People Moves: Land Securities, Colas Rail and more

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‘You cannot fight a fire blindfolded’: WHO chief blasts slow virus testing…

first_img Six Eastern Caribbean countries deemed safe for travel – CDC Related Posts WHO Chief Points to ‘Green Shoots of Hope’ in COVID-19 PandemicThe UN’s top official also commended nations in Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific, which took early action to suppress the virus. (United Nations News) Although COVID-19 cases are on track to hit 20 million worldwide this week, and 750,000 deaths, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO)…August 11, 2020In “CARPHA”Herd Immunity, an ‘Unethical’ COVID-19 Strategy, Tedros Warns Policymakers(United Nations News) Using the principle of so-called “herd immunity” to stem the COVID-19 pandemic is “unethical” and “not an option” countries should pursue to defeat the virus, the UN health agency chief warned on Monday. “Herd immunity is a concept used for vaccination, in which a population can be…October 13, 2020In “CARPHA”UN health chief announces global ‘solidarity trial’ to jumpstart search for COVID-19 treatment(United Nations News) Just 60 days after the genetic sequence of COVID-19 was shared by China, the first vaccine trial has begun, the UN health chief said on Wednesday, calling it “an incredible achievement” and urging the world to maintain “the same spirit of solidarity” that has helped fight Ebola.…March 19, 2020In “CARPHA”Share this on WhatsApp On Caribbean Statistics Day, PM Mitchell Hails Unwavering… Oct 15, 2020 The WHO has repeatedly decried a lack of urgency on the part of many countries when it comes to testing, isolation and contact tracing (i.e. carefully monitoring people who are in close contact with someone who has been infected). In his Monday briefing, Tedros acknowledged the rapid escalation in social distancing measures worldwide, which include many more school closures, the cancelling of sporting events and, in some countries, the closure of businesses where people congregate, such as restaurants, bars, cinemas, and theatres. However, simply following guidelines for personal behaviour (such as social distancing, regular handwashing and coughing into your elbow) are, said Tedros, simply not enough to “extinguish the pandemic”. Read more at: United Nations News Share this:PrintTwitterFacebookLinkedInLike this:Like Loading… center_img Oct 16, 2020 CARPHA Partners with, PAHO to Ensure Caribbean States’… Oct 16, 2020 (United Nations News) “The most effective way to prevent infections and save lives, is breaking the chains of transmission. And to do that, you must test and isolate”, said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, at Monday’s COVID-19 press briefing, held at the UN health agency’s headquarters in Geneva: “Once again, our message is: test, test, test.”last_img read more

Isabel dos Santos pledges transparency, efficiency at Angolan state oil giant

first_imgBy Ed CropleyLUANDA (Reuters) – Angolan state energy giant Sonangol is spinning off non-core investments in areas such as banking and real estate into a separate fund to allow it to focus exclusively on oil, new CEO Isabel dos Santos said on Thursday.In her first interview since being appointed last week, the daughter of Angola President Jose Eduardo dos Santos also pledged to bring openness and efficiency to the 40-year-old company that is frequently criticised as opaque and unwieldy.“We’re very committed to transparency. We’re very committed to improving our profits at Sonangol and to improving our organisation,” she told Reuters in the staff canteen at the company’s swish headquarters in central Luanda.The 43-year-old, a major investor in various Angolan and Portuguese telecoms, banking, media and energy companies, is ranked as Africa’s richest woman by Forbes magazine.Dos Santos dismissed suggestions that it was her family connections rather than business acumen that led to her appointment last week after the surprise dismissal of the Sonangol board.Some analysts have seen the move as a sign of President dos Santos — Angola’s ruler for the last 36 years — putting close family members in charge of key pillars of the economy ahead of 2018, when he has said he intends to step down.“It’s not because of politics,” the Sonangol chief executive said of her appointment. “I was brought into this project because of my experience from the private business sector.”She also confirmed that Sonangol would be split into three units, one overseeing its oil operations, another logistics and the third handling the management of concessions to international energy companies.Like other energy businesses, Sonangol has been hit hard by the decline in oil prices and Dos Santos emphasised the need to find ways to improve margins by lowering the unit cost of producing a barrel of oil.In particular, Sonangol officials have spoken of operators in Angola sharing logistics infrastructure to reduce overheads.Angola is now ahead of Nigeria as Africa’s top producer because of militant violence that his hit output in the Niger Delta region.FIXING THE MENUDos Santos said the restructuring would have taken place regardless of the oil price collapse, given the rapid development of Angola’s economy since the end in 2002 of a devastating civil war, during which Sonangol was often called upon to provide basic services such as housing and hospitals.“It is a state company and it was always the provider for many, many things for the country. If we required social housing or if we had issues regarding health, it was always a company that contributed,” she said.“But the country has grown. There are a lot more businesses. You have a thriving banking sector, the real estate market is there, you can see all the construction. There are other companies, so Sonangol can push back a little bit from its non-core areas.”Angola, which relies on oil exports for 95 percent of its foreign exchange, is often cited by anti-bribery campaigners as one of the world’s most corrupt countries. President dos Santos has said he has a “zero tolerance” approach to graft.Isabel dos Santos said she intends to change the culture at Sonangol, improving relations with oil majors such as Chevron , Total and BP while breaking down internal barriers with down-to-earth gestures such as using the staff canteen.“We’re a team. It doesn’t matter what job you have in a company, whether you’re at the top, bottom or in the middle,” she said in the canteen.“I eat here every day. But I didn’t like lunch yesterday so I’ll have to fix that – that’s a quick win.”(Editing by David Goodman)last_img read more

