Exxon seeking to reduce costs further after consecutive quarterly lossesTexas major Exxon posted the worst quarterly results in its modern history, with a $1.1bn loss comparing to $3.3bn in earnings during the same period of 2019 and build upon a $610m loss in the first quarter of the year.“The global pandemic and oversupply conditions significantly impacted our second-quarter financial results with lower prices, margins, and sales volumes,” said chairman and CEO Darren Woods.“We have increased debt to a level we feel is appropriate to provide liquidity, given market uncertainties. Based on current projections, we do not plan to take on any additional debt.”Production was down 7% on the previous year to 3.6 million barrels of oil equivalent per day as a result of the global efforts made to limit the flow of commodities into oversupplied inventories and demand-sapped markets.The difficulties faced by its upstream business amid these curtailments pushed the business unit to a $1.7bn loss, compared to a profit of 3.3bn last year.Exxon said it has identified “significant potential” to make additional cost reductions, and will provide details of these in due course. It has already signalled an intention to cut capital spending plans by 30% this year, and confirmed it is currently on track to “meet or exceed” these targets. Chevron posted an $8.3bn loss as it took price-related impairment charges and wrote of its entire Venezuelan portfolio (Credit: Flickr/Tony Webster) US oil majors have revealed the stunning cost of this year’s oil market collapse, with Chevron, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips posting billions of dollars in losses in the second quarter of 2020, driven by low commodity prices and impairment charges.Chevron today (31 July) reported an $8.3bn loss for the period, far wider than analyst predictions and the worst performance in decades, while Exxon posted a $1.1bn loss, the deepest in its history.Yesterday, ConocoPhillips had kicked off the announcements by revealing a $994m loss for the second three months of the year, compared to earnings of $1.1bn a year ago.The onset of coronavirus since the start of 2020 has wreaked havoc on the oil industry, due to a sharp fall in demand amid lockdown restrictions and plummeting prices resulting from a global commodity surplus.Measures were taken by the Opec+ alliance of oil-exporting countries to curb global production, joined in their efforts by market-led output cuts from companies in the US and Canada.While key benchmark prices have now stabilised at around $40-45 per barrel following huge drops in March and April, they are still well below pre-pandemic levels of between $60-$70 per barrel.Earlier this week, the US oil majors’ European rivals Shell and Total narrowly avoided taking underlying losses thanks to the strength of their oil trading arms, although confirmed combined impairment charges of $25bn that were not factored into the second-quarter earnings. BP is expected to publish its results next week. Chevron, Exxon and ConocoPhillips have all posted big losses as the US oil majors grapple with the effects of coronavirus on the global industry Chevron fares worst of US oil majors, taking $5.2bn in impairment chargesCalifornia-headquartered Chevron’s $8.3bn loss compares to a $4.3bn profit in the second quarter of 2019.It includes a series of impairment charges reflecting the writedown of all its Venezuelan assets, a revised price outlook adjusting to the low-price environment and severance payments. Taken together these charges totalled $5.2bn.Company CEO Michael Wirth warned the “unique challenges” of the past few months are not over, and that financial results may continue to be depressed in the third quarter.“Given the uncertainties associated with economic recovery, and ample oil and gas supplies, we made a downward revision to our commodity price outlook, which resulted in asset impairments and other charges,” he added.Revenue during the period fell 55% year-on-year to $16bn, compared to $36bn a year ago.
Confectionery company Thorntons said sales for the 52 weeks to 24 June 2006 were down 5.9% to £176.6m compared with £187.7m last year, in a trading update this week.Retail sales were down by 5.3% to £127m after the closure of two stores and like-for-like sales for the full year were down by 3.7%, it said. The group, which has 30 coffee shops and sells to supermarkets, said commercial sales into other retailers decreased by 10.7% to £31.2m in 2005/06. Thorntons’ chairman John von Spreckelsen said of the figures: “Thorntons sells excellent chocolates and ice cream. We need to focus on convincing more customers to buy these quality products.”Thorntons will report its results for the year on 12 September.
