Gordhan congratulates new IMF head

first_img30 June 2011 South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has congratulated Christine Lagarde on her appointment as managing director of the International Monetary Fund, while calling for the body to give more say to emerging countries.“As the global economy continues to be plagued with persistent economic challenges, the role of the IMF has and will continue to become crucial to global co-ordination and crisis management,” Gordhan said in a statement on Wednesday.“I am confident that Ms Lagarde will be able to actively enhance that role even-handedly and effectively.”The French finance minister was named the first ever woman head of the IMF on Tuesday.The IMF should continue to focus on certain issues to “further strengthen its relevance and legitimacy among all member countries”, Gordhan said.This included transferring quota shared to emerging and developing countries to give them more weight in IMF decisions.He also called for a commitment that the next head of the IMF need not come from Europe.“Small countries should have appropriate voice. Since the global crisis, small countries have faced particular challenges that require greater attention from the IMF,” Gordhan said.He called for more diversity in IMF staff in terms of their nationality, gender, and academic and professional backgrounds and improved surveillance of important advanced economies.The IMF’s top job has been held by a European for 65 years.Sapalast_img read more

Beijing forms ‘snow affairs work team’ for 2022 Olympics

first_imgMOST READ Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion Beijing’s urban center will host indoor events such as ice hockey and figure skating, largely in venues left over from the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. However, a lack of mountains and natural snow requires that ski events be held at sports clusters in Chongli as well as Beijing’s rural Yanqing county, both of which will be connected to the city center by a high-speed rail line. Read Next Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. In this picture taken on August 22, 2017, people snowboard at the Wanda Harbin Ice and Snow Park in Harbin.At Dalian Wanda Group’s new Ice and Snow Park, chilly winds blew snowflakes around skiers zipping down the manmade slopes of the world’s largest indoor ski park, a potent symbol of China’s ambitions to turn itself into a winter sports powerhouse ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. / AFP PHOTO / Nicolas ASFOURI / TO GO WITH China-lifestyle-ski, FEATURE by Yanan WANGBEIJING — Beijing, host of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, has a snow problem: Hardly any of the white stuff falls on the Chinese capital despite freezing temperatures.Taking the matter in hand, the games organizing committee has formed a “snow affairs work team” and invited experts from Finland, Canada and other nations to help out, according to the official “2017 Beijing FactFile” produced by the city government.ADVERTISEMENT View comments The work team would “expedite research on key technologies for making and preserving snow, and start to formulate a work plan to ensure suitable snow resources,” the publication said.Also on Thursday, Beijing Vice Mayor Zhang Jiandong said all venues and transport links for the games would be completed by the end of 2019, allowing Beijing to begin staging test events the next year.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“Progress on all these projects has been moving ahead smoothly,” Zhang said at a briefing on the sidelines of the twice-a-decade congress of China’s ruling Communist Party.Beijing was awarded the games in 2015, defeating Almaty, Kazakhstan, in the voting to become the first city to have been awarded both the Summer and Winter Olympics. QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohortcenter_img Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Kin of Misamis Oriental hero cop to get death benefits, award — PNP LATEST STORIES CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA 60-40 sharing ‘fair’ as China will spend for WPS exploration—Esperon PLAY LIST 01:2760-40 sharing ‘fair’ as China will spend for WPS exploration—Esperon00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics01:31Ban on online gambling? ‘China can’t dictate on us’ — PH envoy01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Kings see Game 4 as ‘do-or-die’ Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101last_img read more

