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Singapore’s Ezion is slashing 2017 capex and delaying delivery of four service rigs to stop the cash outflow amid the tough offshore oil and gas environment.The company said on Thursday it would reduce its originally planned capital expenditure by approximately $270 million with the indefinite postponement of deliveries of four Service ordered back in 2014.Ezion said the the decision to „indefinitely postpone“ the service rigs came after a „careful deliberation“ by the group amidst the continued challenges faced by the marine and offshore oil and gas industry to conserve the cash position of the Group, Ezion said.“The indefinite postponement of the Service Rigs would reduce the significant cash outflows required to take delivery of the service rigs and also the burden of the additional financial liabilities on the balance sheet with the drawing of additional bank loans required for taking delivery of the service rigs,“ Ezion added.The group’s revenue for the fourth quarter of 2016 decreased by $12.1 million to $72.6 million as compared to the corresponding fourth quarter of 2015.The company said the revenue fell due to a reduction in charter rates and delays in the completion of the modifications and upgrade of its service rigs due to unexpected technical issues and longer lead time for delivery of certain critical equipment.The company’s net loss for the quarter deepened. The loss was $66,6 million in 4Q 2016, compared to a loss of $63,5 million in 2015.Offshore Energy Today Staff
The Legal Services Commission has announced it is to drop peer review as a method of quality assurance for firms seeking to bid for most publicly funded work. From April 2010 peer review will only be used on a risk-based and random-sampling basis, rather than being incorporated into the process of bidding for work. The LSC said it was adopting a more proportionate approach, as the majority of completed peer reviews since 2005 show firms have achieved good standards, scoring three or above. It said the move also reflects the transformation it is making towards becoming a purely commissioning organisation, with quality assurance, accreditation and regulation done by the professions. Providers will need to have Lexcel – the Law Society’s practice management standard – or the LSC’s own Specialist Quality Mark. ‘The changes do not affect the quality standard that we require of providers, but mean that we will get the assurance we need in a different way,’ said the LSC. ‘We will work closely with regulators and representative bodies to ensure that professional standards provide a good baseline of quality which clients can rely on.’ But Carol Storer (pictured), director of the Legal Aid Practitioners Group, said the move added to concerns about the reduction in quality of service and blamed cost considerations. Rodney Warren, Law Society council member and director of the Criminal Law Solicitors Association, said: ‘If we’re not careful this will be the LSC abrogating all responsibility for quality.’
Published: June 14, 2017 6:17 AM EDT SHARE Tillerson to testify in House as Russia sanctions vote nears WASHINGTON (AP) Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will testify before a House panel as momentum builds on Capitol Hill for a package of new Russia sanctions aimed at punishing Moscow for meddling in the 2016 presidential election.Tillerson is scheduled to appear Wednesday before the Foreign Affairs Committee, just hours ahead of a vote in the Senate on the sanctions. Tillerson has warned lawmakers the U.S. relationship with Russia is at an all-time low and deteriorating further. And he’s also cautioned against taking steps that might close off promising avenues of communication between the two former Cold War foes.Tillerson was noncommittal about a package of new Russia sanctions during testimony Tuesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He said he’s still reviewing the proposed penalties that Senate Republicans and Democrats agreed upon after lengthy negotiations. But it’s important, he stressed, that President Donald Trump have the flexibility “to turn the heat up” on Russia if necessary.At the same time, he also said he doesn’t want to preemptively shut down a potentially productive conversation. As an example, Tillerson said talks with Moscow on stabilizing war-ravaged Syria are progressing, but it’s too early to tell if the discussions will bear fruit. Imposing more sanctions could lead the Russians to curtail the dialogue, he said.Top lawmakers on two Senate committees – Banking and Foreign Relations – announced the sanctions deal late Monday amid the firestorm over Russia’s meddling in the presidential election and investigations into Moscow’s possible collusion with members of President Donald Trump’s campaign.The plan calls for strengthening current sanctions and imposing new ones on corrupt Russian actors, those involved in human rights abuses and those supplying weapons to the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad. The package also would require a congressional review if a president attempts to ease or end current penalties. And, penalties would be slapped on those responsible for malicious cyber activity on behalf of the Russian government.If the Trump administration decides to oppose the new sanctions, they could be in a bind. The package is to be added to a bill imposing penalties on Iran that the Senate is currently debating. So the White House would have to reject stricter punishments against Iran, which it favors, in order to derail the parts of the legislation it objects to.