The Nuclear Safeguards Act addresses the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), an international organisation that governs the peaceful use of nuclear energy within the EU. The passing of the Act and today’s consultation on a new safeguards regime provide a clear signal to the public, industry and international partners that the UK is on track to meet its international commitments from day one of exit.Nuclear safeguards are important processes through which the UK demonstrates to the international community that civil nuclear material is not diverted into military or weapons programmes.Today’s announcement comes just weeks after the UK’s commitment to international safeguards and nuclear non-proliferation was reaffirmed in Vienna, with the signing of 2 new safeguards agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).These key agreements with the IAEA – of which the UK is a founding member – are another major milestone in Euratom exit preparations and provide the basis for civil nuclear trading arrangements. This step will be welcomed by the industry in the UK and trading partners around the world.Further progress towards Euratom Exit has been set out in a Quarterly update to Parliament published on 28 June, which outlines several key achievements, including the Office for Nuclear Regulation’s good progress on preparations for implementing the UK’s safeguards regime and the confirmation that all Euratom specific text in the Withdrawal Agreement has now been agreed.The UK signed a new Nuclear Cooperation Agreement (NCA) with the United States of America in May, which will allow the UK and US to continue their mutually beneficial civil nuclear cooperation when the current Euratom arrangements cease to apply to the UK.This US-UK NCA is expected to be the first in a series of new international agreements ensuring uninterrupted cooperation and trade following the UK’s exit from Euratom.Details on how to respond to the consultation and to register interest for the workshops, can be found on the consultation web page.Notes to editorsThe Nuclear Safeguards Act 2018 amends the Energy Act 2013 to: government sets out the details of new nuclear safeguards regime nuclear safeguards legislation receives Royal Assent – UK on track to be able to meet international commitments once Euratom arrangements cease to apply in the UK progress provides certainty to the civil nuclear industry and international partners as the UK prepares for Euratom exit provide the Office for Nuclear Regulation with a new safeguards function create new powers for the Secretary of State to put in place regulations setting out the detail of the domestic safeguards regime The Nuclear Safeguards Act is one of the first pieces of legislation to go through Parliament in preparation for EU Exit and is yet another major milestone in our work to prepare the civil nuclear industry for Euratom exit, ensuring continuity from day 1. We are setting out proposals for the detail of our own UK framework for safeguards, demonstrating our readiness for EU Exit. New proposals on the detail of a new UK nuclear safeguards regime to replace the current regime provided by Euratom, have been set out in a consultation launched today (Monday 9 July 2018).The consultation sets out nuclear safeguards regulations that would be made using the powers granted by the Nuclear Safeguards Act, which last month became one of the first pieces of EU Exit legislation to complete its passage through Parliament and receive Royal Assent.Business and Industry Minister, Richard Harrington said: The Act also creates a limited power for the Secretary of State to amend 3 existing pieces of legislation to update references to the new IAEA agreements.The UK’s Voluntary Offer Agreement and Additional Protocol were signed in Vienna on 7 June.The UK has been a member of the IAEA since its formation in 1957.The signing of new bilateral agreements with the IAEA, a Voluntary Offer Agreement and Additional Protocol, will replace existing trilateral arrangements between the IAEA, Euratom and the UK.The new agreements ensure that the IAEA retains its right to inspect all civil nuclear facilities, and continues to receive current safeguards reporting, thereby ensuring that international verification of our safeguards activity continues to be robust. Such agreements have been put in place on a voluntary basis by the 5 nuclear-weapon states parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.The new safeguards regime to be established in the UK will be operated by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR). The ONR already regulates nuclear safety and security in the UK and has been making preparation to replace Euratom as the regulator of safeguards.
Their wishes were granted as moe. returned for the beloved “al.nouncements” segment of the show, before launching into a surprisingly involved “Brent Black.” The one two bunch of Schnier sharing stories of the love fans have for the band and their willingness to go the extra mile for an encore tells the tale completely. Midway through the song the band cleared the stage for the tune’s drums and percussion break. Drummer Vinnie Amico seemed to grow tired of his own kit and scampered over to join Loughlin in his little world of percussive toys for a fierce and rare side by side jam.Loughlin decided to abandon his post to Amico and quickly took up residence on the vacated drum kit. When Derhak returned to the stage his mock double take at the switch was worthy of the finest in SYFY Channel acting. Fortunately for him, his true talents lay elsewhere as his string slapping, bass body bending solo clearly showed. Rallying the crowd with his theatrics the cheers for the returning guitarists grew deafening and the final echoes were lost in the cacophonous thanks the fans showered upon the five guys who had just thoroughly rocked their world. For moe. it was time to pack up and head to the next stop but for the clearly spent audience it was time to rebuild their shattered minds and wait eagerly for their dose of New York’s finest.Setlist: moe. | The Plaza Live | Orlando, FL | 1/27/2017Set One: Runaway Overlude > She > Bring It Back Home, Paper Dragon > So