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  • On the Blogs: A ‘Rear-Guard’ Action by the White House

    first_imgOn the Blogs: A ‘Rear-Guard’ Action by the White House FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Vox:There are still hundreds of plants in operation in the US, producing roughly a third of US power, but one in four of those plants is slated to retire or shift to natural gas, and another 17 percent beyond that are uneconomic, running only by virtue of being shielded from competition. As Department of Energy data shows, after a brief bump last year, US coal has resumed its inexorable decline.Last week, the Texas utility Luminant (owned by Vistra Energy) announced the retirement of two coal plants — Sandow Power Plant and Big Brown Power Plant — by early 2018. The reasoning was simple, and familiar: They just can’t compete with cheap natural gas and renewables.With that announcement, a milestone was reached: More than half of the total 2010 US coal fleet has retired or set a firm retirement date.The most effective anti-coal campaign has been recharged with significant new fundingThe 2010 fleet is the baseline used by the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign to track its progress in shutting down coal plants (2010 is when the campaign started).One key to its success has been that it not only took Bloomberg’s money but also adopted some of his relentless business discipline. It is working methodically, from a comprehensive spreadsheet of plants, each plant with its own description, its own identified weaknesses, and its own timeline for retirement.Wind energy capacity could surpass coal capacity in Texas as early as next year.This is of special significance because Texas is one of America’s biggest self-contained energy markets and also probably the closest thing the country has to a “free market” in electricity. Power is procured entirely through competitive bidding. Texas doesn’t even have capacity markets, which pay power plants to stay open in case of emergency. If capacity gets tight in Texas, the price of power rises — it’s a pure market signal.So it’s symbolically redolent that, as this excellent piece from a group of UT Austin scholars explains, cheap natural gas and renewables are driving coal steadily out of the “bid stack.”A report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) examined seven aging coal plants in Texas and concluded that “the coal-fired electricity industry in Texas is in decline and unlikely to recover in the face of rising competition from other energy sources.”Texas is not exactly run by tree huggers. Its legislature is packed with climate deniers. It fought against the Clean Power Plan just as fiercely as any conservative state. The steady decline of coal in Texas has nothing to do with emissions or climate change and everything to do with relentless market discipline.Companies, cities, states, and countries around the world are swearing off coalAround the world, coal capacity is being squeezed by two trends: the falling number of new plants being deployed and the accelerating number of retirements. The sagging fortunes of coal have led a growing number of companies and political entities to give up on it entirely.Meanwhile, out of the 1,675 companies that owned or developed coal plants since 2010, more than a quarter (448) have bailed on the coal power business entirely, canceling coal plant proposals and shutting down old plants. According to the report, that represents an exodus of $432 billion in capital and the capacity equivalent of 370 large coal power plants.Coal is increasingly seen for what it is: a dirty necessity in some places, but nothing anyone would choose if they could avoid it. To be free of coal is becoming a mark of modernity.Trump and his administration, in this area as in so many others, are engaged in a rear-guard battle. They are scrambling to keep uncompetitive coal plants open and running, but as we saw with Perry’s bonkers bid to blow up energy markets, there’s just no way to do that without forcefully intervening and subsidizing them (which is not a stable long-term business plan).More: 4 signs that Trump’s furious efforts to save coal are futilelast_img read more

