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On the Blogs: Houston-Based Kinder Morgan Gets a Canadian Bailout

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Sightline Institute:In his continuing bid to earn his country the title of most corrupt petro-state, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau just committed his government—or, rather, all of the country’s citizens—to a Can$4.5 billion bailout for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.Trudeau’s government has agreed to buy the existing Trans Mountain Pipeline, along with associated assets, from the current owner, a subsidiary of Houston-based Kinder Morgan, Inc. And despite fierce opposition from the provincial government of British Columbia, First Nations groups, local municipalities, environmental activists, government watchdogs, and any sensible person concerned about the integrity of the Salish Sea, Trudeau plans to move forward with building a second pipeline that would nearly triple flows of heavy tar sands oil to the BC coast.The big winner in all this is Houston’s richest billionaire, Richard Kinder—the executive chairman of Kinder Morgan, a multinational pipeline giant that rose from the ashes of Enron and succeeded in playing the Canadian government like a fiddle throughout the years-long Trans Mountain saga.The losers? Well, just about everyone else, especially the First Nations whose homelands and waters will be threatened by an unwanted pipeline.Financially, the Trans Mountain expansion was always a high-risk endeavor that struggled to attract investors. In the fall of 2016, Kinder Morgan, Inc. signaled that it was looking for joint-venture partners to share costs and risks, and the company continued to look for joint-venture partners through the following spring. Finding no takers, the company announced that it would raise equity through an Initial Public Offering (IPO) by bundling its Canadian assets, along with the Puget Sound Pipeline in Washington, into a shell company.More: Canadian Government Bails Out Houston Billionaire On the Blogs: Houston-Based Kinder Morgan Gets a Canadian Bailoutlast_img read more

Central America Resorts to Isolation Against COVID-19

first_imgBy Julieta Pelcastre / Diálogo April 13, 2020 With the advance of the coronavirus in the western hemisphere, Central American countries are under states of emergency and curfews. Their armed forces are taking several measures to halt the advance of the global threat in their territories, without neglecting their daily duties to counter crime.El Salvador was the first Latin American country to declare a mandatory national lockdown, on March 12. The Armed Forces and the National Civil Police are keeping their air, land, and maritime spaces closed. Only one person per family can go out about twice a week to get food or medicine, authorities ordered.In addition to strengthening security in quarantine centers, soldiers provide water and meals to patients, sanitize the areas, and organize donations and logistics activities to respond to the emergency. “Two thousand troops are also guarding the 142 blind spots [on the border] that the Naval Force’s Sumpul Command has identified,” said Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele.Members of the Salvadoran Armed Force conduct inspections in compliance with emergency health provisions regarding COVID-19. (Photo: Salvadoran Armed Force)For its part, Honduras has been under curfew since March 16, as ordered by President Juan Orlando Hernández. All borders are closed to the flow of people, and the use of public transport is banned.The Honduran Armed Forces maintain order with checkpoints, patrols, and operations, and prevent people from gathering. They also provide free food to families who have self-isolated in their homes, bring health protection, and transport medical equipment and supplies, says the Honduran Secretariat of National Defense.In Panama, President Laurentino Cortizo announced that “as of March 16, we are restricting the entry of non-nationals and non-residents into the country. Every passenger will be in mandatory preventive isolation at home for 14 days. Food, medicine, and supplies will continue to enter,” he said.On March 25, Cortizo issued a curfew. “I declare a mandatory full quarantine in the national territory for an unspecified period, with a few exceptions,” he said. “The supply chain of food, banking, grocery stores, and health services will be able to move and operate. The population can only go out in the streets for two hours, taking turns to stock up on basic supplies.”In Costa Rica, President Carlos Alvarado has closed the borders. “We are urged to remain at home, not to expose ourselves, not to create unrest, and to follow the recommendations,” Alvarado told the press.The Public Force strengthened surveillance at the borders to stop the virus spread. “In the case of Costa Ricans and resident foreigners, they may return to the country, but they will have to be under quarantine for 14 days,” Alvarado added.In Guatemala, restrictive measures for the population began on March 22. The Army and Police forces patrol the streets, highways, and border crossings; those who fail to comply with the curfew will be arrested and brought to justice, the Mexican newspaper El Universal said. Service members conduct air, maritime, and border riverine surveillance, and also provide security for the Ministry of Health’s personnel, the newspaper added.The Guatemalan Army reported that the Corps of Engineers is building five field hospitals in the country’s west, all equipped with a quarantine area for observation and isolation.Although Nicaragua confirmed that the virus was in the country on March 18, the Daniel Ortega government has not taken any steps or deployed the Armed Forces to combat COVID-19.last_img read more