Long, Deep This Time > 32 ThingsSet Two: Chromatic Nightmare, Tubing The River Styx > The Pit > It > Waiting For The Punchline, Haze > Wicked Awesome, Recreational ChemistryEncore: Brent Blackmoe. continues their tour tomorrow night, January 31st, with a performance in Knoxville, TN. They’ll also be playing throughout the Northeast this weekend, and have dates scheduled across the country throughout the year. They’ll also return to Summer Camp in May, and have announced the return of moe.down over July 4th weekend. You can find more information here. moe. returned to America’s shores from their Jam Cruise adventure to find the country in a far different place than when they sailed away. Their departure took place as the new president was being inaugurated and what was, by any metric, a crazy weekend in the nation on many levels. Though the five members all hold similar political beliefs, they have refrained from using the stage for making speeches, preferring to let their music do the talking. Tunes like “Not Coming Down” have voiced their displeasure with the policies of previous administrations, and it is a safe bet we will be getting more similarly inspired songs in the coming years from the band. After absorbing the events they missed while away at sea they decided to go one step further and let the entire set list do the talking.Now that the phrase “Alternative Facts” has entered the lexicon, it was clear where the inspiration for the first show’s opener, “Faker,” came from. The song features a droning build that unleashes into a blind, raging fury that seems to eerily mirror the marches and protests spring up around the country. The distortion laden guitar onslaught between Chuck Garvey and Al Schnier was a welcome release for the musical and mental tension in the audience and the cheers that followed the crescendos were well earned.Garvey’s “Bullet” and its theme of inescapable truth followed with a shot to the heart of the matter, begging listeners to face the facts before they lose the power to save themselves. At first the next tune, “Kyle’s Song,” seemed to break the political thread, until you realize the topic of the piece, a friend of the band who was involved in an accident in Washington, DC and was laid up in the hospital recovering from his injuries for an extended period afterwards. Though there was no commentary from the band to reinforce the growing suspicion of the savvy fans in the audience, moe. launched into “Captain America,” one of their most beloved tunes.The sing song wordplay of “Captain America” hides a darker polemic about blind devotion and the dangers of following leaders based on charisma and not character. The traditional drum and percussion breakdown ending the song dissolved into the loudly welcomed opening strains of “Mexico.” As meta messages buried into setlists go, one can only imagine the band debating a tease from Pink Floyd‘s The Wall between the two songs to really hammer in their point. The Schnier heavy track and its tale of using Mexico as the destination for a bit of birthday debauchery and the trouble that resulted seemed to perfectly sum up the fears of many Americans, all without any off putting on mic testimonials.Launching their second set with the spiraling madness of “Seat Of My Pants” instantly let fans know moe. weren’t done making a musical “State Of The Union ” address to their fans. “S.O.M.P” has a increasing momentum to in as if gravity has taken hold of the very notes being played and the whip cracking twists and turns twisted acrobatically into the bass slapping intro to “Not Coming Down.” Resident master of the bottom end Rob Derhak tore into his bass with a thump popping, body bending barrage that left the audience flabbergasted.Finally letting the tempo fade, “Wormwood” flowed nicely and dreamily segued into “Water.” Again, though the song has a very liquid rise and fall, the lyrics ask a very pertinent question: “How far are you willing to go to protect your resources?” Nearing the end of the evening and the venue’s hard 11 pm curfew it was time to the point. Dispelling any doubts as to whether the theme of the evening was merely coincidence, moe. closed the night with a pair of songs that perfectly encapsulate the worry about our national direction with “Bring You Down” giving way to a earth shaking “Plane Crash.”The sky high echoing notes that signal the intro of “Plane Crash” sent chills down the spines of long time fans and first time dabblers alike. The wise realization of the usefulness of fear and the core human feeling at the heart of all of this anxiety,”I don’t want to die!” rang truer than usual. Between the aforementioned political strife and another matter closer to home, the band and the audience came together as one. Crashing drums and windmill guitar playing swirled together while Derhak repeated his defiant hope for life. Unfortunately for the music world, there was one last sad note left to be sounded.Returning to the stage to uproarious cheers Derhak took the microphone to speak to the recent untimely passing of Allman Brothers drummer Butch Trucks. He joked of blowing off learning the Allman Brothers’ classic “Whipping Post” before a rehearsal with Trucks, and being called out for his misstep. He apparently went on to redeem himself in Trucks eyes, and closed his remembrance by dedicating the final tune of the night to his honor, a bluesy rendition of “Southbound” that showed Garvey’s slide skills and the moe.’s musical versatility to full extent.Check out moe. ripping up the stage on “Southbound” below:Though they clearly had more to say the stern looks from neighbors through the surrounding buildings spoke as loudly as the stacks of speakers so it was goodnight to the crowd and time to recover from a very intense homecoming.Setlist: moe. | Jannus Live | St. Petersburg, FL | 1/26/2017Set One: Faker > Bullet > Kyle’s Song, Captain America >MexicoSet Two: Seat Of My Pants > Not Coming Down > Wormwood > Water > Bring You Down, Plane CrashEncore: SouthboundAfter purging themselves of their political angst the previous evening, moe. was clearly in the mood to kick out the jams when they arrived in Orlando for their show at The Plaza Live. A very short