ABC News (NEW YORK) — A storm is developing along the East Coast and will bring widespread heavy rain, strong wind gusts, coastal flooding and possible snow to parts of the Northeast on Saturday.A deepening low pressure located near the Delaware-Maryland-Virginia peninsula will move toward New England over the next 24 hours.An observation site in Belmar, New Jersey, saw a gust of 62 mph Saturday morning, while Manasquan, New Jersey, saw a gust of 58 mph. Some parts of Cape May and Atlantic counties in southern New Jersey have reported over 1 inch of rain so far.Flash flood watches, high wind warnings and wind advisories have been posted for parts of the Northeast coastline.Due to the onshore winds, coastal flooding could be a concern for parts of the region, especially along the Jersey shore. Winter weather advisories have been posted further inland for parts of the higher elevations in the interior Northeast. Some light snow is possible, especially in the predawn hours Saturday morning.Heavy rain and gusty winds are expected to impact nearly the entire Northeast on Saturday morning. Winds along the Jersey shore and Delaware coast will gust over 40 mph in spots. In New York and Philadelphia, winds gusts over 30 mph are likely. Some of these gusty winds, especially on Long Island and the Jersey shore, could down trees and power lines and make power outages possible.The bulk of the precipitation will have moved into northern New England and southern Canada by early Saturday evening. However, as the storm deepens in intensity, it will bring widespread gusty winds to all of New England. Wind gusts could exceed 40 mph Saturday evening from Connecticut to Maine and especially into Vermont and New Hampshire. The gusty winds could down power lines and trees.The nor’easter is moving pretty fast and will be out of the Northeast by Sunday morning. Rainfall totals will likely be 1 to 2 inches for most of the Northeast, with some areas seeing locally higher rainfall.Meanwhile, a new disturbance is developing in the upper Midwest and will bring rain to parts of the region by Sunday. Some of the rain could be heavy at times, especially in Wisconsin.This disturbance will move very quickly through the Ohio Valley on Sunday afternoon and will bring another shot of rain and some gusty winds to the Northeast by Monday. However, this storm is looking much less intense and impacts will be less widespread.Rain, snow head toward NorthwestA new storm is developing in the northern Pacific this weekend and will bring a shot of rain and some mountain snow to parts of the Northwest by Sunday.In the wake of this storm, the pattern will remain unsettled for several days in the Northwest with rounds of rain expected from Seattle to Portland. Through Wednesday, rainfall totals over 3 inches will be possible.Some of the higher elevations of the Cascades and northern Rockies could see some snow accumulation from the unsettled weather.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
Qatar Petroleum announces a 10-year LPG supply agreement with China’s Wanhua Chemicals. Photo: courtesy of Qatar Petroleum. Qatar Petroleum has announced the signing of an agreement with Wanhua Chemical Group (Wanhua) for the sale of approximately 800,000 metric tons per year of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) over a period of ten years.Wanhua, a petrochemical producer headquartered in Yantai in the Shandong province of North East China, signed the agreement, which commences in January 2020, with Qatar Petroleum for Sale of Petroleum Products Company Ltd. (QPSPP).His Excellency Mr. Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, the Minister of State for Energy Affairs, the President and CEO of Qatar Petroleum, welcomed the signing and said, “This agreement reflects our marketing strategy to increase direct sales of petroleum products with end-users, specifically in China. The Chinese LPG market continues to enjoy steady growth, and remains an important destination to Qatari energy exports. We look forward to further cementing our position in China’s energy markets in general and the LPG markets in particular.”His Excellency Mr. Al-Kaabi added, “Concluding this opportunity with Wanhua enhances our relationship which has been steadily building over the past years. Wanhua is growing into one of the most important players in the LPG industry, and we are proud to be associated with them through this opportunity.”Mr. Kou Guangwu, Group CEO of Wanhua Chemical, expressed similar sentiments stating, “This new agreement with QP is a further proof of how Wanhua is creating a long term and mutually beneficial partnerships with our strategic supplier. Wanhua, as a government owned company and world leading chemical producer, will continue to work closely with QP to explore more opportunities to serve the “One Belt One Road” strategy.”Wanhua Chemical Group is one of the world’s largest Polyurethane producers, and one of China’s largest users and importers of LPG. The Company owns and operates a state-of-the-art LPG receiving terminal and storage at its port in Yantai, and utilizes significant volumes of LPG in its fully integrated petrochemical complex, which includes the world’s largest PDH and Butane isomerization operations. Source: Company Press Release Wanhua, a petrochemical producer headquartered in Yantai in the Shandong province of North East China
