Over a lakh people from 20,000 families have been moved to safety as local residents, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), and the Armed forces are pulling out all the stops to rescue those stuck in water-logged areas in Kolhapur and Sangli districts.The districts are experiencing the worst deluge since 2005.Sixteen people in five districts — Pune, Kolhapur, Satara, Sangli and Solapur — in western Maharashtra have lost their lives over the past week. Around 1.32 lakh people from these districts have been evacuated till Wednesday, Pune Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar said.Chairing an emergency meeting in Mumbai, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said rescuing women, children and patients was the priority, and directed the administration of the flood-hit districts to make alternative arrangements for food, essential items, and drinking water.Mr. Mhaisekar said four teams of the Territorial Army are engaged in rescue operations in Kolhapur and one team has reached Sangli. While six NDRF teams are already in action in Kolhapur, six more are on their way by road. One Navy team is in operation in Kolhapur.“Air connectivity has been established over Kolhapur since Wednesday morning with five more Navy teams to be dispatched via air over the district,” he said. The deluge has completely thrown State Transport bus services in Kolhapur and Sangli out of gear. With 89 roads in Kolhapur under water, the district is completely cut off from the rest of Maharashtra.The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast heavy rain for Kolhapur in the next 48 hours.“From Wednesday night till forenoon of August 9, we expect heavy to very heavy showers to hit the ghat areas, including Kolhapur,” Anupam Kashyapi, head, weather and air pollution monitoring unit, IMD, said.
The Duchess of Cambridge confessed today that she is nervous about giving birth, as she showed off her baby bump for the first time at a public event.The Duchess of Cambridge meets women at Hope House in LondonCredit/Copyright: DukeAndDuchessOfCambridge.orgHer Royal Highness’s admission came as she chatted to a group of women recovering from drink and drug addictions at a treatment centre run by the charity Action On Addiction of which she is Patron.The Duchess spent time with an arts therapy group at Hope House in Clapham, South London, where the centre’s clients had completed paintings charting their battle with substance abuse.The Duchess chatted to Natalie, who has a two-year-old daughter and is due to give birth to a second child in July – the same month as The Duchess who is more than four months pregnant.The 28-year-old said the talk also turned to babies when they chatted: “We’re due about the same time. She’s been unwell and feeling better now and I felt pretty much the same the first time.”The Duchess arrived at the treatment centre, which is based in a large period property in the leafy suburb, and was greeted by dozens of photographers, cameramen and journalists.Wearing a MaxMara dress, she shook hands with Nick Barton, Action On Addiction’s Chief Executive.During the visit, The Duchess was taken to the centre’s kitchen and watched as a lunch of chicken and bacon pasta with salad was prepared by some of the clients.Some of the ingredients for the meal – packs of chicken and bacon and packets of brown pasta – were laid out on a table and Her Royal Highness asked one of the women who was chopping mushrooms: “Do you like the menus and do you enjoy the cooking side?”She got the reply: “I find it very therapeutic.”The Duchess also made the chefs laugh by asking: “Can people get away with being fussy or not – if they don’t like mushrooms?”One of the staff told her the women have a low glycaemic index diet to control blood sugar levels to ensure they do not have highs and lows dictated by their meals.The Duchess was making her second visit to the centre. Her first was a private trip she made to learn more about the charity Action on Addiction before becoming its Patron.Hope House provides therapy for the women, who will have gone through a process of detox and are clean of alcohol and drugs but still need support before they are ready to return home.Source:www.dukeandduchessofcambridge.org
New Delhi: A Delhi court Wednesday fixed March 18 for the framing of charges in the Muzaffarpur shelter home sexual assault case. Additional Sessions Judge Saurabh Kulshreshtha passed the order after completion of the arguments of all the accused. Five people accused in the case had earlier denied allegations levelled against them by the CBI and said there was not enough evidence to prosecute them. Other accused in the case too had denied allegations against them previously. There are 21 people chargesheeted in the case. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity! On Feb 7, the Supreme Court ordered authorities to transfer the case from Bihar to a Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) court in Saket District Court complex in Delhi, which would conclude the trial within six months by holding preferably day-to-day hearing. Several girls were allegedly raped and sexually abused at an NGO-run shelter home in Muzaffarpur, Bihar. The issue had come to light following a report by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).