Air Line Pilots Association changes course and merges into Connexus Credit Union

first_img ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr by: Michael BartlettThe members of $175 million Air Line Pilots Association FCU, voted to merge into $1 billion Connexus Credit Union, here, the two CUs announced Monday.The merger, which created an institution with more than $1.2 billion in assets and 179,000 members, was effective July 8.Both CUs have national charters, serving all 50 U.S. states. They said the combination was a “strategic merger” that joined two credit unions with “very similar philosophies and values.”“The merged credit union will offer its 179,000-plus members a stronger member experience by bringing together best practices of both credit unions, including optimizing and expanding member convenience through online services, call center, branch and ATM locations, as well as diversification of product and service offerings,” the CUs said in a statement. continue reading »last_img read more

Restaurant owners worry about the fate of buffets

first_imgAs far as the buffet is concerned, “we definitely bought a lot of serving utensils and we are going to be changing those out.” “By reducing our serviceable area, we are able to spread out the customers a little bit more,” said Tung. “Business was pretty good,” said manager Muhammad Sadiq. “It will take some thinking because there are other buffet restaurants in the area that are also closed.” With more space, manager Stanley Tung said they will open at reduced capacity once we enter phase three. Tung said he isn’t worried about people not wanting to go to a buffet. “Once people know that we are clean and keeping the hygiene up, limiting people to the buffet area, I think slowly people will come through.” If you fast forward six months, that becomes a different story, “we just lost customers, so quickly,” he said. Manager Muhammed Sadiq said with COVID-19, he chose to close his restaurant completely. “Since May 1st we’ve been doing some take-out and delivery,” said Buffet Star manager Stanley Tung.center_img “Social distancing is not going to work in a buffet restaurant. We have to see what the new normal is for a buffet restaurant,” said Sadiq. Despite restaurants being a part of phase three, Sadiq said they have no plans to reopen soon because people won’t want to go to a buffet. Buffet Star in Vestal would fall under that category. So, these two restaurants will have to wait and see what people will do to find out the fate of buffets. BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — Silver Crown Buffet opened its doors in Binghamton in December. “This is a buffet restaurant, so there is more possibility of transmitting the disease,” said Sadiq. Sadiq said they have considered take-out among other options, but for the time being, it is just not worth it.last_img read more