  • Argentina Creates Support Unit for Venezuela’s Reconstruction

    first_imgBy Juan Delgado/Diálogo April 02, 2019 In light of the serious crisis in Venezuela, the Argentine government announced the creation of the Management Unit to Support Venezuela’s Reconstruction, February 14. The Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship said in a press release that the unit’s mission would be to assist with humanitarian aid to meet the needs of the Venezuelan people. “The unit will gather and systematize information on humanitarian needs in the country, as well as on infrastructure needs and requirements and institutional strengthening,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship stated. “It will coordinate the receipt, management, and shipment of donations and other humanitarian aid.” The new unit has the support of the White Helmets Commission, a humanitarian civil organization under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Worship. Its mission will also be to facilitate the participation of Argentine entities—private and academic institutions and nongovernmental organizations, among others—in various activities such as cooperation initiatives, human rights assistance, and education. Coordinating humanitarian aid On March 4, members of the White Helmet Commission, joined by Elisa Trotta Gamus, Venezuela’s diplomatic representative in Argentina appointed by Venezuelan Interim President Juan Guaidó, started training volunteers who will form the unit. The first training sessions took place at the Argentine Navy’s Buenos Aires Quartermaster Naval premises. “We are the ones responsible for coordinating humanitarian assistance in this unit,” said Alejandro Daneri, president of the White Helmets Commission, who highlighted the Argentine Navy’s support in training volunteers. “There is ongoing support to carry out this joint task.” The volunteers, Venezuelan nationals who immigrated to Argentina to escape the crisis in their country, learned how to receive donations and manage warehouses that store supplies, among other tasks. They will collect and sort food, medicines, and other basic supplies, such as pasta, sugar, powdered drinks, soap, toothpaste, and towels, among others, that will be sent as humanitarian assistance. “Our experts trained Venezuelans living in Argentina to manage and store donated supplies in warehouses, which will be sent to Cúcuta [on the Colombian-Venezuelan border],” Daneri said. “Humanitarian assistance is the most important [factor] in the Venezuela issue. People are having a very hard time.” The Argentine government estimates that more than 130,000 Venezuelans who were forced to leave the country are currently living in Argentina. According to the Organization of American States, there are more than 3 million Venezuelan refugees in Latin America—more than 1 million in Colombia alone—and the number could grow to more than 5 million by late 2019. In June 2018, a group of White Helmets traveled to Colombia to provide medical care to Venezuelans in Cúcuta, such as general medicine, pediatrics, gynecology, and psychology, as well as lab tests, diagnostic imaging, and medications. The six-month mission assisted thousands of Venezuelans, giving priority to women of childbearing age and children under 17. Daneri also highlighted the participation of White Helmets members in the humanitarian mission of the U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort as part of U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise mission, conducted from October to December 2018. The Argentine volunteers provided medical assistance to underprivileged communities from Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, and Honduras, as well as to Venezuelans who fled the crisis in their country. “Participating in that mission was a great experience, and it shows the cooperation and good relationship between the White Helmets and the United States,” Daneri said. Support for Juan Guaidó With the creation of the unit, the Argentine government reaffirms its backing for Guaidó’s roadmap, which emphasizes taking peaceful action, authorizing the entry of humanitarian aid into Venezuela, and reaching out to the Venezuelan military to restore the constitutional order with their support. Days after the announcement, on February 23, Maduro’s government blocked the entry of basic supplies that were part of the international assistance on the borders that Venezuela shares with Colombia and Brazil. The Lima Group, along with the United States, condemned Maduro’s actions, the violence that took place, and the blockage of tons of humanitarian supplies. Leaders of the Lima Group, which includes Argentina, issued a press release on February 25 urging the Venezuelan military to recognize Guaidó as their commander in chief and to “stop serving as instruments of Nicolás Maduro’s illegitimate regime.” On March 1, Argentine President Mauricio Macri hosted Guaidó in Buenos Aires, as part of Guaidó’s tour to strengthen support against Maduro’s regime. The leaders discussed how to organize the democratic transition in Venezuela and humanitarian assistance, among other topics. “Argentina welcomed many Venezuelans, and we are grateful for this grand gesture toward our fellow citizens,” Guaidó said during a press conference. “This is the start of a new stage for Venezuelan-Argentine relations. A relationship based on fundamental values, not on the interests of a few people.” On Twitter, Macri again condemned Maduro’s actions and confirmed Argentina’s support for the Venezuelan people. “The situation Venezuelans are going through is critical. Argentina will support all efforts to reconstruct Venezuelan democracy and restore decent living conditions for all Venezuelan citizens,” he said.last_img read more

