BBC announces pay freeze and no bonuses for managers

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

More than 400 senior managers within the United Kingdom’s BBC, which employs around 28,500 people, have been told that they face a real-terms pay cut as bonuses and pay rises are scrapped this financial year.

Tuesday’s announcement said that bonuses will not now be paid and pay rates will stay fixed until 2010. The BBC’s executive management board, including Director-General Mark Thompson, his deputy Mark Byford and the Director of BBC Vision Jana Bennett did not take their bonuses for 2009 and have already had their pay frozen. Senior staff will have their bonus plan abandoned whilst junior staff have been told to expect any pay increases to be modest.

The BBC is under budget constraints after receiving a licence fee settlement below the amount management felt it required. Coupled with the effects of the credit crunch, the BBC is believed to need to find £1.7bn in savings between now and 2013 but has seen a further £450m shortfall develop. Initial plans to sell important BBC buildings have been put on hold since the falls in the property market in 2008. The planned pay freeze could save £20 million but risks angering unions who are seeking a general increase of £1,800 per person. Gerry Morrissey of BECTU, the broadcasting union, has already mentioned the possibility of industrial action. He told Sky News, “We have never been in favour of bonuses being paid so believe this should happen every year, and the money go towards eradicating low pay.”

The Press Association quotes Mark Thompson as telling staff “A strategic contingency exercise, led by a senior group of managers, has been looking at what additional funds are needed should we need to put aside additional funds to cover our current estimate of the financial risks we face… We need to be in as strong a position as possible if we are to deliver distinctive content and meet our key strategic projects, such as moving to the new Broadcasting House, moving network production to the nations and funding our broadband future.”

The pay freeze will not affect the Corporation’s highest paid on-air talent, who are on individual contracts.

Strong rain and wind kill one in Chile

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Low temperatures, heavy rain, and strong wind hit Chile on Sunday afternoon amidst several aftershocks from the 2010 Pichilemu earthquake, affecting areas from the Coquimbo to Bío Bío regions.

National Emergencies Office (ONEMI) boss, Mauricio Bustos, reported to Radio Cooperativa that the “weather front has provoked rainfalls, winds and even a thunderstorm in Talagante, with some partial power outages in some towns in the [Santiago] Metropolitan Region.”

The rain lasted till Tuesday, and no rain was expected on Wednesday. A man has died in Pichilemu, O’Higgins Region after the car he was driving collided with a tree, because the road was extremely muddy. Some power outages have been also experienced in Pichilemu on Sunday afternoon and night, and telephone networks were shutdown for several hours in the area. In Santa Cruz, Paniahue people affected by the earthquake have been moved to several refuges, including the town’s gymnasium.

Several areas experienced damage. In Constitución, a town severely affected by the February 27 earthquake, 100 km/h winds destroyed the ceilings of houses and caused many power outages. A bridge was destroyed in Tanahuillín according to the mayor of Santa Juana, Angel Castro. It was the only bridge connecting a rural region to the local post office, schools, and local businesses. Five homes were destroyed in the region around Vegas Itata Coelemu by a waterspout; 145 people in the area were affected.

Wikinews Shorts: October 26, 2009

A compilation of brief news reports for Monday, October 26, 2009.

Contents

  • 1 Walpole, Massachusetts car crash kills one, injures one
  • 2 Ireland pledges €1.3 million in emergency aid relief to Ethiopia
 Contribute to Wikinews by expanding these briefs or add a new one.

A fatal car crash has killed a 79-year-old man Framingham, Massachusetts, United States, and seriously injured a woman. The woman is currently being held at Norwood, Massachusetts Hospital and is being treated for serious injuries. It was a single vehicle crash that happened on Route 1 on Saturday afternoon in Walpole, Massachusetts.

The car was heading south when it lost control and struck a utility pole just after 4 P.M. local time on Saturday. The man died at the scene.

Sources


Ireland has pledged €1.35 million in emergency aid to Ethiopia, in order to help quell the ongoing food crisis in the country.

According to figures by the Ethiopian government released on Friday, the number of people needing food aid in the country is 6.2 million.

Irish Minister of State for Overseas Development Peter Power said that he was “deeply concerned” about the figures.

Disposal of fracking wastewater poses potential environmental problems

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A recent study by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) shows that the oil and gas industry are creating earthquakes. New information from the Midwest region of the United States points out that these man-made earthquakes are happening more frequently than expected. While more frequent earthquakes are less of a problem for regions like the Midwest, a geology professor from the University of Southern Indiana, Dr. Paul K. Doss, believes the disposal of wastewater from the hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”) process used in extracting oil and gas has the possibility to pose potential problems for groundwater.

“We are taking this fluid that has a whole host of chemicals in it that are useful for fracking and putting it back into the Earth,” Doss said. “From a purely seismic perspective these are not big earthquakes that are going to cause damage or initiate, as far as we know, any larger kinds of earthquakes activity for Midwest. [The issue] is a water quality issue in terms of the ground water resources that we use.”

