Serving up justice in the desert

first_imgServing up justice in the desert February 1, 2005 Regular News Serving up justice in the desert Capt. Greg Weiss Chief, Military Justice, Iraq In my case the accused, the victim, and a few other soldiers had engaged in a lighthearted discussion outside of the unit’s sleeping tents at Baghdad International Airport after a long day of work. I can only assume that these soldiers had been drinking alcohol in violation of General Order #1, which prohibits the “sale, possession, manufacture, or consumption of alcohol” in theater.The discussion became a marketplace for racial jokes, which is not terribly uncommon in the Army. I am neither advocating nor judging the conversation, but rather relaying the facts. This type of discussion took place commonly in this unit throughout their deployment, with the participation of almost all, if not all, of the members of the unit. Soldiers of all races in the unit both made and were made the subject of these jokes, and during this particular conversation, the victim made a joke that offended the accused. Soon after the discussion ended, the soldiers departed for the evening.At around 2330 hours the victim entered his sleeping tent and eventually went to sleep. Several hours later, at around 0230 hours, the accused snuck into victim’s sleeping tent to find the victim, but was unsuccessful as the tent was dark inside. The accused then went back to his sleeping tent and brought back a flashlight and was thereby able to locate the now sleeping victim. As the victim was lying motionless in his cot, with his eyes closed, the accused approached without warning and hit him several times with a closed fist to the victim’s head. When the disoriented victim fell out of his cot, the accused stomped or kicked the victim’s head until someone else in the sleeping tent woke up and told the accused to leave. Though the victim was beaten up pretty badly, he did not suffer any broken bones or permanent damage.The defense counsel assigned to the case never interviewed the victim, which was unfortunate for the accused, because she could have presented the neither sympathetic nor scarred victim as a defense sentencing witness. I was able to get the pieces of the victim’s testimony that were the most aggravating into evidence through a stipulation of fact without risking having the victim testify. In addition, both the accused’s first sergeant and platoon sergeant testified that the accused was a great soldier, a “go to” guy. Their testimony forced me to cross-examine each witness with a barrage of leading questions such as, “Does a good soldier stomp on the head of a fellow soldier?” to test the basis of the opinion. I do not enjoy laying into senior noncommissioned officers on cross, but I gave them fair warning, and they chose to testify regardless.In the judge-alone forum selected by the accused, the judge sentenced him to 10 months confinement and a bad conduct discharge, far beyond most predictions, so I was pleased with the result despite that this was one of my minor cases. Though I would like to believe that my advocacy on behalf of the government was the reason for the sentence, I am fairly certain that this judge knew what he was going to sentence before hearing any evidence or argument.Staff Sgt. Alex Straub and I served as the confinee escorts to avoid forcing the unit to send 16 soldiers in four vehicles on a convoy to Baghdad in order to provide the two required escorts. After the judge announced his sentence, Sgt. Straub and I became responsible for the accused until we dropped him off at the Camp Arifjan Confinement Facility in Kuwait. We arranged transportation for the following morning.Incoming rockets serve as a great alarm clock: no snooze button. We woke up at 0530 in the transient sleeping tents at Victory Base to the sounds and vibrations of explosions. The first one sounded close and the second one closer before we made it to the nearest bunker with our confinee. The next four rockets were close enough that we could hear them whistling before impact. Unlike LSA Anaconda, Victory Base does not have an air siren to warn of incoming indirect fire or to sound with the learned-to-be-reassuring “all clear.” Thus, after a 10-minute lull we simply uncorked ourselves from the bunker without further guidance and gathered the rest of our gear to get the hell off Victory Base and over to Baghdad International Airport to fly down to Kuwait.We arrived at Baghdad International shortly thereafter in two SUVs only to discover that the Air Force closed the gate to all traffic because of the attacks at Victory Base. This quickly became a catch-22 as more incoming rounds started to impact about 400 meters away, on the far side of airport’s main runways. The gate to the airport was closed because of the incoming fire, but the only bunkers to protect us were in Baghdad International. Ironically we wanted to get closer to the impacting rounds because that was the location of the bunkers. Eventually, the incoming fire stopped and we were allowed in.We knew that our confinee was our “Army Frequent Flyer Medallion Level Pass,” and we were manifested on the first C-130 down to Kuwait because he was “Priority 1” as a confinee. While we were waiting for the flight in a holding tent, I ventured into the airport’s post-exchange trailer (literally a semi-trailer). On the magazine