Swansea: Sergio Aguero kept alive Manchester City’s hopes of an unprecedented quadruple as they survived a major FA Cup scare in a thrilling fightback from two goals down to win 3-2 at Swansea in Saturday’s quarter-finals. Aguero had watched from the substitutes’ bench as second-tier Swansea roared into a stunning first half lead through goals from Matt Grimes and Bersant Celina. But the Argentine emerged as City’s saviour on a rainy night in south Wales by setting up their first goal for Bernardo Silva, before completing the comeback with a last-gasp winner after Swansea keeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt scored an unlucky own goal from the Argentina striker’s penalty to draw City level. Also Read – Andy Murray to make Grand Slam return at Australian OpenHaving already won the League Cup and advanced to the Champions League quarter-finals, Premier League leaders City remain in the hunt for a clean sweep of all four major trophies. It was a fortunate escape for City on Saturday however, as replays showed Raheem Sterling was fortunate to win the penalty that led to the equaliser, while Aguero was marginally offside for the winner. City boss Pep Guardiola had named a strong starting line-up and Leroy Sane and Bernardo Silva both went close early on. It only looked a matter of time before City took the lead but Swansea ensured it was anything but one-way traffic. Also Read – Fast bowler Behrendorff to undergo spinal surgeryThey showed they could give the visitors a run for their money with a neat passing game that pushed City on to the back foot. Grimes put Swansea ahead from the penalty spot in the 20th minute after Fabian Delph carelessly fouled Connor Roberts after the City defence was wrong-footed by Mike van der Hoorn’s crossfield pass. Grimes had not scored in his three-and-a-half years at the Liberty Stadium but took over penalty duties following Celina’s embarrassing spot-kick miss in a 3-0 midweek defeat at West Bromwich Albion. The 23-year-old centre back made the most of Delph’s misjudgement by confidently driving the ball high into the roof of the City net. It went from bad to worse for City nine minutes later as Guardiola’s defence disintegrated following a nine-pass move involving seven Swansea players. This time Swansea attacked with pace and purpose and, after fine play on the edge of City’s box by Nathan Dyer and Daniel James, space opened up for Celina to curl the ball delightfully beyond Ederson. Guardiola looked flummoxed in the technical area as he mulled over finding a way back into the tie while Aymeric Laporte lost his head following referee Andre Marriner’s half-time whistle and was booked for shoving Swansea winger Wayne Routledge in the chest. It was a dire situation that left City in danger of a repeat of last season’s embarrassing FA Cup exit at Wigan. But Guardiola replaced Sane with Sterling in the 57th minute and Aguero came on for Riyad Mahrez six minutes later. The moves paid dividends soon after as City hit back. City’s pressure was rewarded in the 69th minute when Bernardo Silva hit a crip shot beyond Nordfeldt after he was teed up by Aguero to set up a thrilling finale. The visitors drew level in the 78th minute when Cameron Carter-Vickers’ challenge on Sterling was deemed a penalty even though the defender appeared to touch the ball first. Aguero restored parity in fortuitous circumstances when his spot-kick hit a post and went in via Nordfeldt’s back. City laid siege to the Swansea goal in the final stages and Aguero had the final word with a stooping 88th minute header that survived the hosts’ offside claims as VAR was not available. City’s celebrations were marred by a pitch invader, but there was no disguising their relief after a dramatic revival. agencies
Bamako – Relations between Morocco and Mali took a new turn on Thursday following the signing of several bilateral agreements. The 17 agreements relate to different sectors and reflect the commitment of the public and private sectors to get involved in the new impetus given to bilateral relations by King Mohammed VI and Malian President, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta.In a statement to MAP, Minister of Economy and Finance, Mohamed Boussaid, highlighted the extreme importance of the agreements which accompany and complement the vision of Morocco for this region that is in need of significant investments in many sectors.For his part, Minister of Health, El Hussein El Ouardi, highlighted the depth of relations of friendship and brotherhood that bind Morocco and Mali, adding that South-South partnership will have a positive impact on the two countries.President of the General Confederation of Moroccan Businesses (CGEM), Meriem Bensalah Chaqroun said the agreement with the National Council of Employers of Mali lays the groundwork for a partnership between Moroccan and Malian companies in many areas.
In the end, Carmelo Anthony said his heart was in New York. It didn’t hurt that $122 million was there, too.The Knicks star forward shunned the Chicago Bulls and other suitors and inked a five-year, $122-million contract to return to New York, where surely there will be pressure to perform with that kind of money going into his direct deposit.He actually took less than the max of $129 million the Knicks could have offered, to allow the team some salary cap flexibility.“I will always remember this chapter in my life. In the end, I am a New York Knick at heart,” Anthony said in the statement. “I am looking forward to continue my career in orange and blue and to work with Phil Jackson, a champion who builds championship teams. Madison Square Garden is the mecca of basketball and I am surrounded by the greatest fans in the world.”Said Jackson, the team’s president: “He did exactly what we kind of asked him to do. Give us a break in the early part of his contract so that when we have some wiggle room next year, which is hopefully big enough wiggle room, we can exploit it, provide a more competitive team for our group.”Luol Deng Bolts Cavs For Heat; He’s LeBron’s ReplacementLuol Deng surely would not like to be called LeBron James’ replacement. But, in essence, that what he signed on for when he agreed to a two-year, $20-million deal to join the Heat.Dallas, Atlanta and Phoenix had been in consideration for Deng, according to ESPN sources. He is entering his 11th NBA season, having spent almost his entire career with the Chicago Bulls, who traded him to Cleveland in January.Chris Bosh On LeBron Going To Cleveland: ‘No Hard Feelings’LeBron James’ move back to Cleveland broke of the erstwhile “Big 3” in Miami. But his decision did not move Bosh to bolt, too, despite a four-year, $88-million offer from Houston.“[There were] very enticing offers,” said Bosh, 30, who re-signed with the Heat for five years and $112 million. “There was some surprising advances made in everything, but I ultimately decided to stay in Miami. I think it was the right choice. I benefit from it, the team will benefit from it, from here. My heart was in Miami. I wanted to be there and keep my family there and build relationships and really keep building on something special.”Bosh said there were “no bitter feelings” about James leaving Miami.“We’re all making decisions to make ourselves happy and our families happy,” Bosh said . “That doesn’t take away what we’ve done together and the special bond that we created and the special bond that we have and just all the memories that we had together. That will never change. As you move forward, you appreciate those moments and keep going forward.”