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a technique used by the oil and gas industries which inject highly pressurized water down into the Earth’s crust to break rock and extract natural gas. Most of the fluids used for fracking are proprietary, so information about what chemicals are used in the various fluids are unknown to the public and to create a competitive edge.

Last Monday four researchers from the University of New Brunswick released an editorial that sheds light on the potential risks that the current wastewater disposal system could have on the province’s water resources. The researchers share the concern that Dr. Doss has and have come out to say that they believe fracking should be stopped in the province until there is an environ­mentally safe way to dispose the waste wastewater.

“If groundwater becomes contamin­ated, it takes years to decades to try to clean up an aquifer system,” University of New Brunswick professor Tom Al said.

While the USGS group which conducted the study says it is unclear how the earthquake rates may be related to oil and gas production, they’ve made the correlation between the disposal of wastewater used in fracking and the recent upsurge in earthquakes. Because of the recent information surfacing that shows this connection between the disposal process and earthquakes, individual states in the United States are now passing laws regarding disposal wells.

The problem is that we have never, as a human society, engineered a hole to go four miles down in the Earth’s crust that we have complete confidence that it won’t leak.

“The problem is that we have never, as a human society, engineered a hole to go four miles down in the Earth’s crust that we have complete confidence that it won’t leak,” Doss said. “A perfect case-in-point is the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010, that oil was being drilled at 18,000 feet but leaked at the surface. And that’s the concern because there’s no assurance that some of these unknown chemical cocktails won’t escape before it gets down to where they are trying to get rid of them.”

It was said in the study released by the New Brunswick University professors that if fracking wastewater would contaminate groundwater, that current conventional water treatment would not be sufficient enough to remove the high concentration of chemicals used in fracking. The researchers did find that the wastewater could be recycled, can also be disposed of at proper sites or even pumped further underground into saline aquifers.

The New Brunswick professors have come to the conclusion that current fracking methods used by companies, which use the water, should be replaced with carbon diox­ide or liquefied propane gas.

“You eliminate all the water-related issues that we’re raising, and that peo­ple have raised in general across North America,” Al said.

In New Brunswick liquefied propane gas has been used successfully in fracking some wells, but according to water specialist with the province’s Natural Resources De­partment Annie Daigle, it may not be the go-to solution for New Brunswick due its geological makeup.

“It has been used successfully by Corridor Resources here in New Bruns­wick for lower volume hydraulic frac­turing operations, but it is still a fairly new technology,” Daigle said.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working with U.S. states to come up with guidelines to manage seismic risks due to wastewater. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the EPA is the organization that also deals with the policies for wells.

Oil wells, which are under regulation, pump out salt water known as brine, and after brine is pumped out of the ground it’s disposed of by being pumped back into the ground. The difference between pumping brine and the high pressurized fracking fluid back in the ground is the volume that it is disposed of.

“Brine has never caused this kind of earthquake activity,” Doss said. “[The whole oil and gas industry] has developed around the removal of natural gas by fracking techniques and has outpaced regulatory development. The regulation is tied to the ‘the run-of-the-mill’ disposal of waste, in other words the rush to produce this gas has occurred before regulatory agencies have had the opportunity to respond.”

According to the USGS study, the increase in injecting wastewater into the ground may explain the sixfold increase of earthquakes in the central part of the United States from 2000 – 2011. USGS researchers also found that in decades prior to 2000 seismic events that happened in the midsection of the U.S. averaged 21 annually, in 2009 it spiked to 50 and in 2011 seismic events hit 134.

“The incredible volumes and intense disposal of fracking fluids in concentrated areas is what’s new,” Doss said. “There is not a body of regulation in place to manage the how these fluids are disposed of.”

The study by the USGS was presented at the annual meeting of the Seismological Society of America on April 18, 2012.

Moscow celebrates Victory Day with military parade

Monday, May 11, 2009

On May 9, Moscow heralded its celebrations of Victory Day with one of the largest military parades seen since the fall of the Soviet Union through the Red Square and the streets of Moscow. Signifying the defeat over Nazi Germany in 1945 in World War 2, Victory Day continues to be one of the most poignant and emotional celebrations and national holidays in Russia. Estimates of more than 27 million lost lives during the war continues to leave a vein of sadness in Russia.

Victory day began early in Moscow with inner city streets being closed from 6am and the major entrance of Tverskaya Ulitsa completely locked down with all access to non-military blocked until the end of the parade. Tens of thousands of people lined the upper parts of Tverskaya to see the exit of the military as well as the air force fly-over on their entrance to Red Square. In total more than 9,000 troops, 69 planes and a huge collection of armored vehicles, tanks, and massive anti-aircraft missile defense systems ensured that Moscovites and the rest of Russia will remember Victory Day 2009.

In scenes reminiscent of the end of the war military bands played around the city until all hours of the night. At Leningradsky station departing veterans and widows danced and celebrated with younger generations whilst loudly singing the national anthem. As trains departed, staff handed out flowers in recognition of the contributions made and loud cheers were heard across the many platforms. In a touching event it seemed to bond the generations of yesterday and today.

