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Comment / CEO Brad Jacobs tells stockholders ‘don’t worry, we built XPO like a bulletproof tank’

first_imgBy Alex Lennane 16/04/2020 XPO Logistics chief executive Brad Jacobs has sent a letter to stockholders, which we thought was interesting enough to publish.To our StockholdersThings are difficult right now and they’ll get worse in the short-term. Then they’ll get much, much better. That’s what I see for XPO, our industry and the world.I’m a pragmatic bear in the short-term, because that’s the reality of COVID-19. We expect that 2020 will be a lost year for earnings growth in our industry and most industries around the world. Our first priority is to keep our employees out of harm’s way. Second is our duty as an essential provider of transportation and logistics services. We’re helping communities get through this, so the economy can get back on its feet.Here’s what we’ve been seeing at XPO. We had ears to the ground from day one in Asia, where we have about five million square feet of logistics space, including a footprint in Wuhan, China. Our Chinese logistics sites are all back up and running at about 90% of prior levels. Our European operations saw the impact next, starting with Italy and followed by Spain and France at roughly the same time; then the UK and other parts of Europe. North America was the most recent, and the most rapid, escalation.From a demand standpoint, January was very good and February and early March were reasonably good. The last half of March declined sharply as large sectors of the economy came to a near halt. Our industry is a leading indicator, so we felt the pain early, and we’ll be at the forefront of the rebound when the world returns to work. We expect that to happen in fits and starts in the back half of the year, as extreme social distancing winds down.Timing can be tricky under these circumstances, but our major markets appear to be in the worst of it now, in mid-April. One thing is clear: there’s a beginning, a middle and an end to this. Most other countries aren’t in a position to enact the methodical return-to-work process we saw in China, so a global rebound may take longer, but it’s a certainty. Never before have so many governments, industries, individuals, technologies and scientific resources been focused on solving a single problem. It will be resolved.I’m a bull in the mid-term and a mega-bull in the long-term.We believe that some of the behaviours reshaped by the pandemic may become economic tailwinds in our industry. For example, e-commerce growth, which was already at a double-digit rate, could accelerate in the post-pandemic world. Millions of consumers have become more accustomed to online shopping for food, household goods, pet supplies, health and beauty products, furniture and appliances without leaving their homes. If this proves to be secular, it will drive even more demand for e-fulfillment, omnichannel retail, reverse logistics and last mile logistics.More immediately, we’re adapting to current demand, moving medical products, personal protective equipment, food and beverages, telecommunication devices, household staples and business supplies. The crisis has made partners of fierce competitors in our industry. We’re working together to get all types of goods to the people who need them.I’m immensely grateful to our employees, particularly those on the front lines, for stepping up to the challenge of providing essential services. We acted quickly to instill comprehensive safety protocols specific to the pandemic and help our team cope with the disruption. Once our people knew we had their backs, their next instinct was to collaborate for the common good.In North America, we added Pandemic Paid Sick Leave to our standard benefits. This gives affected, full-time employees up to two weeks of sick leave in addition to annual paid time off. We also added free COVID-19 testing to our US insurance policies, and we provide free access to telemedicine through a virtual clinic with a 24/7 nurse hotline.Globally, our employees are guaranteed up to three additional days of full pay if an XPO facility temporarily closes for deep cleaning. We also introduced online programs in seven languages to help our people manage change during the pandemic. These include video sessions on health and safety, stress management and working remotely.Importantly, we’re paying attention to the mental and emotional health of our employees. We’ve made free mental health counseling sessions available to all US employees and their dependents during the crisis through our Employee Assistance Program. We’ve also been sharing some coping techniques based on cognitive behavioral therapy to alleviate the fear and anxiety that comes from uncertainty.I’m talking about these XPO actions for a reason. We’re not the only company in our industry — or in any industry — that’s taking extraordinary measures to safeguard their employees. Demand is going to come back, and when it does, XPO and other providers who took care of their people will be right there to meet that demand.Long-term, the services we provide as a company and industry will continue to be the bedrock of all economies. I believe that supply chains will become more ironclad against disruption. Artificial intelligence will lead to greater sharing of information, and threats like pandemics and natural disasters will be detected much earlier. I have faith in the human race that we’ll use our creativity to find new ways to collaborate and lead more enriched lives.Longer-term still, the world may