first_imgBy Taciana Moury/Diálogo April 24, 2019 The Brazilian Air Force Academy (AFA, in Portuguese) started the 2019 academic year with a new staff member: U.S. Air Force Captain Daniel Patrick Spencer. The officer will teach English and International Relations at AFA for the next three years. Both courses were added to the cadets’ academic curriculum in 2019. The exchange between countries is mutual. A Brazilian officer took on the role of instructor at the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA), also for three years. Capt. Spencer arrived in Brazil in December 2018. In addition to teaching, he works at the International Programs department, providing support and orientation to AFA cadets selected for the exchange with USAFA and Colombia. “During weekly meetings I answer questions about the English language, academic routine, or even these countries’ traditions,” he told Diálogo. The officer completed various operational missions during his career and worked in the field of international relations in countries such as Colombia and the United Kingdom, and the western coast of Africa. “Missions were always short. I dreamed of participating in a long-term exchange mission,” said Capt. Spencer. “The exchange opportunity with Brazil happened because of my command of Portuguese, which I demonstrated in a proficiency test,” he said. “The guidance I received from the U.S. Air Force for the coming years is to try to build ties between Brazil and the United States, based on my experiences and personality.” For Capt. Spencer, the mission has been very positive so far. “I like the food, the people, the culture, the cities, and nature. Some things are different, but I’m learning how to handle and appreciate them.” This is Capt. Spencer’s first experience as an instructor, using U.S. academic culture to teach classes, with broad participation from students. “I’m surprised by the Brazilian cadets’ level of knowledge on current affairs,” he said. Brazilian cadets endorsed Capt. Spencer’s subjects. “The instructor shows us a world perspective that’s very different from what we’re used to. Shared stories and experiences create an interactive and interesting class, as we get to know the viewpoint of a foreigner,” said Cadet Vinícius Jacobi Quatrin, a fourth-year student of International Relations. The student also emphasized the instructor’s knowledge in political sciences, as well as his professional experience in conflicts and global travel. “This is an opportunity to have greater contact with another culture and learn more about it. In addition, contact with a U.S. officer helps learn English,” said Cadet Pamella Silva de Oliveira, also a fourth-year student. The student highlighted how one could learn more about the organizational culture of USAF and understand the intricacies of the work environment in one of the most important armed forces worldwide. “Cadets now have direct access to information on traditions, norms, and about the differences in training and military culture in our countries,” said Brazilian Air Force (FAB, in Portuguese) Colonel Saint-Clair Lima da Silva, Academic Affairs assistant of AFA’s Educational Department. “This proximity incentivizes our cadets even more to participate in exchange programs.” Academic benefits According to Col. Saint-Clair, cadets are more interested in subjects foreign officers teach, and explore the topics in class from the viewpoint of the officer who teaches them. “The different approaches and examples a foreign officer brings, which wouldn’t typically be part of the subject, increase interest. This stimulates self-reflection and analysis on how their own values influence their convictions,” he said. Col. Saint-Clair, who once was a liaison officer at FAB and an academic instructor at USAFA, highlighted the importance of exchanging experiences and perspectives between both institutions. “The greatest benefit is understanding cultural differences and establishing professional ties and friendship between our countries.” The officer also pointed out the benefits of the exchange program for cadets and both air forces. “The cadets are exposed to military, ethical, and leadership training other than that of their respective academies, which will serve as a base for future analysis toward improving our training programs,” he said. “This also speeds up the development of cadets’ required qualities to perform leadership functions in intercultural environments, a scenario which is already a reality for FAB.” Exchange started in 2017 This is the second time that AFA welcomes an instructor from the United States. In 2017, U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Eric Richard Dittman taught in Brazil for two years. “During the first year, Lt. Col. Dittman helped at the Cadet Corps’ Doctrine Section, where he created, planned, and implemented the mentoring program for fourth-year cadets,” said FAB Major General David Almeida Alcoforado, commandant of AFA. “In the second year, the officer worked at the Educational Department and was responsible for English, Mechanics, and Aerodynamics courses.” In addition to the U.S. instructor, AFA also has two other instructors from abroad: airmen from Chile and Argentina. Both are flight instructors for cadets.last_img read more

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York “WHAT A NIGHT!”: (L-R) Nassau County Republican Party Chairman Joe Mondello, newly re-elected Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, former U.S. senator Alfonse D’Amato and Mangano’s family members celebrate the former Bethpage legislator’s victory over Democratic challenger Tom Suozzi Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013 at Mirelle’s Restaurant & Catering in Westbury. (Christopher Twarowski/Long Island Press)Observations and Ruminations on L.I. Election Night 2013 from the Long Island Press News StaffNassau County Executive Ed Mangano clenched the hands of GOP party boss Joe Mondello and former senator-turned-lobbyist Alfonse D’Amato and together, from a stage at the back of a catering hall in Westbury, the smiling trio raised their arms triumphantly.Cameras flashed. Chants of “Four more years! Four more years!” and “Ed-die! Ed-die!” engulfed the room. More than a dozen fellow county, state and federal lawmakers joining Mangano and his family onstage cheered, applauded and roared along.