The first of the three dredgers to work on the reclamation for Port City (Financial City) has docked at the Colombo South Harbour.The Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB) mining license for the designated sand burrow area was obtained by the project. The Project Company now has all required permits and consent to carry out the reclamation work in keeping with the Development Permit issued by the Department of Coast Conservation & Coastal Resources Management. The contractor for the project, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) will install buoys along the dredging zone to ensure the safe operation of fishing vessels. The reclamation site will also be demarcated to facilitate environmental monitoring. All the dredgers will be equipped with AIS system, long range radar, light system, CCTV, and state of the art communication system to ensure navigational safety.The dredger will be restricted to operate at least 4km away from the shoreline and in depths exceeding 15m. The depth of dredging will be limited to 3m from the surface of the sea bed, and a thickness of sediment of at least 0.5m will be maintained. Therefore, there will not be any obstruction to normal fishing activities. (Colombo Gazette)
In a statement issued in New York, UNIFEM said the money will be allocated through its Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence against Women. Some of the work to be undertaken with Trust Fund support include revising Thailand’s penal code with relation to marital rape, forms of sexual violence that are not considered sexual intercourse, and child pornography; producing a “soap opera” in Namibia to raise awareness about the impact on families of violence against women; stemming the trafficking of women and girls in Colombia; and establishing a network of community councils to address domestic violence in Kyrgyzstan. According to UNIFEM’s Executive Director, Noeleen Heyzer, the fund received nearly 325 proposals with requests of $17 million during this grant-making cycle. “There is an urgent need to increase global funding for programmes to end violence against women,” she said. “At least one in three women worldwide is beaten, coerced into sex or abused in her lifetime. This is unacceptable.” Grants range from $25,000 to $120,000 and will be used to support programmes that address issues such as domestic violence, trafficking in women and girls, and rape. Established in 1996, UNIFEM’s Trust Fund is the only UN global grant-making mechanism that supports innovative community efforts to end violence against women worldwide. Over the last five years, it has awarded over $5 million to projects in 73 countries.
Speaking to reporters in Islamabad, Hassan Ferdous, a spokesman for the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Afghanistan, said ongoing violence had forced a UN security officer in the town to withdraw to Termez.A spokesperson for the UN World Food Programme (WFP) expressed particular concern that the situation in Mazar-i-Sharif was not stable enough to allow UN agencies to position international staff there. “The city is a strategic logistics node for access to the central and north east of Afghanistan, where there are large groups of people in need resulting from economic collapse compounded by three years of drought,” said Lindsey Davies.The spokesperson also called attention to the plight of hundreds of thousands of Afghans who may be returning to their homes or fleeing conflict. “Most are returning to their rural areas only to find no homes, no livestock and no crops and the others who are leaving are fleeing with what little they have,” she said.Echoing these concerns, Maki Shinohara, a spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), warned that unless safety was ensured for civilians, most displaced Afghans would not be able to return home “and even if they do, they may be forced to flee again, as they did so many times in the past.”
by Josh Funk, The Associated Press Posted Jan 22, 2013 7:02 pm MDT CSX railroad 4Q profit down 3 per cent as coal demand remains weak but other sectors improved AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email OMAHA, Neb. – Railroad operator CSX Corp. said continued weak coal demand contributed to a 3 per cent decline in fourth-quarter net income. The results still beat Wall Street expectations as other sectors improved.The Jacksonville, Fla.-based railroad on Tuesday reported net income of $443 million, or 43 cents per share, in the last three months of 2012. That’s down from $457 million, or 43 cents per share, in the previous year’s quarter.CSX said its revenue declined 2 per cent to $2.9 billion from $2.95 billion a year earlier. It says declines in coal shipments more than offset gains in intermodal and merchandise shipments.Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected CSX to report earnings of 39 cents per share on revenue of $2.84 billion.CSX stock was trading up 1.6 per cent, or 34 cents, at $21.15 in after-hours trading Tuesday after losing 10 cents in the regular trading session.The weak coal demand that began with last year’s mild winter and cheap natural gas prices continued to create challenges for CSX in the quarter.Coal revenue fell 18 per cent to $747 million in the fourth quarter. The increases in automotive, intermodal and crude oil shipments weren’t quite enough to offset coal’s decline.CSX Chairman, CEO and president Michael Ward praised the results.