“The amendment to the underlying Iran sanctions bill maintains and substantially expands sanctions against the government of Russia in response to the violation of the territorial integrity of the Ukraine and Crimea, its brazen cyberattacks and interference in elections, and its continuing aggression in Syria,” said Republicans and Democrats on the committees.A vote on the Russia sanctions is scheduled for Wednesday, and the measure is expected to get strong bipartisan support. The legislation was worked out by Sens. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, of the Banking Committee, and Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Ben Cardin, D-Md., of the Foreign Relations panel.Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., also participated in the negotiations and pushed for provisions that bar punished individuals from using family members to get around the sanctions.“This amendment also takes appropriate steps to ensure that current sanctions cannot be unilaterally unwound by this administration,” Shaheen said.The legislation also allows new penalties on key elements of the Russia economy, including mining, metals, shipping and railways.House and Senate committees are investigating Russia’s meddling and potential links to the Trump campaign. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is conducting a separate probe.Then-President Barack Obama in late December ordered sanctions on Russian spy agencies, closed two Russian compounds and expelled 35 diplomats the U.S. said were really spies. Those penalties were on top of existing U.S. sanctions over Russia’s actions in Ukraine, which have damaged Russia’s economy but had only limited impact on President Vladimir Putin’s behavior. Related Articles:Sessions heatedly denies improper Russia contactsSessions to testify as Republicans prod Trump on tapesSessions to appear before Senate intelligence committee Author: AP Do you see a typo or an error? Let us know.
The Law Society has welcomed the government’s ‘positive intention’ for UK-EU cooperation on criminal justice post-Brexit, after the government announced that cooperation should go beyond the EU’s agreements with countries outside of the union. In its latest move to set out its stall for negotiations, the Home Office and the Department for Exiting the European Union today published a ‘future partnership paper’ on security, law enforcement and criminal justice. The 21-page document states that the basis on which the UK cooperates at EU level ‘will evidently be affected by the UK’s withdrawal, raising the question of how that partnership should be shaped in the future’.As with other position papers on civil justice and data protection, the theme is to preserve existing technical mechanisms after March 2019. The government envisages a partnership ‘that goes beyond the existing, often ad hoc arrangements for EU third-country relationships in this area, and draws on the legal models that the EU has used to structure cooperation with third countries in other fields, such as trade’.Today’s paper states that the UK has supported and benefited from the development of a series of ‘legal instruments’, forming a ‘toolkit’ that facilitates a level of cooperation among EU member states and, in some cases, ‘third’ countries.Such instruments include the Schengen information system (SIS) II, a real-time alert system which flags people of interest to law enforcement agencies, and the European arrest warrant. From 2004 to 2015, more than 8,000 people accused or convicted of a criminal offence were extradited to other EU countries under the warrant.As a former member state, the UK will become a third country. However, the paper states that ‘while existing precedents for EU cooperation with third countries under [the Lisbon Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union] provide context, they are not the right starting point for a future UK-EU partnership’.Norway and Iceland, which are not EU members, have concluded an agreement with the EU to participate in an EU IT system for the rapid sharing of fingerprint, DNA and vehicle registration data for law enforcement purposes. The EU has also concluded agreements in relation to mutual legal assistance with the US and Japan.The government says the EU has adopted ‘more ambitious and strategic’ relationships in relation to the free movement of goods, services, persons and capital with some third countries. Christina Blacklaws, vice-president of the Society, said today’s paper signals a positive intention from government to maintain a high level of cooperation with the EU on criminal justice and security matters – ‘vital in these uncertain times’.She added: ‘It is in everyone’s best interests we maintain this close working relationship and this requires a deeper level of cooperation than currently exists between the EU and non-member states. This includes ways to continue our participation in crucial criminal justice infrastructure, such as the European arrest warrant and the Schengen Information System, or find an effective substitute for them.’