“I feel so blessed that I’m able to continue in this job,” the emotional former legislator from Bethpage told supporters, one of whom presented him with a portrait in his likeness which Mangano eventually posed alongside.It was a definitive moment for the incumbent county executive, the culmination of a months-long, hard-fought rematch against predecessor Tom Suozzi marked by finger-pointing and vicious rhetoric from both sides. Campaign literature from the state Republican committee had cast the Democrat as a sneering bank robber, transformed him into a Pinocchio and slapped him with a dunce cap. The state Democratic committee’s mailers were adorned with a winking Mangano alongside Sandy-devastated neighborhoods and an assault rifle, the massacres “Newtown” “Aurora” “Virginia Tech” and “Columbine” emblazoned from a revolver’s barrel.And of course, both candidates made a whole bunch of promises to Nassau taxpayers. For decades they’ve been paying the second-highest taxes in the country for ever-dwindling municipal services, and thus, talk of taxes and spending once again became the signature of the campaign trail.Election night is that special evening in which respective political parties throw themselves celebrations packed with hard-core loyalists and supporters while praising each other for the hard work they’ve all been doing throughout the year, their term, ad infinitum, and, of course, touting their values. The publicly financed officials typically wear their best suits or outfits, glad-hand and smile. They laugh, spout glowing sound bites, and then make more promises.There are camera crews, live broadcasts, drinks, balloons, sometimes food, and most of the time, ballot results before dawn.Election Night 2013 saw an island-wide re-election of the status quo, with both majority parties in Nassau and Suffolk counties retaining their respective legislatures and very little upsets. The Mangano-Suozzi rematch was undoubtedly the most-anticipated and most closely watched race, yet typically left out of most media’s election coverage are arguably the most telling scenes: the relentless bro hugs, the operatives’ rants, the felons-turned-county appointees cheering from the sidelines, the donors and the puppet masters out from the shadows basking in their own narcissism and successful spins.Not here.A sampling of the New York Republican State Committee’s anti-Tom Suozzi campaign mailings, which portrayed the former two-term Nassau County Executive as Pinocchio, a robber and a dunce. (Long Island Press)Dirty WarsThe Mangano-Suozzi showdown had arguably been in the works since their last faceoff; a nail-biting squeaker in 2009 in which the former ousted the latter by a mere 386 votes. Their first contest was sealed, says at least one Mangano loyalist there that night, by Mangano’s chief deputy county executive, former New York State Assemblyman “Rob” Walker (whose first name is actually Richard).As the tale goes, he allegedly awoke from a dream—or a nightmare, more appropriately—in which his boss had lost that election to Suozzi by absentee ballots. He consequently refocused all their efforts the next morning and the remainder of the campaign, the legend continues, on those crucial votes.Prophetic vision or party-created mythology, it doesn’t really matter. Following a month-plus hand-recount, it came to pass—absentee ballots effectively deciding and dictating the course of the county for the next four years.This time around, Mangano introduced Walker—the head of the Hicksville Republican Committee, whose purchase of a MetLife Stadium skybox for fundraising activities has piqued some interest with Democratic New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman—as his ”best friend.”“I love him,” he gushed.Suozzi had famously, or infamously, stated during his failed New York State gubernatorial primary bid against Eliot Spitzer in 2006 that he wanted to one day become president. He bode his time out of the county executive suite as counsel to Harris Beach, PLLP and senior advisor to investment bank Lazard Freres & Co.Shortly after his ousting in 2009, Suozzi was also hired by Cablevision Systems Corp., perhaps his biggest campaign donor, as a consultant to its Local Media Group.That group consists of the company’s programming and media properties, including Newsday Media Group—comprised of Long Island’s lone daily newspaper, Newsday, the newspaper’s website and free New York City daily am New York. The group also included Cablevision’s News 12 Networks, which consisted of 12 local news, traffic and weather channels, and its high school sports initiative MSG Varsity, where Suozzi had a large supporting role.Cablevision and its owners, the Dolans, have poured nearly half a million dollars into Suozzi’s various political campaigns throughout the years, including nearly $300,000 in his latest bid.The charged-up former U.S. senator-turned-lobbyist Alfonse D’Amato pulled no punches during a lengthy anti-Newsday tirade Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013 at Nassau County GOP’s Election Night celebration in Westbury, slamming the newspaper for among other things, failing to disclose hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions its parent company Cablevision gave to Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano’s opponent, Tom Suozzi, while endorsing the Democrat (who was also a paid consultant for the company). (Christopher Twarowski/Long Island Press)It’s these figures and his Cablevision payroll connection that Newsday repeatedly failed to disclose in its reoccurring endorsements and campaign stories until being called out by the Press, though these facts were not lost on Nassau Republicans.“Since when do the journalists and the media who are supposed to be impartial—since when do they contribute hundreds of thousand of dollars to one of their employees that they don’t tell you about!?” blasted a fired-up D’Amato during a venomous anti-Newsday tirade alongside Mangano, Mondello and an army of Republicans lining the backroom podium.“Dump Newsday!” Mangano supporters at Mirelle’s Restaurant & Catering in Westbury—Nassau GOP’s historic campaign-night celebration venue—chanted in response.