“CSX continues to demonstrate the underlying strength of its business model, the ability to respond quickly to significant events in the marketplace, and a steadfast focus on creating substantial shareholder value over the long term,” Ward said.The other major freight railroad in the eastern United States, Norfolk Southern Corp., also reported dealing with coal challenges. Norfolk Southern said its fourth-quarter profit fell 14 per cent to $413 million, or $1.30 per share, because its coal revenue dropped 23 per cent. That’s down from $480 million, or $1.42 per share, a year earlier.For all of 2012, CSX reported net income of $1.86 billion, or $1.79 per share, on $11.8 billion revenue. That’s 2 per cent higher than the previous year’s $1.82 billion net income, or $1.67 per share, on $11.7 billion revenue.CSX operates over 21,000 miles of track in 23 eastern states and two Canadian provinces. CSX will hold a conference call with investors Wednesday morning.Union Pacific Corp., the biggest railroad in the U.S., will release its fourth-quarter results on Thursday.___Follow Josh Funk online at www.twitter.com/funkwrite___Online:CSX Corp.: www.csx.com
Belarus to extradite Uralkali CEO to Russia as dispute over potash company draws to a close MOSCOW – Belarus will send home the jailed chief executive of Russia’s largest potash company whom it accused of harming the Belarusian economy, Russian officials said on Monday.Uralkali CEO Vladislav Baumgertner was arrested in August and placed under house arrest a month later as a row between Uralkali and its Belarusian trading partner escalated. Analysts have described Baumgertner’s arrest as retaliation for Uralkali’s decision to pull out of a joint venture.Potash is a key ingredient in fertilizer, and Uralkali and the Belarusian state-owned business had been exporting the commodity through a jointly run trading venture since 2005. Together they accounted for about a quarter of the world’s potash trade this year, giving them significant influence over global prices.The Prosecutor General’s Office said in a statement Thursday that Belarus has agreed to extradite Baumgertner, who has been kept in an apartment under surveillance since September. It said he will be home “soon.”Belarusian prosecutors refused to comment.Uralkali pulled out of a trading venture with its partner in Belarus in July after it accused the government in Minsk of allowing the state-owned company to export potash independently. The withdrawal left Belarusian Potash Co. with virtually no qualified staff and raised fears of a price war. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko claimed that Uralkali and Baumgertner’s actions harmed his country’s economy.Baumgertner is suspected of “abusing his powers,” an accusation that his business partners and some Russian officials found absurd because the executive was not an official and therefore had no powers to abuse. Uralkali has denied the charges, describing Minsk’s actions as blackmail.Thursday’s announcement comes days after a former Russian presidential candidate, Mikhail Prokhorov, said he would buy 22 per cent of Uralkali from billionaire Suleyman Kerimov, who fell out with Lukashenko.Lukashenko earlier threatened to bring charges against Kerimov in Belarus, and said that Baumgertner would be allowed to go only if he paid the damages that he allegedly caused, estimated at $100 million. It was not clear Thursday if Baumgertner would have to pay the damages. by Nataliya Vasilyeva, The Associated Press Posted Nov 21, 2013 4:43 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email
News that ConocoPhillips is reducing its Canadian workforce by roughly 7 per cent or 200 people, comes as no surprise to Professor Bob Schulz with the Haskayne School of Business.Schulz said layoffs for both Nexen and Talisman were expected six months ago. He said the magnitude is going to be at least in the 10 per cent range.“I think the layoffs that are coming have been in the planning stages for three months and there may be some more in the next three months, again no surprises. This is a typical cycle that the oil industry has gone through for the last 41 years that I’ve been here. The people who have been around a long time say this has happened all before. The issue here is whether the price is going to go back up again, and that’s a whole different issue from before,” Schulz said.He tells 660News it’s an appropriate time to be concerned and he’s advising those he’s been speaking with to polish their resume, reactivate the network of people they know, and be ready to look for another position.“We’ve done this about six times before, every five to six years. This will happen again. The people who are in information and technology, there’s jobs out there, in other staff positions there’s jobs there. The ones that will be the hardest hit will be the entry-level engineers,” said Schulz. He said summer hiring is way down, which is going to be a letdown for university students. “The fundamental issue here is the supply in the U.S. and the access to markets. I eventually think what will happen here is there will be more rail lines going to Prince Rupert and Vancouver. When that happens the supply in Edmonton will go west instead of south and that will take a while to happen, but I expect those announcements to come out very shortly.”“It scares people who haven’t been through this before,” he said. “Calgary has been a very entrepreneurial city, a very resilient city and we’ll make it through this time.” by News Staff Posted Mar 19, 2015 7:34 am MDT Expert predicts 10 per cent layoffs in the energy patch AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email