drive and a cathartic night of tension release behind them moe. was poised to launch a sonic assault on the audience that was sure to be well received by their early arriving and eager crowd. Percussionist Jim Loughlin got some much needed time at the forefront with some stellar vibe work on show opening “Runaway Overlude.” His growth over the years has found him more integral as moe. wisely finds plenty of ways to capitalize on his versatility both in general and on this night in particular.One of moe.’s infamous musical jigsaw puzzles, “She,” followed and reminded the audience of moe’s consummate ability to run their guitar and bass lines like the old time basketball offense known as the “Five Man Weave.” Taking over twenty minutes to explore and stretch gave the band plenty of opportunities to get fingers limber and fans slack jawed before bouncing into the joyfulness of “Bring It Back Home.” “Paper Dragon” came in as dark and foreboding as its namesake, with the the back and forth of tone continually set up and paid off the energy being built, with every one of the five finding a chance to shine.Averaging around fifteen minutes per song in the first set, moe. was obviously ready to have themselves some fun. By the time they got to their set closer, a 13 minute “32 Things,” all bets seemed to be off as they showed exactly what decades of playing together can do. Fans were treated to some of the finest interplay and nigh telepathic musical communication that can be witnessed on any stage right now. Often getting lost in their own worlds when on their most intricate runs the band seemed to operate on a closed but shared system that let each support and lead the jams almost simultaneously. The shouts of approval and demands for more were met with the announcement of set break and a much needed recharge for the spent players.Loughlin continued his set opening heroics with his signature “Chromatic Nightmare” and the carnival atmosphere it brings was perfectly suited to the crazed energy that ran throughout the evening. The fun didn’t stop there as the moe. followed the percussionist “Tubing The River Styx” all the way down to a fiery take on “The Pit.” A fairly standard but always fun “It” followed before giving way to a more expansive minded take on “Waiting For The Punchline” that had the crowd dancing from front to back.All good things must come to an end, but that didn’t mean moe. planned on going gently to that good night. A twenty two minute “Haze>Wicked Awesome” featured one of the better exploratory segues of the evening, with the band again enjoying and employing their wonderful sonic union to get from point “A” to point “B” in a fresh and funky way. Ending things with a “Recreational Chemistry” that stands squarely among the best in recent memories that band left the stage to shouts of thanks, song requests and desperate pleas for more.Check out the madness of the 22 Minute “Haze>Wicked Awesome” from the many cameras of our own Rex Thomson Below: Load remaining images
Following 18 months of secret talks facilitated by Pope Francis and the Canadian government, President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that the United States and Cuba will re-establish diplomatic and economic relations, ending a political stalemate that began more than half a century ago. Under the agreement, the United States will open an embassy in Havana; many existing travel, trade, and banking restrictions imposed on American citizens and businesses will be loosened; and Secretary of State John Kerry will review Cuba’s presence on the list of state sponsors of terrorism. Additionally, Obama said, two American prisoners in Cuba, contractor Alan Gross and an unidentified U.S. intelligence officer, were released in exchange for three Cuban spies who had been jailed in the United States since 2001. In separate phone and email exchanges, the Gazette turned to two Harvard authorities on Cuba and American foreign policy to interpret the importance of the U.S. policy shift with the island nation, one of the last bastions of communist rule in the world, and where the agreement likely will lead, both economically and politically. The changes also have implications for Harvard.Jorge Domínguez is co-chair of Harvard’s Cuban Studies Program, focusing on Cuba’s domestic and international politics and economics. He is also vice provost of international affairs at Harvard and the Antonio Madero Professor for the Study of Mexico at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.Nicholas Burns is the Sultan of Oman Professor of the Practice of International Relations at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS). A former U.S. ambassador to NATO and Greece and a career Foreign Service officer, Burns is also director of the Future of Diplomacy Project at HKS. Here are their insights.GAZETTE: What do you think of the policy changes that President Obama has announced, and do they go far enough?BURNS: This is a smart, sensible, and farsighted decision by President Obama. And it was a long time coming, as we broke relations with Cuba more than 55 years ago.It is in our interest to be able to communicate regularly with the Cuban government and people. Frankly, it will be the most effective way for us to press for change in Cuba, for greater freedom and, eventually, democracy, and to argue against the human rights violations of the Cuban government. So it is not a gift to the [ruling] Castro brothers, but a recognition by President Obama that engagement in this case is a more effective strategy than isolation. We’ve tried to freeze out Cuba since the Eisenhower administration, and it has not worked.DOMINGUEZ: I think they’re very welcome changes. They address specifically some issues that required humanitarian attention on their own — the circumstances of Alan Gross, the fact that both the United States and Cuba had spies in each other’s prisons; those elements were addressed directly. There were some that were addressed symbolically, but it was good to hear the president of the United States and the president of Cuba in simultaneous press conferences refer to it, namely [that] they talked to each other for a good amount of time. They had met once