“Dump ’em!” sniped D’Amato, snarling that his remarks would never be broadcast by the live News12 cameras recording the event or the lone Long Island daily newspaper, and almost baiting them to do so. “Dump Cablevision. FIOS is much better and cheaper.”“They are strangers to the truth,” he spit.Arm and arm onstage with the smiling and victorious re-elected county executive, D’Amato, the founder and managing director of Manhattan-based lobbying firm Park Strategies LLC, which represents multiple clients who’ve received county contracts from the Mangano administration, made no mention of his company’s own financial connection, the more than $35,000 in donations state Board of Election records show his political action committee Renew New York contributed to Mangano in 2009 ($10,000) and 2013 ($25,300), nor the $12,500 those filings state he personally contributed to Mangano in 2011 ($2,500) and 2013 ($10,000).But Suozzi, during his failed campaign, did do that, alleging improprieties. He also blasted Mangano every chance he could about alleged sweetheart deals to donors (government watchdogs refer to such transactions as “pay-to-play” schemes) in the wake of Sandy—though if Suozzi’s goal was to paint himself as somehow above such dealings, the former Cablevision consultant didn’t get the job done.“Contracts are given to campaign donors all the time, and sometimes donors give you money based upon the fact that they want to keep a good relationship with the administration,” he said during a pre-recorded debate with Mangano that aired on CBS Nov. 3.“Yes, I have,” Suozzi said of his own awarding of contracts to donors during his tenure as county executive. “It happens all the time.”On Tuesday night, however, there was no talk of Cablevision or campaign contributions from the former two-term county executive down the road at his own ill-fated gala.A smattering of anti-Mangano campaign mailings from the New York State Democratic Committee, who portrayed the Nassau County Executive as a Sandy profiteer soft on guns. (Long Island Press)Death of a SalesmanAlmost an hour had gone by after the polls had closed and Nassau Democrats gathering in the Leonardo ballroom upstairs at the posh Chateau Briand catering hall in Carle Place had nothing but candidates’ zeroes to contemplate on the big screen projected behind the podium.Then the first numbers were posted, and with 23 percent of the precincts reporting, Mangano had a double-digit lead. There was uneasiness among some observers, anxiety on the faces of others, and scorn on the rest. Nobody stopped talking or laughing—or drinking.Nassau Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs was asked about the early figures as he was leaving the main ballroom after making a brief round of TV interviews in the main room. He did his best to put a positive spin on them.“Those numbers are coming from basically Republican areas,” he said. “I can’t say I’m optimistic, I’m a realist.” But he added that he hadn’t heard from “minority areas we’re counting on,” as well as North Hempstead town, which he thought would turn Suozzi’s way.As he headed back to where Suozzi was ensconced, Democrats in the ballroom had something new to contemplate on the big screen: the unabashed jubilation of Nassau GOP Chairman Joe Mondello, Ed Mangano and his wife Linda, and a charged D’Amato. On the ticker at the bottom of the News12 broadcast being projected live were these words: “Mangano victory speech.”The onlookers at Chateau Briand stared in various degrees of disbelief, shock and awe. Suozzi hadn’t even conceded yet.“The Republican machine must be running better than ever because they know something that we don’t,” said David Mejias, a former longtime Democratic county legislator. “They know what’s going on in an election before the Democrats or even the people do!”Later, Jacobs recounted, he entered Suozzi’s room and his staff handed him some updated numbers but there on the TV screen was a triumphant Mangano. The Dem Party boss was back in the ballroom within minutes, Suozzi and his wife Helene in tow, threading their way through the crowd to the podium, where they were greeted by a growing wave of applause.With Nassau County Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs (L) and wife Helene by his side, former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi conceded defeat in the 2013 election to his Republican opponent Ed Mangano Nov. 5, 2013 at Chateau Briand Caterers in Carle Place. (Spencer Rumsey/Long Island Press)At the podium, Jacobs—who filed complaints with state Attorney General Schneiderman’s office alleging fundraising improprieties regarding the aforementioned MetLife Stadium skybox—said that he’d seen quite a number of elections but “I have yet to see a campaign without the finality of numbers jump to a victory speech with such anxiousness as I just saw.” But he had to admit the election was over. His hopes that Suozzi’s run for a third term would succeed this time were dashed.“If I have one regret in this campaign,” he said, emphasizing that he meant himself and not his candidate, “is that we left unchallenged for too long the misstatements and mischaracterizations of the eight years that Tom Suozzi served as county executive. He turned this county around; he put it on the right track! He had eight balanced budgets and 14 bond-rating upgrades! That means something.”When it was his turn at the podium, Suozzi said, “This is a tough loss. It’s a tough loss for the Democrats, a tough loss for me personally…. We may have run a bad campaign, and we may have hit the wrong message, but we still have serious problems in Nassau County.”Forty miles away in Patchogue, Suffolk County Republican Party boss John Jay LaValle, standing at a podium overlooking his team’s supporters, glanced over his shoulder at the scene unfolding on a massive projector screen, paused, and asked the room:“Can we watch Tom Suozzi cry for a second?”Suozzi’s political fortunes had clearly ebbed. In 2001, he’d beaten all-but-forgotten Republican Bruce Bent 64 percent to 33 percent in 2001, but lost by 386 votes to Mangano, then a Republican Nassau County legislator, in 2009.This Nov. 5, Mangano trounced Suozzi 58.73 percent to 41.04 percent. More than 275,000 votes were cast out of some 900,000 