The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has found high rare earth element (REE) concentrations in coal samples taken from the Illinois, Northern Appalachian, Central Appalachian, Rocky Mountain Coal Basins, and the Pennsylvania Anthracite region. These highly concentrated samples are greater than 300 ppm.“Rare earth elements are vital to the development and manufacturing of high-tech devices such as computers, cell phones, and our national defense systems,” said US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “The current difficulties and high expenses associated with REE extraction has left the US dependent on foreign REE imports. Supporting innovative research and development to establish efficient, cost-effective REE extraction methods is critical to our country’s energy and national security.”Concentrations of rare earths at 300 ppm are integral to the commercial viability of extracting REEs from coal and coal by-products, making NETL’s finding particularly significant in the effort to develop economical domestic supplies of these elements.The discovery was made in partnership with West Virginia University (WVU), the University of Kentucky (UK), Tetra Tech, and the XLight Corp. WVU explored acid mine drainage from bituminous coal mines in the Northern and Central Appalachian Coal Basins, while Tetra Tech looked at bituminous, subbituminous, and anthracite coal from the same basins. Meanwhile, UK analysed western Kentucky bituminous coal in the Illinois Coal Basin, and XLight investigated coal-related materials in the Eastern Pennsylvania Anthracite Region.These findings could encourage technology developers to recover REEs from these basins by helping them find high quality feedstocks—the raw materials needed for REE recovery processes. Higher REE concentrations in the feedstock will improve the prospect of producing higher-purity REE materials. A separate research initiative is focusing on DOE cost-shared research projects to design, develop, and test technology to actually recover REEs from coal-related materials in a variety of American coal basins.These recovery projects began in October 2017 and will use materials from the high-REE containing coal basins as feedstocks. They include WVU using acid mine drainage from bituminous mines in the Northern and Central Appalachian Coal basins as a feedstock, with final design and construction of bench-scale test facilities beginning in January 2018. A second bench-scale facility is being designed for construction by the University of North Dakota to recover REEs from lignitic material.In addition, UK also began pilot-scale design and construction in October 2017 for systems using West Kentucky bituminous coal preparation plant refuse from the Illinois Coal basin. A second pilot-scale facility is being designed and constructed by Physical Sciences Inc.Two additional pilot-scale facilities began in September 2017 as part of the Phase 1 project designs of small, pilot-scale, salable REE recovery systems. These include Inventure Renewables using material from the Eastern Pennsylvania Anthracite Region and Marshall Miller & Associates using Northern Appalachian Upper Freeport bituminous coal preparation plant middlings refuse.
Bank of Ireland warns customers over ‘smishing’ text scam A link in the message might contain malware. In response to queries from customers on Twitter, Bank of Ireland advised not to click on the link in the ‘smishing’ texts as it may contain malware.It advised customers to delete the messages.Malware is malicious software that can be used to gather information stored on a person’s phone.More information on security can be found on the Bank of Ireland website.Read: Customers warned not to open Irish Water “account maintenance email”> 21 Comments Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article 21,003 Views By Aoife Barry https://jrnl.ie/3215516 Share168 Tweet Email1 BANK OF IRELAND has warned over a ‘smishing’ scam that sees fake texts being sent to customers.The text wrongly says that the customer’s Bank of Ireland online access has been “locked for security reasons”.It includes a link that customers are told to click on in order to confirm their details: Whoops! We couldn’t find this Tweet Short URL Jan 31st 2017, 6:55 PM Tuesday 31 Jan 2017, 6:55 PM
December 16, 2017 , Local family business moving out of Horton Plaza due to increase in crime Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter Security at Horton Plaza is under serious scrutiny after a series of robberies and break-ins are causing some store owners to question doing business there.What was once seen as the jewel of downtown has become the scene for several recent violent crimes and the victims of these crimes have had enough.KUSI’s Dan Plante was LIVE with the story. Posted: December 16, 2017
Belinda Lanks was named design editor at Bloomberg Businessweek. She was previously a senior editor at Fast Company.Cosmopolitan tapped Amy Laine as integrated marketing director. She was formerly a partner at Hyperlaine.Lesley Nadler is now executive director of digital video sales at Condé Nast Entertainment. Nadler was a director of digital media sales at Sony Pictures Entertainment.Food Management named Eric Stoessel editor-in-chief. Stoessel was previously a features editor at Restaurant Hospitality. National Journal promoted Scott Bland to editor-in-chief. He was previously a senior analyst for Hotline.CQ Roll Call named David Eldridge house editor. He was previously Web and political editor at The Washington Times.Hanley Wood named Joe Maglitta as executive vice president of executive programs. Maglitta was formerly senior director of strategic content at Slashdot Media. Also, Paul Mattioli has been promoted to senior vice president of corporate sales. Mattioli was serving as vice president of corporate accounts.Food & Wine named Sarah DiGregorio senior editor. She joined the magazine from Parade, where she was a food editor. And Yaran Noti has been hired as a features editor. Noti was serving as a writer at Food Network Magazine.