move toward the singularity that Ray Kurzweil envisions, where the merging of human intelligence and technology will transform how societies are served by commerce. One key part of that future — virtual interactions — is another way to stave off risks related to physicality.We’ve deliberately built XPO like a bulletproof tank to surmount all kinds of challenges.We weren’t thinking “seismic societal disruption” when we started XPO, but we were prepared for strong shocks to the economy. Why? Because our leadership team has lived that. The dot-com bust, the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the Great Recession all seemed crushing in the moment, but they were no match for the human spirit, and things moved forward.Consumer confidence is very weak right now, but once testing, therapeutic drugs and a vaccine are widely available, confidence will rebound and the global mechanisms for GDP growth will resume. We think that will be in 2021, and when it happens, we have a number of things going for us.First is something we share with our entire industry. Transportation and logistics are inherently valuable to all populations; we’re part of the economic and social fabric. Whether COVID-19 is driving permanent changes in behavior, or will prove more temporary, our industry will still be needed.Next are some things specific to XPO. As pockets of the economy begin to recover, our diversity of customers, verticals, geographies and lines of business will allow us to respond in targeted ways. We expect to see the upswing first in our large customer relationships, which include nearly 70% of the Fortune 500.Our longstanding investments in technology give us another head start on future growth. We identified intelligent technology as the long-term future of our industry about a decade ago. Since then, we’ve invested billions of dollars in digital freight management, virtual reality, advanced automation, demand forecasting, productivity analytics and other innovations that support our customers and make the best use of our people’s talents.We’re learning just how mighty our tech can be under the current stress-test. In Madrid, for example, our Spanish team worked with authorities in the Castilla y León region to deploy robots capable of testing inbound medical products at a rate of 2,500 tests per robot per hour. That sped up our distribution of 28 million masks, 500 respirators, 400,000 test kits, 17 million gloves, 400,000 medical suits and 550,000 protective eyeglasses and screens.In addition, our analytics allow us to problem-solve in accelerated timeframes and deploy rapid solutions. The machine learning we’ve built into our platform is assimilating atypical data, enabling us to react quickly. Several of our proprietary innovations reached a critical development phase in 2019, and we expect them to be significant differentiators going forward.COVID-19 is also teaching us how to be an even more unified, forward-looking team. We’re adapting all the time and documenting practices we can use in the future. XPO has never been a company of silos, but what few silos there were have disappeared. There’s more collaboration, more empathy for others and more smiles in voices on the phone.I’ll give you one of thousands of examples that make me proud of our employees’ resourcefulness. In late March, one of our outsourced providers was unable to enter data due to mandated COVID-19 shutdowns. This particular vendor normally processes 45,000 to 55,000 documents daily, and our less-than-truckload customers use the data to track their freight. In about five days, we trained over 600 of our XPO colleagues in alternate locations, got completely caught up and were moving forward with a sustainable solution we can adapt to other circumstances. One of our managers told me, “Before this happened, I would have quoted three to six months to move that much work. We did it in five days — no RFPs, no consultants, no travel.”Importantly for our investors, we have a remarkably strong business model. When times get tough, our company generates a lot of cash. Even in these circumstances, we expect hundreds of millions of dollars of free cash flow this year. We’ve throttled back our growth capex. Working capital should become a source of cash instead of a use. Our proceeds from real estate sales also contribute to liquidity. And the large variable portion of our transportation model lets us control costs while retaining access to capacity.Our liquidity is very strong. We currently have $1 billion of cash in the bank, plus about $500 million of total borrowings available between our ABL and other bank facilities. Our next significant debt maturity isn’t until June 2022, and some of our debt doesn’t mature until 2034. There will be no shortage of opportunities for us to allocate capital and enhance shareholder value.In summary, life is complicated at the moment, but we think 2021 will be a much better year, and it will get better from there.Warren Buffett said human potential is far from exhausted. That’s exciting to contemplate and humbling to see it reflected in our own experience. This crisis has made it abundantly clear that we have tens of thousands of superstars at XPO. Our customers won’t forget the way we stood by them under siege.There’s been a lot of noise lately about what the “new normal” may look like in the future. We believe it will look better than the old normal — better for XPO, our investors, customers and employees. My heartfelt thanks to all of you.April 16, 2020Bradley S. JacobsChairman and Chief Executive Officerlast_img read more