2010: The Year of Treasure Hunters

first_imgT he first Indian to welcome US President Barack Obama at Mumbai airport on November 6 was then Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan. He was sacked minutes after Obama left India because of his direct involvement in the Adarsh Housing Society scam in which flats meant for Kargil heroes and,T he first Indian to welcome US President Barack Obama at Mumbai airport on November 6 was then Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan. He was sacked minutes after Obama left India because of his direct involvement in the Adarsh Housing Society scam in which flats meant for Kargil heroes and widows were virtually stolen by powerful politicians, bureaucrats and defence officers who abetted construction on disputed army land. Chavan’s relatives owned three flats in Adarsh. He was confident that his mentors-a guru, Sri Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi, and Rahul Gandhi-would save him. Chavan was self-delusional. It was the judiciary that forced the political class to move. On December 22, a division bench of Justice B.H. Marlapalle and Justice U.D. Salvi hearing the case noted, “Everybody who was supposed to clear a file has been gifted (a flat in Adarsh).” Adarsh was not the only scandal in the Year of the Treasure Hunter. The total loot of the public exchequer in 2010 is estimated to exceed Rs 4 lakh crore. An analysisreveals that real estate is corruption’s biggest cash cow. According to realtors, 60 to 70 per cent of the price of property transactions in all major Indian cities is in cash. A finance ministry report of December 2009 states: “Of the Rs 4,500 crore seized in income tax raids, around Rs 2,000 crore involves land. Politicians are earning money per sq ft of the floor space index awarded to construct buildings. This is a result of commercialisation of politics,” says former Mumbai High Court Judge B.G. Kolse-Patil. The cbi discovered that it was Chavan, who as state revenue minister in 2000 cleared the society’s ownership conditions to admit civilians along with defence personnel, thereby opening up a real estate gold-mine. “The Congress is the fountainhead of corruption in the country,” says bjp leader Rajnath Singh.advertisementIn 2010, allegations of corruption-referred to by Wharton academic Jitendra Singh as “a kind of shadowy market”-were made against the spectrum of the national establishment. Politicians like Chavan, B.S. Yeddyurappa, Suresh Kalmadi and Mulayam Singh Yadav; senior army officers like former army chief General Deepak Kapoor and Major General R.K. Hooda stole the headlines of the year with a glittering cast of friends, mentors and hangers-on from the media and bureaucracy.Chavan’s personal assets run into hundreds of crores of rupees. In his hometown Nanded, Chavan Inc owns dealerships, real estate worth crores, sugar mills and educational institutions. He insists that his commercial ventures are legal and he has done nothing wrong. For a politician who declared his net worth as Rs 24.61 crore  in 2009, india today investigations revealed that the estimated worth of assets held by Chavan and his family amount to much more. “The politicians in the entire country are corrupt. Why talk only about Maharashtra?” says Kolse-Patil. Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray says, “We are facing a challenge to cure the disease of corruption.” Chavan, however, is defiant. “The investigations will prove my innocence,” he says.   The country has got used to the idea of corrupt politicians. It was shocked to learn that officers of the rank of general and admiral were involved in Adarsh. “Here is a man whom we trusted, here is a person on whose orders we were ready to go to battle,â€? said Chief of Staff General V.K. Singh about his predecessor General Kapoor. In his application for a Rs 80-lakh apartment, General Kapoor lied that his annual income was Rs 2.8 lakh while when it was actually around Rs 7.2 lakh. When this application was turned down, the then Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh used his arbitrary powers to clear it. Adarsh is not the only example of Kapoor’s real estate adventures. The Haryana Government gave him a Gurgaon plot for Rs 36 lakh with a lock-in payment period of five years-a knockdown price for land valued at Rs 7.5 crore. In Sukna, West Bengal, army land was allegedly given to builders at throwaway prices. The military court indicted two army officers for this deal-one of them was Kapoor’s staff advisor Lt. General Avdesh Prakash. Kapoor reportedly used his clout to save Prakash from a court martial. The armed forces have earned the unsavoury nickname, the “Harmed Forces”.Real estate besmirched the reputation of Karnataka’s Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa as well. In June 2010, Yeddyurappa was preparing for a spotlight moment, ordering a bespoke Italian suit from Bangalore fashion designer Prakash Lamba as a change from his usual white safari suit to preside over the two-day Global Investors Meet in Bangalore from which he expected to raise at least $66.3 billion as investments for Karnataka. In private, Yeddyurappa was taking decisions that would blow up in his face. On November 17, 2010, Karnataka Lok Ayukta Santosh Hegde announced there was enough evidence to establish a prima facie case against Yeddyurappa. The Opposition released documents-around 2,000 of them-alleging that Yeddyurappa flouted rules to get prime land worth Rs 500 crore allotted to family members; his sons bjp MP B.Y. Raghavendra and Vijayendra became beneficiaries of state largesse after their father became the Karnataka deputy chief minister in 2006. Raghavendra was allotted a government plot in Bangalore under the MP’s quota and paid Rs 10 lakh for the land whose market value was over Rs 2 crore. Yeddyurappa also denotified the Bangalore Development Authority (bda) land which his sons and son-in-law Sohan Kumar allegedly grabbed at throwaway prices. Yeddyurappa’s daughter Umadevi was allotted two acres of government land to set up a bpo. Some of his family members were allegedly allotted five acres in Shimoga to build a hospital, and two acres for a factory in Bangalore. In March 2010, 11 more acres in Bangalore worth crores were denotified in Vijayendra and Raghavendra’s favour against the advice of the bda and the Urban Development Department. Later, his kin returned the land