rack, situated between the last thumbed-through copy remaining of Maxim, FMH, and Stuff I found multiple pristine copies of the current Foreign Affairs. The condition and abundance of the magazine was not surprising; only the fact that it was there in the first place.After waiting a few hours, we again gathered all of our gear, boarded a bus, drove onto the tarmac, and unloaded behind the tailgate of a C-130 with the engines still turning. Just before we could walk onto the aircraft, literally 20 meters away from the tailgate ramp, a personnel security contractor from Blackwater (a private company which hires former special forces types to protect diplomats) took over the plane on behalf of some unnamed higher-up. We were so close to getting to Kuwait, but as we were to soon find out, so far.All other flights leaving Baghdad International that day were cancelled because of the intermittent indirect fire. Think about your frustration upon being stuck in a major metropolitan airport, such as Hartsfield in Atlanta, for several hours. Contrast the veritable shopping malls inside, complete with food courts, restaurants, book stores, and, importantly, bars, with a big sweaty tent containing a few cots, cases of MREs, and a trailer vending a few magazines targeted for 17-year-olds and stale Moon Pies. In addition, we were not just waiting to get home from a business trip; we were waiting to get away from the incoming rockets and mortars to the no-threat environment of Kuwait. Nine hours later we were offered seats on a flight of civilian contractors, which we immediately snapped up.The interior of a C-130 used for passenger travel (or jumping, for that matter) is divided in half lengthwise by cargo netting. On either side of the cargo netting are canvas folding benches running the length of the cargo netting. Facing the back-to-back interior benches are two canvas benches lining the exterior wall of the fuselage. In other words, the interior of the aircraft is divided in half lengthwise and each half has two long lengthwise canvas benches facing each other, with no one facing the direction of travel. I was sitting in one of the middle benches facing the exterior bench and a window on this flight. The taxi out was ordinary and I was happy to be on my way to a country where indirect fire is not an occupational hazard.As we accelerated down the runway and took off, my relief and possession of a settled stomach were cut short by what sounded like an old-fashioned cash register ringing up a sale. The sound was actually anti-targeting flares being shot off of both sides of the plane. Simultaneously, my perspective out of the window immediately changed from looking at a normal horizon to wildly staring straight at the ground from 50 meters above it as we were in a very sharp bank. My view immediately rolled back past the normal horizon to straight into the blue sky for the opposite sharp bank, then again woefully past the normal horizon and straight at the ground yet again for another bank. After the series of evasive maneuvers, which turned out later to be prompted by someone on the ground engaging our flight, we climbed sharply. I was sweating profusely and was more concerned about my nausea than the fact that someone on the ground was trying to shoot us. Thirty minutes later the flight and life itself was back to normal in the way it only can be in Iraq.We landed in Kuwait an hour and a half later and First Lt. Andy Holmes, who used to reside in a trailer near mine at LSA Anaconda, picked us up and drove us to the Arifjan Confinement Facility.We found out watching CNN later that an improvised explosive device had exploded outside Baghdad International earlier that day and killed a few fellow soldiers traveling to the airport. A few days later when we were at Kuwait City International waiting to get back to LSA Anaconda, we saw a C-130 conducting a funeral detail. A refrigeration truck was backed up to the C-130 and the soldiers moving the fallen soldier were at ramrod attention. I was filled with guilt upon seeing the detail, as Sgt. Straub and I were potentially in close proximity to where this soldier may have been killed a few days prior.After we dropped off the accused, we went to First Lt. Holmes’ post just outside of Camp Arifjan. It was good to see someone who was previously with us at LSA Anaconda, and he was filled with pride in his new unit for having been deployed to Iraq before joining them in Kuwait. Before I deployed to Iraq, I thought little of the difference between soldiers who had been to Iraq or Afghanistan versus other countries in the Middle East where we are staging (as opposed to running) combat operations. I am not an infantryman on patrol in downtown Baghdad or a driver on the IED laden roads of Iraq, but I do share some bond with other soldiers who have deployed with me to Iraq. The following day we were manifested on another C-130 flight back to LSA Anaconda to prepare for the next trial term, armed not only with only our M-16s, but also a new appreciation for the soldiers assigned to Baghdad. In civilian life, Capt. Greg Weiss is an associate with Wicker, Smith, O’Hara, Mccoy, Graham, and Ford in West Palm Beach, who was mobilized from a reserve component for duty in Iraq. Capt. Weiss’ has agreed to share his wartime experiences with his fellow Florida Bar members through the News .last_img read more