Preparations for the military parade began months ago with regular rehearsals in Alabino including the erection of a mock Red Square and Kremlin to ensure authenticity. Final dress rehearsals took place in Moscow on May 7 including a full practice of the air show. On display for the first time was the S-400 air defense system which is capable of intercepting airborne targets at ranges up to 400 kilometers (249 mi).

Following the official parades and ceremonies, Red Square and the the inner city was opened to the public, albeit under extreme security and an ever watching eye from Interior Ministry troops. During the afternoon there was an estimated crowed of over 100,000 which entered Red Square to admire the parade ground and decorations, including the official stand for the dignitaries.

Closing the festivities was a series of fireworks in fourteen different locations throughout Moscow including the grand display over the Kremlin and Red Square.

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Cargo ship Arctic Sea may be found

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A cargo ship spotted off the African island nation of Cape Verde could be the missing MV Arctic Sea.

The Maltese flagged MV Arctic Sea disappeared off the French coast sometime after July 29. Owned by the Russian Arctic Sea company she was operated by the Finnish Solchart Management company and had a Russian crew.

French intelligence sources have found a ship matching the Arctic Sea’s description about 400 Nautical miles north of São Vicente.

The Arctic Sea was on a scheduled route from the Finnish seaport of Pietarsaari to the Algerian seaport of Béjaïa with a cargo of timber when it was boarded in Swedish waters between the islands Öland and Gotland on the night of July 24. The alleged boarders left the ship the same day according to its crew and the ship continued her voyage although it would have been expected to anchor at the nearest port.

The last official contact with the ship was with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency in Britain on July 28. Viktor Matveyev, the director of Solchart Management says the ship radioed that it was off the coast of Portugal on July 31. The 98-meter-long ship has so far not reached the Straits of Gibraltar and is now being sought by the Portuguese Navy and Russian Navy.

If proven this could be the first case of piracy in Europe in the modern era. There is speculation as to the reason for the ship’s hijacking, as its cargo of wood, valued at 1.3 million euros, is not especially valuable. Suggestions include possible contraband, and the possibility of a commercial dispute between the crew or some other party and the ship’s owners.

East Timor – Australia problematic billion-dollar gas and oil accord

Saturday, December 3, 2005

Australia and East Timor officials signed a billion-dollar gas and oil accord, which is necessary because of a current maritime border dispute between the countries, which covers a major oil field. Although the accord has to be ratified by East Timor’s parliament which is ruled by Fretilin with 55 seats the biggest block in parliament, but all the smaller parties are said to be working together to veto the deal.

In 1975, Portugal abandoned East Timor and the people declared self-independence only to be invaded by Indonesia with out any intervention from Australia or the United States. Indonesia then agreed on no formal maritime boards but on a joint exploitation zone splitting profits 50/50. Indonesian rule in East Timor was marked by extreme violence and brutality and following a UN-sponsored agreement between Indonesia, Portugal and the US, East Timor held a referendum and gained independence, but violent Indonesian sponsored militia took hold. A peacekeeping force (INTERFET, led by Australia) then intervened putting a stop to the violence. The exploitation zone splitting profits was then changed to 60% in favour of Australia, but now a new deal has been proposed 90/10 in favour of Timor. In the mean time Australia has been accused of profiting by up to 2 billion dollars between the deals by activist groups like http://www.timorseajustice.org/ whose campaigning saw Woodside suspended oil pumping in the affected area.

Contemporary International law asserts that the area under dispute belongs to East Timor. Australia has withdrawn from the maritime division of the International Court of Justice, which could have settled this matter, instead opting to try to settle the matter without the court.

The previous deal has caused political infighting within East Timor about why such a smaller percentage was accepted.

Victoria Wyndham on Another World and another life

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Victoria Wyndham was one of the most seasoned and accomplished actresses in daytime soap opera television. She played Rachel Cory, the maven of Another World‘s fictional town, Bay City, from 1972 to 1999 when the show went off the air. Wyndham talks about how she was seen as the anchor of a show, and the political infighting to keep it on the air as NBC wanted to wrest control of the long-running soap from Procter & Gamble. Wyndham fought to keep it on the air, but eventually succumbed to the inevitable. She discusses life on the soap opera, and the seven years she spent wandering “in the woods” of Los Angeles seeking direction, now divorced from a character who had come to define her professional career. Happy, healthy and with a family she is proud of, Wyndham has found life after the death of Another World in painting and animals. Below is David Shankbone’s interview with the soap diva.

Contents

  • 1 Career and motherhood
  • 2 The politics behind the demise of Another World
  • 3 Wyndham’s efforts to save Another World
  • 4 The future of soap operas
  • 5 Wyndham’s career and making it as a creative
  • 6 Television’s lust for youth
  • 7 Her relationship today to the character Rachel Cory
  • 8 Wyndham on a higher power and the creative process
  • 9 After AW: Wyndham lost in California
  • 10 Wyndham discovers painting
  • 11 Wyndham on the state of the world
  • 12 Source