following a judicial inquiry. Five previous chief ministers gave similar deals to their relatives including Dharam Singh and H.D. Deve Gowda’s son H.D. Kumaraswamy who is yet to return the land allotted to him.advertisement”The names of my family members are being dragged into imagined corruption cases to cover up their (Opposition’s) own misdeeds,” says Yeddyurappa, responding to the Opposition’s charges of corruption.The Opposition also alleges that the chief minister took a bribe of Rs 20 crore from the Bellary-based South West Mining Ltd; supporting documents claim that the money was allegedly deposited into the bank accounts of Raghavendra, Vijayendra and Sohan Kumar.If land was exploited by the corrupt, the skies were open to political plunder as well. On November 14, the dmk, unable to withstand the heat from a belligerent Opposition, a hostile Congress and an angry media, ordered Andimuthu Raja to resign as telecom minister. Raja was accused of favouring select telecom companies-Swan Telecom, Unitech, S-Tel, Datacom Solutions, Idea, Spice, Systema, Tata and Loop-in acquiring 2G spectrum licences in a valuation game which is estimated to have cost the country a notional Rs 1.76 lakh crore. “As a lawyer, I will abide by the law, not evade it,” Raja said. His slogan during the 2009 Lok Sabha polls was “Oru kilo arisi oru rupa, oru hello 50 paisa” (One kg rice at one rupee, a hello on the phone at 50 paise). The Niira Radia tapes exposed how much his hellos cost the country. Veteran Congress leader of Tamil Nadu EVKS Elangovan says “Karunanidhi must’ve been aware of things.”In power, there is no free lunch. So what did the telecom companies give Raja and Radia in return of the favours? The CBI and the ed are investigating a money trail that leads to the Cayman Islands, the Virgin Islands, the Bahamas and Mauritius. “Raja represents a front for a number of undesirable organisations. He is a front for anti-national agents,” says Subramanian Swamy, Janata Party president. There may be political exaggeration in the accusation.advertisementRaja stuck to his chair for 400 days after the scam surfaced. A CBI official claims that the minister used this time to manipulate or destroy evidence. No incriminating documents were found when the agency raided his house on December 8. According to one source, documents were also destroyed at Radia-owned Vaishnavi Communic- ations’s office in Delhi. Employees had burned thousands of documents to prevent them from falling into the hands of the CBI. “The Government should constitute an Integrity and Ethics Commission urgently to check corruption and initiate stringent action against corrupt practices,” says assocham President Dilip Modi.The climate of venality spawned a variety of hunters who sought to seize what they could. Public anger began to mount. When Suresh Kalmadi, the most visibly tainted face of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, walked into a Delhi restaurant on a late October weekend, he was surrounded and heckled by diners who called him a thief. The CBI and Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) estimate that the 66-year-old Congress Rajya Sabha MP caused a loss of Rs 5,000-8,000 crore of public money through financial and administrative malfeasance. In 2003, the Indian Olympic Association estimated the Games would cost the country Rs 1,620 crore. By 2010, the bill had risen to Rs 11,500 crore. With other additional expenditure, the Games expenditure was estimated to be around Rs 30,000 crore, making the 2010 Commonwealth Games the most expensive sporting event ever. CBI sources says that of the Rs 665 crore spent on overlays, around Rs 200 crore was stolen. Following the CVC report on financial misdemeanors, the CBI raided the ioa offices and arrested close Kalmadi aides T.S. Darbari, Sanjay Mahindroo and treasurer Jayachandran.Some of the statistics are stunning. The infrastructure cost for the cwg was Rs 2,904 crore but Rs 5,503 crore was released. Where did the extra money go? The CVC investigated 16 Games-related projects totalling Rs 2,477 crore and found that corrupt officials and contractors tampered with initially discounted tenders. The organising committee inflated bills by at least 30 per cent. The CBI raided Kalmadi’s residences in Delhi and Pune. “I am innocent till proven guilty. I have not taken any decision alone,” Kalmadi says.Many more careers and reputations tumbled as other skeletons of corruption fell out of hidden closets. In Mumbai, private financier Rajesh Sharma, chief of Money Matters (India), and senior bank officials were arrested in a bribes-for-loans affair. The arrests have made corporate India uneasy. Though the licence raj has ostensibly ended, lobbyists are still needed for project clearances. “We need to be clear about what is defined as corruption. In an economy where competition and enterprise are driven by individual endeavours, and there is no strong government hand, these things flourish,” says P. Shankar Raman, executive v-p (finance), L&T. Following these arrests, the market value of lic Housing Finance shares plummeted from Rs 10,159 crore to Rs 2,365 crore. Investors lost Rs 2,300 crore in a day. “There are enough regulatory bodies in the country but they don’t have the teeth to enforce regulations,” says Richard Rekhy, ceo, KPMG, one of the largest of audit, tax and advisory services firms in the world   There was one unusual instance of corruption. While Adarsh, the cwg and other scams largely involved powerful cabals, Ketan Desai, president of the Medical Council of India, was the lone ranger of graft. His modus operandi was to ask for bribes in return of government recognition for private medical colleges. After the CBI arrested him for accepting Rs 2 crore as payola for one such deal, raids conducted in Delhi, Punjab, Mumbai and Ahmedabad revealed that Desai and his family owned 10 houses, two commercial properties in Mumbai and gold worth Rs 39 lakh.During the Adarsh hearing, Justices Marlapalle and Salvi asked, “Why has no fir been registered except the one on the missing files in the case? Don’t tell us committees will be formed to conduct inquiries. Committees are formed and dissolved, nothing happens.” Nothing happens because a corrupt system closes its ranks to protect its own. India remains stuck in the purgatory of corruption.with Nivedita Mukherjee, Kiran Tare and Nirmala Ravindranlast_img read more