registered voters, according to William Biamonte, the Democratic commissioner of the Nassau Board of Elections, marking an uptick in turnout from four years ago. Clearly not enough Democrats came to the polls for Suozzi, although countywide they now outnumber Republicans by 37,000 people, 361,570 to 324,210.In the end, the almost 18-point spread in this matchup was actually greater than the results of the first Newsday/News12/Sienna College, which came out in early October and had Suozzi losing by 17 points. A survey conducted a week before the election showed Mangano’s lead narrowing to 52-41. But despite a flurry of robo-calls and an appearance from Gov. Andrew Cuomo (who gave a heart-hearted endorsement at a rally for all Long Island Democrats Oct. 26, tacking the former county executive’s name at the end of a long list of Democratic candidates), an appearance at a campaign fundraiser at Leonard’s of Great Neck by former President Bill Clinton, endorsements in The New York Times and Newsday, Suozzi could not recapture the executive seat in Mineola.Tellingly, Suozzi’s margin in defeat almost equaled the 58.68 percent to 41.29 percent victory that Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice, the Democratic incumbent, won over her Republican challenger, Howard Sturim. The Sienna poll had predicted that Rice was “cruising” to re-election but that the race for county comptroller between Republican incumbent George Maragos and Howard Weitzman, his opponent, was “too close to call.” Weitzman had been the Democratic comptroller in 2009 whom Maragos defeated by 576 votes. This time Weitzman lost by 6 percentage points, 53-47 percent.Taking his place at the podium, Weitzman told those still on hand at the Chateau Briand that in the last 12 years he’d won twice and lost twice, so he wound up with “a .500 batting average and that gets me in the hall of fame!” He noted that four years ago he was so ill he was in a wheelchair and needed the help of the Nassau County Democratic chairman and several others to get him up a ramp.“Here I am on my own two feet, standing in front of all of you and getting all your well wishes,” he said proudly.Weitzman afterwards said he had no regrets about how he’d run the race this time and that he wouldn’t have changed anything.“Not one thing! Not one thing!” he repeated. “I couldn’t overcome a big Mangano win like that,” he lamented, adding that Mangano’s campaign mantra that he hadn’t raised taxes was “an easy message to put out, and it takes a nuanced message to explain that that’s not what happened. The voters chose the message that they wanted to hear.”Former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, at his concession speech before media outlets and supporters on Dec. 1, 2009 in Mineola. Following a historic recount, he lost to Ed Mangano by less than 400 votes. Suozzi lost the 2013 rematch by a much wider margin. (Christopher Twarowski/Long Island Press)Same Old, Same OldLooking at the election from a broader LI perspective, it’s hard to generalize. Democrats held their majority in the Suffolk County legislature, but slipped a seat there and in Nassau, although not enough to give Nassau Republicans a super-majority so they could pass borrowing without bipartisan support, which could prove interesting since the county is still run by the state Nassau County Interim Finance Authority due to its million-dollar budget shortfall.Nassau Democrats didn’t turn out in enough numbers to help Suozzi regain his former office (or help his cousin Ralph Suozzi remain mayor of Glen Cove), but in the 5th Legislative District they “crushed the Republicans,” as Election Commissioner Biamonte put it, electing Laura Curran, Suozzi’s former aide.Across the county line, Suffolk Democrats were celebrating maintaining their majority, even though they lost a seat left vacant by outgoing temporary Presiding Officer Wayne Horsley (D-Babylon) to Republican Kevin McCaffrey.That one loss aside, there were some heavy hearts in the crowd at the usual election night party venue, the IBEW Local 25 hall in Hauppauge—a relic of the party’s relationship with the union forged by the late Presiding Officer William Lindsay (D-Holbrook), who died of cancer this summer.“We miss him dearly…he’s left us too soon,” Suffolk County Democratic Chairman Richard Schaffer, who also won re-election as Babylon town supervisor, told the crowd. “But I know today he is with us. He is here and he is smiling down because the one thing he told me…was: ‘Rich, don’t screw up Billy’s campaign.’”Billy, or as he appeared on ballots, William Lindsay Jr.—the former legislative leader’s son—won his father’s seat, allowing Schaffer to say he kept that deathbed promise, despite the extra low turnout of what Schaffer termed “an off, off, off-year election.”Party faithful cheered when Schaffer announced that political newcomer Monica Martinez had unseated fellow Democrat Legis. Rick Montano (D-Central Islip), a renegade who refused to caucus with his party. They laughed when he joked, “We call her landslide Sarah,” referring to Legis. Sarah Anker (D-Mt. Sinai), who narrowly thwarted her Republican challenger. And some rolled their eyes when he touted “another nailbiter” victory for Thomas Spota, the unchallenged, cross-endorsed Suffolk County District Attorney, who was re-elected but spent the night with the Republicans in Patchogue, where he trumpeted his own victory as “historic.”So, in the end, all the predictions that this election would become a Democratic verdict on the federal shutdown perpetrated by the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party, or a Republican reaction to the badly handled rollout of Obamacare, came down to the simplest of political edicts, attributed to the late great Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, that “all politics is local.”Back in Westbury, Italian-American tenor opera singer Christopher Macchio joined the giddy Nassau Republicans onstage. With a pink handkerchief peering from his upper breast jacket pocket, he smiled before serenading the crowd a cappella.“Are you guys ready for a victory anthem?” he asked.Arm in arm, smiling along, indeed they were.last_img read more