Ohio State softball’s sophomore pitcher Alex DiDomenico is making strides to be a star player for the Buckeyes after pitching her fourth complete shutout win of the season over the weekend at the Cherry Blossom Classic. In OSU’s game Saturday against Canisius in Fairfax, Va., DiDomenico struck out three batters and allowed one hit in six innings of play. The Buckeyes won, 8-0. DiDomenico received her first career Big Ten weekly honor of Pitcher of the Week Feb. 18. “It was very exciting for her, but I think most importantly it was the fact that what she did was a team effort,” said OSU softball coach Kelly Schoenly. The Youngstown native’s athletic journey began when she was young. “My dad got me into the sport when I was like 5, and my sister played, too,” DiDomenico said. “They love the sport and they are my biggest supporters, you know, it’s really important to us.” DiDomenico was also selected as an Ohio State Scholar-Athlete in 2012, an achievement that she said she credits to knowing her priorities. “It’s always tough, but really, it’s prioritizing your time and knowing how to put what’s important first,” DiDomenico said. When DiDomenico finds time to unwind, it is not unusual to catch her watching the movie “Pitch Perfect” with teammate sophomore catcher Shelby Pickett, catching up on needed sleep or keeping up with schoolwork. DiDomenico’s teammates also said they often play pranks on her because she has a good sense of humor. “We went around in a circle and everyone had to say ‘woof,’ and it had a name after it, and hers was ‘woof arted,’” Pickett said. “So when you put it together, it’s ‘who farted’ and she had no idea until the end and it was hilarious.” Schoenly said DiDomenico’s determination on and off the field is a characteristic that is hard to miss. “She’s a boxer, a fighter, she’s a bulldog, she’s all of those words,” Schoenly said. “She might get knocked down, might get a hit, but we say she’ll bend, but she won’t break. So she’s definitely got that, ‘You might hit me once but I’m going to come back harder, fighting harder,’ mentality.” DiDomenico said she’s keeping that intense focus on softball and school for the time being. “I would really like to become an All-American and just keep working towards that, you know anything is possible,” DiDomenico said. “I just want a good education, hopefully a good job, but I don’t know, wherever life takes me.” Schoenly said she expects great things in the future from DiDomenico. “I think she’s one of those young women that is going to go and conquer the world,” Schoenly said. “I really feel like she’s got kind of an inner drive where she’s going to do something special because she’s got that energy and desire that you can feel it coming out.” OSU is scheduled to play Indiana at Buckeye Field on Friday at 3 p.m. in the Buckeyes’ first conference game of the season.
Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde feels that Sergi Roberto’s sending off proved to be the turning point in their 2-2 draw against Celta VigoThe Catalan giants took the lead twice at the Estadio Balaidos on Wednesday night, only for the hosts to come back twice and cause Barcelona to settle for a point.While Valverde had made a lot of changes to the lineup, Barcelona did manage to maintain their unbeaten record in La Liga this season.”I thought that we were the better side, then came the red card and we had to change things,” said Valverde, according to Marca.Fati and Suarez shine against Valencia at Camp Nou Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – September 15, 2019 With a mesmerizing first half from Ansu Fati and a brace from Luis Suarez in the second half, Barcelona demolished Valencia at Camp Nou.Valencia…”Afterwards, we didn’t have the capacity to form an attack that would have pushed them back completely, and thus the equaliser came.”It is one more point and now we need two victories to be champions. We would like to get them, but we’ll see.”Next up for Barcelona is the Copa del Rey final against Sevilla on Saturday, before a trip to Deportivo in La Liga.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is unconcerned by the high expectations on them ahead of their Champions League opener against LyonThe Premier League champions have never managed to progress past the semi-final stage of the competition.And City have not faired any better under Guardiola with the club exiting at the last-16 stage in his first season in charge before losing to Liverpool in last term’s quarter-finals.Yet City enters this season’s Champions League as one of the favourites to win alongside the likes of Real Madrid and Juventus.But Guardiola, who led Barcelona to the European title twice, is refusing to pay too much attention to the expectations on his squad.“I’m not worried or concerned for one second about expectation or whether we deserve more credit for the Champions League,” he told the club website.Premier League Betting: Match-day 5 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Going into the Premier League’s match-day five with a gap already beginning to form at the top of the league. We will take a…“In terms of expectations, you have to win it on the pitch so I’m not worried or concerned at all.“At the end, it’s about what happens on the pitch. If we get the credit it will be because we deserve it.“I want to see my team play better and cut out mistakes.“That is what I want – what happens out on the pitch is the real judge for me.”After facing Lyon in their first Group F game on Wednesday, City will then take on Hoffenheim and Shakhtar Donetsk.