Maoist guerrillas early on Tuesday shot dead an employee of a road construction company in Jharkhand’s Latehar district, police said.The banned militants raided the company’s camp office in Keeta village. The victim was identified as Sanjay Sao.The police team reached the spot and sent the body for an autopsy. The denial of ‘levy’ is said to be the reason behind the killing.
Acting upon the advice given by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi – during his visit to the Special Protection Group (SPG) headquarters at Dwarka in New Delhi – the elite force had installed Bee-Boxes with live Bee-Colonies – provided by the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) in its lush green premises on July 14, for not only honey production, but also for growth of the flora and fauna in and around its campus through cross-pollination. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe SPG officials recently contacted the KVIC officials for guidance and training to set up an apiary in its campus. KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena informed that as soon as the KVIC received the request from the SPG, a team of experts was deputed there to survey the area and to identify the staff for imparting training on Bee-Keeping to them. “Our apiculture experts first provided practical training of examination of honeybee colonies, acquaintance with apicultural equipments, identification and management of bee enemies and diseases, honey extraction and wax purification and management of bee colonies in spring, summer, monsoon, autumn and winter seasons to three SPG gardeners in KVIC’s training centre and then installed the bee-boxes there in presence of the SPG officials on July 7,” he said. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveSaxena, further said that installing Bee-Boxes at such prominent places would create public awareness to adapt bee-keeping as a proper vocation. “So far, we have distributed over 1.10 lakh Bee-Boxes across India in last one and half years, which has not only created over 11,000 new jobs for the farmers, unemployed youths and adivasis; but so far 430 metric tonnes of honey has been extracted through these Bee-Boxes only, valuing over Rs 4 crore. Besides, if the farmers are to be believed their crops yield has increased up to 30 percent after the implementation of ‘Honey Mission’,” he said, adding, “Enthused with our performance, the MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari has given us the target to distribute other 2 lakh bee-boxes in this financial year, which will be proved as a boon to the farmers.”
September 19, 2012 4 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Editor’s Note: This 10-part series looks at issues critical to entrepreneurs this election season. Read installments on the economy, taxes, healthcare, capital and contracting. You’ve barely heard about it during the 2012 campaign, but net neutrality is another issue important to businesses where the presidential candidates disagree.Under net neutrality rules imposed by the Federal Communication Commission, companies that provide wired internet service are required to treat all online content equally, much as phone companies must put through all calls without regard to who is calling. ISPs may not give preferential treatment, or “fast lanes,” to their own content or content from parties that will pay more. Nor may they block or impede content that’s controversial or competes with their own offerings.Net neutrality has been championed by Democrats, who say that the rules are needed to safeguard the open lanes that have allowed online commerce to flourish and powered tech entrepreneurship, economic growth and good high-tech jobs.But carriers have fought back, arguing they should be able to manage traffic and profit as they see fit from private networks that they built at great expense. They have found friends among Republicans, who decry regulation as a drag on economic growth and want to encourage carriers to invest in expanding broadband service. They also argue there’s sufficient competition in broadband to keep carriers from discriminatory activities.Related: Obama vs. Romney on Government Contracting and Federal SpendingA bit of background: The net neutrality debate was born amid hints that ISPs were gearing up to create a tiered-pricing system and to discriminate against some traffic. An early salvo came in February 2006, when a Verizon executive complained that a booming Google was “enjoying a free lunch” at the expense of carriers like Verizon that spent billions of dollars building the network.But the key test began in October 2007, when Comcast came under fire for interfering in its customers’ use of popular — albeit bandwidth-hogging and sometimes unsavory — file-sharing services. The FCC ordered Comcast to stop, citing its “ancillary authority” to regulate ISPs. Comcast sued.The court ruled against the FCC, saying it overstepped its statutory authority. In response, it established new rules for regulating the internet, which went into effect in November 2011. But its legal grounds were somewhat similar to those of the failed court case, leading many legal experts to question whether the rules will survive a court challenge that’s underway.When it comes to net neutrality, the candidates have strikingly different positions. Here’s a look:Related: The Forgotten Issue? Romney, Obama Stay Mum on CapitalPresident Barack ObamaObama has strongly supported net neutrality as grease for an “innovation