  • Stresslines: Reducing stress through embezzlement

    first_img Stresslines: Reducing stress through embezzlement And some other sane stress reduction ideas, too Stress is defined by The Encyclopedia Britannica as an unavoidable part of living. Since stress is often linked to certain disease processes (coronary disease, substance abuse related diseases, and even cancer), it should follow that these diseases are “unavoidable” and a “part of” life. I, for one, refuse to accept that diagnosis and the related prognosis.I think that most stress is avoidable. All it takes is making the conscious decision to stop caring about the welfare of your family and friends, your own physical and financial health, the outcome of your cases, the welfare of your clients, the relative health of your law practice or anything else. By “blowing off” everything, embezzling a whole bunch of money, moving to the beach in some low-cost-of-living South American country and taking up a life of fishing, you can eliminate virtually all stress from your life! Of course, doing so will create for you a new line of stress, namely running from the police. Thus, I advocate that before taking me up on this idea — and then blaming me for your ultimate downfall — please note that I am only kidding.The point I am actually making here is this: For those of us that truly care about doing the right thing, stress is, in large part, unavoidable. That is not to say that “all” stress is unavoidable. Many of the stressors in our lives can be mitigated, removed, or downplayed merely by taking a proactive approach to such things as budgets, client and family needs, “big picture” goals, risk management, ethics, and physical/mental health.I appreciate that some may regard an article talking about planning to manage stress as a “tired” concept. The thought occurred to me that if you have to read this article to find solutions to manage your stress then you are not particularly likely to do them anyway. So I asked myself, “Why bother taking the time to write the article?” I was told that maybe there is one person out there that just needs a bit of a nudge — thus, this article is really just written for that one person. Budgeting Money and Time Why not take the time to map out a budget, for both personal and professional finances, and stick to it? As obvious as it may seem, having a clear understanding of what your income is and where it must go will, coupled with a spending plan (or map, or budget), significantly reduce stress — without requiring embezzlement! While you are at it, why not map out a time budget too? Realistically assess how much time you need to put in at the office each month (or week) and how much time you will intentionally be away from the office. Then use that starting point to sort through the days of the week and budget the time you must spend on your professional responsibilities, remembering to clearly mark off personal time away from the office. Don’t forget to budget time for your family, your friends, and the other significant people in your life (that would be you). Risk and Practice Management Why not take the time to think about the risks you take in your life and your practice and find ways to manage those risks? Life insurance, disability insurance, malpractice insurance, and business interruption insurance can loosen up a barrelful of stressors for a very fair price. Take the time to meet with your insurance agent (even meet by phone) and make sure you have the necessary coverage in place in amounts that makes sense within your budget. If your risk assessment leaves you wondering whether you might be taking too many chances, you can always revise your office procedures. A great place to get started with practice management changes is The Florida Bar LOMAS program. There you can get great ideas on marketing, computerization, and improving the efficiency of your practice. Start by clicking on LOMAS at www.flabar.org. Health Management A tired, neglected, or abused body can contribute greatly to physical and mental health problems (stressors). Why not work out, try to eat right, and cut down on the drinking and other bad habits you might have? The gym is great, but even if you just try to walk more or do a bit of exercising at home, you are likely to experience an improvement in attitude as well as health. Feeling too self-conscious to work out? Afraid that you are too out of shape to get started? Choose emotional strength, get over your fear (a self-defeating excuse) and start moving. Of course, if you are that far out of shape, it’s probably best to check with the doctor first. But, please, don’t use the inability to get an appointment with your doctor or to get to the gym to do the exercise as an excuse. Just go back to your time budget and find a way to fit it in. Are you abusing substances? If so, the best advice is to stop it. I know it sounds simple and can be hard, but you have to try. Take advantage of the Florida Lawyers Assistance Program — get started at www.fla-lap.org. Ethics The practice of law need not be fraught with problems. Unfortunately, some lawyers play fast and loose with both The Rules Regulating The Florida Bar and general business ethics rules. (Cheating people creates stress. Stop doing it.) In addition to creating stress for the one living on the fine line, such behavior creates stress for others as well. How do you fix it? For starters, before taking action in a case, ask yourself if it comports with The Golden Rule. (You remember The Golden Rule?) If you are not the one dancing on that fine line, the best way to limit this problem is to bring abuses to the attention of the offending party, and if that does not help, bring it to the attention of the court and/or the Bar. Afraid your clients will think you are not “tough” because you choose the high road? Take the time to explain your philosophy to your clients at the outset and your clients will respect you. You (and they) will see that doing the right thing will get the right results in your cases, and your reputation as a decent, ethical person will get you plenty of work (without any additional stress burdens).Well, to that one person out there that is taking this to heart: Thanks for reading, glad I could help. For everyone else, this article can be important too: I regularly remind myself of these same things. While some stress is unavoidable, there are other types of stress that are completely avoidable with some planning, both on an individual basis and as a group within our profession. We should all look to help each other reduce stress because, in turn, we will help ourselves. And feel free to call me if you need more help or advice. Jeff Albinson is a member of the Quality of Life and Career Committee of The Florida Bar. Albinson practices law with Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin in Tampa. He has a statewide practice focused on the defense of legal malpractice and ethics matters and he also provides risk management consults with lawyers and firms throughout the nation. This column is published under the sponsorship of the Quality of Life and Career Committee. The committee’s Web site is at www.fla-lap.org/qlsm. March 1, 2005 Jeff Albinson Regular News Stresslines: Reducing stress through embezzlementlast_img read more