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Recent results from Portarlington and The Heath golf clubs

first_img Electric Picnic Bizarre situation as Ben Brennan breaks up Fianna Fáil-Fine Gael arrangement to take Graiguecullen-Portarlington vice-chair role Twitter Home Sport Golf Recent results from Portarlington and The Heath golf clubs SportGolf News Laois Councillor ‘amazed’ at Electric Picnic decision to apply for later date for 2021 festival Pinterest Mary Killeen, Bernie Aldritt with Captain Helen Kelly at the recent presentation of prizes in The Heath Golf Club – the first presentation in five months PORTARLINGTONWeekend 18 Hole Stableford on August 18-19Barry Cribben (12) 40 pts bb9Brian Byrne (28) 40ptsGross – John McCusker (6) 32 pts3rd – Noel Shortall (13) 39 bb21st Student – Matthew McAlorum (18) 43ptsSaturday CSS – 72; Sunday CSS – 72Ladies:Sinead Scully (26) 37ptsJean Gordon (22) 33pts4 Person Scramble – 18 Hole Stroke on August 3Sponsored by Brian Walsh Car Sales1st  – Dessie Baker (11), Damien Reddin (14), David Nevin (13), Anthony Heffernan (13) – 55 3/82nd  – Christy Carey (19), Aidan Geoghegan (20), Jamie Hanlon (13), Eugene Geoghegan (14) – 56 3/83rd – Pat Lyne (21), Philip Lyons (20), John Connolly (5), Declan Hutchinson (20)  – 56 6/8William Waller Cup (Trustees’ Prize) – 18 Hole Stroke(Golfer of the year & August Medal) – Sponsored by Michael Turley, Pat Kitson, Pat Byron Seamus WalshAidan Moore (8) 682nd Steve O’Donnell (5) 69Gross  Richard Kelly (8) 783rd Eugene Geoghegan (14) 70 BB61st Student Oisin O’Dea (21) 68Saturday CSS: 73, Sunday CSS 72Ladies: Recent results from Portarlington and The Heath golf clubs WhatsApp Twitter By LaoisToday Reporter – 12th August 2020 center_img Rita Dowling (22)  78Fiona Walsh (30) 79 bb9THE HEATHMen’s August Singles Laurence Cushen (9) 41Alan Hartnett (25) 40 (Back 9)Joe McNamara (17) 40Brian Colgan (16) 38Dominic Connell (19) 37 (Back 9)Result of Gents Week 5 Running 9 Hole Stableford Larry Dunne (6) 23ptsEamonn Walshe (28) 21ptsLadies July SinglesCarmel McManus (35) 33 ptsMary Cushen (17) 33 ptsMarion Mills (25)  33 pts9 Holes runningMaria Delaney 19 ptsHelen Bergin and Póilín Hooban at the presentation of prizes at The Heath Golf ClubAnn Dunne and Pat Lambe at the presentation of prizes at The Heath Golf ClubMarie Conlon and Mary Bland at the presentation of prizes at The Heath Golf ClubSEE ALSO – Laois Chamber CEO asks government for extension of wage subsidy scheme for Laois employers RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Previous articleDeaths in Laois – Wednesday, August 12, 2020Next articleChampionship Diary: Barrowhouse ‘Talk it Over’, death of former Laois hurling manager and this week’s TV offerings LaoisToday Reporter Facebook Pinterest WhatsApp Facebook TAGSPortarlington Golf ClubThe Heath Golf Club Electric Picnic Electric Picnic organisers release statement following confirmation of new festival datelast_img read more