Visibility is expected to be one quarter mile or less at times, according to the advisory. Very low visibilities can cause very difficult driving conditions. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The National Weather Service in Anchorage has issued a Dense Fog Advisory, which is in effect until 11am, this morning. Including the cities around Kenai, Soldotna, Homer, Nikiski, and Cooper Landing. A dense fog advisory means visibilities will frequently be reduced to less than one quarter mile. If driving, slow down, use your headlights, and leave plenty of distance ahead of you.
Share your voice Amazon employees urge the company to take more aggressive actions on climate crisis. Alexander Pohl via Getty Images Amazon employees want the company to put more effort into fighting climate change.In an open letter to CEO Jeff Bezos and the company’s board published Wednesday, 3,541 Amazon employees ask the e-commerce giant to take more aggressive actions on climate change.”Amazon has the resources and scale to spark the world’s imagination and redefine what is possible and necessary to address the climate crisis,” reads the letter. “We believe this is a historic opportunity for Amazon to stand with employees and signal to the world that we’re ready to be a climate leader.”The staff members included a to-do list for Amazon in the letter. They asked the company to make a corporation-wide plan to reach 100% renewable energy in a timely manner, to stop selling Amazon’s cloud service to the oil and gas companies so they won’t expand fossil fuel extraction, to stop donating to regulators who vote against climate legislation and more. In response, an Amazon spokesperson said the company has launched several major and impactful programs and is “working hard to integrate this approach fully across Amazon.””Our dedication to ensuring that our customers understand how we are addressing environmental issues has been unwavering — we look forward to launching more work and sharing more this year,” the spokesperson said in an email. Tags Tech Industry Politics Now playing: Watch this: This isn’t the first time Amazon employees voiced their concerns over the company’s business conduct. Last June, the e-commerce giant’s staff wrote to Bezos to stop selling facial recognition technology to US law enforcement. They feared how the company’s Rekognition software would be used by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security in the current political climate. “In our mission to become ‘Earth’s most customer-centric company,’ we believe our climate impact must be a top consideration in everything we do,” wrote the staff. “We have the power to shift entire industries, inspire global action on climate, and lead on the issue of our lifetimes.”Originally published April 10, 11:13 a.m. PT.Update, 1:04 p.m. PT: Adds statement from Amazon spokesperson. 8 Amazon kills plans for NYC headquarters 4:00 Comments Amazon Jeff Bezos
Indian army chief General Bipin Rawat India’s army chief General Bipin Rawat has claimed that a planned ‘influx of people from Bangladesh’ into India’s north-eastern region is underway as part of a ‘proxy war’ being waged by Pakistan with support from China.The Times of India quoted the Indian army chief as saying that an increase in the Muslim population was due to an increased number of immigrants ‘from Bangladesh’.He pointed at the ‘faster’ growth of the Badruddin Ajmal-led AIUDF (All India United Democratic Front) in Assam, according to the report.”There’s a party called AIUDF. If you look at it, they’ve grown in a faster time-frame than the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) grew over the years,” said General Rawat, while referring to the BJP winning only 2 seats in 1984.He was addressing a conference on bridging gaps and securing borders in the Northeast region of India.According to ToI, the army chief also claimed that the proxy game was being “executed by Pakistan, with support from China to keep the area disturbed.””They’ll always try and ensure that this area is taken over, playing the proxy dimension of warfare,” he said.
The Greater Houston Storm Relief FundHouston mayor Sylvester Turner has created what he’s calling the Greater Houston Storm Relief Fund to accept flood recovery donations.Turner announced the fund today ahead of a community meeting in the Greenspoint area where he plans to answer questions and respond to concerns from residents on the north side.Waste Management donated $50,000 to open the fund and a nonprofit organization will continue to operate the fund at no cost.Turner says 100 percent of donations will go to flood victims. For more information: www.houstonrecovers.org.Salvation ArmyDelivering essential food items to flood victims. This story is being updated as more information becomes available. This story was originally published on April 19th, 2016. The American Red CrossA new shelter is opening up in the Greenspoint area at 2 p.m. on Wednesday. The American Red Cross says it is for those who are not able to remain at their homes due to storms and flooding. It is located at the New Light Christian Center, 1535 Greensmark Drive, Houston, Texas 77067. The American Red Cross urges anyone impacted by the flood can meet with a Red Cross caseworker and register their household by calling 866-526-8300 – option 1.Those who wish to donate to flood relief may do so at redcross.org/donate. Share
00:00 /01:32 Share Listen X To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Gail DelaughterHouston Mayor Sylvester Turner is joined by skaters, skateboarders, and cyclists to announce three new “Sunday Streets.”Houston’s “Sunday Streets” returns this weekend. That’s when the city closes part of a major roadway to motorized traffic so people can walk and bike. This Sunday’s event is on Eldridge Parkway between Enclave and Briar Forest. Energy Corridor District Executive Director Clark Martinson says there’s a lot for visitors to see and do. “People can walk shop to shop,” says Martinson. “There’s a dozen restaurants in the area. It’s right at the trailhead to Terry Hershey Park. So ride your bike on Terry Hershey Park, come to the Enclave-Eldridge Parkway intersection. And that’s where we close the street.”The Sunday Streets program started in 2014 with the goal of helping Houstonians become more physically active. This is the first time it’s been held outside the 610 Loop. Martinson says they’re hoping to showcase the neighborhood’s pedestrian and bike improvements. “We are next to the Addicks and Barker reservoirs which are 26,000 acres of open space natural areas,” adds Martinson. “We’re working for new pedestrian bridges that will connect homes across the creeks to the trails.” This Sunday’s event will be held on Eldridge Parkway between Enclave and Briar Forest from noon to 4 p.m. On November 13, Sunday Streets will be held in the Fifth Ward, on Lyons Avenue near the historic DeLuxe Theatre. On December 4, it’s scheduled for West 43rd Street in the Garden Oaks neighborhood. Gail DelaughterThis Sunday’s event will be held on Eldridge Parkway between Enclave and Briar Forest.