Railway Directory 1999& CD ROMAll maps in the 1999 edition of Railway Directory are in full colour, and this edition adds a new portfolio of city maps, showing all modes of rail-based transport. They include metro, light rail and tramway networks in 40 cities worldwide, large and small. Main line maps include new versions of France, Germany and Switzerland. Railway Directory lists statistics and personnel for 1400 railways, nearly 400 city operators and 2000 manufacturers and suppliers. Personnel listings cover railways, government authorities, industry associations and suppliers worldwide, in all around 14000 names with job titles and contact details. This data is also available in the second edition of the Directory in CD-ROM format, allowing rapid access to information and statistics from a PC, with search and label printing facilities and colour maps which can be viewed in large-scale format. Also new for 1999 are direct links from the CD-ROM to company web sites.ISBN 0-617-01267-9.Book £130 (Europe) £140/US$230 (rest of world). CD-ROM £320 (Europe), £340/US$545 (rest of world). Book + CD-ROM £400 (Europe) £425/US$690 (rest of world) from Esco, PO Box 935, Finchingfield, Essex, CM74LN, Great Britain.Fax: +44 1371 811065Southern Africa by RailSouthern Africa offers more opportunities for travel by rail than is generally appreciated, but it has long been difficult for intending travellers to obtain detailed information. This addition to the Bradt series brings together in a single source, details of scheduled passenger trains and services of the various private operators now serving this neglected region. Although a little sketchy in places, and containing some minor inaccuracies, this is a welcome guide to the region, and a vast improvement on anything previously available. ISBN 1-898323-72-0. ú12·95 from Bradt Publications, 41 Nortoft Road, Chalfont St Peter, Bucks, SL90LA, Great Britain.Fax: +44 1494 873478Fahrplankarte für Bus & Bahn DeutschlandThe perfect addition to the range of documentation which supports Germany’s integrated public transport network, this 1:750000 scale map published by the German Transport Club (VCD) shows, in full-colour geographical format with relief, rivers and regional boundaries, all rail and complementary bus routes. Long distance rail services (ICE, IC, EC, IR, D), Regionalexpress (RE), Regionalbahn (RB) and S-Bahn have separate coloured lines, giving up to four per route. The frequency of each train category is denoted by line width, and the journey times and stopping patterns are coded by colour and alternative station markings. There are 14 enlargements of major cities. An accompanying booklet contains a gazetteer, a table of inter-city journey times, details of telephone information services, and a list of car-sharing organisations. ISBN 3-933772-00-1.VCD eV, Eifelstrasse 2, D-53119 Bonn, Germany.Fax: +49 228 985 8510
Share Share LocalNews Book & teaching aids for children in Dominican and St. Lucian Creole published by: – January 6, 2014 Sharing is caring! Tweet 326 Views one comment Share It takes just three generations before a language is lost completely.We are seeing the emergence of 3rd generation Dominicans and St. Lucian’s living in the UK & US now. Out of 10 six year olds of Kwéyòl descent living in the UK, none were able to say a basic sentence in Kwéyòl when surveyed and less than half could speak any Kwéyòl words at all.Kwéyòl 4 Kids Ltd was founded in 2009, by Trina John-Charles. The vision was to provide books and teaching aids for children in Dominican and St. Lucian Creole / Kwéyòl, also known as ‘patois’.Born in England to Dominican parents, Trina, like many other children of Kwéyòl descent living in England, was never taught Kwéyòl as a child. A firm and frank chastisement by a family friend, for not being able to speak her native language fluently, not only prompted Trina to learn Kwéyòl, but also quickly set her entrepreneurial cogs into motion.“My friend’s mum wanted to tell me something, but she didn’t want everyone else to hear. She knew my parents were Dominican and asked if I could speak patois. When I said, ‘no’ she basically told me my parents had failed. In a weird way, I thought she was right.”“I heard Kwéyòl in the house as a child, but my parents only ever spoke if they were discussing something they didn’t want us [children] to hear, or when they were talking to their friends.” Trina explains. “It was embarrassing that all my friends – Spanish, Irish, Greek, Nigerian, Ghanaian, even Welsh – all knew their mother tongues, why didn’t I? This is really what prompted me to learn.”Trina began to teach herself the fairly new Kwéyòl reading and writing system, derived in St. Lucia. This is when she realized that books or reading materials in the language were very scarce, especially to those living outside of the Islands.If the language is to be perpetuated, the best way to start is with the children – from the ground up. Armed with a degree in journalism and a flair for creative writing, Trina started the Kwéyòl 4 Kids project, with a view to teaching the Kwéyòl language in an easy format that children could follow and where parents could learn with their children.The first title is, ‘My First Kwéyòl Number Book’, which teaches you how to count from 1-20 in Kwéyòl.This is accompanied by two activity books, ‘My Kwéyòl Colouring Book’ aimed at younger children, withsimple Kwéyòl colouring and writing exercises. ‘My Kwéyòl Activity Book’ is slightly more advanced, withKwéyòl puzzles and games, which is very popular with both adults and children alike.Trina’s original transcripts were rejected by several publishers. When she demanded to know why; she was told that, ‘Kwéyòl was not a ‘recognized’ language’.