first_imgJoseph Mariathasan considers the likely trajectories of oil pricesThe news oil has almost touched $50 (€44) a barrel may bring cheer to some, but few would claim it represents a turnaround for an industry that still faces considerable challenges. Assessing the shorter-term prospects for the oil and gas industry as investments is highly dependent on forecasting oil prices, and that – as even the oil majors such as Shell have found – is not so easy.There have certainly been instances over the past few decades where dramatic price falls – to as low as $10 a barrel – have caught the industry by surprise. Indeed, the drop from well over $100 in 2014 to less than $40 at the start of this year was also an unexpectedly severe drop that has left the industry floundering. Yet the short-term volatility may be hiding a longer-term reality. It is worth recalling the oft-quoted comment by sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, the former Saudi oil minister: “The Stone Age did not end for lack of stone, and the Oil Age will end long before the world runs out of oil.” The increasing pressure to alleviate global warming makes his prophesy look even more pertinent.Longer term, if the issue of unacceptable man-made global warming is to be resolved, there may be no alternative to increasing the use of alternative energy sources, including nuclear power. Shorter term, however, there is still debate over the likely trajectories of the oil price. One argument is that the laws of supply and demand should bring things into balance in 2016. With US exploration and production capital-expenditure budgets slashed for this year and the rig count continuing to fall, the oil bulls argue there should be meaningful production declines from the US shale basins. That should contribute to non-OPEC supply contracting by more than 600,000 barrels a day, or around 0.7% of global supply.Outside the US, it is difficult to see from where the supply growth could come, with Saudi and Russian volumes close to capacity. Others argue the sheer size of available fracking reserves will always put a ceiling on prices, even if investment in conventional long-tail projects is reduced. Fracking can be brought back on stream very quickly. Companies are slashing costs and finding new ways to complete wells in the shale. While drill counts may have dropped in response to the price collapse, price increases will start bringing rigs back on stream as operators hit their break-even levels. That is likely to put a ceiling on oil-price increases.Fracking has been a game-changer for the economics and politics of oil. For the US, the attainment of self-sufficiency in oil over a long time period would have immense ramifications on its foreign policy towards the Middle East.A big loser would be Saudi Arabia, whose leadership has used the support of the Wahhabi clergy for legitimacy and the wealth it accrued to export this brand of Islam globally. While US support is clearly still strong, the underlying tensions are obvious. The Saudi Arabian leadership needs US support, but they face a delicate balancing act as they struggle with the tensions inherent in their society. Ensuring support means ultimately ensuring US reliance on Saudi oil, and, to ensure that, it needs to drive the fracking community out of business.That has another side benefit where Saudi Arabian interests coincide with those of the US. Russia depends heavily on energy exports, which may account for as much as 70% of total exports. It was the low oil prices in 1990 that contributed immensely to president Mikhail Gorbachev’s struggle to keep the USSR solvent and helped lead to its eventual collapse in December 1991.Perhaps, as some argue, the transition to alternative energy sources is an opportunity, as long-term demand displacement from alternative fuels and renewables curtails exploration and long-tail projects in oil and gas, impacting supply and giving oil the potential for a strong bull market in the medium term as long-term investment is reduced.But few would expect prices to reach anywhere near $100 a barrel for many years to come, if ever, given the pressures to reduce fossil fuel consumption. Investors should consider that perhaps high-yield debt may provide a better risk/reward play than equities for the oil and gas sector. If oil prices are $40 a barrel or less in a year’s time, a lot of producers will default. Those producers that can still find equity will increase their share, and low-cost producers will fill the gap.The oil majors with high costs of production and few attractive development opportunities may find acquisitions attractive and start taking over some exploration and production companies. The high-yield bonds issued by those companies would become investment grade, and investors would see huge returns.Joseph Mariathasan is a contributing editor at IPElast_img read more

first_imgVirginie Maisonneuve, CIO, Eastspring InvestmentsThe next option is adaptation to reduce the vulnerability of countries and societies to climate change. This encompasses a range of measures such as water conservation, flood defences, and drought-resistant crops. It also means taking advantage of beneficial opportunities such as longer growing seasons in more temperate climates.For investors the implications could be profound. Maisonneuve believes that there will be a global repricing within stock markets as a result of global warming considerations within the next five years, as investors become more cognisant of the implications for individual companies.What matters is not only the direct impact of global warming, but also the reaction of governments in terms of regulatory changes. The wider use of ESG-based benchmarks will act as a pressure on investment managers to take these issues into account in their investment decisions, while the protests of hundreds of thousands of children across more than 100 countries in March and May this year in the ‘Global Climate Strike for Future’ suggests that public concerns over the issues will not disappear. The implications of climate change have certainly caught the attention of shareholders, with many now sending a clear message to corporate management that they are expected to act on it.Humanity in general may be facing an existential crisis due to global warming, but it is in Asia where the immediate effects are likely