Wonders & blunders

first_imgTo continue enjoying, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Subscribe now for unlimited access Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAYlast_img read more

SMIT hits EUR75 million

first_imgThe result includes a net contribution of EUR10 million (USD14.94 million) from the financial settlement of the “Thunderhorse” project. The net profit shows a decrease compared with the corresponding period in 2008. The decrease is caused mainly by a drop in revenues of the Harbour Towage and Transport & Heavy Lift Divisions. In contrast, the Terminals and Salvage Divisions realised sharp increases in their results. EBITDA (including the income contributed by “Thunderhorse” and the results from associated companies) rose slightly compared with last year.Ben Vree, SMIT’s CEO, comments, “Despite the current recession, we have proved capable of maintaining our financial results at a reasonable level, by reallocating harbour tug vessels to new areas. During the third quarter we saw a slight recovery in the number of towage movements. However, the cyclical activities of the Transport & Heavy Lift Division generated lower returns. The profit forecast for the whole of 2009 is still in line with our earlier announcements.”In the Transport & Heavy Lift Division results were slightly below the results for the first six months of the year, the primary reason being that the vessels operating on the spot market generated lower returns. As a result, the accumulated results for 2009 are below last year’s level. Owing to the currently unfavourable market conditions, the “Taklift 4” sheerleg is undergoing substantial modification during the latter half of the year to increase its capacity and extend its useful life. As a result of this and other factors, income from the Heavy Lift activities for the second half of the year will be below the level of the first six months.Smit International and Royal Boskalis Westminster have reached agreement on a full merger of the two companies, whereby all the activities of Smit will be continued in the combined company – see earlier news item for further information.last_img read more

Dumfries Is ‘Switched On’ This Christmas

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedInA Crowd of thousands gathered progressively throughout the day as Dumfries held its Christmas Lights Switch On event on Sunday 27 November. Everyone soaked up the festive atmosphere in and around the high Street area. The Christmas Market were made up of local traders and were kept busy with a steady flow of people from 10am.The on-stage entertainment started at in the eraly afternoon on The Plainstanes and featured an eclectic taste of music and other performances. There were performances from school choirs and an appearance from local radio presenter ‘Tommy Jardine’, who whipped up the crowd’s in his own unique way. There were also performances from local singers Ben Stubbs, Kate Kyle and Alana Currie, as well as sing-alongs with Disney characters throughout the day.At 5.30pm, there was a special guest of a very different kind, when Santa himself landed for a chat with the growing crowds.As well as the on-stage entertainment, there were a number of activities available for people of all ages. Santa’s Grotto and the Snow Globe were big hits with the smaller children looking to ask for that special gift this year, and bouncy swings ride in Queensberry Square was also very popular with revellers.Dumfries was lit up at 6pm, when the countdown reached ‘1’. Three new lights were added to the High Street this year, designed by Primary School children as part of the Christmas Light design competition which is run every year in Primary schools across Nithsdale. This year the winners were as follows;P1-3Lauren Brown of Wallace Hall PrimaryP4-5Harry Watson of Duncow PrimaryP6-7Kirstin Murray of Calside PrimaryThe winning lights are on proud display on Dumfries High Street – hanging parallel to the Fountain where English Street meets the High Street.Straight after the big Switch On, a series of spectacular fireworks lit up the night sky behind the Midsteeple, and were met with “ooohs” and “aahhhs” from the crowds.Chairman of Nithsdale Area Committee and Provost of Dumfries, Cllr Ted Thompson switched the lights on with the help of the winning school pupils. He said of the event;“I hope everyone enjoyed the activities and entertainment at this year’s Switch On. The lights designed by the school pupils looked terrific and the children should be very proud. The town remained busy for a good while after the Switch On to listen to St Michael’s Primary School Choir, which was excellent. I would like to thank all of the performers on the Plainstanes for their performances. Many of the acts were performing thanks to support from the Oasis Youth Centre Events Team, who did a smashing job of coordinating the Switch On. I think throughout the day there truly was something for everyone. I would like to wish everyone all the very best for the festive season.”last_img read more