at [South African leader Nelson] Mandela’s funeral, and they shook hands at the time in what was a cordial but brief exchange. But this was a substantive discussion where they were trying to sketch out the various circumstances to what the future might be. So, as a start, it’s a very good start.For Harvard, it makes some of the work that we have been doing with enormous difficulty easier. For example, we have been sending Harvard College students to study abroad at the University of Havana each and every year now for several years, and they have a very good experience. We have not been able to open a bank account in Havana, so we have to send a staffer with cash … And now we will be able to deal with that more sensibly. Similarly, our students have to carry a great deal of personal cash because it had been illegal to use U.S. credit or debit cards in Cuba. Now the president has indicated that these cards will be lawfully used in Cuba, and Cuba will enact regulations to make that possible. So just in terms of our study-abroad program this is a big help.Another example, we have been hosting for a number of years workshops and small conferences and working groups in Havana. And in order to do that, we have to request each time what is called a specific license from the U.S. government. We have gotten all of these specific licenses, but it is an enormous amount of work. It takes a great deal of time. We’ve had to incur outside counsel legal expenses, and the changed regulations indicate that this will now be much more straightforward, both in terms of time and in terms of money. Even for us, in this much smaller world, it’s a welcome change.Given that there were a lot of things that could not be done in the relations between the U.S. and Cuba, the list of things that could be done is almost infinite. But certainly for the president to increase the amount of money that can be remitted to a Cuban is a welcome step. One of the topics that comes up briefly in the president’s speech is that he wants to encourage small business activity in Cuba. Remittances are one way for people in the United States to help finance some of the small startups. A fairly small sum of money in U.S. currency actually goes pretty far in Cuba, so that is one very practical, one very sensible approach.Similarly, Cuban telecommunications, whether it’s telephones or access to the Internet and the like, is poorly developed. Cuba has one of the lowest rates of Internet penetration in the world. And for a country with its high level of education, it really is almost unthinkable how difficult access to the Internet is. So for the president to permit the export of U.S. equipment that would facilitate that, and for the U.S. to avoid blocking Cuban engagement with the Internet — so if there are any challenges they would be just self-imposed in Cuba — all of that is positive.GAZETTE: How does the U.S. benefit from the agreement, and which changes are likely to have the greatest quality-of-life impact for Cuban citizens? And what’s the downside to all this?DOMINGUEZ: One benefit for the United States is a fairly narrow trigger for the president’s announcement, namely two people, one named Alan Gross, another, not named, a U.S. intelligence agent who had been in Cuban prisons, the president said, for two decades.More generally, take something much more mundane but also important: U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba. The U.S. is already the principal international supplier of Cuban agricultural products. Now the president’s regulations permit an expansion of those sales, making them easier, making it possible to use trade credits to finance the operation. That will be good for U.S. agricultural exporters, but it will also make it easier for ordinary Cubans to buy the food, which is an issue. So that works on both sides.I don’t think there is any downside here. I think these are all very sensible steps on the U.S. side. On the Cuban side, President [Raul] Castro has said he wants to change circumstances in the Cuban economy. And this, in at least some respects, whether it’s telecommunications or agricultural products and the like, would facilitate economic activity. Ultimately, though, on both sides, there is a political bet. The political bet that President Obama sketches is that what he’s doing and all the changes that presumably he could still undertake in 2015 will open up the Cuban political system, which would make it more difficult for President Castro to govern as he has. On President Castro’s side, the bet is that these relations with the United States will make it easier for Cuba to operate because the U.S. will not be on its back every time Cuba acts internationally, which would make it easier for him to consolidate his government. Who wins this bet, we don’t know, but we’ll know sometime in the future.BURNS: The U.S. benefits because we will have a much greater ability to understand all that is happening in Cuba today and in the future. We’ll be much smarter about political, economic, and social realities there. We will be present inside Cuba to defend in the media and in conversations with the government the values that we believe need greater attention by the authoritarian government: human freedom and human rights.GAZETTE: Why now, and not decades ago, and what do you think prompted this move? Should we truly credit Pope Francis?DOMINGUEZ: I think we can credit the Canadians. I think we can credit the pope. I think there are two near-term events. One is that the U.S. was the original sponsor but also a major promoter of what is called the summit of the Americas, which is when the heads of state for countries of the Americas have gotten together. Obama has attended two of these, and the next one has been scheduled for early next year in Panama. The U.S. in the past had successfully vetoed an invitation to Cuba to participate. It was the only country in the hemisphere not invited to this. The Panamanians on their own decided to invite Cuba, and so there was a deadline. The White House had to say would President Obama be going to the Summit in Panama, and, frankly, what would happen there once the president got there. So that, I think, gave a