Democrats’ stance on sanctuary cities will cost them

first_imgRepublicans can only hope that liberals running in 2018 will make an issue of the Justice Department lawsuit.After all, do Democrats really want to be on the side of shielding illegal immigrants – many of whom have outstanding warrants and criminal records?When the Oakland mayor alerted an entire community of illegal immigrant criminals that ICE was coming, she reportedly allowed about 800 to escape.According to ICE officials, almost half of those who were arrested “had prior felony convictions for serious or violent offenses, such as child sex crimes, weapons charges and assault, or had past convictions for significant or multiple misdemeanors.” Are those really the people Democrats want to defend?I hope so.I can already see the campaign ads that Republicans will be running. The Democrats’ position on sanctuary cities will not play well in flyover America. The law is not optional once you have made a pledge to uphold the duties of your office.Open-border radicals in California and other liberal strongholds must be held accountable.Of course, liberals would have you believe that they are only interested in protecting the poor, the oppressed and the hardworking who have nowhere else to go.But in many cases, their actions allow dangerous and sometimes repeat criminals to be shielded from deportation or prison.In California, good Samaritans who value the rule of law are even prohibited from voluntarily cooperating with federal immigration officials who are trying to uphold the law and make communities safer.Anyway, Democrats and their allies in the media will say otherwise, but nothing about this conversation is even in the slightest bit hyperbolic.Local politicians are actually warning illegal immigrants of impending enforcement actions. Categories: Editorial, OpinionAttorney General Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration are going about the sanctuary city issue in the right way.The very idea of so-called sanctuary cities is offensive to a lot of law-abiding Americans.Taking action against the liberal politicians who want to give safe harbor to illegal immigrants is a slow, easy pitch from the Democrats, and Republicans everywhere should take advantage.The Justice Department is now challenging several laws in California that not only interfere with the nation’s immigration policies but also place American citizens and law enforcement personnel at risk.The idea that laws can be ignored and that state and local politicians can affirmatively warn lawbreakers of how to escape apprehension is incredible.It is indefensible. We either have laws, or we don’t.And if our elected leaders don’t want to uphold the law, they can either change them or resign. In Oakland, Mayor Libby Schaaf went so far as to issue a press release and accompanying tweet alerting illegal immigrants in the Bay Area of an impending Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operation last month.According to ICE Deputy Director Thomas D. Homan, what the Oakland mayor did “is no better than a gang lookout yelling ‘police’ when a police cruiser comes in the neighborhood.” The fact that a politician who presumably swore to uphold the Constitution could feel so emboldened to undermine an active law enforcement operation and place those officers in harm’s way cannot go unanswered.And according to what Sessions said on Wednesday, it won’t.Specifically, speaking before the California Peace Officers’ Association, Sessions said: “We are going to fight these irrational, unfair, and unconstitutional policies that have been imposed on you and our federal officers.“We are fighting to make your jobs safer and to help you reduce crime in America.“We are fighting to have a lawful system of immigration that serves Americans. And we intend to win.” Well said. Last month, plenty of Democrats and liberal outlets pushed the idea that somehow, in some bizarre twist of reality, Republicans had split with law enforcement and were no longer the party of law and order.The Huffington Post even pronounced that Republicans had “unleashed an extraordinary attack on law enforcement” by criticizing a few senior FBI officials.With the Democrats’ position on sanctuary cities, that argument should not be too difficult to dismiss. Anyone who supports illegal aliens and opposes law enforcement’s efforts to protect communities from criminals should be shown no quarter – not in the media, not in the courtroom and not in our political campaigns.In the case of the administration’s policy on sanctuary cities, good policy is also the best politics.Ed Rogers is a contributor to the Washington Post’s PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush White Houses and several national campaigns.More from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censuslast_img read more