Long Island’s Offshore LNG Port Proposal’s Critics Fear Fracking Exports on Horizon

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Hundreds of gallons of natural gas spilled into the Gulf of Mexico early last month when oil rig workers lost control of a well they were trying to plug, unleashing a four-mile sheen off the Louisiana coast still recovering from BP’s 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, the worst oil spill in U.S. history.That July 9 slick escaped hours before a Long Beach public hearing where opponents spoke out against a proposed liquid natural gas deepwater port dubbed Port Ambrose, an LNG import facility named for the New York shipping channel. It would be anchored in more than 100 feet of water about 20 miles south of Long Island in the Atlantic Ocean.Although the since-sealed Gulf well and proposed LI port are more than 1,000 miles apart, the latest spill fuels fears—or what industry proponents called “environmental emotionalism”—among critics opposed to the possibility of LNG supertankers making up to 45 deliveries annually off Long Island.“Bottom line is that natural gas is dangerous,” says Lindsay McNamara, a spokeswoman for the nonprofit New Jersey-based Clean Ocean Action, citing the new spill—one of two in the Gulf last month—that came days after the latest explosion at a natural gas drilling well, this time in West Virginia.Environmental problems stemming from the possibility of such leaks were at the top of the list of concerns of the 90 speakers at the LI hearing and another the following day in Edison, N.J., where memories of a 1994 natural gas pipeline explosion still linger.The U.S. Coast Guard and Maritime Administration will have to decide whether to grant the LNG deepwater import facility license application by Liberty Natural Gas, a five-year-old company trying again after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed their previously proposed LNG port that would have been closer to the Jersey Shore. This time, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also has a say.But it isn’t just fears of another Deepwater Horizon-scale disaster killing marine life, poisoning water and scaring away tourists that worry opponents. Critics also say that such facilities are targets for terrorism, that the port would force fishermen and a proposed wind farm from the same offshore area, and they argue, it’s a “Trojan horse” to export natural gas from the boom in hydraulic fracturing, the controversial drilling practice know as fracking—linking Port Ambrose to the debate over whether the practice should be allowed in upstate New York.“There is no truth to the claim,” said Roger Whelan, Liberty’s CEO, through a spokesman. “The project permits would not allow exports to occur through the facility.”The port, which aims to go online in December 2015, is one of one of four proposed import terminals and 23 export terminals being proposed nationwide as of June, according to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. There are currently 10 LNG import facilities and one such export facility nationwide.The entire tri-state area is watching closely because the environmental, economic and national security concerns being hashed out are similar to a failed project, the Long Island Sound LNG terminal dubbed Broadwater vetoed in 2008 by then-Gov. David Patterson.SHELL GAMESLiberty Natural Gas noted in its 1,500-page proposal published in the Federal Register four weeks prior to the public meetings that it is abiding by laws forbidding it from lobbying federal lawmakers or issuing construction contracts.But that didn’t stop them from contracting a small army of lobbyists to push their cause in New York City and Albany. Whelan signed three $120,000 contracts—a total of $360,000—to lobby New York lawmakers, three times as many lobbying firms he hired in New Jersey, disclosure reports for both states show.“The natural gas industry has immense political sway,” said Chris Herb, president of the Connecticut Energy Marketers Association, pointing to the 2005 so-called “Halliburton Loophole” that exempts fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act, shepherded into law by former Vice President Dick Cheney.To lobby New Jersey officials in 2011, Liberty hired Princeton-based Capital Public Affairs.Liberty hired New Jersey-based Bolton-St. Johns, LLC, for “legislative and regulatory representation” in New York from October 2011 through September 2012, the same month the company met with Long Island Association officials 10 days before submitting its intent to file its latest application.In March 2012, Liberty hired another New Jersey-based lobbyist, Matthew Greller, to lobby New York through April, when Liberty replaced him with two dozen lobbyists from Albany-based Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker, LLP, through next spring.Financially backing Liberty is Toronto-based hedge fund West Face Capital via West Face Long Term Opportunities Global Master L.P., a Cayman Islands-based investment fund. Liberty, incorporated in Delaware before setting up a New Jersey office for its first port try, now lists an address in Manhattan.A spokeswoman for Cuomo said he is “monitoring the situation.” Christie’s office did not return a call for comment.FRACK OFFThe Coast Guard and Maritime Administration held the back-to-back public scoping meetings so concerned citizens could suggest issues to be investigated in the environmental impact study for the proposed port.One issue the panel had heard enough of halfway through the proceedings. After listening to LI opponents urge the agencies to study the environmental impact of upstate fracking based on the possibility of the port being an export conduit, one official cautioned New Jersey speakers against making the same request.