deadline.I think the other deadline is the liberating effect of [the Democrats’] losing the houses of Congress. If you want to remain president of the United States, you might as well do something. You can issue a decree on immigration, you can change a half-century of U.S. policy toward Cuba, and that doesn’t look so bad. I think there’s the longstanding policy [of isolating Cuba]. I think Obama and his team long understood that these policies stopped making sense long ago. I think there is the international community being active. The Latin Americans, the Europeans have wanted the U.S. to change its policy toward Cuba for a long time. I do think the pope matters here. This guy has not been pope for all that long, and he happens to be from Argentina — he’s reasonably knowledgeable about circumstances in Cuba and the Cuban Catholic Church — so I would give the Vatican and this pope in particular some real credit over the last 18 months.BURNS: As you know, Cuba was the focal point of some of the most dramatic events of the Cold War: the Bay of Pigs fiasco and the Cuban Missile Crisis. My earliest memory of a significant international event was the Cuban Missile Crisis. I was 6 years old and am now 58 — that provides a sense of just how long we have been estranged from the Cuban people. The legacy of bitterness produced by those events and the objectionable anti-democratic behavior of the Castro regime became powerful forces in American politics. Quite rightfully, the Cuban-American community argued for American opposition to the worst excesses of Fidel Castro.But five decades have now passed, and the idea that by isolating Cuba in our hemisphere we would drive the communist regime from power was not successful. It required perhaps a younger president who had no professional leadership experience during the Cold War to see this clearly and to resolve now to adopt a different course. I admire President Obama’s courage in making this very tough call, but one that is surely right for our future. The press is reporting that both the Canadian government and his holiness, Pope Francis, served as intermediaries for the Cuba-U.S. talks that produced today’s announcement. They certainly deserve our thanks.GAZETTE: Obama has asked Secretary of State John Kerry to review Cuba’s designation as a state sponsor of terrorism. What does this involve, and how difficult and important is this piece to the normalization effort?DOMINGUEZ: I think the “sponsor of terrorism” category has been seriously an impediment for quite some time. Moreover, in a number of important ways, it’s been just really inaccurate. As one example, the Cuban government, jointly with the government of Norway, has been brokering a very difficult, slow-moving, but ultimately I hope successful peace agreement between the Colombian government on the one hand and guerilla insurgencies in Colombia. This guerilla insurgency has been going on since the 1960s. This is a very constructive role for Cuba, and to label it as a state sponsor of terrorism [now] is crazy.The president has instructed the secretary of state with the intent that the president knows what the outcome should be. And so, we’ll see. There is no problem in having these decisions reviewed on a regular basis. That’s fine. I mean if the Cuban government in fact were to be supporting terrorist acts somewhere else, and there would be reasonable evidence that it is doing so, then it belongs back on the list. It is true that Cuba supported a variety of insurgencies for a very long period of time, but it stopped doing so quite a while ago.GAZETTE: U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida criticized lifting the embargo, and predicted that any policy shift on Cuba would face strong Republican opposition in Congress. House Speaker John Boehner called it a “mindless” concession that will embolden other state sponsors of terrorism. What’s the likelihood that this effort moves forward?DOMINGUEZ: There’s a significant minority of Republicans in Congress who, over a long period of time, have wanted to change policy toward Cuba. A symbol of that is that three members of Congress traveled to Cuba to bring Alan Gross back to the United States, and one of them is Senator [Jeff] Flake, a Republican from Arizona. Now, how many others in the Republican caucus in the Senate and in the House agree with Senator Flake, I do not know. But I know that when Congress in the past has tested Cuba policy, dozens of Republicans have signaled at various times that they’d like a change in policy. Now, would the Republican caucus impose party discipline to try and prevent something like that? Hard to know. The president however, has full authority under what is colloquially known as the Helms-Burton Act to do what he has done.The United States has diplomatic relations with a wide variety of governments, and has had diplomatic relations with a wide variety of governments with which it strongly disagrees. We are imposing increasing sanctions on the Russian federation; we’re not breaking diplomatic relations. You can have an embassy play a role of being an active and public critic of the incumbent government, as the U.S. embassy is in Moscow, as the U.S. embassy will be in Havana.BURNS: Given the furious criticism by Republicans of the President’s decision, we can expect Cuba to become a 2016 campaign issue — not surprising as it has been a political football for decades. But I would hope that a serious and rational national conversation would produce the realization that talking to the Castro regime does not confer our approval. In this sense, normalization of relations in no way validates Fidel and Raul Castro.In fact, the new American ambassador in Havana will have a unique platform to make clear our continued opposition to their cynicism, brutality, and repudiation of democratic values. We should see our relations with Cuba through a long-term prism. And if we can do that, I think we will be able to convince ourselves that by engaging and interacting with the Cuban people, we will be much more effective in pushing for the kind of changes we wish to see there and in our wider hemisphere.These interviews were lightly edited for length and clarity.