×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15 “[W]e immediately took action to close off this access,” AMC Networks said in a statement to Security Discovery Consulting. “We are taking steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”Sundance Now, $6.99 per month or $59.99 annually, offers a lineup of original and exclusive dramas, comedies, and true-crime series, in addition to movies including foreign-language and documentary features.Shudder is designed to “super-serve” horror fans with films, TV shows and originals in genres including thrillers, suspense and horror. It’s priced at $4.99 monthly or $49.99 per year. AMC Networks has shut off public access to a database for its Sundance Now and Shudder subscription-streaming services that was discovered to be accessible on the open internet, after the company was alerted to the issue by a security researcher.The publicly exposed AMC database included 1.62 million total records with subscriber data, including names, emails, and subscription plan details for Sundance Now and Shudder. The data set didn’t include full credit-card information but did include 3,351 links to Stripe invoices with subscribers’ names, emails and the last four digits of their credit card, according to Bob Diachenko, cyber-threat intelligence director at Security Discovery Consulting, who detailed the issue in a blog post Friday.AMC said it the database in question for used by “internal development” and primarily used for catalog data and “certain other non-sensitive subscriber information.” Popular on Variety
Kolkata: A unique calendar containing 50 film posters of Amitabh Bachchan will be released on October 11, which is Big B’s birthday to celebrate his golden jubilee in the industry.The calendar titled — “Fantastic 50” is the result of a unique exhibition Bachchan Nama which was organized by noted film poster collector Sudipta Chanda. BACHCHAN NAMA to celebrate Amitabh Bachchan’s 75th birth anniversary in 2017 at Jamini Roy Art Gallery (ICCR). FANTASTIC 50 deals with popular films like Sholay, Shaan, Don, Zanjeer, Deewar, Majboor and Coolie, including not so popular films like Sanjog, Bandhe Haath, Adalat and Kasauti, covering a high range of variety with different sizes as 20/30, 30/40 and 2 Sheet posters. Those were the days when artists used to draw posters manually and lithography was the only method of printing posters. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeTo draw attention of public different designs of posters of the same film used to initiate. Those are simply collector’s delight. These posters are very rare now a days. It would be a collector’s delight. Amitabh Bachchan called Big B by his fans and admirers completed 75 years in 2017. He made his debut with Saat Hindustani released in 1969. The Calendar features fifty odd posters of Big B films. Each months carries three posters while it’s cover showcases fourteen posters, altogether fifty posters to celebrate his fifty years of journey in the industry. Eventually it features poster of Saat Hindustani (1969) and a poster of his recent release 102 Not Out ( 2018). Each months carries three posters while it’s cover showcases fourteen posters, altogether fifty posters.