25 days ago​Wijnaldum happy Liverpool grinding out results

first_imgAbout the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your say ​Wijnaldum happy Liverpool grinding out resultsby Freddie Taylor25 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool midfielder Gini Wijnaldum is delighted by the consistency shown by the Reds this season.They have managed to win their first seven games of the season, building a five-point cushion over Manchester City in the process.Wijnaldum is not too concerned if some of their wins are scrappy, such as the 1-0 success over Sheffield United this weekend.”We wanted to create a chance but I think they defended really good,” the 28-year-old told the club’s official website.”We were not at our best to create chances today. We had a few but it was more because they made mistakes.”But all that matters at the end of the day is we have the three points. Especially at the early stage of the season, you have to make sure that you collect as many points as possible because normally during the season you get better and better.”In the beginning of the season you are not at your best, so that’s why it’s good that we collect points.” last_img read more

Urban Meyer On Conference Strength: “I Don’t Know Anyone Else’s Schedule”

first_imgARLINGTON, TX – DECEMBER 29: Head coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Goodyear Cotton Bowl against the USC Trojans in the second quarter at AT&T Stadium on December 29, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)Among the most prominent college football talking points heading into week two was that of Ohio State’s weak remaining schedule. Michigan State is the only ranked team on the Buckeyes’ schedule, which many SEC coaches, including Bret Bielema and Dan Mullen, complained about. The weekend did not go well for those two; Mullen lost by two against LSU despite the Tigers failing to generate any kind of passing offense, while Bielema’s Razorbacks were embarrassed by Toledo.When asked about the complaints during his Monday press conference, Meyer said that he doesn’t pay attention to any other team’s schedule.Asked about strength of conferences, Urban Meyer: “I don’t know anyone else’s schedule. … I don’t know how (people) know that.”— Ari Wasserman (@AriWasserman) September 14, 2015Urban Meyer says he has no idea how the Big Ten is perceived right now. “I don’t know anyone’s schedule…I don’t care.”— Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) September 14, 2015While conference pride plays a factor in college football, for the top teams in the country, that’s probably the correct approach.last_img read more