economy” that can provide high-paying jobs and breakthroughs in health care, education and energy. He advocated it in his first run for the presidency and backed the FCC’s rulemaking efforts as president.”We don’t want to create a bunch of gateways that prevent somebody who doesn’t have a lot of money but has a good idea from being able to start their next YouTube or their next Google on the internet,” President Obama said in a February 2010 interview. But his commitment could soon be tested. “If the FCC decision gets overturned, there’s a difficult choice facing the Obama administration,” says Michael A. Livermore, executive director of the Institute for Policy Integrity at the New York University School of Law, a nonpartisan think tank.The administration could up the ante and seek an explicit mandate to regulate broadband providers as “common carriers,” the authority that allows it to regulate telecommunication companies, Livermore says, which would be a brutal fight. Or it could try to negotiate a compromise with industry.Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney Romney opposes net-neutrality rules. Asked at a town hall meeting what role the government should have in regulating the internet, Romney said: “Almost none.” And in his economic agenda he says: “We should build upon our strengths, not burden them with bureaucracy, excessive regulation, and intrusive government.”The outcome if Romney becomes president is easier to envision. His FCC would likely let net neutrality die by simply not enforcing the Obama-era rules and drop the lawsuit.Michael Jude, a senior analyst at Frost & Sullivan, a research and consulting firm, sums it up: “I don’t think there would be any appetite in a Republican-controlled FCC to continue to pursue a regulatory framework for the internet.”Related: Where the Candidates Stand on ‘Obamacare’Is net neutrality a concern for your business? Will the issue affect your vote? Leave a comment and let us know. Register Now »
An Iranian clergyman rides his motorcycle in the religious Shiite Muslim city of Qom, some 130 kilometers south of Iran’s capital, Tehran, on June 9. Iran’s powerful bazaar merchants and Shiite clergy spearheaded the 1979 Islamic revolution, but their role on the country’s political scene has waned with developments in society and the advent of new technology, analysts say. Behrouz Mehri/AFP The Mexican law student was surprised by how easy it was to get into Iran two years ago. By merely asking questions about Islam at a party, he managed to pique the interest of Iran’s top diplomat in Mexico. Months later, he had a plane ticket and a scholarship to a mysterious school in Iran, as a guest of the Islamic Republic.Next came the start of classes and a second surprise: There were dozens of others just like him.“There were 25 or 30 of us in my class, all from Latin America,” recalled the student, who was just 19 when he arrived at the small institute that styled itself an Iranian madrassa for Hispanics. “I met Colombians, Venezuelans, multiple Argentines.” Many were new Muslim converts, he said, and all were subject to an immersion course, in perfect Spanish, in what he described as “anti-Americanism and Islam.”The student, whose first name is Carlos but who spoke on the condition that his full name not be used, left for home only three months later. But his brief Iranian adventure provides a window into an unusual outreach program by Iran, one that targets young adults from countries south of the U.S. border. In recent years, the program has brought hundreds of Latin Americans to Iran for intensive Spanish-language instruction in Iranian religion and culture, much of it supervised by a man who is wanted internationally on terrorism charges, according to U.S. officials and experts.They describe the program as part of a larger effort by Iran to expand its influence in the Western Hemisphere by building a network of supporters and allies in the U.S.’ backyard. The initiative includes not only the recruitment of foreign students for special study inside Iran, but also direct outreach to Latin countries through the construction of mosques and cultural centers and, beginning last year, a new cable-TV network that broadcasts Iranian programming in Spanish.Regional experts say such “soft power” initiatives are mainly political, intended in particular to strengthen Tehran’s foothold in countries such as Venezuela and Ecuador, which share similar anti-U.S. views. But in some cases, Iranian officials have sought to enlist Latin Americans for espionage and even hacking operations targeting U.S. computer systems, according to U.S. and Latin American law-enforcement and intelligence officials. A report issued in May by an Argentine prosecutor cited evidence of “local clandestine intelligence networks” organized by Iran in several South American countries. The document accused Tehran of using religious and cultural programs as cover to create a “capability to provide logistic, economic and operative support to terrorist attacks decided by the Islamic regime.”Singled out in the report is an Iranian cleric and government official, Mohsen Rabbani, who runs several programs in Iran for Latin American students, including the one attended by Carlos. A former cultural attaché in Buenos Aires, Rabbani was accused by Argentina of aiding the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in that city that killed 85 people, the country’s deadliest terrorist attack.Iran rejected the allegations and has sought to dismiss the Argentine prosecutor as a “Zionist.” Rabbani has denied any role in the bombing or any other terrorist operation.But Rabbani has made no secret of his interest in drawing in young Latin Americans who admire Iran’s fiery defiance of the West. A report for the U.S. Congress by IBI Consultants, a Washington, D.C.