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Nigeria has 37 billion barrels of crude oil reserve and is Africa’s largest oil producer. The country also boasts 187 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves, the ninth-largest reserve in the world. Nigeria has all the right geology for oil and gas. But geology isn’t everything. The best geology in the world can still be a terrible place to put your money if other risks threaten to steal all of a project’s profits and potential – and country risk can pose precisely that threat. Think about it this way. In considering any business venture, you need to know several key parameters, such as how much it will cost to establish the operation, how much you will produce, and what percentage of your profits the government will take. In Nigeria, you cannot calculate any of these metrics with confidence because the rules are so complex and corrupt. Now a new Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), being debated in Nigeria’s parliament after some 15 years in the works, is supposed to change all of that. The new PIB is intended to clarify, codify, and clean up an industry where corruption and uncertainty are killing investment interest. Unfortunately, the new PIB is just as bad as the 13 separate rules it is set to replace. It would solidify a structure that operates on bribery and favors and it would take so much profit from producers that the effort would no longer be worth the risk. It would scare away the oil and gas investors that it is supposed to attract, and in doing so would doom Nigeria’s troubled energy sector to continue on its current downhill trajectory. I want to talk about Nigeria today not just to scare investors away from one particular country, but to remind us all that country risk can easily make or break a project. No matter how fantastic the geology or how large the reserve, if the government of the day is corrupt, desperate for income or popularity, straight-up greedy, or any combination thereof, best just walk away with your money. If you invest in a country with that kind of government, you might as well have just handed your dollars to the government on a golden platter. And if you don’t know how much risk a country bears, best to find out from an energy investment team that travels the world to assess country risk firsthand. Setting the Stage: Nigeria’s Oil Nightmare Nigeria officially produces 2.7 million barrels of oil a day, but no one has any confidence in that number. Oil is stolen at a shocking rate in the country, so figures from traders on Nigeria’s saleable oil show output well below that government figure. More generally, information about Africa’s biggest oil industry is an opaque myriad of numbers, and no one knows which ones are accurate. Experts say Nigeria could easily measure how much oil it produces but it chooses not to… because if there were an authoritative figure, the truly horrifying scope of corruption would be exposed. Mismanagement, theft, and corruption cost the industry billions of dollars a year. Heavy government subsidies for petrol add another $16 billion to the annual tab. In addition the country’s four refineries work far below capacity, forcing Nigeria to import most of its fuel. A new report, commissioned after the country erupted in protests in January when the government tried to reduce fuel subsidies, states oil-theft volumes have climbed to the astonishing level of 250,000 barrels a day, or 10% of production. Some months as much as 400,000 barrels are stolen every day. Even more shocking: 40% of refined petroleum products – either refined in Nigeria or imported – that are moved through state-owned pipelines are lost to theft and sabotage. Small-scale pilfering has been endemic in Nigeria since the late 1990s, but now more sophisticated thieves are stealing directly from export terminals, tank farms, refinery tanks, and ports. The stolen oil is worth some $6 billion annually. Of course, writing a sweeping new bill to regulate an industry rife with corruption and vested interests is not easy. That’s why the PIB has been in the works for more than a decade. Five years ago the bill made it to Nigeria’s Parliament, but disagreements between the administration, oil majors, and lawmakers stymied its passage. With almost no regulatory or fiscal certainty on the table, Nigeria has become a dangerous place for Big Oil to do business. While they wait for that certainty, oil majors have held off on many billions of dollars in investment – one expert estimates the industry lost $28 billion in investments in 2011 alone. As a result, oil output is about the same as it was a decade ago, and only three exploratory wells were drilling in 2011, down from more than 20 in 2005. The government has not held a licensing round for five years. Nigeria’s New Oil and Gas Bill The Nigerian government says its main goals in developing new regulations for its oil sector are to clean up a corrupt industry, clarify a confusing sector, and encourage new investment. Unfortunately, the PIB accomplishes none of those goals. I won’t embark on a full dissection of the bill. What I will do is point out the most glaring of problems – starting with the fact that the PIB would give a few select politicians huge powers within the sector. Here’s a good example: the president would have the power to grant licenses and leases without a competitive process – or any kind of process, for that matter. This leaves the door wide open for everyone to continue practicing the political favoritism and corruption that has crippled the industry in the past. The president would also have the power to set special tax rates for any projects he deems as strategic to the nation. Imagine if Romney or Obama were given this power… Alongside a president who can hand out licenses as he pleases and siphon funds from any project he deems strategic, the Minister of Petroleum is granted draconian powers to determine rentals and royalties. There are two huge problems with this. First, giving immense powers to individuals only encourages bribery and corruption. Second, companies thinking of developing a new project have no certainty around their rental and royalty payments if the minister creates her own arrangement for each project. Well, that’s a slight overstatement. Companies would know the minimum level of government take from new projects – and it’s too high. Executives from a wide range of Big Oil companies, including Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil, have said publicly that the tax terms outlined in the PIB render offshore oil and gas projects unviable. Exxon is the second-biggest offshore operator in the country, and it says it will not invest any more in deepwater projects if the PIB is passed. Part of the problem is that oil companies demand better fiscal terms to operate in places like Nigeria, to compensate for the extra risks posed by piracy, kidnappings, theft, and