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WHO calls for reinvigorated action as global malaria gains threatened by access gaps, COVID-19 and funding shortfalls

first_img Health policies News Public Health WHO tri-regional policy dialogue seeks solutions to challenges facing international mobility of health professionals WHO calls for reinvigorated action as global malaria gains threatened by access gaps, COVID-19 and funding shortfalls Adoption of AI/ML can disrupt healthcare services COVID-19Malaria Elimination RoadmapWHO World Malaria Report Add Comment Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals releases first “Comprehensive Textbook of COVID-19” Read Article Menopause to become the next game-changer in global femtech solutions industry by 2025 MaxiVision Eye Hospitals launches “Mucormycosis Early Detection Centre” The missing informal workers in India’s vaccine story Phoenix Business Consulting invests in telehealth platform Healpha Comments (0) By EH News Bureau on November 30, 2020 Some progress in Asia but plateau particularly in high burden countries in Africa; India reduces malaria cases by 1.2 million over past two yearsAccording to WHO‘s latest World Malaria Report, progress against malaria continues to plateau, particularly in high burden countries in Africa. Gaps in access to life-saving tools are undermining global efforts to curb the disease, and the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to set back the fight even further.“It is time for leaders across Africa – and the world – to rise once again to the challenge of malaria, just as they did when they laid the foundation for the progress made since the beginning of this century,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Through joint action, and a commitment to leaving no one behind, we can achieve our shared vision of a world free of malaria.”In 2000, African leaders signed the landmark Abuja Declaration pledging to reduce malaria deaths on the continent by 50 per cent over a 10-year period. Robust political commitment, together with innovations in new tools and a steep increase in funding, catalysed an unprecedented period of success in global malaria control. According to the report, 1.5 billion malaria cases and 7.6 million deaths have been averted since 2000.Progress in AsiaRecently, leaders from across Asia Pacific have endorsed the APLMA Leaders’ Malaria Elimination Roadmap: A 5-year Review of Progress (2015–2019) report, celebrating significant gains against malaria across the region, while global progress has stalled. During the 15th East Asia Summit (EAS), held in November, the region’s leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a coordinated response for eliminating malaria by 2030, as a public and regional health security priority.India too made a significant contribution to this achievement, reducing malaria cases from 20 million to just over 5 million in 2019. China and Malaysia have both registered zero malaria cases for three consecutive years and kept malaria at bay despite COVID-19.  Between 2000 and 2019, in the six countries of the Greater Mekong subregion (GMS) – Cambodia, China (Yunnan Province), Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam – P.falciparum malaria cases fell by 97 per cent, while all malaria cases fell by 90 per cent.A plateau in progressAS per WHO’s records, in 2019, the global tally of malaria cases was 229 million, an annual estimate that has remained virtually unchanged over the last 4 years. The disease claimed some 409 000 lives in 2019 compared to 411 000 in 2018.As in past years, the African Region shouldered more than 90 per cent of the overall disease burden. Since 2000, the region has reduced its malaria death toll by 44 per cent, from an estimated 680 000 to 384 000 annually. However, progress has slowed in recent years, particularly in countries with a high burden of the disease.A funding shortfall at both the international and domestic levels poses a significant threat to future gains. In 2019, total