to be most dramatic. Asia accounts for well over a third of the human population but the problem the continent faces is that populations are concentrated disproportionately at or near the coastline.The Maldives, the world’s lowest lying country with an average elevation of just 4ft, is the extreme in terms of its susceptability to rising sea levels – but other countries will face greater burdens in terms of the numbers impacted.Bangladesh is the world’s most populous delta with a population of 163m, in a country where a quarter of the land stands less than 7ft above sea level. In China, 26% of the population lives in coastal zones, which account for only 2% of the country’s land mass. Credit: Tofael Ahmed Credit: Andreas Schau Bangladesh (top) and the Maldives are two countries most likely to be affected by rising sea levelsIt is not just rising sea levels that are an issue: Asian countries are highly reliant on monsoons for their agriculture, and any disruption of monsoons caused by climate change will have dramatic effects. Virginie Maisonneuve, CIO of Eastspring Investments, points out in a recent note that the monsoon system could shift from a state of strong rainfall to weak precipitation.“With 80% of India’s total annual rainfall taking place during the summer monsoon season, this could have significant impact on agricultural productivity and threaten food security,” Maisonneuve states.Yet by 2030, she points out, an additional 3bn consumers are expected to join Asia’s middle classes, increasing demand for food by 70%. Without significant increases in food production, child malnutrition is expected to rise by 20%. Heat-related deaths are also expected to increase among the elderly, along with an increase in diarrhoea deaths and mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever.Mitigation and adaptationWhat can be done? Mitigation and adaptation are the two principal ways, argues Maisonneuve. Mitigation means reducing greenhouse gases by burning less fossil fuels and enhancing carbon “sinks”, such as oceans, forests and soil. These measures, however, are not being put in place fast enough to dramatically slow down global warming. According to the World Bank, 13 of the top 20 cities with the largest increase in annual losses due to flooding between 2005 and 2050 were in Asia. China’s Guangzhou is the most vulnerable measured as a percentage of GDP. Credit: Fyrtaarn German students protest during a ‘Global Strike for Future’ rally on 24 May 2019 in StuttgartMaisonneuve argues that fund managers need to continue to develop effective engagement strategies to change the behaviours of climate-affecting companies. A concerted effort by governments, companies, investors and society is needed, she says.Her view is that fund managers who fail to align their processes with new risk factors and the sustainability of capital on a holistic basis, including natural resources capital, might lose their competitive edge over the long run.Despite the gloomy facts, however, there is cause for hope. A combination of adaptation and mitigation could reduce vulnerability to climate change to modest levels for most of the world. Let us hope that Maisonneuve is right – but it still might not be much consolation for the inhabitants of the Maldives.last_img read more

first_imgInside 26 Winnett St, Woorim. Picture: Supplied.Ms Coe said there were plenty of similar buyers looking to buy their own slice of Bribie Island to escape the city on weekends and holidays.“They tend to be professional couples, with families, who have equity in their own homes,” she said. “They also tend to have a connection to Bribie — grandma may live here or they came here as children.” Ms Coe said properties close to the surf beach were tightly held. “There are plenty of buyers but there’s a low percentage of properties for sale,” she said. The home at 26 Winnett St, Woorim. Picture: Supplied.ONE lucky Brisbane family now has a holiday home a stone’s throw from the beach after snapping up a little brick house on Bribie Island. The two-bedroom property at 26 Winnett St, Woorim sold for $390,000 on March 1. Selling agent Nicola Coe, of Harcourts Bribie Island, said the home, situated 250m from the Woorim surf beach, attracted strong interest from buyers.Ms Coe said buyers were mostly interested in the Woorim location. “You can walk to the surf beach, walk to the surf club and it’s in a really nice street,” she said. “The new owners intend to fix it up and turn it into a weekender.” More from newsLand grab sees 12 Sandstone Lakes homesites sell in a week21 Jun 2020Tropical haven walking distance from the surf9 Oct 2019last_img read more

first_imgItalian oil company Eni returned to profit in the third quarter of this year thanks to recovery in oil prices and increase in production. In the third quarter of 2017 the Italian oil company recorded a profit of €344 million compared to a loss of €562 million in the prior-year quarter.According to Eni’s financial report for the 3Q 2017 on Friday, the E&P segment reported an increase in operating profit of €0.4 billion due to an ongoing recovery in crude oil prices, the Brent benchmark was up by 14%, and production growth.The G&P segment strengthened its performance (up €0.18 billion or by 48%) in a seasonally weak quarter, due to the positive effects of the re-negotiations of long-term supply contracts and other optimizations.Eni’s revenues rose to €15.78 billion during the third quarter 2017 from €13.3 billion in the same period of 2016.Commenting on the results, Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi, remarked: “In the third quarter, we achieved excellent results with an increase in operating profit almost four times higher, a net result above €700 million and net growth in operating cash flow compared to the third quarter of 2016. Investments followed trends in line with expectations, with a reduction of approximately 18% during the year compared with 2016.