“There was what I can only describe as a mischaracterization of the licensing…of this particular project,” said Keith Lesnick, director of the Maritime Administration’s office of deepwater port licensing, in Edison before reading part of his agency’s letter to anti-fracking group Catskills Residents for Safe Energy, emphasizing only import impacts will be studied.But the Coast Guard and Liberty maintain that before Port Ambrose—assuming it’s permitted—could switch to exporting from importing, it would trigger a new license application process that would “likely” include more public hearings.Sean Dixon, an attorney with Clean Ocean Action, argues that the claim omits the fact that federal law doesn’t always require public hearings for deepwater port license amendments. He points to the process behind Port Neptune LNG facility off Boston suspending operations based on lack of demand after the Ambrose hearings.“This suspension was carried out in exactly the same way [the Maritime Administration] could amend the Liberty LNG license to allow exports,” he said. “This suspension was done as a license amendment, and had zero public input, zero comment opportunity and no mention of environmental review.”Bruce Ferguson, a Catskills Citizens for Safe Energy advocate who spoke against Port Ambrose in Long Beach, remains suspicious that an export terminal down the Hudson River would only help companies hoping that Cuomo will end a six-year de facto fracking moratorium so they can begin pumping carcinogens into the ground to drill natural gas near Ferguson’s home.“No one can deny that this terminal would be a potential export facility,” he said. “If there’s no market for imports, it’s going to be used for exports. Therefore it’s only reasonable to assume that all the potential environmental impacts, including the impacts of fracking, be evaluated before hundreds of millions are spent on this project.”GASONOMICSSince the boom in fracking in the nation’s subterranean shale formations has flooded the domestic market with natural gas, the question of why New York City and LI would need to import higher-priced gas from the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago has come up repeatedly.Liberty’s answer is that prices for natural gas—which fuels a dozen power generating facilities on LI and heats 43 percent of LI homes and businesses—spike during peak demand months of summer, but mostly winter, because of bottlenecks in the Iroquois and Transcontinental pipelines serving LI. Port Ambrose would link to the latter two miles off Atlantic Beach after a 22-mile, 26-inch pipeline was built.“Despite an abundant resource of natural gas within the United States, building new pipeline infrastructure across New York City is extremely difficult,” Liberty CEO Whelan said. “A mobile ship-based system such as ours costs considerably less and can be put to work elsewhere in our system during non-winter months.”Howard Rogers, director of the Natural Gas Research Programme at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, agrees.“The shale gas boom…has really negated the requirement for the U.S. to import LNG, but with certain specific exceptions,” he says. “There is a gas demand which can’t be met easily by the existing pipeline infrastructure and those are the areas where LNG is still imported.”As far as the possibility of the import-to-export switch, he noted that there are several multi-million-dollar LNG tankers currently under construction that would for the first time have the capacity to liquefy natural gas from the gaseous state in which it’s piped.Currently, on-shore facilities chill natural gas to negative 260 degrees Fahrenheit so it’s condensed enough to be shipped long distance in cryogenic tankers that upon delivery re-gassify the LNG, which is mostly methane.Höegh, Liberty’s tanker contractor, is among those developing ships designed to liquefy natural gas onboard. But, even if Port Ambrose cleared hurdles to export, such tankers are being eyed for harder-to-reach natural gas fields, Rogers says.Port Ambrose would accept an expected annual average of 400 million standard cubic feet per day of natural gas. National Grid sent 197 billion cubic feet of natural gas between July 2012 and June 2013 to LI, according to the utility, which a spokeswoman says is not taking a position on the proposed port.A Long Island Power Authority spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.Herb, of the Connecticut Energy Marketers Association, isn’t buying it, saying he “would not put it past them to do a bait-and-switch.”“Natural gas companies are in business to make money,” he says. “I would not be surprised if the real purpose of the construction was not to stabilize prices, but to maximize profits.”Kevin Rooney of the Long Island Home Heating Oil Association, no fan of National Grid stealing his customers, notes that if the Department of Energy approves LNG exports to non-free trade agreement nations, more demand will cause a domestic natural gas prices spike.“Once we become the biggest gas exporter in the world, you’re going to see the same thing happen in their market that’s happened in ours,” he says, referring to oil prices subject to the mercy of Wall Street and foreign powers. “They are setting themselves up for a rapid escalation in prices.”Congress is studying the same issue.