Storm Ciara lashes sports events across Europe

first_imgThe women’s Six Nations clash between Scotland and England was also postponed after Saturday’s Calcutta Cup clash between the two countries’ men’s teams in Edinburgh had been marred by terrible conditions.Much of France was lashed by the storm Sunday but all three Ligue 1 matches were played, as was the blustery Six Nations rugby clash between France and Italy at the Stade de France outside Paris.A 10km London road race was also called off due to the weather as the 25,000 expected runners were advised not to travel.Storm Ciara did help one new record get set, but not in sports.A British Airways 747 set the fastest flight by a conventional airliner from New York to London thanks to powerful tailwinds.The flight took off from John F Kennedy airport and had been scheduled to land at Heathrow at 0625 GMT on Sunday, but arrived 102 minutes early at 0443 GMTTopics : The unusually high winds that Storm Chiara blew up on Sunday played havoc with sports events across Europe as soccer and rugby matches were cancelled and a London road race was called off.Top tier soccer matches in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and England were called off as 140kmph gusts (87 mph) were recorded.Manchester City’s Premier League clash with West Ham was among the more high profile events called off as howling winds disrupted transport links and travelers were advised only to make journeys if absolutely necessary.last_img read more

Gold glitters as cash-strapped Thais sell jewellery

first_imgThais are flocking to Bangkok’s Chinatown to sell their gold jewellery as the price of the precious metal spikes and the economy tanks due to the coronavirus pandemic.Gold surged to a seven-year high on Tuesday to US$1,731.25 an ounce, following global moves led by the US to reinflate economies with trillions of dollars of stimulus measures.That has boosted the price of gold across the world, tempting many to sell their stocks of the precious metal at a time of economic hardship without recent precedent.   Many Thais buy gold jewellery as an investment in times of plenty, to be sold when prices rise or belts tighten.In Bangkok, where a virtual lockdown has taken root for a fortnight, hundreds flocked to Yaowarat, Bangkok’s Chinatown, to trade bracelets, necklaces and rings for cash as local gold prices jumped more than 20 percent.”I don’t have any savings so I decided to sell the gold I have for cash to keep me afloat during this time,” Thanakorn Promyuyen, a 39-year-old street vendor told AFP.Traders have bought tens of millions of dollars worth of gold since Tuesday, according to Jitti Tangsitpakdi, a chairman of a trade association. “One shop bought 200 million baht ($6.1 million) of ornaments and bars,” he said, explaining businesses whose revenue has been strangled by the lockdown are being forced to sell their gold savings.”Their businesses are in bad shape; better to sell gold and keep cash,” he added.”In over 60 years and I never seen people queue like this to sell their gold.” Thailand’s economy is forecast to contract by more than five percent this year after the virus shuttered borders – killing the cash cow tourist industry – leaving millions unemployed.”I don’t have any income, only expenses,” said 43-year-old Aumporn Pansa as he sold his jewellery.”I have kids to take care of as well as monthly bills, so I had to come here and sell.”Topics :last_img read more