Dune Hugger: Dunes!

first_img Share RelatedDune restoration totals surpass 24,000 plantsBy ROB NIXON Surfrider Foundation South Texas Chapter Saturday saw the third dune restoration event of the planting season and the first of the New Year held by the City of South Padre Island and the Surfrider Foundation South Texas Chapter. The 2011-2012 season is the second year of an…January 30, 2012In “News”Dune Hugger: Erosion Response PlanSpecial to the PRESS There is an important Public Forum regarding future development of the northern beaches of Cameron County on South Padre Island coming up Wednesday, Oct. 28! In 2009, after Hurricanes Dolly and Ike decimated the Texas Coast Lines and the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association Fund, the 81st…October 23, 2015In “News”Volunteers plant 14,000 dune floraBy CRAIG ALANIZ Reporter/Photographer  The Surfrider Foundation South Texas Chapter hosted the first dune restoration of the year Saturday, November 17, at Beach Access 1 in South Padre Island. Rob Nixon, Chairman of Surfrider Foundation South Texas Chapter, said Surfrider Foundation in partnership with the City of South Padre…November 21, 2012In “Gallery” Special to the PRESSWelcome to the new “Dune Hugger” Column!  My name is Rob Nixon and I am the Chairman of the Surfrider Foundation South Texas Chapter and Member of the Surfrider Foundation National Board of Directors.  This Column will explore our coasts and issues related to them as well as explore the Surfrider Foundation’s Mission, the preservation of our oceans, waves and beaches for the enjoyment of all people.Our first issue is Dunes!  We love dunes!  They provide a natural barrier against storm surge for the properties and infrastructure on South Padre Island, provide a sand “savings account” for our beaches that help them weather and recover from storms and provide habitat for our local flora and fauna.  When a storm surge comes in in the form of a tropical storm event or a norther, dunes may be partially washed out by the surge depositing sand either on the beach itself or in a nearby sandbar to be redeposited later during calmer tides.  A duneless beach with only seawalls will see a faster erosion rate than those that do have dunes because, while dunes  will also absorb energy by elevating the profile of the beach and differentially refract waves, a seawall will magnify the force of the water and concentrate the energy back on the same spot over and over exacerbating erosion.Back in 2008, Surfrider Foundation partnered with Barefoot Wine, the City of South Padre Island and the University of Texas at Brownsville in our first annual Barefoot Wine Beach Rescue Project with a combination dune cleanup and harvesting after Hurricane Dolly.  We cleaned the dunes of storm debris and took some plants out to be propagated at the UTB Greenhouse and planted later to begin growing new dunes where there were no longer any.  It was great success.  The process of building a continuous dune line along the beaches of the City of South Padre Island had begun; though slow in the beginning with only a hand full of events and a few hundred plants planted.In 2010, The City of South Padre Island decided to ramp up the partnership with Surfrider Foundation and increase the number of events, the amount of dune plants and the area covered.  The partnership was simple, SPI would buy the plants and the Surfrider Foundation would help organize and provide the Volunteers.   The planting increased from a handful of plants being planted over 3 hours with shovels by a group of volunteers to upwards of 12,000 plants being planted at a time using drills and augers!   The program had evolved and become seriously viable.2013 is where everything really clicked though.  Thanks to the dedication of the SPI Coastal Resources Department and the Volunteers that Surfrider Foundation helped organize which came from groups of Residents, Families, Texas Master Naturalists, UTB, UTPA, TSTC, Texas A&M, Laguna Madre Boys and Girls Club, Winter Texans, South Texas Fly Tiers Club and many others, the Texas General Land Office offered to start paying for the entire program through a grant.  This included $90,000 to purchase plants and supplies to plant as many as 180,000 plants a year.  There was no required match the City had to come up with as long as it stayed a volunteer based event.  In 2014, the GLO agreed to fund the program again!What has this state funding meant for the City of South Padre Island, the Surfrider Foundation and all of the other organizations that have helped make this program such a success?  It’s meant that 240,000 Sea Oats and Bitter Panicum planted to date and over 6.5 acres of new and enhanced dunes on South Padre Island!  That is impressive, but the real benefit is the buy-in from the volunteers and organizations and their commitment to helping naturally preserve and protect our beach.  Every so often I will get an email from someone who has participated in one or more of these Dune Restorations and the question is, “How are my dunes doing?”  It has created literally thousands of stewards that have given thousands of hours of their time to invest in their beach, even though they may be from hundreds or even thousands of miles away!You can be a part of the next Dune Restoration event here on SPI and become a steward of our beach as well!  The next Dune Restoration and Planting is Saturday April 11 at Gay Dawn Circle (City Beach Access #20) between 9 a.m. – noon.  All supplies will be provided.Rob NixonChairman- Surfrider Foundation South Texas ChapterMember- Surfrider Foundation National Board of DirectorsWant the whole story? Pick up a copy of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here.last_img read more

