From the Office of U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich:WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) released the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that the Trump administration cannot move forward with its plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. “This ruling is a major relief for hundreds of thousands of Dreamers whose lives have been thrown into turmoil since President Trump ordered an end to DACA. “While today’s decision is a major victory for our American ideals, the Trump administration’s assault on immigrant communities continues. Congress must hold the administration accountable for flouting American values and finally fix our broken immigration system. That should start with passing the Dream Act right away. “Our nation desperately needs Congress to pass comprehensive immigration legislation that includes a visa system that meets the needs of our economy, a tough but fair path to earned citizenship for the millions of people in our country who are undocumented, and recognizes the real needs of our border communities.”
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Mubadala Petroleum, an Abu Dhabi upstream oil and gas exploration and production company, has signed a cooperation agreement with the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources of the Federal Republic of Somalia.Murizio La Noce Mubadala Petroleum CEODuring the first half of 2014, a high level engagement took place between the U.A.E. and the Federal Government of the Republic of Somalia and its territories to consider ways in which they might work together to further the development of the Somali petroleum sector. In this context, Mubadala Petroleum has now signed a Cooperation Agreement with His Excellency Daud Mohamed Omar on behalf of the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources aimed at sharing knowledge, increasing the strength of the Somalia Ministry and its staff, and, over time, developing upstream opportunities in Somalia.Musabbeh Al Kaabi, Chief Growth Officer, Mubadala Petroleum, said: “This strategic agreement will draw upon the great experience of Abu Dhabi in developing a world-class environment for investment in the petroleum sector and enable Mubadala Petroleum to begin a long term relationship with the Ministry to support its upstream sector.”Press Release, July 17, 2014
Aker Solutions has together with Kvaerner won a contract from Statoil for the hook-up of the riser platform for the Johan Sverdrup field, Norway’s largest offshore development in the past three decades.Aker Solutions said on Tuesday it will work closely with subcontractor Kvaerner on joining together the platform’s seven modules, which will be transported to Norway in the second quarter of 2018. The scope also covers planning, management, and prefabrication.The contract value is approximately NOK 900 million ($108.2M) and will be split about equally between Aker Solutions and Kvaerner. Aker Solutions’ share will be booked in its first-quarter orders.Kvaerner will formally operate as a subcontractor to Aker Solutions. The contract has an estimated value for Kvaerner of approximately NOK 450 million.“We’re very pleased to continue supporting Statoil in driving forward this giant development, which will be of major importance to Norway for decades to come,” said Luis Araujo, chief executive officer of Aker Solutions.Aker Solutions said the work starts in February and will initially involve about 100 people from Aker Solutions, Kvaerner and Statoil, rising to as many as 1,000 people at its peak next year. It will be carried out mainly in Stavanger and offshore. Kvaerner will work closely with Aker Solutions and contribute to all parts of the project delivery.“We look forward to teaming up with Kvaerner to deliver on this next milestone step and together work with Statoil to find the best possible solutions for this major development,” said Knut Sandvik, head of projects at Aker Solutions.The agreement also contains hook-up options for the field’s processing and living quarter platforms, which are scheduled to be installed in 2019.“We are very pleased to be awarded this project in cooperation with Aker Solutions. This is yet another confirmation of our experience and expertise within offshore hook-up and completion,” says Terje Johansen, responsible for hook-up and completion in Kvaerner.Kvaerner added that the contract also includes options for offshore hook-up of the process and living quarter platforms for Johan Sverdrup. These platforms are scheduled for field installation in 2019.
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I was in Sheffield the day of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. Not at the Sheffield Wednesday ground, but just over a mile south at the university, at a conference for youth and student groups. Of course no one had a mobile phone, so news filtered in slowly with whispers and exits at the back – people peeling off to find a payphone, until the horrific scale of what had happened finally becoming clear, at which point a note was passed to the chair.An announcement was made, and the room pretty much emptied. A lot of the delegates knew someone who was, or might, have been there, and a few packed and left after their calls. Across town, I now know, a set of terrible misjudgements were being made regarding when medical assistance should cease for 41 people who would otherwise have probably lived.Shock at the scale, audacity and sheer bad taste of the cover-up that followed is hard to put in to words. To compound the damage, the cover-up was such that it was difficult to draw accurate lessons from tragic events.Let’s fast forward to 2005 and the London bombings. A very different type of event, though there was chaos of course. Mobile phone networks were periodically down – and two of my colleagues were on bombed trains (thankfully unhurt).But in general getting information about people and events was easier. And at the coroner’s inquests in 2011, victims, friends and relatives experienced what decidedly did not happen after the Hillsborough disaster – a painful but honest account of events, including an account of emergency services shortcomings.These were very different events, but it feels as though something more has changed – what? Some people’s instincts to cover up their own mistakes has not. More recently, initial statements made by the police following controversial incidents at demonstrations were corrected when their accounts were challenged by ‘amateur footage’.Depressing as it might sound, it does feel as though improvements in technology, not morality, is one of the key changes since 1989. With Hillsborough, there were official film crews who were positioned to follow the football game rather than the unfolding disaster. Come both 7/7 and the policing of modern demonstrations, we have mobile phone footage as crucial evidence.The footage taken on phones is not the only change. With Hillsborough, to alter the accounts given by policemen and women who were critical of colleagues’ accounts, lines were drawn through typed documents, leaving the sort of limited trail that could be concealed for, in this case, a couple of decades.Now, merely opening a document on a computer to amend or delete records creates hundreds-to-thousands of pieces of ‘meta-data’. Such trails – and the incidental creation of duplicates – are the stuff of nightmares for anyone attempting to erase or eradicate material. Everyone involved in traumatic events such as these deserves a process as good as the 7/7 inquests run by Lady Justice Hallet, and attendant honesty in related public inquiries.Could they ever again be frustrated by a cover-up like that which followed the Hillsborough disaster? When such an event occurs, those at fault will hope it is still possible to perpetrate such an injustice.But in an age where we all record – and then leak – data, information and images from the pores of every electronic device we use, a cover-up on the scale of Hillsborough should be well-nigh impossible, even where official and individual ethics have failed to keep pace with technology.Eduardo Reyes is Gazette features editor Follow Eduardo on Twitter