Small businesses resort to online channels to survive pandemic

first_img“We already know several suppliers, including a fish auctioneer who buys fish straight from the fishermen in North Jakarta. We order [the fish from the auctioneer] according to customer orders,” she told The Jakarta Post recently.Read also: 37,000 SMEs hit by COVID-19 crisis as government prepares aidShe delivers the orders with the help of ride-hailing apps Gojek and Grab to customers in Greater Jakarta.The response to the one-month-old business has been positive so far, as they manage to sell an average of 20 kilograms of seafood weekly, from which Astrid has been able to reap Rp 25 million in sales. As COVID-19 hits business activity and forces people to stay at home, small businesses are striving to make the most of online platforms to reach customers and gain revenue.Astrid Safiera, 24, had to find a way to survive during the COVID-19 pandemic as her husband’s restaurant in Menteng, Jakarta, closed, battered by the physical distancing regime put in place to contain the virus spread.Astrid, an office worker herself, decided to start a small business with her husband to sell seafood on social media like Instagram and Twitter, offering shrimp, crab and barramundis, among other products, with a starting price of Rp 30,000 (US$1.93). She even promoted the business by replying to a tweet by former maritime affairs and fisheries minister Susi Pudjiastuti, which caught the attention of more than a hundred people who liked her tweet. “We plan to continue running the business after the pandemic. We want to open a restaurant, so we’re just trying to build something while also marketing our future restaurant,” she said, adding that she would consider partnering with e-commerce in the future.Astrid is not an outlier. Many people have resorted to running small businesses from home and use social media and e-commerce platforms to sell their products. Two million workers have been furloughed or laid-off as of Monday, according to Manpower Ministry data.Data from e-commerce platform Tokopedia confirmed a 250 percent surge in the number of new sellers on its platform in March, particularly in the personal health category.“We’re also doing a campaign on #JagaEkonomiIndonesia [#GuardIndonesianEconomy] to push more people to dare to create opportunities online, so that the economy can still go on in the middle of the pandemic,” Tokopedia VP corporate communication Nuraini Razak said.Read also: ‘Pay attention’, ‘transform’: Pandemic shifts business landscape, strategyTokopedia said it would help first-time sellers on its platform by holding online classes and webinars on the e-commerce business, among other things.The online classes covered subjects like opening an online shop, tips on handling the first order, the profit from e-commerce and making attractive promotional efforts for customers.The change in customer behavior during the pandemic, with social distancing measures in place, supports the e-commerce trend, as business research firm Inventure Indonesia concludes that customers tend to meet their daily needs, such as groceries and health products, through online channels. This will significantly boost the online platforms, it reads.Another e-commerce platform,, also confirmed a surge in the number of sellers, albeit not specifying the CEO Kusumo Martanto expected there would be more micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to use e-commerce platform after the pandemic.”The situation will force them to adopt e-commerce. Hopefully after the pandemic they will enjoy the value and benefit and there will be more [sellers joining],” he had also started initiatives for SMEs, such as providing a special channel, workshops and promotion for local SMEs, among other things, he added.Despite the encouraging e-commerce data, Association of Indonesian Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (Akumindo) chairman Ikhsan Ingratubun said the number of newly established SMEs was quite small.”It’s very difficult, based on our observation, because economic activity is crippled [nowadays],” he said.Ikhsan added that starting a new business was still a challenge for people, as they needed to have the capital and basic knowledge to run a business.SMEs have been hit severely by the pandemic, with 538,385 workers from more than 31,000 SMEs losing their jobs as of Monday, according to the Manpower Ministry.Read also: Govt to provide interest subsidy for small borrowers as COVID-19 hits hardThe government is preparing a stimulus package for SMEs to help them survive amid the pandemic. The package includes relaxed rules for loans, a six-month tax waiver and cash transfers for micro-scale businesses.Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef) economist Andry Satrio Nugroho said most new SMEs were the ones flourishing due to a surge in demand of specific products or old SMEs that finally adopted online platforms.”I think there is no surge in newly established SMEs because SMEs are the ones hit the hardest by the pandemic,” he said, despite adding that starting a new business was clearly an option amid rampant layoffs.”But not all SMEs can weather the pandemic, it’s very different from the Asian financial crisis in 1998,” he said.Topics :last_img read more