Campus Girl Scouts of Notre Dame and St. Mary’s received the 2011-2012 Community Recognition Award from the Northern Indiana-Michiana Service Unit last week for its service to the local area. Sophomore Jamie Pfaff, former club president, said Campus Girl Scouts filled a community need by leading Troop 00087, which served girls on the west side of South Bend who could not be placed in other troops due to lack of leadership. “They probably wouldn’t have been able to be in Girl Scouts without us,” she said. Pfaff said club members led the troop of approximately 25 girls from 2 to 3:30 p.m. twice a month in Pasquerilla West Hall. People often think Campus Girl Scouts is a club for college-aged Girl Scouts, Pfaff said, but members are actually volunteers within a service group that works with the local Girl Scout council. Past involvement in Girl Scouts is not necessary to join, and men are encouraged to participate as well, Pfaff said. She said Campus Girl Scouts is a convenient way for Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s students to connect with and serve girls in the community. “If you’re doing community service, you’re being a Girl Scout,” Pfaff said. According to the Girl Scouts of the USA website, Campus Girl Scouts organizations areis present nation-wide on college campuses. The service clubs are certified by Girl Scouts of the USA but are separate entities that exist to collaborate with Girl Scout councils. In her nomination letter for the award, Service Unit 206 Manager and Campus Girl Scouts Liaison Dawn Cole said Troop 00087 is unique because it is a multi-age troop. It allows for siblings to attend the same meeting, but they are split into groups, called Daisies, Brownies and Juniors, based on their grades. “The idea of this troop is that it’s a one-stop shop for the parents,” Pfaff said. “It makes them more willing to keep their girls in Girl Scouts because they only have to bring them to one meeting.” Pfaff said typically, eight volunteers led each meeting. The girls worked to earn badges and promote the Girl Scout Law, which focuses on values like honesty, responsibility, courage and respect, she said. They also participated in cultural and academic activities like taking a trip to the Snite Museum of Art and participating in Thinking Day. Sophomore Celine Fausto, who co-led the Juniors, said she enjoyed helping her group earn patches in subjects ranging from nature to first aid and emergency response. “It was fun to see what they do because I was a Daisy and Brownie but never reached the Girl Scout [Junior] level, so I never got to do them,” Fausto said. “It was a good leadership experience, and a lot of the little girls were so cute.” In February, Campus Girl Scouts and Troop 00087 sold more than 350 boxes of Girl Scout cookies and spent the profit on Build-A-Bear teddy bears, Fausto said. “I liked it when we sold cookies,” Fausto said. “It was more fun because the girls had more interaction. They got to see the campus and the students and do something active.” Pfaff said Saint Mary’s freshman Kaitlin Maierhofer and Notre Dame freshman Emma O’Shea will head the club as co-presidents next year. She said the club plans to continue leading Troop 00087 and expand by hosting larger events for local troops, like a sleepover or leadership day. “A goal of Girl Scouts is to get girls thinking in a more futuristic way,” Pfaff said. “These girls are coming to Notre Dame and meeting girls that did that. It’s huge for them to start thinking about their futures.” Campus Girl Scouts works to give the girls in its troop a community in which they can be themselves, Pfaff said. “A big thing for me was to see these girls who were perfect strangers and had probably never been to Notre Dame before become comfortable with each other and become like a little family,” she said.
Oprah Winfrey is keeping her promise to act on Broadway, eyeing a debut opposite Audra McDonald in a revival of the suicide drama ‘Night, Mother. According to The New York Times, the iconic talk show host and the five-time Tony winner plan to team up in the play sometime during the 2015-2016 season under the direction of George C. Wolfe. ‘Night, Mother earned Marsha Norman (who is currently hard at work on the new musical The Bridges of Madison County) a Pulitzer Prize for drama when it debuted on Broadway in 1983, with Anne Pitoniak and Kathy Bates in the leads. It was last seen on Broadway in a short-lived 2004 revival featuring Brenda Blethyn and Edie Falco. The tragic two-hander tells the story of a mother trying to convince her suicidal daughter to not end her life. Yes, bring tissues. Winfrey was recently robbed of an Oscar nomination for her acclaimed film comeback role in Lee Daniels’ The Butler. In addition to healing the world with her syndicated talk show for 25 years, she famously starred in the 1985 film of The Color Purple and produced the musical version on Broadway in 2005 (Norman wrote the book to the musical). Of course, McDonald is one of the finest actresses working on Broadway today. She’s won Tony Awards for Carousel, Master Class, Ragtime, A Raisin in the Sun and Porgy and Bess. According to the report, Winfrey and McDonald read the play together one night in the apartment of producer Scott Sanders. Somehow our invite got lost in the mail. Star Files View Comments Audra McDonald