WTO chief to step down early as global economic crisis rages

first_imgAfrican candidate The WTO has for nearly two decades failed to conclude the Doha Round of trade liberalisation talks.However, on Azevedo’s watch, WTO members did conclude their first ever multilateral agreement when they reached a deal in Bali in late 2013 on overhauling global customs procedures.But since his second term began in 2017, countries have failed to reach further multilateral agreements, and the WTO has struggled to deal with a US administration openly hostile to its multilateral approach.The WTO was forced to put its dispute settlement appeal system on ice last December after Washington blocked the appointment of new judges, preventing it from reaching a three-judge quorum.US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer meanwhile hailed Azevedo’s service.”Despite the many shortcomings of the WTO, Roberto has led the institution with grace and a steady hand. He will be difficult to replace,” he said in a statement.Many observers are already betting on a candidate from Africa — and against a WTO insider.One diplomatic source told AFP that there appeared to be a clear “consensus” that the next leader should not come from “a big economic power”, and certainly not from China or the United States, in light of their trade war. The World Trade Organization chief announced Thursday he will step down on August 31, a year before his term ends, despite the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the global economy.Roberto Azevedo said it had been a “personal decision” reached with his family, and stressed that he was not leaving to pursue “political opportunities”.”This is a decision that I do not take lightly,” Azevedo told member state representatives, according to a written version of his speech. ‘New post-COVID realities’Azevedo meanwhile said he was “convinced that this decision serves the best interests of this organization.”The 62-year-old Brazilian career diplomat, who became the WTO chief in 2013, suggested that an early change of leadership would help it face “new post-COVID realities”.He also insisted his move would avoid weighing down the WTO’s 12th ministerial conference next year with the difficult process of finding his successor.”My departure in August will give you the time you need to work with my successor — whoever she or he may be — to shape the strategic direction for MC12 and the months and years that follow,” he said.He said that the current slowdown in activity due to measures taken to curb the COVID-19 pandemic offered an opportune time to seek his replacement.EU trade chief Phil Hogan said in a statement that he agreed.”It is essential that we quickly chart a new path ahead at this critical and uncertain time for trade. It makes sense to proceed now with the succession process rather than wait until next year,” he said.Not everyone agreed the timing was right, however.Azevedo’s expected departure “comes at a very bad moment for the institution, as the trade system has become deeply destabilized,” Sebastien Jean, head of CEPII think tank, told AFP.He pointed to “existing tensions, in particular the scathing criticism from the US president, violations of many agreements, the US-China trade war and the paralysis of the appeals body.”Azevedo, who before his appointment as WTO chief spent five years as Brazil’s ambassador to the organization, has enjoyed a reputation as a consensus-builder.During his first term he dedicated much energy to trying to unblock long-deadlocked trade agreements. Azevedo’s early departure will come at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has pushed the global economy and international trade into turmoil, facing downturns not seen since the Great Depression. Global trade, already hit by political tensions and uncertainties around Brexit, is expected to register “double-digit declines” in volumes in nearly all regions this year, the WTO said last month.The 164-member organization was already in crisis before the pandemic hit, dealing with raging trade wars and scathing criticism by United States under President Donald Trump, who has pushed for reforms of the Geneva-based body.Referring to Azevedo’s announcement, Trump told a White House briefing Thursday that “I’m ok with it,” adding “The World Trade Organization is horrible”. Topics :last_img read more

Beirut’s accidental cargo: How an unscheduled port visit led to disaster

first_imgThe crew were asked to load some heavy road equipment and take it to Jordan’s Port of Aqaba before resuming their journey onto Africa, where the ammonium nitrate was to be delivered to an explosives manufacturer.But the ship was never to leave Beirut, having tried and failed to safely load the additional cargo before becoming embroiled in a lengthy legal dispute over port fees.”It was impossible,” Prokoshev, 70, told Reuters of the operation to try and load the extra cargo. “It could have ruined the whole ship and I said no,” he said by ‘phone from his home in the Russian resort town of Sochi on the Black Sea coast.The captain and lawyers acting for some creditors accused the ship’s owner of abandoning the vessel and succeeded in having it arrested. Months later, for safety reasons, the ammonium nitrate was unloaded and put in a dock warehouse. The chemicals that went up in flames in Beirut’s deadliest peace-time explosion arrived in the Lebanese capital seven years ago on a leaky Russian-leased cargo ship that, according to its captain, should never have stopped there.”They were being greedy,” said Boris Prokoshev, who was captain of the Rhosus in 2013 when he says the owner told him to make an unscheduled stop in Lebanon to pick up extra cargo.Prokoshev said the ship was carrying 2,750 tons of a highly combustible chemical from Georgia to Mozambique when the order came to divert to Beirut on its way through the Mediterranean. On Tuesday, that stockpile caught fire and exploded not far from a built-up residential area of the city. The huge blast killed 145 people, injured 5,000, flattened buildings and made more than a quarter of a million people homeless.The ship might have succeeded in leaving Beirut, had it managed to load the additional cargo.The crew had stacked the equipment, including excavators and road-rollers, on top of the doors to the cargo hold which held the ammonium nitrate below, according to the ship’s Russian boatswain, Boris Musinchak. But the hold doors buckled.”The ship was old and the cover of the hold bent,” Musinchak said by ‘phone. “We decided not to take risks.”The captain and three crew spent 11 months on the ship while the legal dispute dragged on, without wages and with only limited supplies of food. Once they left, the ammonium nitrate was unloaded.”The cargo was highly explosive. That’s why it was kept on board when we were there … That ammonium nitrate had a very high concentration,” Prokoshev said.Bound for MozambiqueProkoshev identified the ship’s owner as Russian businessman Igor Grechushkin. Attempts to contact Grechushkin were unsuccessful.The ammonium nitrate was sold by Georgian fertilizer maker Rustavi Azot LLC, and was to be delivered to a Mozambique explosives maker, Fabrica de Explosivos.A senior representative for Fabrica de Explosivos did not immediately respond when sent a request for comment on LinkedIn.Levan Burdiladze, the Rustavi Azot plant director, told Reuters that his company had only operated the chemical factory for the last three years and so he could not confirm whether the ammonium nitrate was produced there.He called the decision to store the material in Beirut port a “gross violation of safe storage measures, considering that ammonium nitrate loses its useful properties in six months.”Initial Lebanese investigations into what happened have pointed to inaction and negligence in the handling of the potentially dangerous chemical.Lebanon’s cabinet on Wednesday agreed to place all Beirut port officials who have overseen storage and security since 2014 under house arrest, ministerial sources said.The head of Beirut port and the head of customs said that several letters were sent to the judiciary asking for the material be removed, but no action was taken.The ministry of justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.According to Prokoshev, the ship had been leaking but was seaworthy when it sailed into Beirut in September 2013. However, he said Lebanese authorities paid little attention to the ammonium nitrate, which had been stacked in the hull in large sacks.”I feel sorry for the people [killed or injured in the blast]. But local authorities, the Lebanese, should be punished. They did not care about the cargo at all,” he said.The abandoned Rhosus sank where she was moored in Beirut harbor, according to a May, 2018 email from a lawyer to Prokoshev, which said it had gone down “recently”.Topics :last_img read more