Coconut: This market is hard to accurately call. Significant activity of late has been the cheaper pricing emanating from Sri Lanka and at times at significant discount to Indonesia and the Philippines.Raisins: All remaining stocks of the current crop from Turkey are now sold out. In California, prices are stable and reflect slow export sales over the past one to two months.Sultanas: From Turkey, prices and availability on the Bourse over the past two months have been very high and low respectively, with ongoing reports that the current stocks have been depleting rapidly. If Turkey does see a step-decrease in its expected remaining current crop sales, we expect prices to weaken, especially if we approach a good new crop.Currants: The currant crop is already mainly sold out, so pricing over the coming months will remain firm as the surpluses sitting in importers’ hands are gradually wound down at what are likely to be increasingly high prices.Apricot: Prices in Turkey for apricots have stabilised with any pricing fluctuation coming from the currency than for any other fundamental reason.l Based on information provided by RM Curtis
Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) announced this week that it will name a distinguished visiting professorship in architecture in honor of John Portman, founder and chairman of John Portman & Associates, a leading design firm based in Atlanta, Georgia. The John Portman Visiting Chair in Architecture will create a special opportunity for the GSD to bring internationally recognized designers to campus in a sustained role. This position provides an important chance for esteemed practitioners to engage in the life of Harvard for an extended period of time, ranging from one to three years. The Portman Chair creates a worthwhile complement to traditional faculty structures, offering a flexible appointment for a leading practitioner and programmatic support to ensure the chair holder’s maximum impact while in residence. In addition to providing for the role itself, the Portman Chair will include research assistance, the curation and organization of exhibitions, and production of related publications.Portman is an American architect who has designed iconic buildings and cityscapes that have redefined and revitalized the urban environment. Portman’s career has spanned nearly 50 years and produced projects in more than 60 cities throughout the world. He has expanded his role into that of entrepreneur and real estate developer, creating projects such as Peachtree Center in Atlanta, Embarcadero Center in San Francisco, and Shanghai Center in Shanghai. Many members of his immediate family have attended various schools at Harvard, including his son Jack Portman, GSD M.Arch. ’73, the CEO of John Portman & Associates. Read Full Story
No one who has ever worried about toxic chemicals in the everyday environment would have had his or her fears allayed by attending the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health forum “Hormone-Altering Chemicals: Fertility and Health Implications.”Presented jointly with the Huffington Post, whose senior living editor, Erin Schumaker, was the moderator, the panel focused on chemicals that affect the endocrine system, and their effects on fertility and childbirth. But the central point of the talk was contained in four words, screened in a video by the Environmental Working Group: “Toxic chemicals are everywhere.”The panel opened Tuesday afternoon with some sobering statistics: Everyday products —personal hygiene products, medications, food packaging, objects such as window blinds — contain more than 10,000 chemicals that have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and many of them are banned in China and the European Union.Russ Hauser, acting chair of the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard Chan School, said many of these chemicals are endocrine disruptors, which can interfere with common metabolism, the immune system, and fertility in men and women. “Our exposure may be at very low levels,” he noted. “But there is data suggesting that even that can have an effect on humans.”“We tested for 25 chemicals in teenage girls and found that 16 of them were present, and these were the ones associated with endocrine disruption,” said Nneka Leiba (from left). Harvard Professor Tamarra James-Todd targeted additional groups at risk, including minorities. Sarah Sholes/Harvard Chan SchoolTamarra James-Todd, professor of environmental reproductive and perinatal epidemiology at the Harvard Chan School, added that certain populations — including pregnant women and minorities — are especially at risk. She said chemicals used in cosmetics and industrial products are related to glucose disruption, which can lead to Type II diabetes that pregnant women can pass on to their children.