“Initially I thought, ‘how dare you!’ Then I thought, ‘not recognized by whom? How is somebody working at a publishing house qualified to tell me what languages are recognized and which ones are not?’ Kwéyòl is very recognized by me, the many speakers in Dominica, St. Lucia, parts of Trinidad, parts of Grenada, St. Croix etc.”However, the young entrepreneur was not deterred, the minor setback only further encouraged her to complete the project. “I thought to myself, ‘If they won’t publish my books, I will publish them myself. I will not let ignorance deny Creole children in the diaspora the chance to learn their mother tongue.’”Trina added four wall charts to her set of Kwéyòl 4 Kids products. These teach parts of the body, colours, days of the week/months of the year and numbers 1-10. Trina also set up an e-commerce website, with all the products available to purchase. Being proud of your language, where you come from and your heritage is intrinsic to the core of the Kwéyòl 4 Kids ethos. “My Kwéyòl is still not perfect, but I took all the knowledge I had and put it into these teaching materials. I just want children to at least have a grasp of the basics. In Dominica and St. Lucia, Kwéyòl is now taught in school and your ability to get a job is heavily increased if you can speak Kwéyòl fluently. I think the emphasis placed on Kwéyòl should be the same outside of the islands too.”“My website and the books I have written will help to dispel the prejudice surrounding Kwéyòl and other Patois.Kwéyòl is sometimes referred to as ‘Pidgin’ or ‘not a real language’. These views are very unfortunate and old fashioned misconceptions, the Kwéyòl 4 Kids range is a step towards reversing this ideology.”Information regarding the books and teaching aids can be obtained from www.MeritePR.com
Researchers presented 16 lactating Holstein cows with seven differently flavored concentrate premixes and a neutral mix as a control. The premixes were offered to the cows over six consecutive days in four plastic bins.They observed and measured the cows’ intake and eating time to arrive at potential preferences for one flavored mix over another. The researchers’ findings were published in the August 2016 issue of the Journal of Dairy Science.Researchers believe determining a cow’s preferred flavors could be helpful if used to stimulate feed intake in sick cows or to entice cows to be milked in a robot.“The basic idea would be to have the flavored food only in the robot to attract the cow to the robot,” says Michael Harper, a PhD candidate and the lead author of the research. “It is important not to desensitize the animal to the flavor, similar to when we eat too much of one food like french fries and then we want something else like a salad. Therefore, the attractive flavor would not be offered in the TMR but only in the robot.”advertisementHarper didn’t rule out that the same preferred flavors’ scents could also be sprayed into the air around the milking robot to possibly lure cows to be milked.“Scent may be a more useful stimulus for feed intake because the volatile compounds responsible for smell are dispersed over a large area,” the researchers write in their paper. “In a robotic milking system, scent could be detected by the cow without the cow having to first enter the robot.”Researchers are discussing the potential for further research into cows’ flavor preferences. PHOTO 1: Cow choosing which feed tastes best.PHOTO 2: Researchers watching to see what feed the cows pick.advertisementPHOTO 3: Flavor preferences. Images courtesy of Michael Harper, Penn State University. Did you know? Cows have the ability to recognize these basic tastes:New research from Penn State University found cows do like some flavors more than others.advertisementadvertisement
All league football in England has been suspended until at least 3 April as a result of the spread of coronavirus.All Premier League games, EFL fixtures and matches in the FA Cup quarterfinals, FA Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship have been postponed.The English topflight is expected to resume on 4 April “subject to medical advice and conditions at the time” the Premier League said.The EFL, which hopes to resume play a day earlier than the Premier League on 3 April, said clubs were also advised to suspend “non-essential activities” such as “player appearances, training ground visits and fan meetings”.The suspension comes on an unprecedented day of cancellations. Football league programmes in Spain, Portugal, Holland and the United States were suspended alongside postponements in rugby, tennis, golf, basketball and athletics.It follows the positive coronavirus diagnosis returned by Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta who became the first Premier League figure to contract the virus late on Thursday.Chelsea also revealed that winger Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive for the virus early on Friday while Everton and Leicester have players in quarantine who have shown symptoms.Earlier this week, several clubs – including Arsenal, Chelsea, Bournemouth, Manchester City, Juventus and Real Madrid – revealed they have either all or some of their playing staff in self-isolation.Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said: “In this unprecedented situation, we are working closely with our clubs, government, the FA and EFL and can reassure everyone the health and welfare of players, staff and supporters are our priority.”The Premier League said its “aim is to reschedule the displaced fixtures”, while the Football Association said “all parties are committed at this time to trying to complete this season’s domestic fixture programme”.In total, 10 people have now died in the UK with the virus and there have been 596 confirmed cases across the country.The EFL said: “This decision has not been taken lightly, but the EFL must prioritise the health and well-being of players, staff and supporters while also acknowledging the government’s national efforts in tackling this outbreak.” RelatedCoronavirus: English Premier League Suspension Extended Until At Least April 30March 19, 2020In “Africa”BREAKING: Serie A To Return On 20 June – ReportsMay 28, 2020In “Italy”Coronavirus: How Europes’s Top Leagues Have Been Affected By Deadly VirusMarch 11, 2020In “Europe”
SIGN UP TO DAILY NEWSLETTERCLICK HERE TO SIGN-UP Around 120,000 years ago in what is now northern Saudi Arabia, a small band of homo sapiens stopped to drink and forage at a shallow lake that was also frequented by camels, buffalo, and elephants bigger than any species seen today.The people may have hunted the large mammals but they did not stay long, using the watering hole as a waypoint on a longer journey.This detailed scene was reconstructed by researchers in a new study published in Science Advances on Wednesday, following the discovery of ancient human and animal footprints in the Nefud Desert that shed new light on the routes our ancient ancestors took as they spread out of Africa.Today, the Arabian Peninsula is characterized by vast, arid deserts that would have been inhospitable to early people and the animals they hunted down.But research over the last decade has shown this wasn’t always the case — due to natural climate variation it experienced much greener and more humid conditions in a period known as the last interglacial.“At certain times in the past, the deserts that dominate the interior of the peninsula transformed into expansive grasslands with permanent freshwater lakes and rivers,” explained study co-author Richard Clark-Wilson of Royal Holloway.The paper’s first author Mathew Stewart, of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Germany, told AFP the footprints were discovered during his PhD field work in 2017 following the erosion of overlying sediments at an ancient lake dubbed ‘Alathar’ (meaning “the trace” in Arabic).“Footprints are a unique form of fossil evidence in that they provide snapshots in time, typically representing a few hours or days, a resolution we tend not to get from other records,” he said.The prints were dated using a technique called optical stimulated luminescence — blasting light at quartz grains and measuring the amount of energy emitted from them. – A Green Arabia –In total, seven out of the hundreds of prints discovered were confidently identified as hominin, including four that, given their similar orientation, distances from one another and differences in size, were interpreted as two or three individuals traveling together.The researchers argue these belonged to anatomically modern humans, as opposed to Neanderthals, on the basis that our extinct cousins aren’t known to have been present in the wider Middle East region at the time, and based on stature and mass estimates inferred from the prints.“We know that humans were visiting this lake at the same time these animals were, and, unusually for the area, there’s no stone tools,” said Stewart, which would have indicated the humans made a longer term settlement there.“It appears that these people were visiting the lake for water resources and just to forage at the same time as the animals,” and probably to also hunt them.The elephants, which had gone extinct in the nearby Levant region some 400,000 years ago, would have been particularly attractive prey, and their presence also suggests other plentiful freshwater resources and greenery.In addition to the footprints, some 233 fossils were recovered, and it’s likely that carnivores were attracted to the herbivores at Alathar, similar to what is seen in African savannas today.It was previously known that early humans spread to Eurasia via southern Greece and the Levant, exploiting coastal resources along the way, but the new research shows that “inland routes, following lakes and rivers, may have been particularly important” too, said Stewart.“The presence of large animals such as elephants and hippos, together with open grasslands and large water resources, may have made northern Arabia a particularly attractive place to humans moving between Africa and Eurasia,” added the study’s senior author Michael Petraglia of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.