“Five years ago companies were building terminals to import natural gas at the cost of billions of dollars because analysts believed that the U.S. was gonna need natural gas from overseas,” said Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) in an April hearing on exporting LNG. “Today that scenario has changed 180 degrees.”SHIPWRECKThe possibility of encroaching on Long Island’s fishing grounds was bad enough, but worse still is the prospect of a terrorist attack on an LNG tanker 30 miles from the mouth of New York Harbor—and not much farther from Ground Zero, opponents say.Al-Qaeda specifically cited LNG terminals as a desirable target for supply disruptions and “because an attack could result in a massive fire that could potentially kill scores of people,” according to a 2006 Council on Foreign Relations report citing homeland security experts.“Another scenario in the report involves terrorists taking control of an LNG tanker, sailing into a major population center such as New York City and detonating the cargo,” said Klaus Rittenbach, a former Department of Defense Information Systems Agency official from Freehold, citing that report in Edison.When asked about plans to protect the tankers from a hijacking or a U.S.S. Cole-style attack, in which a smaller boat detonates next to the ship in an attempt to pierce the hull and explode the flammable cargo, Liberty was vague.“The U.S. Coast Guard will review all safety and security issues as part of the application review and will conduct a detailed risk assessment,” Whelan said. “This assessment will be used to develop a security plan that will be approved and overseen by the Coast Guard, which will govern operations at the port.”When the same question was posed to the service, Charles Rowe, a spokesman for the Coast Guard—the only military branch that falls under the Department of Homeland Security—said that which ships get escorts is decided in real time.“It depends upon the threat at any given moment,” he says. “That’s something that is continually evaluated and revaluated and decisions are made quite literally on a daily basis.”Cynthia Kouril, a former federal prosecutor who investigated environmental crimes, urges against taking the risk.“You do not put something that dangerous, that explosive, next to one of the largest population centers in the world … a population center that is both a well-known target of terror attacks….and in the path of hurricanes,” she said. “This project should fail at the earliest possible stage in the application process because the flaws in it are so self-evident.”GAS PANNEDAs much as the hearings unified upstate and downstate environmental advocates with those from across state lines, regional rivalries were also on full display—most notably at the Long Beach hearing at The Allegria Hotel, which with 300 in attendance was twice as packed and far rowdier than the New Jersey hearing.Thirty five LI speakers were opposed versus four union members in favor, including Roger Clayman, executive director of the Long Island Federation of Labor, who supported the jobs the project would create. Time ran out before another 35 speakers had their turn. In the tamer New Jersey hearing, 46 were opposed, three supported Port Ambrose and two—perhaps in a nod to the town’s namesake, inventor Thomas Edison—urged federal officials to decide on the facts alone.“Gov. Christie already vetoed this,” said Jessica Roff of Brooklyn, referring to Liberty’s prior proposal. “Since when did New York become the dumping ground for New Jersey?”Before one union member told the opponents to “go to hell,” another from New Jersey who favored the proposal was booed when he told the Long Beach crowd—worried that more fossil fuels will increase climate change and strengthen hurricanes—that their Sandy damage wasn’t as bad as the Jersey Shore’s.Perhaps traveling the farthest distance for the LI hearing was Craig Stevens, who lives near Dimock, Penn., a small town that became well-known since residents fought fracking companies they say poisoned their drinking water.“It’s not about gas, it’s about people,” says Stevens, who brandished a gallon container full of yellow liquid dubbed “Dimock Lemonade” or “Cabot Kool Aide,” after the oil and gas company. His trip to LI was just the latest in his continuing “scare the hell out of everyone tour.”Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Farmingdale-based Citizens Campaign for the Environment, was especially riled up about the proposed port overlapping with the area of interest for LI’s latest off-shore wind farm proposal.“We find it…ironic, but also insulting and alarming that we are having this hearing here, in the great city of Long Beach,” she said. “Because nobody knows better than the people of Long Beach the impacts of climate change. The life-altering impacts, the economic, the financial, the emotional devastating impacts of climate change. We know what it’s like to lose it all and yet we’re having a community discussion about shackling ourselves for another 30 years to the damn fossil fuels. No! We want renewable energy, we deserve that. We can’t lose it all again and your policies need to change!”Members of the public wishing to comment on the Port Ambrose proposal can do so through Aug. 22, a deadline that may be extended.—With additional reporting by Rebecca Melnitskylast_img read more