  • Female Killed in Locust Valley Fire

    first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York One person was killed in an early morning fire that ripped through the cottage of a Locust Valley home on Thursday, authorities said.Nassau County police Arson/Bomb Squad detectives are investigating the blaze, but police said the cause of the fire doesn’t appear to be suspicious at this time.At least 75 firefighters responded to the 4:20 a.m. fire on Lattingtown Road after the homeowners of the residence woke up to smoke and saw that the cottage located on their property was on fire, police said. They tried to enter the cottage but were pushed back by smoke and heat, police said.The Locust Valley Fire Department and dozens of other firefighters responded and eventually extinguished the blaze, which also spread into the main area of the residence, police said.Members of the Nassau County Fire Marshall’s office and the Arson/Bomb Squad recovered the body of a female who is believed to be the homeowner’s daughter, police said. Authorities said the identify of the victim is being withheld pending an investigation by the medical examiner.A police officer and three firefighters who sustained injuries while responding to the blaze were hospitalized and released.Police said the investigation is ongoing.last_img read more

  • Suffolk Pols OK Bill Encouraging Coordination on Big Projects

    first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York After hours of contentious debate, Suffolk County Legislators approved a resolution Tuesday that encourages government entities to work together on large projects.The aim of the resolution, which was approved 10-7, is to speed up the process for Projects of Regional Significance, such as the Ronkonkoma Hub, because they affect more than one town and require cooperation among multiple government agencies to be successful.Opponents called it a power grab that would take zoning power away from local authorities and put it in the county’s hands.“No one is in favor of this,” exclaimed Legis. Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue). “It’s another layer of government imposed on planning and zoning initiatives. It’s red tape. It’s unnecessary.”The resolution encourages, but won’t require, town leaders to communicate and work together on Projects of Regional Significance. It requires membership in the Alliance in order to secure county funding for projects.Several lawmakers wondered if it’s necessary to pass a law that suggests officials talk to one another, and if they even had the authority to do so.Krupski also said the town supervisors that he spoke to about the proposal don’t support it. Legis. Lou D’Amaro (D-Huntington Station) shot back that if there are town supervisors against the resolution, it’s because they don’t understand it, they’re either misinformed, or uninformed.The resolution’s perceived vagueness was debated at length. Lawmakers called on Counsel to the Legislature, George M. Nolan, repeatedly to help them interpret certain sections’ meaning.Legis. William J. Lindsay, III (D-Holbrook) introduced the resolution in July to assist with the Suffolk County Master Plan. The Plan was adopted as a guide for future development and recognized that Projects of Regional Significance involve several levels of government entities.Proponents urged the Legislature to pass the bill as soon as possible to accelerate a billion dollars’ worth of projects already approved but awaiting funds to start work. Proponents contended that investors would rather spend their money in communities that can get projects done quickly, and that’s why Long Island’s willing investors are decreasing.The resolution’s other provision creates a list of prequalified consultants to perform work on the projects. This will eliminate the need for formal Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for such consultants.The bill now goes to Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.last_img read more