-based research company that advises U.S. government agencies on Latin American terrorism and drug-trafficking networks, estimated that more than 1,000 people from the region have undergone training, mostly under Rabbani’s supervision, in Iran since 2007.Only a handful of graduates have talked about their Iranian schooling publicly. One of those is Carlos, who was struck by the effectiveness of a program that isolated a small group of foreign students and subjected them to weeks of theological and political indoctrination. He recalled how some classmates who had seemed merely curious about Iran and its religion ended their study as committed disciples.“Some of them,” he said, “I’d call crazy-obsessed.” What exactly the Iranians saw in Carlos is not clear, even to him. When he encountered his first Iranian government official, at an embassy reception in 2010, he spoke no Farsi and knew little about the country or its religion beyond what he had seen on TV.At the time of the diplomatic party, Carlos was enrolled as a first-year student in the law program of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Mustering his courage, he introduced himself to Mohammad Ghadiri, the Iranian ambassador, and blurted out that he was interested in learning about Islam. The diplomat was warm and polite, and the two followed up by telephone the next day.“Why don’t you stop by the embassy,” Ghadiri asked, according to Carlos’ account.At the Iranian mission, Ghadiri mentioned a special course in Iran that had been set up for Latin American university students just like Carlos. If he was willing, the Iranians would pay for everything, the ambassador said. He could be enrolled in the next semester’s classes, just a few months away.Carlos thought briefly and agreed to go.“I was scared, but they took care of everything,” Carlos said of the start of his strange odyssey to a country he knew little about. His Iranian sponsor, he recalled, “just seemed like a nice guy who wanted to help me learn about his country.”The tall, solidly built Mexico City native, now 21, described his encounter during an interview in a West Coast city that is his temporary home while awaiting a decision on a U.S. asylum application. The Washington Post agreed not to reveal some particulars about his identity, including his full name, because of his fear that Iranian officials may attempt to retaliate.After the embassy meeting, things happened so quickly that Carlos barely had time to consider what he was doing, he later recalled. The youth was given plane tickets and a letter of acceptance for the Iranian school he would be attending, the Oriental Thought Cultural Institute, in the ancient city of Qom.Of the institute’s director he knew nothing, having never heard of Rabbani or his alleged ties to terrorism in Argentina and elsewhere. Later he would encounter the former cultural attaché at the school and learn of his prominence on Iranian television programs and websites, where Rabbani is a tireless proponent of exporting Iran’s Islamic revolution to the Spanish-speaking world.In addition to the training centers he runs, Rabbani helped start Iran’s largest Spanish-language website and was instrumental in launching HispanTV, a cable network that broadcasts Iranian programs and commentary in Spanish. Rabbani would boast in a 2011 interview of having shattered “the American myth” by helping drive Latin American opinion away from the West and toward Iran’s vision of revolutionary Islam.After landing at the airport in Tehran, Carlos was promptly met by a Spanish-speaking escort and a driver who took him to Qom, the center for Shiite theological study for half a millennium. There he found himself surrounded by Spanish-speaking students representing almost every country in the Western Hemisphere.All of them lived, ate and studied together for three months on a rigorous schedule that rarely allowed them to socialize or mingle with students from a parallel school for European converts in a neighboring building, Carlos said. He described his fellow students as intense, serious and seemingly in the thrall of the school’s religious teachers.“All the classes were ostensibly religious, but the teachers would interject politics all the time,” Carlos said. “If the subject was economics, the message was about how the United States was manipulating the economy for its own benefit.”According to Carlos’ account, the institute’s Iranian staff began to view the young Mexican with increasing suspicion. In March 2011, school officials seized cameras and tape recorders Carlos had brought from home and accused him of being a spy. Carlos left the school one evening and found his way to the Mexican Embassy in Tehran, where he sought his government’s protection. Late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, left, shakes hands with his former Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during the inauguration ceremony of a joint petrochemical plant in the Asaluyeh industrial zone on Venezuela’s Gulf coast in July 2007. AFP/Presidencia No related posts. Eventually he was allowed to leave for Mexico, but Iranian officials, then and in the months that followed, hinted that they were not finished with Carlos. Later that year, Ghadiri, the former Iranian ambassador to Mexico, told a reporter in a Spanish-language news interview that his government had kept track of the young Mexican’s whereabouts.