Chris Grayling must be an easy man to play at Call my Bluff. It sometimes appears as if you can tell the justice secretary any tall tale and he’ll suck it in – safe in the knowledge that he’s doing the right thing because someone has told him he is. Take the great insurance premium swindle. A small number of large companies have persuaded him they will reduce the cost of premiums once whiplash claims are cut. Whiplash costs £2bn a year – a full £90 per motorist. Simply take solicitors out of the whiplash system – and that is inevitable once the small claims limit is increased – and you’ve got yourself vast savings. Whatever you do, don’t give Grayling a cow or he’ll swap it for magic beans. Let’s be clear about the great premium con trick. According the insurers’ own figures, fraud accounts for roughly 7% of claims. Still too high, I’ll grant you, but the total of £140,000,000 would save each motorist only £3.83 from their annual premium. It wouldn’t even buy you a pint at the Christmas party. If the aim of this change is to deal with fraud then we’re doing it for less than £4 each – and in return we’re giving up any hope of ever getting the kind of compensation we deserve when we’re injured in an accident. The truth is that the insurance industry – and by extension the government – is taking aim at the 93% of claimants who are honest and genuinely injured. People like you or I who did not choose to be injured and were simply unlucky enough to be involved in an accident. Without legal representation victims will have no idea how much to settle for and whether the offer from their insurer is fair (which it almost certainly will not be). If they do decide to take it on in court, they will clog up the justice system as judges have to guide them through the process of facing an experienced and ruthless defendant lawyer. The media have fallen for it, hook, line and sinker. We expect the usual suspects, who simply lap up a decent whiplash story, to round on the legal profession but there was no excuse for the likes of the BBC to ignore the genuine concerns of victims’ groups and choose to quote only Grayling and the Association of British Insurers. The plain fact, claimant solicitors, is you can’t win. On Monday I spent several hours trying to find out the contents of the next day’s announcement in advance. The Ministry of Justice simply straight-batted my inquiry and told me to wait for Tuesday morning. In desperation I phoned the ABI. Did it have any idea what was going to be announced? ‘Of course we do,’ their man told me. ‘We were sent the consultation by a journalist earlier today.’ Grayling has played this perfectly. Most of the public now know he’s dealing with whiplash but without having any idea how. They’ll find out soon enough. If they think this will end those annoying adverts during daytime TV, if they think this will end the compensation culture, if they think this will send their premiums tumbling, they’re wrong. But when the 93% have an accident they’ll realise what has happened, because they’ll be cluelessly accepting under-value offers for their genuine injuries. Follow John on Twitter
Judicial acceptance of the new world of remote hearings continues to grow, with a judge prepared to proceed with cross-examining parents through Zoom in a care order case.Mrs Justice Lieven said she would hear lay evidence remotely in A Local Authority v Mother, indicating that the gravity of the case did not mean it was incapable of being heard outside the courtroom.The decision is significant as another indication that judges see remote hearings as a viable option, even in complex and emotionally stressful family proceedings. The issue at stake was an application by a local authority for a care order in respect of a four-year-old child.Perhaps most noteworthy, the judge said she would not view evidence given remotely as any less reliable or truthful than evidence given in person.‘My own view is that is not possible to say as a generality whether it is easier to tell whether a witness is telling the truth in court rather than remotely,’ said Mrs Justice Lieven.‘Some people are much better at lying than others and that will be no different whether they do so remotely or in court. Certainly, in court the demeanour of a witness, or anyone else in court, will often be more obvious to the judge, but that does not mean it will be more illuminating.’The court had already heard five days of medical evidence remotely through Zoom and was then adjourned for submissions about whether the parents could give evidence through a web link-up.On the first day, the father in the case had access to the hearing only by phone, but he had been able to borrow a computer to view the remainder. Access to a computer apart, the technology had not, so far, impeded a fair trial, and the judge was confident the mother could use it effectively.The judge referenced the 10 tests that had to be passed for remote hearings to proceed in family proceedings, as set out by the Court of Appeal in Re A. One factor was the urgency of proceedings.She pledged to carefully monitor both parents’ ability to participate fully and to revisit the issue of fairness during proceedings.
Hong Kong’s MTR Corp is exploiting the increased the headways between off-peak trains, by using the spare capacity for advertising. A ’Spectacular Mobile Showcase’ vehicle can be hauled between service trains, giving advertisers a new way to attract the attention of passengers waiting at stations. MTR’s Chief Executive Officer, European Business, Jeremy Long said ’this is yet another example of making the best use of the limited space we have available in Hong Kong, and being very creative in the ways in which we maximise additional non-fare revenue to support our network.’
USA: Virginia Railway Express awarded Sumitomo Corp a $21m contract to supply eight gallery cars on February 15, with an option for up to 42 more which would take the total value of the order to $119m.The cars will be manufactured at Nippon Sharyo’s plant in Rochelle, Illinois, with the initial batch to be delivered in 2014. VRE will use the vehicles to replace older cars and expand the fleet to handle increasing ridership. Gallery cars have a conventional lower deck and an upper level with seats on balconies either side of the aisle, allowing staff to check tickets on both levels from the lower deck. Sumitomo Corp has previously supplied a 71 gallery cars to VRE, and a total of 643 across the USA.