Netflix Direct, a TV Channel-Like Offering, Will Choose Content for You So You Don’t Have To

first_imgIf proven to be successful, it’s likely that Netflix will roll out availability of its Direct channel in other global markets as well. Of course, the functionality of the channel depends on careful curation of content, with a good mix of movies, TV shows, and other specials playing as per a set schedule. The curation would have to be based on respective markets, since users in France and users in India will naturally have different preferences.For now, Netflix Direct is only available in France, and is naturally being curated for French audiences, with a selection of French, international, and US feature films and TV shows, as per the Variety report. Users will of course have the option to watch movies and TV shows on Netflix normally by selecting and immediately viewing as before, but Netflix Direct will have some appeal to users who are between TV shows or just want to sit down and watch something at the end of the day without putting much effort into looking up content.Netflix is known to live test many of its upcoming features in various global markets, and only recently announced plans for a ‘weekend trial’ of its premium service for select users, starting with India. The streaming service has also been gradually improving the technical quality of its original productions. Much of its new content is being produced in 4K Dolby Vision, compatible with many current-generation HDR TVs.- Advertisement – Which is the best TV under Rs. 25,000? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below. Netflix Direct is a TV channel-like service that is being tested in France. The great thing about streaming on OTT platforms is having access to movies and TV shows whenever you want to watch them. You aren’t bound to programming schedules, and in most cases, you don’t need to wait for a week to get a fresh new episode of your favourite show. That said, it can sometimes be frustrating to look for something to watch, and the traditional experience of flipping through TV channels to find something interesting remains an option that many prefer. That’s why Netflix plans to bring this experience to OTT streaming, through Netflix Direct.Designed to function like a regular TV channel within the streaming platform, Netflix Direct is the company’s first attempt at linear, scheduled programming. The channel is rolling out in a phased manner for testing in France right now, according to a report by Variety. The report states that Netflix chose France because traditional TV consumption habits are still popular in the European country. Netflix Direct has been soft launched in France on November 5, and will be widely available in the country in December, as per the report.- Advertisement –center_img – Advertisement –last_img read more

Rent reviews: when words fail us

first_imgWould you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletters To access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week.last_img

Facebook rejects call to share revenue with Australian media

first_imgFacebook on Monday rejected calls from the Australian government and news companies that it share advertising revenue with the media, suggesting it would rather cut news content from its platform.The US tech giant said in a submission to Australia’s competition watchdog that news represents a “very small fraction” of the content in an average user’s news feed.”If there were no news content available on Facebook in Australia, we are confident the impact on Facebook’s community metrics and revenues in Australia would not be significant,” it said in a thinly veiled threat to boycott local news companies. “Given the social value and benefit to news publishers, we would strongly prefer to continue enabling news publishers’ content to be available on our platform,” it said.In an effort being closely watched around the world, Australia is set to unveil plans to force Facebook and Google to share advertising revenue they earn from news featured in their services.The initiative has been strongly pushed by Australia’s two biggest media companies, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp and Nine Entertainment.They argue that the crisis roiling the news industry worldwide is mainly because of Google, Facebook and other large tech firms capturing the vast majority of online advertising revenues, without fairly compensating media companies for advertisements placed against news content. The loss of advertising dollars that previously flowed to newspapers has forced cutbacks and bankruptcies across the sector, a process exacerbated by the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.In Australia, News Corp, Nine and other media have both announced major cuts in editorial staff, with more than 170 newsrooms and newspapers suspended or shuttered in recent years.Australia’s competition regulator, the ACCC, has estimated that Google and Facebook together earn some Aus$6 billion (US$4 billion) a year from advertising in the country.Leading news publishers have demanded the two companies pay at least 10 percent of that money each year to local news organizations.Google last month rejected the demand, saying it made barely Aus$10 million a year from news-linked advertising.The two companies’ positions bode ill for negotiations the ACCC hopes to pursue between the tech firms and Australian media companies over a mandatory “code of conduct” governing issues such as revenue sharing, curbing disinformation, data sharing and protecting user privacy.The ACCC has until the end of July to draw up the final code, which the government has said it will quickly implement.center_img Topics :last_img read more