funding reached US $3 billion against a global target of $5.6 billion. Funding shortages have led to critical gaps in access to proven malaria control tools.COVID-19 an added challengeIn 2020, COVID-19 emerged as an additional challenge to the provision of essential health services worldwide. According to the report, most malaria prevention campaigns were able to move forward this year without major delays. Ensuring access to malaria prevention – such as insecticide-treated nets and preventive medicines for children – has supported the COVID-19 response strategy by reducing the number of malaria infections and, in turn, easing the strain on health systems. WHO worked swiftly to provide countries with guidance to adapt their responses and ensure the safe delivery of malaria services during the pandemic.However, WHO is concerned that even moderate disruptions in access to treatment could lead to a considerable loss of life. The report finds, for example, that a 10 per cent disruption in access to effective antimalarial treatment in sub-Saharan Africa could lead to 19 000 additional deaths. Disruptions of 25 per cent and 50 per cent in the region could result in an additional 46 000 and 100 000 deaths, respectively.“While Africa has shown the world what can be achieved if we stand together to end malaria as a public health threat, progress has stalled,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. “COVID-19 threatens to further derail our efforts to overcome malaria, particularly treating people with the disease. Despite the devastating impact COVID-19 has had on African economies, international partners and countries need to do more to ensure that the resources are there to expand malaria programmes which are making such a difference in people’s lives.”WHO responseA key strategy to reignite progress is the “High burden to high impact” (HBHI) response, catalysed in 2018 by WHO and the RBM Partnership to End Malaria. The response is led by 11 countries – including 10 in sub-Saharan Africa – that account for approximately 70 per cent of the world’s malaria burden.Over the last 2 years, HBHI countries have been moving away from a “one-size-fits all” approach to malaria control – opting, instead, for tailored responses based on local data and intelligence. A recent analysis from Nigeria, for example, found that through an optimized mix of interventions, the country could avert tens of millions of additional cases and thousands of additional deaths by the year 2023, compared to a business-as-usual approach.While it is too early to measure the impact of the HBHI approach, the report finds that deaths in the 11 countries were reduced from 263 000 to 226 000 between 2018 and 2019.  India continued to make impressive gains, with reductions in cases and deaths of 18 per cent and 20 per cent, respectively, over the last 2 years. There was, however, a slight increase in the total number of cases among HBHI countries, from an estimated 155 million in 2018 to 156 million in 2019.Meeting global malaria targetsThis year’s report highlights key milestones and events that helped shape the global response to the disease in recent decades. Beginning in the 1990s, leaders of malaria-affected countries, scientists and other partners laid the groundwork for a renewed malaria response that contributed to one of the biggest returns on investment in global health.According to the report, 21 countries eliminated malaria over the last 2 decades; of these, 10 countries were officially certified as malaria-free by WHO. In the face of the ongoing threat of antimalarial drug resistance, the six countries of the Greater Mekong sub region continue to make major gains towards their goal of malaria elimination by 2030.But many countries with a high burden of malaria have been losing ground.  According to WHO global projections, the 2020 target for reductions in malaria case incidence will be missed by 37 per cent and the mortality reduction target will be missed by 22 per cent. Share Related Postslast_img read more