“I have information,” Ghadiri told the journalist.Although he witnessed the daily bombardment of anti-U.S. messages, Carlos said he did not observe overt attempts to recruit students for anything other than learning. Iranian officials insist there weren’t any.Indeed, the officials are open about their ongoing efforts to attract promising young foreigners through programs such as the Oriental Thought Cultural Institute, and they are hardly alone in doing so. The State Department spends millions of dollars annually on officially sponsored U.S. travel for foreign students as well as budding journalists, politicians and civic leaders.“Cultural and academic exchange is a normal practice among countries, and Iran as a country that enjoys a remarkable number of high-rating scientific and cultural institutions is not an exception,” said Ali Miryousefi, a spokesman for Iran’s diplomatic mission to the United Nations in New York. “Iran, like the U.S. and many other countries, admits every year hundreds of students from Africa, Asia and other regions.”But for some U.S. officials, the worry is that the increased recruitment is tied to a larger effort to woo not only individuals, but countries. Iran has more than doubled the number of embassies in Latin America since 2005 — from five to 11 — while building 17 cultural centers and numerous mosques throughout the region. Its HispanTV network beams daily into millions of Spanish-speaking households, with programming such as a dramatic series that brings an Islamic perspective to the Christian story of Mary, the mother of Jesus.“Iran is ramping up its strategic messaging to the region,” Ilan Berman, vice president of the Washington, D.C.-based American Foreign Policy Council, told a recent congressional hearing. The prevailing message is “one that promotes its own ideology and influence at the expense of the United States.”Not all those messages manage to penetrate. Some of Iran’s overtures in the region have been firmly rejected by Latin American governments who see little benefit to cozying up to Tehran, a relatively weak economic power viewed by most Western countries as a pariah because of its sponsorship of terrorism and its controversial nuclear program.The State Departmentacknowledged in a report last month that Iran has “increased its outreach” to Latin America in recent years, but also concluded that Iran’s overall influence in the region is “waning.” Whatever Tehran’s intentions, U.S. diplomats and regional experts said, Iran’s ruling clerics are losing sway because of a severely weakened economy and repeated foreign-policy stumbles such as promising aid that never arrives. Even viewership for HispanTV and its “Santa Maria” drama remains small, they said.Carlos, who was unsettled by the Iranians’ comments about watching him, became increasingly fearful after a series of incidents in which he says he and his friends were followed by men they recognized from the Iranian Embassy. On one occasion, strangers with Middle Eastern features asked for Carlos at his parents’ home. After local authorities in Mexico dismissed his concerns, Carlos traveled to the United States in 2012 to file an application for asylum.Carlos said he has little money and few prospects in the United States and has sometimes gone hungry, but he is too afraid to return home. Of his three months in Iran, little remains, he said, besides bad memories and an Iranian visa in his passport, stamped with arrival and departure dates for a journey that changed his life.“I once had a bright future in Mexico, but here I have had to start all over again, and I have nothing,” he said. “Since the day I got back, things have never been the same.”© 2013, The Washington Post Facebook Comments Composition of pictures released by Argentine Chief Prosecutor Alberto Nisman on Oct. 25, 2006 in Buenos Aires, depicting the men for whom Argentina had issued an international arrest for the bombing in 1994 of the Jewish charities office AMIA in Buenos Aires. AFP/HO
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Sydneysiders had the chance to catch a glimpse of Singapore’s new low-cost carrier this morning as it veered into Sydney Airport to complete its inaugural flight.Touching down at approximately 10.20 this morning, the first Scoot flight arrived after departing from Changi Airport late yesterday. A new subsidiary of Singapore Airlines (SIA), the airline will officially launch daily flights from Sydney today as well as a five-time weekly service between Singapore and the Gold Coast from 12 June this year.Sydney Airport chief executive Kerrie Mather said the airline creates a “new and exotic low cost long haul market for Sydney”.“Low-cost carriers on long-haul routes are making it more affordable than ever for Australians to see the world,” Ms Mather said. “Just a generation ago, long-haul international travel was something that Australians saved long and hard for, and managed only once or maybe twice in their lives. “Now Australians are regularly travelling on cheap fares to Asia and the rest of the world.”Ms Mathers added that along with the first aircraft, the airline also brought Scootitude down under, “a fresh look at long-haul travel”.Click back onto e-Travel Blackboard later today for more information and images from the inaugural flight.