“We’ve found that Hispanic women and non-Hispanic black women have larger concentrations of these chemicals. Black women also have a prevalence of preterm birth that’s twice as high as white women.” She also noted that about a quarter of pregnancies currently evince some complication, including preterm birth and gestational diabetes. “This is not trivial.”Another vulnerable group is teenage women, said Nneka Leiba, deputy director of research for the Environmental Working Group. That’s partly because teens tend to use more cosmetics and other personal products than adult women, she said. The average teen uses 17 personal-care products daily (versus 12 for adults), which subjects her to perhaps 180 chemicals.“We tested for 25 chemicals in teenage girls and found that 16 of them were present, and these were the ones associated with endocrine disruption. And what’s going on during adolescence? There’s complicated hormonal signaling that guides development of the brain and the immune system.” Even if teens don’t use those personal products, they may encounter the same chemicals through waterproof clothing or nonstick cookware. “It really is ubiquitous.”Speaking via Skype from Europe, Pete Myers, CEO and chief scientist of Environmental Health Sciences, focused on the obstacles to effective regulation. Myers, who has been working on the issue since the ’80s, emphasized that endocrine-disrupting chemicals are a recognized danger, classified by the World Health Organization as a global health threat. Yet they aren’t regulated in the United States as such.“There are many reasons regulation has advanced slowly, but the big one is money,” he said. “If regulators were to act on the science we have in hand now, it would require multiple products to be taken off the market. There are games that people play to make that not happen. The money [generated by those products] pays for a lot of lawyers. We face a system that makes the movement of science into regulation move very slowly, and in some cases backwards.”Still, consumers aren’t entirely powerless. Leiba’s organization, the Environmental Working Group, maintains a database of products that are rated for their chemical safety. And she noted a positive sign in last year’s rewriting of the Toxic Substances Control Act, which was introduced in the ’70s and was badly in need of an update. In 2016, it was expanded to give more regulatory power to the Environmental Protection Agency, but Schumaker pointed out that the Act’s future is uncertain under the new president. Leiba said that the Senate’s recent approval of Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA may not be a good sign, since Pruitt fought against regulations on toxic emissions when he was attorney general of Oklahoma.All four panelists agreed that the one thing that was most needed was stronger government regulation, but nobody seemed optimistic it would be coming anytime soon. “What I’d look for,” Myers said, “is a package of policies that move us into a world in which moms don’t have to be chemical engineers to go shopping for their kids.”
Anne Hathaway(Photo: Bruce Glikas) View Comments Here’s a quick roundup of stories you may have missed today. Anne Hathaway Circling David Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow FilmAn interesting twist in the journey to get David Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow from screen to stage. Oscar winner and recent off-Broadway alum Anne Hathaway is apparently eyeing one of the male roles, which Showbiz411 reports would be rewritten for her. Mamet now plans to direct the project, replacing the previously reported Michael Polish at the helm. According to Deadline, pending casting, production is aiming to begin in February 2017. The 1988 play focuses on two high-powered Hollywood executives, Charlie Fox (potentially Hathaway) and Bobby Gould, who have come up from the mailroom together. Charlie brings Bobby a surefire hit with a major star attached. Bobby seems certain to give the green light, until his beautiful new secretary, Karen, gets involved. Madonna originally played Karen on Broadway; a revival, featuring Lindsay Lohan, ran in London’s West End in 2014.Anthony Ramos Set for Spike Lee’s Netflix SeriesHamilton’s Anthony Ramos, who originated the roles of Philip Hamilton and John Laurens in the hit tuner, has been tapped for Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It. Deadline writes that Ramos will take on the role of social media phenom Mars Blackmon in the 10-episode Netflix series, which is based on Lee’s 1986 film and is to be set in the present day.Gabriel Violett Nails Voice AuditionGabriel Violett, who made his Main Stem debut in Spring Awakening and toured with tenor group Broadway Boys, has landed up on NBC’s The Voice. Check out below how he did in the recent Blind Auditions… What do @Lin_Manuel & @DaveedDiggs hope viewers will get out of #HamildocPBS? Find out in this Q&A and don’t miss the premiere, 10/21 @ 9/8c pic.twitter.com/jPpSZMyxrY— PBS (@PBS) September 28, 2016 P.S. Take a look at the latest trailer for the upcoming Hamilton documentary, which will air on PBS on October 21.