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Renewed Lake Trout Suppression Efforts Underway

first_imgThe biannual Mack Days fishing tournament opened to sun and initial success the weekend of March 21 – 24, when anglers claimed a total of 3,774 lake trout, an invasive species that exploded in Flathead Lake and has since decimated native trout populations.And while the fishing derby has historically served as a prominent tool to regain a measure of control on the booming lake trout population, a recent plateau in catch rates and the implementation of other, more aggressive suppression efforts has given biologists with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes pause to reconsider the derby.“We had hoped to get a greater harvest this year, and I think we are on the path toward achieving that,” Barry Hansen, CSKT fisheries biologist, said. “But future contests depend on the results. If we’re not convinced that we are accruing benefits then Mack days would not be implemented. It would go out with all the other tools.”Flathead Lake contains about 1 million lake trout, and annually the two Mack Days fishing tournaments remove about 50,000 fish, while another 20,000 are removed through recreational fishing. But that’s about 13,000 fish below what’s needed to see declines in the population, and as a result the tribes are implementing a gill-netting program to gouge the population more aggressively.Last May and again in October, the Tribes moved forward with gill-netting in Flathead Lake, implementing the measure in tandem with recreational angling and the fishing contests.The new plan calls for removing 25,000 fish by way of the general recreational harvest, 45,000 fish through the Mack Days fishing contests, and between 20,000 and 30,000 fish through gill-netting.That target figure represents about a 30 percent increase in the harvest measured over the last several years.The decision to move forward with gill-netting generated intense controversy between state and federal agencies, and came after an extensive environmental analysis of the effects of the practice, as well as other methods of lake trout suppression, which are outlined under the Flathead Lake and River Fisheries Co-Management Plan, said Hansen, who led the EIS process.Cynthia Bras, of the CSKT fisheries department, said this year’s opening day total at Mack Days was one of the best ever with 1,825 entries.This year the event also includes more fishing days in an effort to boost participation and total catch. Anglers turned in a total of 3,774 lake trout entries over the first weekend.“The weather was great on Friday and the anglers, many who had not fished all winter, were anxious to get on the water,” Bras said. “Friday’s total was one of the best over the years.”And as tribal and state agencies work to suppress the lake trout in Flathead Lake, biologists with Glacier National Park and the U.S. Geological Survey are pioneering new efforts to suppress lake trout in remote backcountry lakes and reintroduce dwindling bull trout populations.With the upstream lakes of Glacier National Park invaded by lake trout that radiated out of Flathead Lake, the ecological network that supports native species is becoming increasingly fragmented. But recent results have shown strong evidence of success, and indicate that the efforts could be applied to other invaded habitats and broader ranges.At a recent presentation in West Glacier, Carter Fredenberg, a fisheries biologist, presented the results of the ongoing suppression project on Quartz Lake, located in the park’s remote northwest corner, where lake trout invasion was still in its early stages. The aim was to reduce or eliminate lake trout by gillnetting, a project that required a boat to be helicoptered in and all of the supplies to be hauled in by biologists and mules.The team located so-called “Judas fish,” captured and radio-tagged them, then tracked the fish to spawning areas in order to capture and remove the densest concentrations of spawning lake trout.In five years, the Quartz Lake project has shown strong evidence of success in reducing lake trout, and is hailed as one of the first successful projects of its kind and a leading example that lake trout suppression, once thought to be futile, is possible.“The bull trout numbers increased last year, giving us hope that the population is stable and that suppression is working,” said Clint Muhlfeld, an aquatic ecologist with the USGS who led the project. “It’s the most promising results to date of any lake trout suppression program.”Now, biologists with both agencies have received approval to continue the federal program on Quartz, and apply a similar method of lake trout removal to Logging Lake, which was once among the most robust bull trout fisheries in the park, but where the species is now on the cusp of blinking out due to lake trout invasion.A second element to the Logging Lake suppression project, scheduled to begin in June, involves translocation of bull trout – the first of its kind in the upper Columbia basin –to a safe haven called Grace Lake, an upstream body of water that is protected from lake trout invasion by a waterfall, which serves as a natural barrier. Email Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup. Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.last_img read more

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NASCAR TV schedule: Jan. 14-20, 2019

first_imgWhich channels have NASCAR programming this week? We answer that and give you the weekly NASCAR television listings here in the NASCAR TV schedule.Note: All times are ET.MORE: Get the NBC Sports App | How to find FS1 | Get FOX Sports Go | How to find NBCSNMONDAY, Jan. 1411 p.m., Beyond the Wheel, FS2 (re-air)TUESDAY, Jan. 15Midnight, NASCAR Race Hub: Best of Features: Part 1, FS2 (re-air)1 a.m., NASCAR Race Hub: Best of Features: Part 2, FS2 (re-air)2 a.m., NASCAR Race Hub: Season Recap, FS2 (re-air)5 p.m., IMSA: Prototype Challenge at Daytona, NBCSN (re-air)On MRN7 p.m., NASCAR Livelast_img

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Video courts on the way in SA?