Video: Bill O’Reilly Asked Urban Meyer If He’d Have Cut Jameis Winston Following The Crab Legs Incident

first_imgA closeup of Urban Meyer on Ohio State's sideline.INDIANAPOLIS, IN – DECEMBER 02: Head coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks on as they play the Wisconsin Badgers during the second half of the the Big Ten Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 2, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer made the rounds yesterday, appearing on The Dan Patrick Show, CBS, ESPN and Fox to promote his new book, titled “Above the Line.” Bill O’Reilly, host of The O’Reilly Factor, made sure to ask some interesting questions.O’Reilly, alluding to Meyer’s strict policies, asked the Buckeyes head man what he’d have done if Jameis Winston, who infamously stole crab legs from a Publix ahead of the 2014 season, had been on his team. He said he “would have had a hard time letting it go.”Of course, it’s always easy to say what you’d have done when you aren’t in the exact situation. That being said, Meyer probably runs a tighter ship now than he did in the past.last_img read more

Amazon Alexa now plays SiriusXM

first_imgAdvertisement …North Americana …SiriusXM Hits 1 …Howard Stern …MLB Network Radio …Alt Nation …The Catholic Channel Twitter (And so much more) …Radio Margaritaville …Laugh USA …Tom Petty Radio …Joel Osteen Radio …Mad Dog Sports Radio …The Garth Channel …Shade 45 LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment …Doctor Radio …SiriusXM Canada Laughs …on SiriusXM” Facebook …Today Show Radio …Coffee House …the Golden State Warriors …Real Jazz …Entertainment Weekly Radio With the SiriusXM Alexa skill, SiriusXM trial or paid subscribers will get easy access to exclusive music and entertainment, including Howard Stern’s two exclusive channels, commercial-free music from multiple genres, plus news from respected national outlets, exclusive talk and entertainment, a broad range of comedy, and sports talk from some of the biggest names in broadcasting; as well as dozens of exclusive online-only channels that span music, talk, comedy and news.SiriusXM brings an extensive selection of live sporting events to Alexa. Subscribers to All Access, SiriusXM’s most extensive offering, can ask Alexa to play every MLB® and NBA game, every NASCAR® race, plus NHL® games, PGA TOUR® events and live college sports, as well as news, analysis and opinions from more than a dozen dedicated sports talk channels. With the NHL® season in full swing, fans can tune in to hear their favorite team’s radio voices anywhere at home with their Alexa devices, whether they’re preparing a meal in the kitchen, working at their desk, or entertaining guests on the deck.SiriusXM offers exclusive artist branded music channels from The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Eminem, Garth Brooks, Tom Petty, Jimmy Buffett, Kenny Chesney, Pitbull, and many more. It offers curated music channels across decades and representing multiple music genres that span rock, pop, country, electronic dance, jazz, and more. Subscribers with Alexa can also access concept-based channels curated by SiriusXM’s acclaimed programming team, such as Road Trip Radio, Yacht Rock Radio, SiriusXM Comes Alive, and Red, White & Booze.SiriusXM content available on Amazon Alexa will mirror what is available to that subscriber streaming on the SiriusXM app, based on their subscription. Access to certain content, including MLB and NASCAR programming, requires an authenticated “SiriusXM All Access” subscription. For more info on what channels are available on various SiriusXM subscriptions, go to siriusxm.ca/plans. Customers can sample SiriusXM by setting up their streaming log in or signing up for a trial at siriusxm.ca/amazonalexa.About SiriusXM CanadaSirius XM Canada Holdings Inc., operating as SiriusXM Canada, is the country’s leading entertainment company. SiriusXM creates and offers commercial-free music; premier sports talk and live events; comedy; news; and exclusive talk and entertainment. SiriusXM is available in vehicles from every major car company and on smartphones and other connected devices as well as online at siriusxm.ca.Join SiriusXM Canada on Facebook at facebook.com/siriusxmcanada, on Twitter at @siriusxmcanada, on Instagram at @siriusxmcanada and on YouTube at youtube.com/siriusxmcanada.SiriusXM radios and accessories are available from retailers nationwide and online at SiriusXM. In addition, SiriusXM Music for Business provides commercial-free music to a variety of businesses. SiriusXM is also a leading provider of connected vehicles services, giving customers access to a suite of safety, security, and convenience services including automatic crash notification, stolen vehicle recovery assistance, enhanced roadside assistance and turn-by-turn navigation.SiriusXM Canada has been designated one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies nine years in a row and is currently a Platinum Club Member. Advertisement …SiriusXM NBA Radio …E Street Radio …80’s on 8 …SiriusXM NHL Network Radio …FOX News Headlines …channel 43 (or any SiriusXM channel number) TORONTO – SiriusXM Canada, the country’s leading audio entertainment company, announced today that its 200+ channels – featuring Howard Stern, commercial-free music, plus live sports, news, entertainment, comedy, and more – are now available to SiriusXM Canada subscribers nationwide with Amazon Alexa. …SiriusXM Chill …The Highway …SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Login/Register With: Customers can simply ask Alexa to play SiriusXM channels by saying, for example, “Alexa, play… …the Chicago Cubs …The Beatles Channel …the Toronto Maple Leafs Advertisement …Pearl Jam Radiolast_img read more