End of apartment boom acting as handbrake on confidence

first_imgApartments under construction in Newstead, Brisbane. The Property Council expects the apartment construction boom to end in the next 12 to 18 months. Picture: Glenn HuntCONFIDENCE in Queensland has hit the second lowest level of all states amid fears not enough was being done to prepare for the end of the apartment boom, the latest ANZ/Property Council survey found. BRISBANE newbies among top winners if super deposits go ahead RBA board singling Brisbane out but the numbers are holding SIGN up to receive all The Courier-Mail real estate news direct to your inbox Property Council Queensland executive director Chris Mountford said the end of the apartment boom was in sight and acting as a handbrake on confidence levels across Queensland.With the end of the mining and gas boom still wreaking havoc on regional centres, Mr Mountford warned the clock was ticking on the replacement for the apartment construction boom too. “The reality is that construction cycle is starting to wind down, when these (current projects) are completed, it’s unlikely that another will kick off to fill the space,” he said.“A year ahead and it’s over. No doubt there’s still a lot of activity going on but we’re certainly starting to see projects come to completion and the earlier trades (used in projects) are already starting to come off.”More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this home6 hours agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investor6 hours agoProperty Council executive director Chris Mountford in Brisbane’s West End. Picture: Jono Searle.He said in 12 to 18 months the current construction cycle would end and the state needed to get other work ready to go into the future. “We’re really looking to see what the state government will do to lift the level of infrastructure investment across the state. We want to see opportunities for people to look for work in the infrastructure space in particular. The challenge for the current government and the LNP going into the coming election is how are you going to fund that infrastructure. Infrastructure is not just about job creation, it’s about investing in the next wave of project growth.” Apartment under construction in Newstead, Brisbane. The Property Council wants the State Government to focus on ways to fund more infrastructure developments. Picture: Glenn HuntMr Mountford said Queensland also faced the challenge of ensuring a plan was in place to unlock the benefits of the SEQ Regional Plan. He warned that failing to lift infrastructure investment to unlock benefits of the plan could force property supply to tighten and push up prices, citing Sydney as an example.“For decades they (NSW) didn’t invest in infrastructure and there was such a constraint on supply that they’ve had these major price increases. This is about long term positioning for Queensland and ensuring that we have steady supply of affordable property.”The ANZ/Property Council survey saw confidence in Queensland rise four index points over the last quarter, from 123 to 127 (with 100 being neutral) – the worst performance of all states except Western Australia (118), with Victoria at 140 and NSW at 145 index points.last_img read more

Mt Tamborine Rainforest retreat, Songbird, garners attention from worlds best chefs

first_img232 Geissmann Drive, Tamborine Mountain.But it is the award-winning restaurant that has grabbed the attention of international buyers according to Ray White agent Thomas Clark who is marketing the property alongside Michael Willems. “We have been in discussion with high profile buyers and a number of executive chefs who are quite well known,” Mr Clark said.More from news02:37Purchasers snap up every residence in the $40 million Siarn Palm Beach North3 hours ago02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa23 hours ago“I can’t reveal any names because of confidentiality but they are high profiles names in the hotel and food industry.” Bronwyn “Bonnie” Rodwell bought the property in 2004 for $2 million and made significant improvements to the resort.Songbird has been on the market since 2014 and was rumoured to have almost sold to celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. 232 Geissmann Drive, Tamborine Mountain.Mr Clark described the 20.23ha property as a special parcel of land that has potential to host 14 extra villas. “The owner Bronwyn has spent $100,000 on development plans,” Mr Williems said.“In the past year she also spent half a million on upgrading the property.”Mr Willems said it would remain as a rainforest retreat.“Every buyer who visits can’t believe how tranquil the property is,” he said.“The owner live sin New Zealand and feels like it is time to let it go.” 232 Geissmann Drive, Tamborine Mountain.A RENEWED push to sell a Mt Tamborine rainforest retreat has the worlds top hoteliers and chefs licking their lips at the opportunity. The sprawling property at 232 Geissmann Drive comes with six luxury Bali-inspired spa villas surrounded by lush rainforest. last_img read more