“In 2017 we expect to achieve organic coverage of investments and dividends, entirely paid in cash, at a Brent price of 60$ a barrel as planned, or 45$ a barrel when taking into account our dual exploration model initiatives.”Descalzi also added: “In the Upstream sector, hydrocarbon production grew by 7%, net of the cuts imposed by OPEC and the price effect.”As detailed in the report, the Italian company produced an average of 1.8 million boe/d in the third quarter, up by 5.4%; excluding price effects at PSAs and OPEC cuts, up by 7%.Production is expected to ramp up further in the fourth quarter, reaching approximately 1.9 million boe/d on average in the period, the highest level in seven years, with the contribution of high valuable barrels.In the nine months of 2017, Eni’s capex amounted to €7 billion. Spending has reduced in the third quarter after a peak registered in the first half of 2017 due to the completion of certain large projects. Eni confirmed the target of reducing capex by approximately 18% y-o-y at constant exchange rates.Eni’s net debt at the end of the quarter was €14.96 billion but it is expected to decrease y-o-y following the closing of disposals.The company expects an average FY production of 1.815 million boe/d, matching the all-time high in 2010, a 5% increase from 2016 excluding price effects at PSAs and OPEC cuts. This will be driven by new project start-ups (Indonesia, Angola and Ghana), ramp-ups of fields entered into operation in 2016, mainly in Kazakhstan, Egypt and Norway, as well as the restart of certain Libyan fields.Contingent factors such as the shutdown of the Val d’Agri oil centre, which was down for almost the entire second quarter, the impact of OPEC cuts, as well as certain contractual one-offs recorded in 2016, will be absorbed by the implementation of other initiatives to optimize production, as well as by the earlier than planned start-up of the large projects in Angola, Indonesia and Ghana.Offshore Energy Today Stafflast_img read more

first_img Share Tweet Sharing is caring! 38 Views   no discussions Sharecenter_img FaithLifestyleLocalNews Discipleship and Journeying by: – January 17, 2012 Share Photo credit: simplyquiet.blogspot.comToday’s reading provides another account of the calling of the disciples. The scene shifts away from the lakeside, from fishing and mending nets, to being captivated by Jesus from the recommendation of John the Baptist. When John identifies Jesus as the Lamb of God, two of his disciples follow Jesus and after observing how he lives, they recommend him in turn to Peter as the Messiah, the one Israel was waiting for.What we have here in a very compressed form (as with the other lakeside account) are elements in a tradition of expectation and identification on the part of the earliest community regarding Jesus as the Messiah.What I should like to focus a little on, however, is the fact that what we have here are also features in the beginning of discipleship. The journey of the disciples begins here. It does not represent a start of full comprehension. They do not yet really know whom they decide to follow, or what following would reveal, and what changes in their understanding would occur, with enormous implications for their commitment. They are as yet unaware of ways in which they will grow, what attitudes they will be forced to shed, and what new perspectives they will have to assume. They embark, in other words, on a journey, whose outline they only imperfectly grasp.It’s very common these days to regard Christian life as a journey. It is in fact one of the earliest metaphors for this designation. To be a Christian was to follow or be on “the Way.” This is not how “cradle Catholics” ordinarily come by the idea of following Jesus. For us, the start corresponds to something like obeying the commandments, avoiding sin, and trying to live decently. Discipleship and journeying arise later in life, from more complex exposure to the Gospels regarding the life of Jesus, and (as a result) the implications for one’s own life.The biggest shortcoming of in the understanding of ‘cradle Catholics’ is the absence of any sense of personal relationship with Jesus. In saying this I do not of course call their motivation into question; nor do I imply that their spiritual and moral commitment was in some way defective. What it lacked, however, was the sense of “following,” or of having undertaken a special journey, of having someone to whom one could share details of one’s life, one’s difficulties, plans, wishes, and desires. It lacked the sense that the spiritual life involved not simply a relation but trust in someone who actively accompanied you on your way.What also becomes progressively clear from this point of view is that the journey is not a static relation but rather a complex process of ebb and flow, light and darkness, commitment and doubt, stationariness and perseverance. Perhaps the most important thing to remember about this process is its character as one with a positive end; the journey gets somewhere; it is not mere aimless progression. In our environment today of uncertainty and fragility, this aspect is one to be firmly grasped, even in the darkest moments.I was talking to a priest friend recently, who related an intense spiritual experience he recently had, and in the ensuing conversation we shared, I remarked that what he had experienced was the validation of the basic promise of the Scriptures: ‘I will be with you always.’ That is especially good news for our time, even as it underscores what has always been true about God’s word. We are all meant to understand this not just intellectually but also experientially. The goal is knowing the Lord not just mentally but in the deepest interiority of one’s heart.By: Father Henry Charles Ph.Dlast_img read more