Sikorsky, the most important helicopter manufacturer in the United States, is studying the possibility of setting up an aircraft equipment and maintenance center in Spain, although the project is conditional on signing a contract with the Navy for the sale of six second-hand SH-60F Sea Hawks and obtaining another contract for maintenance from the U.S. Sixth Fleet. The first challenge for the U.S.-based multinational, which has revenues and personnel very similar to the European Eurocopter, is to complete the sale of the helicopters, worth nearly 155 million dollars, equivalent to around 114 million euros at current exchange rates, to the Spanish Navy, the daily Expansión reported. The sale, still being studied by the Spanish Defense Ministry, has already been endorsed by the Pentagon, which sent an official notification to Congress on 30 September for its approval, which is expected to take place without major problems, industry sources told Infodefensa.com. The notification from the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) confirms that the Spanish government has requested the approval of the possible sale, which would include six second-hand SH-60F multipurpose helicopters, thirteen T700-GE-401C engines – twelve installed and one spare – and support, training, and inspection services, as well as spare parts and manuals. Modernizing the Navy’s Capabilities According to the agency’s official statement, the possible sale “will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a NATO ally (Spain) that has been and continues to be an important force for economic and military progress.” Specifically, the Pentagon agency indicates that the SH-60 helicopters would serve to modernize the Spanish Navy’s search-and-rescue capabilities, which would improve its ability to carry out humanitarian missions, airborne medical evacuations, fire-fighting, and anti-piracy efforts. Spain currently has twelve SH-60s and consequently would not be expected to have problems absorbing and operating these additional helicopters. The principal contractor for the engines will be General Electric, and the sale would not generate offset requirements. Sikorsky in Spain According to the daily Expansión, the U.S.-based multinational aerospace firm’s objective is to establish an aircraft equipment and maintenance center in Spain, most likely in Rota (Cádiz), the location of the base used by the Sixth Fleet, and so support its growth in the countries of Africa, “since that continent is one of the most promising markets for the helicopter business.” With this intention, Sikorsky is finalizing an alliance with two Spanish companies that would carry out the work of equipping the aircraft, an activity expected to make up more than 50 percent of the total value of the contract it hopes to sign with the Spanish Navy in the coming year for the sale of the six helicopters, which since they will be second-hand, would require modernization for their new configuration. If it achieves its objective, Expansión says, the group “would create a strong set of maintenance capabilities that would also serve, in turn, to meet the needs of the Navy’s Sea Hawks, as well as those of the U.S. Forth Fleet.” Blow for Eurocopter The business daily affirms that if Sikorsky’s plans materialize, it would be a blow to Eurocopter’s expectations in Spain. The EADS subsidiary is currently renegotiating with the Defense Ministry the sale of forty-five NH90 helicopters, which would be destined for the three military branches. “Nevertheless,” the newspaper says, “if the Navy covers part of its transport needs with the six Sea Hawks, it would be a clear argument in favor of lowering its initial order from the European manufacturer.” In addition, Sikorsky would score a point against another of its global competitors, its fellow U.S. firm Boeing, which tried without success to get a foothold in Spain with a contract to sell its Apache helicopters to the Spanish executive branch. The subsidiary of the U.S.-based United Technologies group had revenues of 4.7 billion euros in 2009 and a profit of 445 million. With more than 17,000 employees, it has manufactured almost a third of all military helicopters flying today around the world. If it sets up a facility in Spain, it would be its fifth installation in Europe, since it has a factory in Poland and is present in Great Britain, Turkey, and the Czech Republic. By Dialogo December 08, 2010
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As Democrats on Monday open an unprecedented virtual convention, the party’s disparate factions are projecting a united front behind Joe Biden, brought together by their common determination to oust Donald Trump in November’s election.”It is absolutely imperative that Donald Trump be defeated,” Bernie Sanders, a former Biden rival and a keynote speaker on the event’s opening night, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” Adding to the drama, the four-day convention — originally planned for the Midwestern city of Milwaukee but forced online by the COVID-19 pandemic — takes place amid a furor over Trump’s efforts to limit mail-in voting.The president, insisting without proof that mail-in voting fosters fraud, has threatened to block extra funding that Democrats say is urgently needed to allow the US Postal Service to process millions of ballots.In normal election years, nominating conventions are a raucous scene, attended by tens of thousands of party faithful and designed to inspire the party’s base and lure independents and the undecided.Democrats had picked Milwaukee for its location in the important swing state of Wisconsin. The city had spent millions in preparation. But planners have been struggling to find virtual replacements for the usual roaring applause, circus-like atmosphere and balloon drops.Viewers are expected