  • Women suffer as lockdown worsens Latin America’s ‘domestic hell’

    first_imgIn Argentina, 18 women have been killed by their partner or ex-partners during the first 20 days of a mandatory quarantine instituted by the government from March 20. Appeals to helplines in Argentina are up nearly 40 percent.The country is still reeling from the shocking murder of Cristina Iglesias and her seven-year-old daughter Ada, killed by her mother’s partner in the early days of the lockdown. Their two bodies were found buried in the backyard of their home in a town in Buenos Aires province.Elsewhere, police — alerted by neighbors — arrived in the nick of time to save a woman whose husband attacked her with a hammer. Living in fear A staggering 3,800 women were murdered in Latin America in 2019, an 8 percent increase on the previous year, according to preliminary data from the Observatory for Gender Equality at CEPAL, the UN’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.”Unfortunately, many women and girls are particularly exposed to violence precisely where they should be protected, in their own homes,” said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who issued a call for a domestic violence “ceasefire” as lockdowns extended into April.”You live in fear of turning your back on him. It is only later, when the bruises appear, that you realize that he could have killed you,” Luciana, a 25-year-old victim of domestic violence, told AFP. She was badly beaten by her ex-husband.”Every day, a women is abused, raped or beaten at home by her partner or her ex,” said Ada Rico, from the NGO La Casa del Encuentro.”In normal times, we would help her to file a complaint. These days, the urgency is to get her out of the house as quickly as possible.”The situation is similarly grim in Mexico, Brazil, Chile and elsewhere, where measures taken by the authorities often fall far short of properly protecting victims.In Mexico, “emergency calls have increased” since the start of the lockdown on March 24, said Nadine Gasman, head of the National Women’s Institute in Mexico City.Maria Salguero, who researches violence against women and created a “femicide map” around the country, estimated that around 200 women have been murdered since quarantine measures began. Rape and murder The sordid murder of Ana Paola, a 13-year-old who was raped and beaten to death by a burglar in the northeastern state of Sonora in early April, provoked widespread disgust and anger in Mexico.Emergency calls to the National Refugee Network, an NGO which caters to women victims of violence, have increased by 60 percent since the beginning of the confinement period. The number of women taken into care by the organization is up 5 percent.With more than 1,000 femicides in 2019, two recent brutal murders — one of a seven-year-old girl — once again highlighted a lack of action by authorities.Mexican feminist activists have demanded more effective policies from President Andres Manuel Lopez to combat the wave of violence.It’s a similar case in Peru, where 2019 femicides were the highest in a decade.In Sao Paulo, the epicenter of Brazil’s virus outbreak, reports of domestic violence have risen by 30 percent since the state government imposed a stay-at-home order.A group of 700 volunteers have formed a “vigilante network” to provide victims with medical, legal and psychological assistance through a WhatsApp messaging service.In Chile, which has opted for selective confinement in the most affected areas plus a nighttime curfew, complaints of domestic violence are up 500 percent in Providencia, an upper class neighborhood in the capital Santiago.The crisis has resulted in “increased alcohol consumption, mental health effects, increased anxiety, depression and violence within families,” said senior health official Paula Daza. Topics : Weeks of confinement imposed by the coronavirus pandemic is taking a chilling toll on women and girls across Latin America, where the number of calls to helplines have soared, made by victims of domestic violence who cannot flee. Appeals to help women experiencing violence in the home have redoubled in recent weeks, from the United Nations to Pope Francis — Latin America’s first pontiff. “The confinement is plunging thousands of women into hell, trapped with an attacker who they are more afraid of than the coronavirus,” said Victoria Aguirre from the Argentine NGO MuMaLa, which campaigns against violence related to macho culture.last_img read more

