wage for those same employees to $15 an hour by the year 2024. He is now calling on lawmakers to do the same for all workers across the commonwealth.The governor’s proposal to raise the wage to $12 per hour immediately and eventually to $15 per hour has been introduced by Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione as Senate Bill 12 and Rep. Patty Kim as House Bill 1215.“Governor Wolf has made advancing opportunities for women a central goal of his Administration and the Commission is proud to join him now in advocating for economic equity for Pennsylvania’s women,” said Randi Teplitz, chair of the Pennsylvania Commission for Women. “These policies would represent a significant pay increase for women in Pennsylvania – a raise that is long overdue.”The First Lady was also joined by advocates who have been strong voices to end the pay gap in the state capitol and throughout Pennsylvania, including the American Association of University Women.“Pay equity is not just a matter of fairness but the key to families making ends meet,” said AAUW-PA Public Policy Co-Chair Barbara Price. “Wage discrimination limits women’s choices and has real consequences. It impairs their ability to buy homes and pay for a college education and limits their total lifetime earnings, thereby reducing their retirement savings and benefits.”Women working full time, year-round in Pennsylvania are paid just 80 cents on the dollar of what men are paid — a 20 percent gap. That gap widens among minorities, with African American women making 68 cents on the dollar, Native American women making 61 cents on the dollar, and Latina women making 56 cents on the dollar. Pennsylvania has not updated the state’s Equal Pay Act since 1959.The commonwealth’s outdated minimum wage of $7.25 per hour is the lowest allowed by federal law and is the lowest among all of our neighboring states. Of the two million Pennsylvanian’s who would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage, over 60 percent are women and a quarter are parents. SHARE Email Facebook Twitter First Lady Frances Wolf Hosts Pay Equity Roundtable, Encourages Action to End Gender Pay Gap, Increase Minimum Wage in Pennsylvania
First State and VicSuper sign merger deed
Cochrane’s counterpart at VicSuper, Wayne Kayler-Thomson, said the merger would enable the two funds to leverage their combined scale to deliver an even better deal for members.Their research had demonstrated that, by achieving greater scale, the funds could reduce costs and access a broader range of investment opportunities for members, he said.“I initially approached First State Super to discuss the idea of a merger because we wanted to find a way to access the benefits of scale to improve outcomes for VicSuper members,” said Michael Dundon, chief executive officer of VicSuper.First State Super’s CEO Deanne Stewart added that, over time, members would benefit from more diversified investment opportunities and lower operating costs that could only be generated through scale.VicSuper was established in 1994 and manages A$25bn of the retirement savings of workers, primarily in Victoria.First State Super is based in NSW and covers a range of public sector workers from police to firemen, with assets totalling A$100bn. First State Super and VicSuper, two of Australia’s leading profit-to-member super funds, have signed a merger deed to form a A$125bn (€76.8bn) entity serving 1.1 million members.The super funds announced their intentions after conducting comprehensive due diligence on their initial merger proposal, announced in July. The union is effective from 1 July 2020.“The comprehensive due diligence process we have completed highlighted how much we share in common with VicSuper,” said Neil Cochrane, chair of First State Super.“We share a strong cultural alignment and have very similar values, and this has helped our people collaborate effectively and efficiently through the due diligence phase of this project.”
Highlights of the Week
Saipem has secured work orders from Eni Angola in relation to the West Hub Development project as an addition to those previously assigned during 2016 and 2017.The work, which will be performed by the E&C Offshore division, encompasses the construction and installation of umbilicals, risers and flowlines (deepwater SURF) required for the development of Block 15/06, located 350 km north west of Luanda and 130 km west of Soyo. Nexans informed that it has started the construction of a new cable-laying vessel for submarine HV cable systems installation.Built by Uljanik, a Croatia-based shipyard, the new Nexans vessel is designed for worldwide installation of large volumes of HVDC and HVAC cable systems. The vessel covers the complete Nexans submarine product range, and has a 10 000-tonne capacity turntable, the company said. Subsea World News has put together a recap of the most interesting articles from the previous week (August 28 – September 03). TechnipFMC has been awarded an engineering, procurement, construction and installation (EPCI) contract from Husky Energy for the West White Rose project in Eastern Canada.The contract covers the supply and installation of subsea equipment including tie-in manifolds, flexible flowlines, and control umbilicals, which will connect the West White Rose platform to the existing SeaRose floating, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel. DeepOcean’s Maersk Connector has completed loading of the first phase on the Nemo Link cables in the port of Blyth.Two 59 km long 400kv HVDC XPLE cables were simultaneously spooled from a freighter onto the 7,000 te. split capacity duel concentric carousel.The vessel is now on its way to the UK coast near Ramsgate where it will begin the installation of the cables. Total has started-up production from the Edradour & Glenlivet gas and condensate fields, located in about 300 to 435 meters of water in the West of Shetland area.The Edradour and Glenlivet development will bring additional production capacity of up to 56,000 barrels of boe/d.The Edradour and Glenlivet development consists of a 35 kilometer tie-back of three subsea wells to the existing Laggan-Tormore production system.