David Luiz insists Arsenal can challenge for the Premier League title this season

first_img Metro Sport ReporterFriday 18 Oct 2019 8:22 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link3kShares David Luiz insists Arsenal can challenge for the Premier League title this season David Luiz is aiming high this season (Picture: Getty)David Luiz believes Arsenal are capable of mounting a Premier League title challenge this season despite currently trailing league leaders Liverpool by nine points.Liverpool have flown out of the blocks at the start of the campaign winning all eight of their Premier League matches to open up an eight-point lead over reigning champions Manchester City.Those two teams are regarded as the leading candidates to win the title after going toe-to-toe in 2018-19. City pipped Liverpool in the end by a point with the Reds finishing 25 points clear of third-placed Chelsea.Luiz, a Premier League winner with Chelsea in the 2016-17 campaign, is aiming high, though, and insists that Arsenal have the players and coaching staff to ‘fight’ for the title.ADVERTISEMENT Comment ‘I think we’ve started really well and we just lost one game in the Premier League,’ Luiz added. ‘I think the team is improving and now we are in third in the table but we want to finish this season fighting for the title.’Luiz joined Arsenal from Chelsea on transfer deadline day and has quickly established himself as a key member of Unai Emery’s side, featuring eight times and scoring the winner during the 1-0 win over Bournemouth prior to the international break.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing ArsenalCan Arsenal challenge for the title?Yes0%No0%Share your resultsShare your resultsTweet your resultscenter_img Advertisement Advertisement David Luiz was part of the Chelsea team that won the Premier League title in 2016-17 (Picture: Getty)‘For me, if you start something, and we’ve just started the Premier League and all of the competitions, if you don’t think you can win the competition then you won’t start anything in your life,’ Luiz told NBC Sports.AdvertisementAdvertisement‘I want to win titles with Arsenal. I want to improve and adapt myself for the style of Arsenal, as a club and how the manager wants us to play. I think we can do that together.‘My vision, my ambition and my will is always to fight for the title and between the club, the players and the coach, we have the possibility to fight for the title. I think this club deserves to shine again.’More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityArsenal were beaten 3-1 by Liverpool at Anfield in August but that is their only league defeat of the season so far and they currently sit just behind City in third-place heading into this weekend’s fixtures.last_img read more

CWI appoints Englishman to top commercial post

first_imgST JOHN’S, Antigua, (CMC) – Cricket West Indies(CWI have appointed Englishman Dominic Warne as director of Commercial, Marketing and Communications.The appointment, which took effect October 1, will see the executive taking responsibility for CWI’s commercial operations and revenue generation, along with marketing and communications initiatives.“I’m really excited to join CWI’s new leadership team and strengthen the iconic Windies brand,” Warne said.“The flamboyant cricket, colour and atmosphere that so defines Caribbean cricket is unique. We have a great opportunity to connect with fans and excite commercial sponsors, so I’m looking forward to growing partnerships with the territorial boards and sponsors to make the cricketing heartbeat of the region beat stronger.”According to CWI, Warne brings over two decades of marketing and sponsorship strategy to the new post.Warne, who will be based at the CWI headquarters here, joins another Englishman Johnny Grave, who was appointed CEO last February.last_img read more