Ireland’s new SWF will take ‘years’ to deploy capital fully, says NTMA head

first_imgHowever, its activity is meant to “support economic activity and employment” in the country as long as portfolio returns outpace the government’s annual borrowing costs over a five-year period.Eugene O’Callaghan, currently in charge of investment at the NPRF and head of investments-designate at the ISIF, has acknowledged the challenge of balancing the dual objectives.Corrigan further said that once the commencement order was signed by government – officially launching the ISIF – Walsh, who joined the NTMA’s advisory board in 2013, would begin appointing members of the investment board.A spokeswoman for the Department of Finance said the commencement order would not be signed until the new NTMA board was in place, which it expected would be by October.She added that once the NTMA board had been established, it would look at the composition of the investment committee.Ahead of the ISIF’s official launch, the NPRF has been making a number of commitments, including to a suite of funds lending to small and medium-sized enterprises and a joint venture with the China Investment Corporation. As of the end of June, it had committed €1.2bn of its €7bn portfolio to upcoming projects. The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) will take up to four years to re-deploy its €7bn in assets, according to the head of the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA).John Corrigan, who is to retire as chief executive of the NTMA at the end of December, also said the organisation’s chairman Willie Walsh would soon start recruiting members of the ISIF investment committee.Speaking with IPE at the fringes of the Mandarine Gestion investment conference in Munich, Corrigan said while the legislation underpinning the ISIF was now on the statute books, he was awaiting the commencement order from Finance minister Michael Noonan.According to the NTMA (Amendment) Act 2014, the ISIF – which has previously been referred to as a sovereign development fund and will be funded with assets from the National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) – will not be barred from investing outside of Ireland.last_img read more

Front Altair Towed to UAE Waters

first_imgThe damaged tanker Front Altair has been towed out of the Iranian waters and is currently anchored off the coast of Fujairah, UAE.The vessel reportedly arrived at the anchorage on June 15, two days after it suffered a suspected attack and subsequent fire in the Gulf of Oman. During the towing operation the vessel was sprayed with water in order to cool down the hull, according to Iran’s Ports & Maritime Organization.Front Altair’s final destination is currently unknown.All 23 crew members that were rescued from the vessel have arrived safely in Dubai on Sunday, local media reports suggest.The Front Altair was one of the two vessels that were “torpedoed” in the Gulf of Oman that day. The second vessel is the product tanker Kokuka Courageous, managed by Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM).Dutch salvage company Boskalis said that the insurers of both vessels appointed its subsidiary SMIT Salvage as the salvor for the vessels and their cargo.Regarding Front Altair, Boskalis said that “a salvage team was flown in to execute the salvage operation on site with accompanying specialist equipment.” The team was expected to board the tanker during the weekend in order to evaluate the extent of the damages from the June 13 incident.Kokuka Courageous, that had a methanol cargo on board at the time of the attack, was towed to the anchorage off Fujairah on June 13.World Maritime News Stafflast_img read more