corruption. Instead of providing that kind of financial incentive, the PIB absolves oil companies of any responsibility for environmental damage caused by sabotage… which would mean that no one is accountable for such damage. The environment will continue to be destroyed, and the sabotage will continue. More than half of Nigeria’s 160 million people earn less than $2 a day. From that perspective, rampant pipeline sabotage and bunkering in the Delta region are understandable: the Nigerians who commit these acts are helping themselves to a portion of their country’s resources. The only way to ease this kind of activity is to truly share profits with local communities. To that end, the PIB would create a Petroleum Host Communities Fund. Producers would have to give 10% of their after-tax profits to this fund – disbursements that would be credited against other payments to the government to not increase overall government take – and the funds thus generated from onshore and shallow water offshore production would be distributed to affected communities. It sounds great… but unfortunately, just like so many other parts of the PIB, the Host Communities Fund is a great idea that is structured so as to invite political interference. The PIB does not define how the funds will be distributed, putting another lever in the hands of the president and his ministers. Communities would be pitted against each other in a race for favor with the government, and the president could easily use this race for favor to achieve his own ends within the Delta. Also left in the hands of government: a whole whack of oil-related assets. International advisors had pushed for a PIB that incorporated the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and then partially privatized it, following the example of Brazil’s Petrobras. Doing so would require the company to be managed like any other international oil company, with minimal political interference. Instead, the PIB would break the NNPC into three entities and privatize only two. The management company left in government hands would contain major oil assets and revenue streams that would remain subject to heavy political interference. And I mean heavy. The NNPC currently controls every aspect of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry, from exploration and production to refining and pipelines, and it will continue to do so if the PIB is passed. But this is a company that is regularly listed as one of the most closed oil companies in the world. In fact, a joint report from Transparency International and the Revenue Watch Institute judged the NNPC to have the worst record of 44 national and international companies examined. Audits and examinations regularly produce descriptions like “accountable to no one” and “a slush fund for the government.” The PIB is a failure on almost every front. Oil companies considering Nigeria are looking at the PIB and walking away. Nigeria – home to the eleventh-largest oil reserves and ninth-largest gas reserves in the world – will continue to see its production pinched between declining investment, greedy government take, and massive theft. The decimated environment of the Niger Delta will see no savior, and the people who live there will continue to live in grinding poverty while corruption and theft steal billions every year. It’s a tragedy for Nigeria and a warning for oil investors. The warning is one I repeat regularly: never underestimate country risk. Greedy governments and corrupt politicians can and will take every cent of profit from oil and gas projects in their lands, leaving companies bankrupt and investors robbed. Nigeria is by no means the only country pinching its oil sector. Venezuela and Argentina are also robbing their energy producers to buy popular affection, along with a raft of other nations. However, there’s a silver lining. Every time a country screws up its oil sector, the Big Pinch tightens: there is a bit less oil available to feed an oil-hungry world and a bit more pressure on exporters to earn even more from each barrel that is available. The result? Oil prices that have nowhere to go but up. Anyone who understands the risks and makes the right investments will be able to ride those prices to huge returns. However, country risk is hard to assess from afar. That’s why my ground team travels the world, from Albania to Iraq, Africa to Asia, going wherever a prospective energy story takes us to understand the situation firsthand and separate fact from fiction. It would be impossible for every investor to assess every prospective investment in person – which is why we do it for you. If you are an interested and active energy investor, consider a subscription to my flagship newsletter, Casey Energy Report, and travel with us on the journey to find the best investments in the global energy sector. Additional Links and Reads US Poised to Become World’s Top Oil Producer; May Soon Overtake Saudi Arabia (Huffington Post) What a headline! Using data from the US Energy Information Administration, the reporter behind this article suggests that surging US oil output could push the US past Saudi Arabia and into top spot in the global oil-production rankings within a few years. Citibank also provides some data, predicting that US production could reach 13 to 15 million barrels per day by 2020, making North America the “new Middle East.” Why the US Is Not the New Saudi Arabia (Christian Science Monitor) If this headline seems a direct rebuttal of the article above – that’s because it is. This writer challenges the article, saying that anyone who “actually examined figures available from the US Energy Information Administration website carefully instead of simply parroting oil industry sycophants” would have ended up with a headline more like: Marginal gains in US oil production mean continuing high prices and imports for Americans. The writer explains that there are several ways to define oil supply, and the one used to suggest that US is catching Saudi Arabia in oil production includes natural-gas plant liquids and biofuels, making for a very misleading conclusion. Europe Left Behind as Shale Shock Drives America’s Industrial Resurgence (Telegraph) The wonders of US shale gas continue to amaze. Fresh evidence daily suggests that swaths of the American industry are gaining a massive and lasting advantage in energy costs over global rivals – and those advantages are demolishing assumptions about US economic decline. Oil Firmer at US$110 as Sandy Shuts US Refineries (National Post) Hurricane Sandy is providing a clear reminder of the vulnerabilities of offshore oil production to weather. Predicted to be the largest storm ever to hit the North American mainland, Sandy is prompting refineries to close and oil analysts to reduce consumption estimates in the face of canceled flights, a dearth of commuters, and an all but shut-down road transportation sector.