Sonnax Industries,Vermont Business Magazine Sonnax Industries, an auto parts manufacturer based in Bellows Falls, has been sold to its employees. The previous owners, Tommy Harmon and Rick Fritz, sold 100% of the company stock to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). The company employs about 150 people.”The ESOP is the ultimate way to reward our employees for their contributions to the success of Sonnax,” said Sonnax President and CEO Tommy Harmon. “From now on when customers, suppliers, or other stakeholders are interacting with Sonnax personnel, they will be dealing with an owner.””The overriding benefit of the ESOP is that it allows employees to participate in the growth and success of the company. Additionally, the ESOP should be instrumental to Sonnax in attracting and retaining the best talent in our industry,” Harmon added.Tommy Harmon will retain his position as CEO of the company, and Harmon and partner Rick Fritz will remain on the company’s board of directors. The existing management team will remain in place, and the company is committed to remaining in Vermont, where it will continue as a significant employer in the area.Sonnax is a diversified supplier of specialized drivetrain products to the automotive and commercial vehicle industries, and to industrial sectors utilizing drivetrain technology. Sonnax is headquartered in Bellows Falls, Vermont and has sales offices and tech centers in strategic locations around the world. RELATEDSonnax owner sells company to managers | Vermont Business Magazine. Jul 31, 2005
The article has been updated to include a statement by Eni regarding the Zohr production levelsEni expects to boost production from its Zohr offshore gas field in Egypt 3.2 billion cubic feet per day by the end of the year, after reaching 2.7 bcfd five months ahead of schedule.Zohr platform in the Mediterranean / Image source: EniEni released a statement on Wednesday, in the wake of a Reuters which cited Egypt’s energy minister who said Zohr had reached 2.7 bcfd production level four months ahead of schedule and would reach 3 bcfd by the end of the year.In its statement, Eni said the production from Zohr field “has now reached more than 2.7 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd), about 5 months ahead of the Plan of Development (PoD).”Italy’s Eni discovered Zohr, Egypt’s largest-ever gas find, back in 2015, and brought in online in 2017.Petrobel, a company jointly held by Eni and the state corporation EGPC, is operating the project. Other partners in the project are Rosneft, BP, and Mubadala Petroleum.The Italian company in September last year said it had reached a 2 bcfd production target at Zohr, with the aim to achieve a “plateau in excess of 2.7 bcfd in 2019.” Eni has recently lifted its Zohr plateau target to 3.2 bcfd.The Zohr field, the largest gas discovery ever made in Egypt and in the Mediterranean Sea with more than 30 tcf of gas in place, is located within the offshore Shorouk Block (some 190 km north of Port Said).Commenting on the latest production milestone, Eni said:” This remarkable result has been achieved following the completion of all eight onshore treatment production units – the last one commissioned in April 2019 – and all Sulphur production units in August, the production start-up of two wells in the southern culmination of the field (in addition to the ten wells already drilled in the northern culmination) as well as the start-up on August 18th 2019 of the second 216 km long 30” pipeline connecting the offshore subsea production facilities to the onshore treatment plant.”According to Eni, the new pipeline, in conjunction with the completion and optimization of the plant treatment capacity, paves the way to increase, by the year-end, the field potential production rate up to 3.2 bcfd against the POD’s plateau rate of 2.7 bcfd.Offshore Energy Today StaffSpotted a typo? Have something more to add to the story? Maybe a nice photo? Contact our editorial team via email. Also, if you’re interested in showcasing your company, product, or technology on Offshore Energy Today, please contact us via our advertising form where you can also see our media kit.
The city’s Department of Social Servicesand Development has identified the beneficiaries in the 61 barangays, who willreceive rice, canned goods, and noodles. Lady Gles Gonzales-Pallen, president ofthe Association of Barangay Captains, said the 61 barangays have also preparedfood packs for their respective residents although not of the same quantity asthe assistance to be provided by the city government. He had earlier approved the release of P31million as initial funding for the emergency food assistance program forindigent families and other residents displaced by the quarantine beingimplemented to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Leonardia announced this in a pressconference on Friday after he issued Executive Order (EO) 26, placing Bacolodunder ECQ over the period. Also under quarantine are the 12 component citiesand 19 municipalities in Negros Occidental. He told barangay officials to deliverfood packs to homes of the beneficiaries instead of asking them to claim theseat the barangay hall to ensure that social distancing is implemented. “This is just the start. As we get readyfor the first tranche, we assure our people that this food assistance is on topof our priorities and the resources of the city will be geared towardsachieving this goal,” Leonardia said. Mayor Evelio Leonardia said the initialdistribution starts on Monday and will benefit the city’s “poorest of thepoor.” The pass will be used to access thebasic needs of the household by purchasing or obtaining food, health, and otheressential commodities. “On Monday, we will strictlyimplement this. Once again, I’m appealing to our people to cooperate becausethis is for our own good. Just a little sacrifice. Please don’t complain aboutthe inconvenience, that’s life. We are all affected by this. Those who don’tcooperate bring harm to everyone,” Leonardia said. BACOLOD City – The city government here will distribute food packs to around40,000 poor households during the 14-day enhanced community quarantine (ECQ)from March 30 to April 14. Under EO 26, a strict home quarantinewill be imposed and the barangays will issue a home quarantine pass to acompetent member of each household to regulate the movement of citizens in thecity. Mass transportation will also besuspended during the entire 14 days. As of Friday, Bacolod had four positiveCOVID-19 cases, based on the latest figures released by the Department ofHealth in Western Visayas. (With PNA/PN)