UEFA Champions League:Date and time set for semi-final draws

first_imgThe draws for the semi-finals of the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League will take place on Friday 11 April at the House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland.Both draws will be carried out in one session, beginning at 12.00CET. They will be conducted by UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino, assisted by UEFA Europa League final ambassador Ciro Ferrara and the ambassador for the UEFA Champions League final, Luís Figo.Proceedings will start with an open draw for the UEFA Europa League semi-finals. As with the quarter-finals, no teams are seeded and sides from the same national association may be pitted against each other. The semi-finals are played on a home-and-away basis, with the first legs on Thursday 24 April and the return legs the following Thursday. For administrative purposes, the last step of the draw will define whether the winner of semi-final 1 or the winner of semi-final 2 will be considered the ‘home’ team for the final at the Juventus Stadium in Turin on Wednesday 14 May (20.45CET).The same procedure will apply to the draw for the UEFA Champions League semi-finals, the first legs of which will be held on Tuesday 22 and Wednesday 23 April, with the return matches on Tuesday 29 and Wednesday 30 April. The UEFA Champions League final will be staged at the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica in Lisbon on Saturday 24 May (19.45 local time/20.45CET).Media representatives wishing to attend the draws are requested to apply via email to [email protected] before 12.00CET on Thursday 10 April, mentioning ‘Club draws’ in the subject line. A live feed from the draw will be available in the media working area which is equipped with Wi-Fi.Both draws will be broadcast live on and on Eurosport. UEFA Youth LeagueOn the same day as the draws, Friday 11 April, the UEFA Youth League semi-finals take place at Nyon’s Colovray Stadium.Semi-final 1: Real Madrid CF v SL Benfica (13.00CET)Semi-final 2: FC Schalke 04 v FC Barcelona (16.30CET)The final will be played on Monday 14 April (16.30CET), also at Colovray.Media wanting to attend these matches should email [email protected] by 12.00CET on 8 April, writing ‘UEFA Youth League’ in the subject header.Non-rights holders are advised they will not be permitted to film during the games. However, they will have access to post-match activities provided they have been granted accreditation. Eurosport will broadcast all games live.last_img read more

Lunch Break Looks to Expand RB Facilities

first_imgRED BANK – Lunch Break is looking to expand.The soup kitchen and food panty, which has been providing food, clothing and the wherewithal for those in need in Red Bank and the surrounding area for nearly 30 years, is seeking borough approval to expand its facility. The organization is looking to build an addition on adjacent properties because of what its executive director said is an increasing need for its services.“We’ve definitely outgrown the space,” said Gwendolyn Love, “even for what we’re doing now.”Love sat at a table in the 121 Drs. James Parker Blvd. facility during lunchtime on Aug. 30 as volunteers and employees worked and moved briskly, serving lunch to the crowd.As she discussed the need for more space to conduct its various programs, a woman approached the table. Chandelle Morris, who lives on Bank Street, sat down at the table with her tray and its modest lunch, a small piece of cake and fruit juice. Morris said she doesn’t have breakfast or dinner most days, relying on her lunch here as her primary meal. “It’s something I look forward to when I get up in the morning,” she said.She thanked Love for what Lunch Break had to offer and turned and said, “They are saving my life.”Love glanced over with smile and thanked Morris for making her point about the work Lunch Break does and the need for the expansion.“We believe Lunch Break can be an instrument in the community to allow people to make it to the next level,” Love said.In June 2011 Justin and Victoria Gmelich, a Rumson couple, donated to Lunch Break two properties on the boulevard, each with a vacant single-family residential home, according to Love.Lunch Break representatives will appear at the borough Zoning Board of Adjustment on Thursday, Sept. 20, with its application to combine those lots and build an addition to the current site.According to the application on file at the borough’s Planning and Zoning Depart­ment, Lunch Break would demolish the existing homes at 113-115 Drs. James Parker Blvd. and use that 7,320-square-foot tract to expand the current 2,989-square-foot facility and build a 2,091-square-foot addition.The addition’s first floor, Love said, will be used, in part, to house Lunch Break’s clothing distribution program. Currently, it operates the program on Saturdays out of the dining area, where individuals and families can come to select free clothing and small household items they need.If the application is approved, the public will be able to drop off donations and pick up items from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.Lunch Break could also use the site for its other clothing program, called Suited for Success, where clients can get clothing appropriate for job interviews.Along with those programs, Lunch Break would continue to operate its “Internet café” on site, where clients have access to computers and use the Internet connections, often to help locate work.The remainder of the site would be used for administrative offices, file and supply storage and to provide space for the various social service agencies that regularly appear to assist Lunch Break clients.“The new space will allow us to function more efficiently,“ Love said.The addition will “create a one-stop shopping” site for clients, who often don’t have cars or money for mass transit to visit social services offices, Love said.“Business has been too good,” she acknowledged. The facility has been seeing a growing need for services.“With the economy the way it is, with people looking for help, with new people looking for that help, Lunch Break will help them move to that next level in their life,” Love said. “It’s not a handout, it’s a hand up.” By John Burtonlast_img read more