Astro Ocean Cruise’s First Ship Named in China

first_imgChina’s new cruise brand Astro Ocean Cruise received its first ship after the 1995-built Piano Land was named in a ceremony in Xiamen on September 26.Formerly known as Oriana, the cruise ship was acquired by Astro Ocean from P&O Cruises.Piano Land began its maiden cruise on September 27.With Xiamen, Shenzhen and Shanghai as its home ports, Piano Land will serve on the Southeast and Northeast Asian cruise routes, providing Chinese tourists with services meeting both domestic demands and international standards.With a total tonnage of about 70,000 tons, a length of 260 meters, a beam of 32.2 metes and the highest speed of 24 knots, Piano Land can accommodate 1,880 guests.Astro Ocean Cruise is jointly co-invested and operated by China National Travel Service Group Corporation (CTS Group) and COSCO SHIPPING.The state-owned enterprises noted that the first independently operated luxury cruise ship was part of a broader plan to develop China’s national cruise industry.The country also has its first locally-built cruise ship under construction at Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding. The newbuild is to be delivered in 2023 and will be operated by a joint venture between Carnival Corporation Plc and China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC).last_img read more

‘Chautauqua’ promotes diversity, inclusion

first_imgGreensburg, In. — The Greensburg Community High School hosted the evening Chautauqua program in the Goddard Auditorium last night.Among the guests were:Peter Larson, climate change advocate and the paleontologist credited with excavating more T-Rex skeletons than anyone else.Jamie O’Neal – Australian country singer and songwriterRobert “Bob” Gimlin – Patterson-Gimlin FilmsIrina Nistor – Romanian translator and film criticAlison Arngrim Nellie Oleson from “Little House on the Prairie.”Next edition of Chautauqua is scheduled for April 4, 2019.For more information about the panelists click here.last_img read more

Leicester striker Jamie Vardy close to return after minor groin surgery

first_img The forward – who turned 29 on Monday – had a minor groin operation earlier this month and missed Sunday’s 2-2 FA Cup draw with Spurs. He did some light training on Monday morning, after a warm up, away from the main squad as boss Claudio Ranieri nurses him back to health. Press Association The Foxes head back to White Hart Lane on Wednesday for their Barclays Premier League clash and Ranieri admitted he will give England man Vardy every chance to be fit. He said: “He is getting better, on Monday he made the warm up with the team and then he had a different job. On Tuesday I’ll check. I think he could be available. The little problem he had with the little operation is done and he can run normally without any problem. “Jamie had a problem for a month, more or less, and he continued to play. Now without the problem is much better. I’ll see if he starts from the beginning, if he is ready to come with me on the bench. Every time he wants to play, I know him.” Vardy, the league’s 15-goal joint top scorer, has also played with an ankle injury and a broken wrist this season to help guide the Foxes to second in the table. They return to league action on Wednesday after Ranieri made eight changes to his side for their Cup game against Spurs, including giving new £3.75million winger Demarai Gray a debut after his move from Birmingham. “He wasn’t 100 per cent but as a 19-year-old, having only had four training sessions with us, in his first match against a Premier League team, he was outstanding. He had a chance to score and worked hard,” Ranieri said. Jeff Schlupp remains out with a hamstring injury and Ranieri is set to again make changes to the Foxes. “It’s completely different because we will change the players. Every player changes something. Tottenham will be stronger but we are ready to play our football,” he added. “I have to check everybody, on Tuesday we have another training session. Then I’ll check and decide the first XI.” center_img Leicester birthday boy Jamie Vardy is facing a race against time to be fit to face Tottenham. last_img read more

FL caretaker charged for using frying pan as weapon against disabled

first_imgA caretaker is facing charges of abuse of mentally disabled persons after she hit several residents at a Florida group home with a frying pan, police say.Darnika Martin, 29, was arrested and charged with two counts of abuse or neglect of a disabled person.Martin was caught on surveillance video striking a male patient with a frying pan at a group home in Pinellas Park.Police say the group home’s owner reported the abuse after reviewing cameras placed in the group home over the weekend.The video shows the victim in the kitchen and then Martin running toward him with a frying pan in her hand.Martin is then seen slapping the man with her left hand while holding the frying pan over her head.Police say she struck the man several times as he tried defending himself.“You can clearly see in the video that this man was trying to get something out of a bag which we learned was food.” said Captain Adam Geissenberger. “I don’t know what the dialogue was between them, but for her to pick up a frying pan and strike him repeatedly about the head, arms, and hands, there’s no place for that anywhere.”Martin faces charges for hitting several residents of the Florida group home with a frying pan.However, she was only captured on video hitting one person.She was released from jail after posting a $10,000 bond the same day as her arrest.No other information is available at this time.last_img read more