Utility asked last month to hike bills over California fires

first_imgSACRAMENTO, Calif. — A utility facing severe financial pressure amid speculation its equipment may have sparked a deadly Northern California wildfire asked U.S. energy regulators last month for permission to raise its customers’ monthly bills to harden its system against wildfires and deliver a sizable increase in profits to shareholders.In an October filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. laid out a variety of dangers confronting its transmission lines running through Northern California, saying its system faced a higher risk of wildfires than any other utility.“The implications of PG&E’s exposure to potential liabilities associated with wildfires are dramatically magnified,” the filing said. “Overcoming the negative financial impact of any significant damages that might ultimately be attributed to PG&E will require an ongoing commitment of capital from investors.”San Francisco-based PG&E — one of the nation’s largest electric utilities serving most of Northern and central California — made the request a month before the Camp Fire broke out Nov. 8 and quickly ballooned into the deadliest U.S. wildfire in a century. No cause has been determined, but speculation has centred on PG&E, which reported an outage around when and where the fire ignited.The company has lost $15 billion in market value, its shares plummeting 60 per cent in a week.PG&E already faced financial pressure from its suspected role in a series of deadly fires in California wine country last year. The company’s filing last month said it needed to boost revenue to keep investors from fleeing, noting that its credit rating was downgraded and its shares had plummeted since the 2017 fires.Wildfires threaten PG&E’s ability to attract and maintain the investment necessary to support its system and meet California’s clean energy goals, company spokeswoman Lynsey Paulo said.“PG&E’s electrical system is not immune from the impact of increases in the frequency and severity of extreme weather,” Paulo said.The company said in its rate-hike request that the extreme wildfire risk justified a higher profit than an average utility is allowed to earn. It cites a California legal standard holding utilities entirely liable for damage caused by their equipment regardless of whether the company was negligent.A state law approved this year makes it easier for the company to raise rates to pay off lawsuits, but the company says it still faces high risk and got no relief for fires that start this year.The precipitous drop in the stock price shows investors are taking into account not just the fires but also the risk of future wildfires for which the utility could be responsible, analysts said.“It’s going to be very difficult for PG&E to finance its needs in the short run, so we think at this point, regulators need to step in and give the market some reassurance,” said Travis Miller, a strategist at Morningstar.PG&E is asking for a 9.5 per cent increase in transmission charges — the cost of high-voltage lines that move power across large distances. That amounts to about $1.50 more per month for the average residential customer, Paulo said.Advocates for utility customers have balked at PG&E’s contention that it needs to raise rates because of wildfires. They say its problems are the result of poor management decisions.“We don’t pay electric bills in order to keep bailing PG&E out from its own negligence and incompetence, and we can’t afford it,” said Mindy Spatt, communications director for The Utility Reform Network.PG&E reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission this week that it had renewed its insurance coverage for wildfires to about $1.4 billion for the year covering this fire season. But an analyst at Citi Investment Research estimated damages could exceed $15 billion. And the company’s potential liability for last year’s fires has been pegged at upward of $10 billion.Some analysts believe PG&E will be able to survive financially as long as there isn’t another major catastrophe. But wildfires are getting bigger, deadlier and more destructive as housing pushes into rural areas and drought and high temperatures tied to climate change become the norm.“The business doesn’t earn enough money to pay for that in any kind of regular way,” said Michael Wara, director of the Climate and Energy Policy Program at Stanford University. “These have to be extreme, once-in-a-generation events.”PG&E’s ability to raise capital will be constrained, so it will probably be forced to cut back on expenses such as replacing aging equipment, analysts said. California utilities also need to invest in the type of upgrades that will allow the state to meet its aggressive renewable energy and carbon reduction goals.Fire investigators have blamed PG&E equipment for 12 of last year’s wildfires, including two that killed 15 people combined. In eight of those fires, investigators said they found evidence of violations of state law and forwarded the findings to prosecutors.The company is facing dozens of lawsuits from insurers and people who lost their homes in last year. And a lawsuit this week blames PG&E for the latest fire, accusing the company failing to effectively maintain power lines.California regulators generally allow utilities to pass on the costs of those lawsuits to their customers, but only if the company can show it prudently managed its equipment. The new state law makes it easier for utilities to bill customers if they can show a fire got worse from things outside their control, like severe weather. But lawmakers didn’t drop the standard that puts all the liability on the utility, which is unique to two states.“Very large damage payments of the size faced by California utilities are very unusual in other states,” said Hugh Wynne of Sector and Sovereign Research, an investment research firm.___Bussewitz reported from New York.Jonathan J. Cooper, Cathy Bussewitz And Garance Burke, The Associated Presslast_img read more