first_img23 January 2006South Africa’s courtrooms are set to go the hi-tech route, with the accused taking part in proceedings from prison via video-conferencing facilities, in a system successfully pioneered at the Durban and Pinetown magistrate’s courts in KwaZulu-Natal.The Mercury newspaper reports that the technology is already being used for half the cases – about 30 a day – heard at Court 10 in Durban, where those accused of serious and violent crimes make pre-trial court appearances.The prisoners do not leave Westville Prison. Instead, they appear before the magistrate on a television set in the courtroom, the newspaper reports.The hi-tech system allows for a two-way interaction, with the camera panning to whoever is speaking at the time. It also provides for private telephone conversations with attorneys and the exchange of documents via fax.If implemented countrywide, the technology will save the government millions of rands in prisoner transportation costs – and end the risk of escapes, prisoner violence in vans and attacks on court orderlies.Deon Boardman, the national manager of the project, told the Mercury that the aim was to simplify court procedures and improve efficiency.“We are in the proof of concept stage,” he said. “It is an impact study and we aim to roll it out to other courts with high case volumes.“The test period is six months. So far, it has gone so well. It is a joint venture between the Departments of Justice and of Correctional Services, the National Prosecuting Authority and the police. In April, a joint decision will be made regarding roll-out.”Some 500 prisoners are transported every day from Westville Prison to various courts.“It is an administrative nightmare,” Boardman told the Mercury. “They have to be checked out of the prison, transported to the courts, checked into the grill, handed over to the police, escorted to and from the courts, fed, and taken back to prison. All of this for a two-minute court appearance.“The costs are enormous and the risk of escape is huge . this project is the way to go.”The project began in October 2005, initially with only a few cases a day to allow the court staff to become used to the system and make the necessary mental adjustment.“It was important for both court staff and prisoners to feel comfortable,” said Boardman. “All prisoners make their first appearance in the court itself so they know what the courtroom looks like.“They are then informed that their next appearances will be via video.“But if they want to come to court, they can. They simply make the request and they are requisitioned either the same day or the next day. But … most prisoners seem happy to appear on camera,” Boardman told the Mercury.The idea for the system came from Peter Benson of Durban-based Digital Voice Processing, which now runs the project, who first saw the technology at work in the US state of Florida, and suggested it to the Justice Department. He said it was inexpensive, with the pilot project only costing about R230 000 so far.“We worked out that if the department equipped every prison and one court in each courthouse with these video remand systems, the total cost of the technology would be recovered within nine months,” he told the Mercury.“I am passionate about this project,” he said. “It will save millions and it will save lives . I want to see this thing happen even if I don’t get the final tender.”SouthAfrica.info reporterlast_img read more

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Morata’s Chelsea career a tale of missed chances

first_imgIt’s hard not to feel sympathy for Alvaro Morata. He is immensely talented and is trying so hard to make a success of his Chelsea career but it is just not happening for him, with Wednesday night’s stalemate with Southampton just the latest in a long line of frustrating outings for the Spanish striker.It is now 18 months since he joined the Blues from Real Madrid for £58 million (plus add-ons) and he is running out of chances to prove his worth.As ever with Morata, there were positive moments against Southampton, with a delightful dribble in the 17th minute probably the highlight. But despite going close on numerous occasions, he failed to score and it was clear long before the end of this dour 0-0 draw that the fans’ patience is wearing thin. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Man Utd ready to spend big on Sancho and Haaland in January Who is Marcus Thuram? Lilian’s son who is top of the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach Brazil, beware! Messi and Argentina out for revenge after Copa controversy Best player in MLS? Zlatan wasn’t even the best player in LA! It’s not that he played badly. He even managed to stick the ball in the net in the 71st minute but his strike was ruled out by the most marginal of offside calls. That decision perfectly summed up his misfortune right now.But Morata can hardly claim that his struggles are purely down to bad luck. Indeed, he was played in on goal by Ruben Loftus-Cheek with 12 minutes of normal time remaining against Southampton, after a brilliant counter-attack sparked by the seemingly outbound Cesc Fabregas, who is in talks with Monaco, but Morata’s shot was nowhere near strong enough to beat the young Southampton goalkeeper Angus Gunn.This latest blank means that Morata has now gone five games without a goal. In fairness, seven goals in 22 games this season isn’t terrible but, at the same time, it isn’t a record worthy of a striker leading the line at a ‘Big Six’ Premier League club either.Alvaro Morata Chelsea SouthamptonLuckily for Chelsea, such is the genius of Eden Hazard that he has regularly been able to make up for the fact that Chelsea are not in possession of a prolific centre-forward but the lack of a reliable goalscorer is holding the Blues back.Indeed, they have now failed to score in successive home league matches for the first time since 2012. Essentially, the absence of a world-class No.9 means that Chelsea regularly fail to win games that they dominate. Furthermore, great strikers are also able to nick wins on bad days and Morata simply does not have the requisite mental strength to step up when those around him are toiling, with even manager Maurizio Sarri moved to openly discuss the 26-year-old’s “fragility” earlier this season.Despit this draw, Chelsea are still fourth and reasonably placed to secure a return to the Champions League but it is easy to understand why they are being linked with the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, the prolific Argentine forward who previously worked under Sarri at Napoli.The gap on Arsenal is back down to three points and the squad is coming under increasing strain, with Willian going off injured against Southampton, joining Pedro and Olivier Giroud on the sidelines.Consequently, Wednesday was another chance for Morata to stake a claim for a regular starting berth. Once again, he failed to take it. Unfortunately, his entire Chelsea career to date has been a sorry tale of missed opportunities.Very interesting stat on Morata from @OptaJoe: “Alvaro Morata has recorded 1.9 offsides per 90 this season, the most of any player to have played at least 90 minutes.” #CFC #CHESOU— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) January 2, 2019 Check out Goal’s Premier League 2019-20 fantasy football podcast for game tips, debate and rivalries.last_img read more