West Florida women’s basketball defeats West Alabama 56-49

first_imgWest Florida women’s basketball defeats West Alabama 56-49 Share    LIVINGSTON, Ala. – The University of West Florida women’s basketball team defeated Gulf South Conference opponent West Alabama 56-49 on the road Saturday afternoon. West Florida (12-6, 7-5 GSC) completes the regular-season sweep over West Alabama en route to earning the team’s seventh conference win of the season.UWF had a strong first half shooting 46 percent from the field (12-for-26). The Argonauts tied the game at 12 points apiece late in the first half before going on a 19-7 run to end the period that included 15 unanswered points.UWA responded in the second half shooting 52 percent from the field while holding UWF to only seven made field goals. West Alabama cut the lead to two points late in the second half but West Florida would end the game on a 7-0 run to earn the road victory.The Argonauts outscored the Tigers 14-2 in the paint and also outscored UWA in points off the bench with a 12-2 advantage. Freshman Katie Bobos (Lowell, Ind./Lowell HS) led UWF with 13 points and nine rebounds while senior Toynetta Johnson (Pascagoula, Miss./Pearl River CC) added 10 points, six rebounds and three steals.West Florida will next play host to GSC opponent Union (Tenn.) on Friday, February 13 at 5 p.m. CT at the UWF Field House.For information on all UWF athletics, visit Print Friendly Versioncenter_img Freshman Katie Bobs led UWF in scoring with 13 points. (Photo by Bill Stockland) last_img read more

UWF Cross Country to Visit Lakeland for Regional Meet

first_imgRenee Cox finished first for the Argos in each of the four races, and her 11th-place finish at the GSC Championships earned her second team All-GSC honors for the second year in a row.  She has had two top 10 finishes on the season. Brandon Battle finished second for the Argos in three of the four of the meets this year. Battle’s season-high finish was 14th at the Montevallo Falcon Classic. The top three teams from each region plus eight “at large” teams voted on by NCAA Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Committee will advance to the NCAA Championships. Additionally, the top two runners not on a qualifying team (16 total), any top-five finisher in the region who is not on a qualifying team, and eight “at large” runners will advance to NCAA Championships as Individuals. The women’s 6K championship starts at 8:30 AM ET, followed by the men’s 10K championship at 9:45 AM ET. #ARGOS#Print Friendly Versioncenter_img LIVE RESULTSCOURSE MAPS: 6K | 10KREGIONAL PARTICIPANTS PENSACOLA, Fla. – The University of West Florida cross country teams are headed to the NCAA South Region Championships on Saturday, hosted by Florida Southern College in Lakeland. The meet will be held at Holloway Park and Nature Preserve and features 39 teams from three conferences, with three additional teams from universities in Puerto Rico.Will Kemmler has been the top finisher for the Argos this season, leading the team in every race. His 16th-place finish at the GSC Championships earned him second team All-GSC honors for the second time in his career. His time of 25:12 at the Florida State Invitational ranks sixth all-time in the UWF record books, and Kemmler had two second-place finishes on the year. Devin Montalvo finished second for the Argos in three of four races, with two top 20 finishes.last_img read more