  • Champions League ready to resume, at long last

    first_imgAfter an enforced hiatus of almost five months, the UEFA Champions League and Europa League resume this week in order to clear up the last remaining business in a troubled season.Both competitions were frozen in March as the coronavirus pandemic took hold across the continent, and while European football’s governing body acted swiftly to move Euro 2020 back a year, for a long time it was unclear how it would manage to complete its two landmark club competitions.In the end the solution was to set up two mini tournaments bringing all teams together in one place from the quarter-finals onwards, with all ties being decided in one-off matches behind closed doors. And so the Champions League will move to Lisbon for the ‘Final Eight’ starting on August 12 and ending with the final at Benfica’s Estadio da Luz on August 23.The Europa League, meanwhile, will be played to a conclusion at a series of venues in western Germany, with the last eight beginning on August 10 and the final in Cologne on August 21.”I believed it from the first moment,” said the UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin recently when asked if he ever doubted it would be possible to play the tournaments to a conclusion.”You should always be optimistic, and if something like this crisis happens, you must have a plan ready. “At the present time, we will be playing matches without spectators until further notice. We will not take any risks.”UEFA not worried There is, though, no question of further changes being made to the formats despite concerns about an increase in Covid-19 cases in and around Lisbon, and more recent worries in Germany about a rise in cases there.UEFA also recently insisted it was “confident” there would be no more delays despite cases of coronavirus emerging among players at Real Madrid and Sevilla.It is, in any case, now or never.Indeed, the preliminary round of next season’s Champions League begins next Saturday, the same day Bayern Munich entertain Chelsea and Napoli visit Barcelona in their outstanding last 16 second legs.Before that, Manchester City defend a 2-1 first-leg lead at home against Real on Friday as Pep Guardiola’s side target Champions League glory on the back of the club’s success at getting a two-year ban from the competition overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.The winner of that tie will face Juventus or Lyon in the quarter-finals in Lisbon.Wolves’ longest year It is the Europa League which is first up, though, with the last 16 being completed on Wednesday and Thursday.Two ties — Inter Milan against Getafe and Sevilla against Roma — will go ahead as one-off ties in Germany as the first legs were never played.Six second legs will also be played with the winners heading to Germany for the last eight.Among the ties to be completed is Manchester United’s against Austrian side LASK, which will be a formality for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team after they won 5-0 in the first leg in March.Their form since the Premier League resumed in mid-June has been excellent and they have already sealed a place in the 2020-21 Champions League, but now they want to finish this never-ending season with a trophy.”Now our focus is on the Europa League because this is a really good trophy and we want to win,” Bruno Fernandes told MUTV.”I came to Manchester to win trophies. We need to play every game to win. If we go into the Europa League and win every game, we know we’ll win the trophy.”United, Europa League winners in 2017, could yet find themselves facing Premier League rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers in the semi-finals in Cologne on August 16 should both teams get there.Wolves entertain Greek champions Olympiakos on Thursday having drawn 1-1 in the first leg of their last-16 tie.Their campaign started more than a year ago now, with a 2-0 win over Northern Irish side Crusaders in the second qualifying round on July 25, 2019.Extending it by another couple of weeks would do them no harm.Topics :last_img read more

  • Fed-up feds demand end to subway shambles

    first_imgCONTROVERSY has never been far from the Red line metro in Los Angeles. Tunnel collapses, frequent delays and rows with contractors have all attracted attention. Things went from bad to worse in Decem-ber, and when LA Metropolitan Transit Authority CEO Joseph Drew announced his resignation, it was a sure sign of more trouble.On December 16 outgoing Transportation Secretary Federico Peña and Federal Transit Administrator Gordon Linton summoned MTA board members to a private meeting. They were given an ultimatum to complete Red line projects in hand and quickly finalise plans for other schemes, as well as adopt a ’code of conduct’ to end their meddling in day-to-day operations. A statement issued by Linton said that ’these projects are vital to the nation as well as the immediate Los Angeles community’, but what he did not say was that the govern-ment is worried about its 50% share of funding the $5·9bn project.MTA board members next discovered that Executive Director of Construction Stanley Phernambucq had resigned too, citing ’the dysfunctional relationship that exists between and among board members and our public works programme.’ At the board’s meeting on December 18 it was politics as usual – members postponed consideration of budget cuts and delayed the award of a politically sensitive con-struction management contract for the segment of the Red line to East LA. It so happened that a criminal investigation was under way into possible attempts to exert improper influence on the contract award. ’This is not the kind of signal we want to send to Washington’, said Board President Larry Zarian.January 8 saw MTA staff propose a revised metro and light rail con-struction plan that would see Phase 1 of the East LA line completed in 2004 instead of 2001 and the mid-city segment by 2009, around seven years late. Opening of the Pasadena Blue line would be delayed to 2003.On January 10 the MTA board voted to approve the revised Red line schedule. This complied with a January 15 deadline set by the FTA for the board to reaffirm its commitment to getting the line built. The meeting also adopted a code of conduct banning contractors from contacting board members before or after submission of their bids.Linton said the Red line reaffirm-ation was a move in the right direction, but he stopped short of saying it met the government’s criteria for confirmed funding. olast_img read more