first_img Tweet NewsRegional St Kitts-Nevis citizenship by investment program receives nearly 300 applications annually by: – May 30, 2012 Sharing is caring! 29 Views   one comment Sharecenter_img Share Prime Minister of St. Kitts, Denzel Douglas.BASSETERRE, St Kitts (CUOPM) — The Citizenship by Investment Unit in St Kitts and Nevis receives approximately 300 applications per year and collects nearly EC$60 million in processing fees.This was disclosed by Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas during the last sitting of the St Kitts and Nevis National Assembly.He said all applications that are received go through the rigours of the system established to ensure that only individuals who are worthy of becoming citizens of St Kitts and Nevis do so.“Mr Speaker the Citizenship by Investment unit receives applications from all over the world. Our system is a robust and attractive one. We receive and process applications from the USA, Canada, China, the United Arab Emirates especially Dubai, Russia, Jordan, Yemen, Singapore, Taiwan, Germany, Egypt, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Ethiopia, Ukraine, France, Kuwait, Vietnam, India, Nigeria, Lebanon,” he told the lawmaking body.Responding to questions from Eugene Hamilton, the Member for St Christopher 8, Douglas said the nature of the information required in part (c) of the question would take some time to analyze and the Citizenship by Investment Unit is in the process of fully computerizing its operations so that this level of information can be easily gathered. “From these applications, Mr Speaker, government benefits mainly from processing fees, which amounts to approximately EC$60 million per year,” disclosed Douglas.Caribbean News Now Sharelast_img read more

first_imgLEXINGTON, Neb. (July 10) – Jake Bubak made the trek to Lexington Raceway and picked up his first United Rebel Sprint Series win of the season on Sunday.Brian Herbert taking the early lead and showed the way with Bubak drawing closer each lap. Bubak finally got around for the top spot on lap seven, then began building onto his advantage following a lap eight restart.Luke Cranston headed the pursuit and was close behind Bubak by lap 13. Lap 20 saw the caution wave for the last time and set up a five-lap dash for the win.Tyler Drueke slipped past Cranston for the runner-up spot after the restart.Cranston, Jed Werner and Jeremy Huish made up the rest of the top five. Jeff Radcliffe picked up the Keizer Aluminum Racing Wheels hard charger award, coming from his 13th starting spot to finish sixth.Feature results – 1. Jake Bubak; 
2. Tyler Drueke; 
3. Luke Cranston; 
4. Jed Werner; 
5. Jeremy Huish; 
6. Jeff Radcliffe; 
7. Brian Herbert
; 8. Doug Lovegrove; 
9. Zach Blurton
; 10. Lance Davis; 
11. Darren Berry; 
12. Nate Berry
; 13. John Webster; 
14. Craig Jecha
; 15. Zac Taylor; 
16. Nick Bryan
; 17. Aaron Ploussard
; 18. Tom Belsky
; 19. Richard Weers
; 20. Howard Van Dyke
; 21. Michael Beckerman.last_img read more

first_img Press Association Garcia chased McIlroy all the way at Hoylake before eventually finishing joint second, recording his 19th top-10 finish in his 64th major championship. But the Spaniard has the opportunity to put that near-miss behind him by claiming his first World Golf Championship title at Firestone Country Club, despite suffering from a lengthy weather delay in Akron. The former US Open champion parred the final four holes either side of the delay to card a round of 70 and join Scott and Keegan Bradley on eight under, six off the pace. Garcia had started the day with a three-shot lead after a sensational second round of 61, the Spaniard equalling the course record thanks to a back nine of just 27 shots which featured eight birdies, seven of them in succession from the 12th. He was soon back into his stride when play resumed on Saturday, picking up shots on the second, fourth and sixth to reach the turn in 32. The 11th was the only hole Garcia failed to birdie on the back nine on Friday, but the world number five made amends with a superb approach to two feet to move to 15 under par. That was briefly good enough for a six-shot lead when McIlroy, who had also gone out in 32, missed from similar length on the 11th and followed that with a bogey on the 12th after failing to get up and down from a greenside bunker. However, Garcia then carded his first bogey since the 12th hole of his opening round when he pulled his approach left of the 14th green, the siren sounding to suspend play after the final group had completed the 15th. Defending champion Tiger Woods had already struggled to a 72 to lie one over par for the tournament, further reducing his slim chances of qualifying for the FedEx Cup play-offs. The 14-time major winner needs the equivalent of third-place finishes here and in next week’s US PGA Championship to move from 215th in the standings into the top 125. Woods carded one birdie, one bogey and a double bogey on the sixth. A fortnight after trying to catch Rory McIlroy at Royal Liverpool, Sergio Garcia will attempt to hold off the Open champion in the final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday. Tee times had been brought forward several hours due to forecast thunderstorms, but the final group had just finished the 15th hole when the threat of lightning forced players off the course. Garcia held a five-shot lead over McIlroy and Marc Leishman at the time, but when play eventually resumed three hours and 15 minutes later, the 34-year-old struggled to recapture his rhythm and had to battle to par the final three holes. In contrast, McIlroy missed a good birdie chance on the 16th but picked up shots on the 17th and 18th to card a third round of 66 and finish 11 under, three behind Garcia, who returned a 67. “I came here this week talking about wanting to just keeping the momentum going and not really dwell on The Open too much and keep moving forward and I have done that really well this week,” McIlroy said. “I’m obviously really excited to give myself another chance to win a tournament tomorrow. “I drove it great at the Open as well and have been driving it great all year and that’s why my results have been pretty good. Driving is the foundation of my game and if it’s good it seems like everything feeds down from there and I’ve never driven the ball better than I am right now.” Leishman and world number one Adam Scott were two and three shots behind McIlroy respectively, the Australian pair having finished joint fifth together in the Open. “It’s great to see all the guys continue their good play,” McIlroy added. “Sergio was chasing me down at Liverpool, I’m going to try and chase him down this week and we’ll see what happens. It’s a great leaderboard with a lot of good names and hopefully it will be a good battle tomorrow.” Justin Rose had been Garcia’s closest challenger when he recovered from just his second bogey of the week on the eighth with birdies on the ninth and 10th, but then three-putted the 13th from 20 feet and did the same on the next, amazingly missing from no more than 12 inches. last_img read more