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Brokers MOL Books Bulker Duo at Imabari

first_imgzoomIllustration. Image Courtesy: Pxhere under CC0 Creative Commons license Japanese shipping company Mitsui O.S.K Lines (MOL) has ordered construction of two 240,000 dwt bulkers at compatriot Imabari Shipbuilding, Intermodal said in its weekly report.Delivery dates and shipbuilding prices of the Capesize duo have not been disclosed.This is the second bulker order the company has been tied to this year. Namely, MOL ordered two Panamaxes back in March from Chinese shipbuilder Jiangsu New Yangzijiang, paying USD 26.5 million per unit.The newbuilding pair is scheduled for delivery in 2019.The company has 71 bulkers in its fleet, based on the data from VesselsValue, with Capesizes dominating the fleet with 20 units.Intermodal reported three more bulker contracts for last week, scored by Chinese shipbuilders.CSIC Haijing reportedly booked two Kamsarmaxes at Tianjin Xingang, Turkish Akmar Shipping ordered two 61,000 dwt bulkers at DACKS, and Wuhu Shipyard secured an order for two 64,000 dwt bulkers from Chinese owner Shishi Dingxin. As disclosed, all six newbuildings are expected for delivery in 2020.World Maritime News Stafflast_img read more

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Stellar Daisy Voyage Data Recorder Retrieved

first_imgThe voyage data recorder (VDR) of the sunken Stellar Daisy has been located and retrieved, according to Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.Survey and ocean exploration company Ocean Infinity, utilizing the vessel Seabed Constructor and four Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), made the discovery three days after it started the search mission for the sunken ore carrier.Teams aboard the Seabed Constructor managed to retrieve the VDR and the bridge of the ill-fated Stellar Daisy, which sank in the South Atlantic two years ago, on Sunday morning (local time).Ocean Infinity, that launched the search efforts with the deployment of Seabed Constructor from Cape Town on February 8, located Stellar Daisy’s wreck some 1,800 nautical miles due west of Cape Town at a depth of 3,461 meter in the South Atlantic Ocean.Twenty-two of the 24 crew onboard the 1993-built, converted ore carrier went missing on March 31, 2017 when ship sank while transporting iron ore from Brazil to China.World Maritime News Staff; Image Courtesy: Korea’s Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisherieslast_img read more

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Merkel ally dismisses US threat of pipeline sanctions

first_imgBERLIN — The head of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU party says German companies working on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project with Russia shouldn’t be intimidated by a letter from U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell suggesting they could be risking sanctions.The Trump administration has criticized the pipeline as a form of Russian control over Germany, and has said the U.S. could impose energy-related sanctions.Germany’s Bild newspaper on Sunday printed a letter from Grenell cautioning companies that working on the project “could prompt a significant risk of sanctions.”CDU head Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said Monday the companies “have offered the right response, which is that they won’t allow themselves to be threatened and they won’t allow this type of intervention.”The U.S. Embassy says the letter “is not meant to be a threat but a clear message of U.S. policy.”The Associated Presslast_img read more

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