  • AlpInvest takes over management of life science funds of funds

    first_imgAlpInvest – formerly owned by the large Dutch asset managers APG and PGGM – is Carlyle’s private equity branch and among the world’s largest private equity investors.Carlyle manages €132bn of alternative investments worldwide.Last week, AlpInvest announced that its Secondaries Program (ASP) reached more than €3bn, including its secondaries fund V (ASF V), which closed at its hard cap of more than €548m – 50% over its target.According to AlpInvest, ASP includes commitments from not only APG and PGGM but also 18 other institutional investors.The private equity investor said it had issued €6.6bn of commitments through 84 transactions over the past 11 years.A 22-strong team in Amsterdam, New York and Hong Kong are managing the company’s investment. The €35bn private equity investor AlpInvest Partners and alternatives asset manager Carlyle Group have assumed the management of two life science funds of funds in Indiana.They said their combined assets in the Indiana Future Fund (IFF) and its successor, the Inext Program (INext), amounted to €95m.The IFF was established in 2003 to invest in venture capital funds looking to invest in life sciences in Indiana.AlpInvest and Carlyle already have an office in Indianapolis, where a two-strong team of investment professionals manage €223m on behalf of the state pension fund INPRS, aimed at direct investments, co-investments and fund commitments in the state.last_img read more

  • Denmark asks pension funds for traffic-infrastructure financing proposals

    first_imgSo far, none of the pension funds invited has submitted a proposal to the ministry.The idea of building a motorway ring road that would connect motorways north and south of Copenhagen, involving an undersea tunnel, has been under discussion for more than seven years.The harbour tunnel (havnetunnelen) proposal – also known as the Eastern Ring Road or Østlig Ringvej proposal – has been seen as a way of relieving inner-city congestion and improving air quality for the city’s inhabitants. A 2013 analysis by the ministry estimated the cost of building the underground road system could be DKK15bn (€2bn), and that user tolls could bring in around DKK3.5bn a year.In a recent interview in the Danish publication Ingeniøren (The Engineer), Schmidt said: “If anyone wants to build a Copenhagen tunnel and says they will pay in exchange for the money earned from drivers going through it, they are very welcome to do that.”Schmidt said in the interview he had asked the pension funds to submit proposals for road and rail projects, although he acknowledged the harbour tunnel was uppermost in his mind.The first step is to finance a feasibility study into the building of the tunnel, he said, which is part of the government’s programme.But this work cannot begin without the involvement of the municipality of the city of Copenhagen, as well as companies developing the harbour island of Refshaleøen and the Nordhavn area (north harbour), he said.Schmidt stressed that, in contrast to the 18km Femern Tunnel project linking Denmark and Germany, the traffic investments now in question would not be guaranteed by the state.Private investors would be the ones shouldering the risk in return for receiving income from motorists, rail companies or passengers, he said. Danish pension funds have been invited to work on financing proposals for traffic infrastructure projects in the country by the Ministry of Transport and Building (Transport- og Bygningsministeriet), including the ambitious Copenhagen harbour tunnel plan.The minister for transport and building Hans Christian Schmidt met representatives of several Danish pension funds a few months ago, a spokeswoman for the ministry confirmed.“He has asked pension funds to come up with proposals for financing new infrastructure projects,” she said, adding that the meeting had been an informal one in which Schmidt told the institutional investors they could send propositions to the ministry.Although no specific projects have been laid on the table, the spokeswoman said it was possible one of the pension funds could be interested in finding a way to invest in the suggested harbour tunnel idea.last_img read more