Floods in Passau. Image Credit: WPA Floods in Passau. Image Credit: Daily Mail UK Heavy rain in Central Europe, which has led to severe flooding has forced river cruise lines to change or cancel itineraries.With authorities waiting for the floods to subside, emergency operations are under way in Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic to deal with record levels of flooding, the BBC reported. The Czech government has declared a state of emergency, with thousands forced from their homes and at least ten people, killed with floodwaters also affecting the historic centre of the Czech capital Prague and Prague’s 14th-century Charles Bridge under threat, with workers and machines removing debris piling up around the structure and shops and schools closed and road and rail transport disrupted.The river is expected to peak in the capital today, Tuesday.Flooding has also badly affected Germany, Austria and Switzerland with two people reported dead in Austria and another in Switzerland, with two people were reported missing in Germany and German Chancellor Angela Merkel due to visit flood hit regions Segments of the Main and Danube rivers have been the most affected by the heavy rains, according to river cruise operators, with Avalon Waterways over the weekend making the decision to cancel three departures in the region over the next ten days, with impacted passengers offered full cruise refunds along with a discount voucher for a future cruise. In addition, on current sailings in Central Europe, Avalon has made adjustments, including having passengers transfer from one ship to another to be able to continue sailing, or combining sailings with hotel stays, with Avalon also saying it is offering passengers compensation depending on the number of cruise days affected. Avalon Managing Director Patrick Clark said, “We continue to monitor the water levels and will make revisions to itineraries as necessary.”“If the rain decreases in intensity, then we are hopeful operations can return to normal.” AmaWaterways had not cancelled any departures as of Sunday, but transferred passengers from one ship to another, as vessels have not been able to pass through the Main-Danube Canal in southern Germany, with Ama President Rudi Schreiner saying, “In some other areas, we are experiencing delays and we have implemented itinerary changes”. Travel agents and clients are advised to check with river cruise operators. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: JAJ
in Headlines, News, Origination Share Integration LendingQB loans mortgage Origination STRATMOR Group technology 2018-07-18 Radhika Ojha July 18, 2018 515 Views LendingQB Partners with STRATMOR Group Costa Mesa, California-headquartered SaaS loan origination technology solutions provider, LendingQB, has announced a partnership with the STRATMOR Group to provide lenders with the MortgageSAT Borrower Satisfaction Program. This management tool gives lenders the control, visibility and context they need to manage and improve the borrower experience.This integration will help customers of LendingQB survey every borrower within 24 hours of closing. Direct, instant borrower feedback, along with deep insights about the loan process and the people involved, will enable lenders to pinpoint sources of borrower dissatisfaction and quickly take corrective action. MortgageSAT scores everyone (the loan officer, processor, underwriter, and closer) and measures the borrower’s perception of the entire loan process with analysis by region, branch, and the individual employee. The MortgageSAT program launched recently with select lenders across the country.Through this integration, lenders who were previously limited to measuring success based only on internal measurements and historical results will now have access to benchmarking data that shows how their satisfaction and Net Promoter Score (NPS) compare to their peers. MortgageSAT’s National Benchmark data is available 24/7 in a real-time web portal.“In virtually all industries, research shows a strong correlation between increased customer satisfaction and increased revenue and profits,” said Mike Seminari, MortgageSAT Director at STRATMOR Group. “A 16-year study based on data from the American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) reported that companies showing year-over-year growth in satisfaction ratings grew at fourteen times the rate of the market. MortgageSAT makes it easy for lenders to gather feedback from borrowers in minutes, and to respond to borrower concerns quickly. This means lenders can mitigate their risk of bad online reviews, CFPB complaints, and even negative word-of-mouth from borrowers. And the positive feedback can be shared automatically.”“MortgageSAT brings an incredibly important tool into play for lenders seeking to enhance the borrower experience,” said David Colwell, VP of LendingQB strategy. “Integrating with MortgageSAT allows our clients to successfully analyze their borrower experience and strategically identify and capitalize on lender improvement by fine-tuning gaps within their lending process.”
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