Latvian pension funds produce positive returns despite market turmoil

first_imgLatvia’s second and third-pillar pension funds generated positive returns in 2015 despite a volatile second and third quarter.The results were critical for the seven second-pillar fund managers.Under a new performance fee regime introduced in 2015 managers were rewarded for achieving positive results and penalised for negative ones.In the case of the second-pillar funds, the 12-month average return declined to 1.93%, from 5.24% a year earlier, according to the Association of Commercial Banks of Latvia (LKA). The return of the eight active, equity-orientated funds fell from 5.52% to 2.29%, that of the four balanced funds from 5.28% to 1.43%, and that of the eight conservative bond plans from 4.57% to 1.26%.Since the end of 2014, membership of the mandatory system has grown by 4,800 to 1.25m and assets by 16.3% to €2.3bn.Assets increased partly because the contribution rate rose from 4% to 5% in May 2015.In terms of asset allocation, all classes of funds adopted more conservative strategies, especially in the fourth quarter.The overall share of pension fund investments in equity and equity investments fell by 6 percentage points year on year to 26%, and that of bond and bond funds by 4 percentage points to 50%, while the cash share grew by 7 percentage points to 15%.Geographically, the share of investments in Latvia increased from 42% to 43.5%.There was a growing interest in alternatives such as funds investing in Latvian venture capital and real estate.The second-pillar funds were also one of the biggest investors in the green bonds issued in 2015 by Latvenergo, the state-owned electricity and thermal-power supply, generation and transmission company.The bonds were the CEE’s first renewable energy securities issued by a state-owed company.The funds increased their share of investments in Eastern Europe from 17% to 20%, and that in the rest of Europe from 14% to 16%, while scaling back their asset allocation in North America, Asia and in international/global securities.Third-pillar average 12-month returns also declined over the year, from 5.33% to 2.28%.Those of the active plans fell from 6.62% to 3.34%, and those of the balanced plans from 4.91% to 1.71%.There was relatively little change in the balanced funds’ asset allocation.As of the end of 2015, bond and bond funds accounted for the highest share of portfolios (64%), followed by cash (14%) and equity and equity funds (10%).The active funds reduced their equity holdings from 41% to 34% while increasing their bond and cash allocations to 43% and 11%, respectively.Latvian-denominated securities accounted for 34% of third-pillar fund investments, Eastern Europe 11%, the rest of Europe 23% and global securities 16%.Assets grew over the year by 17.7% to €330m, and membership by 8.1% to 255,012, of which 22% had their contributions paid by their employers.last_img read more

Digicel Dominica launches grassroots cricket clinic

first_img Share NewsSports Digicel Dominica launches grassroots cricket clinic by: – December 2, 2011 Sharing is caring! 23 Views   no discussions Sharecenter_img Share Tweet Grassroots cricketers.Friday 2nd December 2011 – Roseau, Dominica: Digicel Dominica today announced its Grand Clusters grassroots cricket tournament scheduled for Saturday and Sunday December 10th and 11th, 2011 at the Jolly John’s Playing Field, Carib Reserve.All three clusters, namely Roseau, Portsmouth and Carib Territory, will compete against each other with each group comprising of an estimated 30 students, followed by the prize giving ceremony. Dominica’s Grassroots Cricket Development Officer, Mr Delvin Esprit, said; “We are thrilled to be launching the Grand Clusters grassroots cricket tournament this year and we are looking forward to public support for the event which will see 90 aspiring young cricketers come out to face each other. “These youngsters have undergone several training sessions in preparation of the tournament and many of them hope to continue their cricketing career into future and as such it is imperative that we support them in their endeavours,” continued Esprit. Coaches of the Grassroots cricketers.Digicel Dominica CEO, Richard Stanton, said; “At Digicel, we really believe that supporting the game at grassroots level is vital in ensuring that the future of West Indies cricket burns brightly – so much so that our Regional Grassroots Cricket Training Programme saw over 2600 youth cricketers from all across the Caribbean receive specialised coaching from over 180 WICB accredited coaches this year alone.“Here in Dominica, we are proud to be a part of the Dominica Cricket association and its grassroots initiative since its launch earlier this year. In just in eight short months the association has made fantastic progress and we look forward to many more years of success to come,” continued Stanton. Press ReleaseDigicel Dominicalast_img read more