India US agree to build six nuclear power plants

first_imgWashington DC: The US has agreed to build six atomic power plants in India to strengthen bilateral security and civil nuclear cooperation and expressed its strong support to India’s early membership in the NSG.The two countries said this in a joint statement issued at the conclusion of the 9th round of India-US Strategic Security Dialogue, co-chaired by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale and Andrea Thompson, the US under secretary of state for arms control and international security, on Wednesday. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity!”They committed to strengthen bilateral security and civil nuclear cooperation, including the establishment of six US nuclear power plants in India,” the joint statement said, without giving details of the sites. India and the US signed a historic agreement to cooperate in civil nuclear energy sector in October 2008. The deal gave a fillip to bilateral ties, which have been on an upswing since. A major aspect of the deal was the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), that gave a special waiver to India enabling it to sign cooperation agreements with a dozen countries. Also Read – Encounter under way in Pulwama, militant killedPost-waiver, India signed civil nuclear cooperation agreements with the US, France, Russia, Canada, Argentina, Australia, Sri Lanka, the UK, Japan, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan and South Korea.On Wednesday, the United States also reaffirmed its strong support to India’s early membership in the 48-member the NSG. China has blocked India’s pending membership to the elite grouping that seeks to prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons. During the meeting, the two sides exchanged views on a wide range of global security and non-proliferation challenges and reaffirmed their commitment to work together to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems and to deny access to such weapons by terrorists and non-state actors.last_img read more

People vote aginst divisive politics in Chandni Chowk

first_imgNEW DELHI: Chandni Chowk is one of the 7 Lok Sabha constituencies in Delhi. Voting for Lok Sabha election in Delhi was held in a single phase. Voting in Chandni Chowk Lok Sabha constituency is in the sixth phase on May 12 and counting is on May 23.Voting recorded till 6 pm was 62.69 per cent and the figure may slightly go up as polling continued at several places way beyond the deadline. Polling also started late on some booths while there were reports of EVM malfunctioning in different parts of the city. While , in the 2014 election in Chandni Chowk, 76.15 per cent or 9,82,275 voters had exercised their franchise. Of the 25 contestants who were in the fray, 22 had lost their deposits. After the delimitation of parliamentary constituencies in 2008, Chandni Chowk parliamentary constituency was divided into ten Vidhan Sabha segments namely Adarsh Nagar, Shalimar Bagh, Shakur Basti, Tri Nagar, Wazirpur, Model Town, Sadar Bazar, Chandni Chowk, Matia Mahal and Ballimaran. In 2014 Lok Sabha election, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Dr Harsh Vardhan had won the Chandni Chowk Lok Sabha constituency with a margin of 1,36,320 votes. Dr Harsh Vardhan had bagged 4,37,938 votes as against Aam Aadmi Party’s Ashutosh who bagged the second spot with 3,01,618 votes. Congress leader Kapil Sibal was pushed to the third spot with 1,76,206 votes. Ramzan, when Muslims observe a total fast, coincided with the polling in Delhi but did not seem to deter voters in the Chandni Chowk area of the old city, save in the early hours. However, as the day progressed, people came out to cast their votes and numbers started increasing in the evening. Around 20 per cent of people living in the area are Muslims. Chandni Chowk is one of the major markets in the city but it wore deserted look on Sunday, when it remains closed. As the polling day fell of a Sunday, this could also account for the lesser numbers, said Mohammad Asif, a trader in Meena Bazar near the Jama Masjid. Meena Jasotani, 47, a resident of Chandni Chowk, said she voted for the development by the Centre. Communal discord also weighed on the mind of several voters.last_img read more