Technology Smartphone apps are particularly vulnerable to hackers as they access user information without permission. Cybercrooks Tire of Windows — They’re After Your iPhone Now Next Article –shares Add to Queue The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. January 28, 2011 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List 2 min read Cybercrime is moving away from traditional targets, like Windows PCs, and focusing more on mobile devices, according to Cisco’s 2010 Annual Security Report (PDF). As Microsoft becomes more savvy about patching holes in its OS, cybercriminals are treading into new territories, with a strong focus on iOS and Android.When the federal government declared jailbreaking cellphones legal, intrepid hackers sought and discovered more exploits in mobile operating systems. A prominent example used by Cisco is JailbreakMe 2.0, the Safari-based iPhone flaw — which has since been patched — that allowed users to jailbreak with very little tampering of iOS.Cisco threat research manager Scott Olechowski also said that the proliferation of Android will likely lead to major attacks on Google’s OS in the future. Olechowski noted that the more devices that adopt Android — such as smartphones, tablets, even vehicles — the more enticing the open-source OS becomes, especially when it comes to the big bucks in the enterprise.Most concerning for mobile hacks are apps, many of which access user information without permission. Recently, Trapster, an app that warns drivers when a speed trap is ahead, was hacked, exposing millions of iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Mobile phone passwords — some of which may also have been linked to a user’s PayPal account.Many companies using smartphones for work do not have a cybersecurity strategy planned or in place, according to Cisco. This is a major concern for iOS business consumers, given that the iPhone is being used at 88 percent of the Fortune 100 companies and 83 percent of the Fortune 500.And for you PC users out there: Tired of your Mac-using friends’ snooty condescension about how their machines are impervious to viruses? Turns out that hackers are targeting Mac users more and more.Although Apple regularly pushes out security updates, due to increased iOS product adoption — especially on the iPad, which has sponged 90 percent of the tablet market-digging into a Mac isn’t so much a waste of time anymore. Still, compared to Windows, the malware threat to Macs is tiny. Brought to you by PCWorld Brennon Slattery Apply Now »
Source:http://www.dzif.de/en/news_media_centre/news_press_releases/view/detail/artikel/zika_and_chikungunya_viruses_diagnostic_pitfalls/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 18 2019Millions of people have contracted Zika and chikungunya virus infections since the outbreaks that have been striking Latin America since 2013. Particularly Zika-related malformations in newborns warrant reliable diagnostics. DZIF scientists from the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin demonstrate the problems with the currently available diagnostics, particularly for Zika virus detection, and develop combined testing methods that have higher reliability.”False positive results can have fatal consequences,” emphasizes Prof Felix Drexler, who heads the Virus Epidemiology group at the Charité and has been working on developing detection methods for viruses at the DZIF for years. A particular cause for concern for the people affected is an increase in the number of cases of brain malformations in newborns (microcephaly), for which a link with Zika virus infection has meanwhile been confirmed. Can a pregnant woman complete her pregnancy or does she perhaps have an undiagnosed Zika virus infec-tion? The increase of illegal abortions in Latin America during the Zika outbreak highlights the dramatic consequences of unreliable diagnoses.We need reliable laboratory diagnostics, particularly in outbreak regions like Brazil. “However, this is certainly not the case at the moment,” explains Drexler. “Our study in that region has shown that correct antibody diagnostics for Zika were successful in only half of the patients at best”. The results for chikungunya virus confirmation are much better. This virus is also widespread in Latin America and can cause symptoms similar to those of Zika infections but presumably does not cause malformations. Here, antibody diagnostics are indeed reliable, the researchers say.Molecular detection methods: requirements and realityAcute infections are predominantly confirmed by detecting viral genomes in blood and urine. However, this method can only be used about one week after presentation of the first symptoms. Subsequently, infections can solely be confirmed by detecting the antibodies against the virus produced by the infected individual. However, vaccinations and infections with similar viruses hamper precise antibody detection. In a study conducted in Brazil, Drexler and his team investigated the requirements for and the reality of this together with scientists from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation in Rio de Janeiro.The studyPatients with confirmed Zika or chikungunya virus infections were included in the study. The scientists took follow-up samples in a period of up to 90 days after the acute infection. They applied and combined different methods for molecular and antibody detection.The resultsFor both viruses, molecular detection by means of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) revealed low virus concentrations, even just a week after the presentation of symptoms. In Zika virus infections, the virus concentration is already so low in the first week that particularly sensitive testing is required and combined antibody testing should be done.Related StoriesNeural pathways explain the relationship between imagination and willingness to helpRepurposing a heart drug could increase survival rate of children with ependymomaResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repairImmunotesting for the antibodies showed severe shortfalls. “We were able to see that the sensitivity of a frequently used immunotest for antibodies in acute Zika infection was only about 30%.” However, the scientists were able to increase this sensitivity by using Immunoglobulin A (IgA) as a marker instead of the usual Im-munoglobulin M (IgM). The results for chikungunya testing were unambiguous and the people affected could consequently rely on the diagnosis.The reliability problem”We can see very clearly that a combination of several testing procedures must be used to obtain precise Zika virus test results, particularly in tropical regions where people contract infections with many viruses that are related to each other,” Drexler concludes. However, the researchers still need larger studies with more patients in order to develop the best testing methods. The scientific data from this and following studies will enable the translation into routinely applicable tools to be developed by companies. According to Drexler, it is not only about giving pregnant women and couples more reliability. Both the implementation of public health preventive measures and conducting further research are also dependent on reliable risk estimations.BackgroundResearch teams led by Felix Drexler and Christian Drosten, formally University Hospital Bonn, now Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, have developed novel Zika virus tests as well as a standard test for the MERS coronavirus (MERS for Mid-dle East Respiratory Syndrome), which is being used globally. At the DZIF, they are very well equipped for emerging virus diagnostics. The Zika diagnostics project in Brazil was brought underway by the DZIF in order to appropriately tackle the danger of emerging infections.Zika and chikungunya viruses Zika viruses are usually transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, but can also be trans-mitted sexually. Symptoms of Zika virus infection include rashes, headaches, joint and muscle pain, conjunctivitis and sometimes fever. However, these symptoms are described as mild in comparison to other tropical diseases transmitted by mosquitoes. The virus can cause foetal malformations of the brain during pregnancy. Chikungunya viruses are also transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes and cause symptoms similar to Zika virus infections. They therefore also cause fever and joint pain, which can be very severe and persist for months after the infection.