to be treated to live feeds from several Democratic “watch parties,” some even live-streamed from drive-in theaters or featuring erstwhile Biden rivals like Senator Amy Klobuchar.The experimental format will allow speakers to address American voters unfiltered — largely shorn of the usual overwrought stagecraft and screaming delegates.Or, some fear, it could make for a more boring show.Biden enters the convention with significant but tightening poll leads over Trump and amid signs that his history-making pick of Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate — the first woman of color on a major party’s presidential ticket — is widely popular among Democrats.Harris, a former prosecutor and the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants, has been promoted by Biden as the “American Dream” incarnate. At 55, she brings relatively youthful energy to bolster the 77-year-old Biden.Democrats hope keynote speakers across four evenings will draw viewers to the prime-time slot that networks have committed to airing.Monday’s top speakers will be Sanders, a leader of the party’s progressive wing, and widely admired former first lady Michelle Obama. Tuesday will see former president Bill Clinton and Jill Biden, the nominee’s wife.On Wednesday, former president Barack Obama will speak, and Harris will have her moment in the spotlight before the convention culminates Thursday when Biden formally accepts the Democratic nomination and delivers his acceptance speech — via videolink from his home state of Delaware.”If I’m elected president, I will always choose to unite rather than divide. I’ll take responsibility instead of blaming others,” Biden tweeted Sunday.The convention has been overshadowed by a coronavirus pandemic that has now killed 170,019 Americans.Another event that threatens to steal the show is a last-minute Trump campaign tour.The incumbent president kicks off his cross-country tour Monday in the battleground states of Wisconsin and Minnesota and ends on Thursday, the biggest moment in Biden’s political life, with a speech next to Scranton, Pennsylvania — the blue collar town where Biden grew up and which he still refers to as his spiritual home.With the nation’s economy shedding millions of jobs, Biden will tout his $700 billion “Build Back Better” plan to invest in new technologies and create some five million jobs, an aggressive challenge to Trump.In a move to soothe raw feelings over a rough Democratic primary season, progressives were given considerable voice in drafting the platform.And in a nod to inclusivity, former Ohio governor John Kasich — a moderate Republican — has been given a speaking spot Monday.What remains a mystery is how Americans will react to the most unconventional of political conventions.”I think it will inspire people,” Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez told MSNBC Sunday, highlighting the “ordinary Americans” who will also take the virtual stage — including a frontline paramedic in Florida — and present a contrast to Trump’s divisive politics.”This is not simply a convention for Democrats. This is a convention for everyone who craves human decency, who craves competence,” Perez added.Judging by history, Democrats will get at least a slight bounce from the convention — and Republicans can expect the same after their virtual event, beginning next Monday.But whether history is an accurate guide is unclear.”We really don’t know whether this sort of ‘non-convention,’ or virtual convention plus a speech, will have anything like the kind of short-term impacts that we’ve seen in previous elections,” said Charles Franklin, a Marquette University professor and pollster.Topics :
The Ahold Pensioenfonds said it was also hit by underperforming emerging market government bonds, which it introduced last year as a tactical position of 5% at the expense of global credit.Its asset managers Pimco and Stone Harbor lost 14.6% and 16%, respectively, on these investments, it said.The pension fund reported a 14.3% return on its 23% equity portfolio, with returns from investments in Europe, North America and the Pacific varying between 13.2% and 24.7%.Property (6%) and private equity (3.6%) delivered returns of -1.1% and 11.9%, while commodities (2.1%) produced a loss of 12.7%.Last year, the Ahold scheme replaced its actively managed European listed property portfolio with a passively managed global property mandate, switching from Cohen & Steers to Northern Trust in the process.The pension fund also said the ratio between fixed income and equity in its portfolio would now depend on its coverage ratio.If its funding is more than 130%, it will raise its investment risk through increased investments in securities, it said.This is in contrast with the policy of the €22.5bn Dutch pension fund of Shell, which decided to reduce its equity exposure in favour of fixed income, following a funding increase to 131%.The Ahold Pensioenfonds is to grant a full indexation for the first time in five years, after meeting less than 50% of inflation in 2013.The scheme has 35,130 active participants, 11,600 pensioners and 36,560 deferred members. The €3.2bn pension fund of supermarket chain Ahold saw its 0.7% return on investments last year offset by a 4% loss on its interest hedge, leading to an overall return of -1%.Following a new and dynamic policy for its interest hedge, the scheme had already reduced its interest cover from 75% to 55%, which prevented an additional loss of 0.8%, according to its 2013 annual report.By contrast, the pension fund’s 80% hedge of the main currencies contributed to a positive return of 2.3%, it said.The interest rate increase from 2.53% to 2.84% boosted the scheme’s coverage ratio – which improved from 114.3% to 116% – but had a negative effect on its 64% fixed income holdings, causing a 3.5% loss.