As part of its evolving emergency communications procedures, Harvard University is making available text message alerts to students, faculty, and staff to be used only in the event of an extreme, campus-wide, life-threatening emergency.Harvard ID holders are encouraged to sign up at http://www.messageme.harvard.edu at the beginning of each academic year and to provide their names and cell phone numbers. All of the information provided is private and will not be shared.The University hopes that it never has to use this system, but, given the popularity of text messaging, it is making this service available as part of a redundant set of technological solutions for communicating with the Harvard community in the unlikely event of an extreme emergency. Other services include e-mail, voice mail, Web pages, and the call-in emergency phone line (617) 496-NEWS.Subscribers will not be contacted by text messaging unless there is an extreme, campus-wide emergency that is life-threatening and requires instant communication.
A former senior City watchdog has warned the Solicitors Regulation Authority that it is being ‘hoodwinked’ into liberalising rules relating to financial advisers. The SRA is set to reveal whether it will relax a rule requiring lawyers to refer clients to wholly independent advisers. Arguing that current regulations are too prescriptive and incompatible with outcomes-focused regulation, the SRA wants solicitors’ clients to be offered the choice of advisers who are contracted to sell financial products. However, David Severn (pictured), head of retail investment policy at the Financial Services Authority from 1998 to 2004, said the SRA had ‘allowed itself to be hoodwinked’ by those who claim the current rules do not accord with an outcomes-focused approach. ‘The fact is that there is a false dichotomy here,’ he says in his submission to the SRA consultation. ‘Any regulator should be prepared to use the tools that best meet the needs of a particular case. ‘A regulator should not abandon the use of one tool simply so that it can slavishly adhere to a general approach in its regulatory style. In the present case there is a key client protection issue at stake.’ Severn says biased advice, contingent on making sales, would offer less protection to clients. Solicitors, he warns, could suffer reputational damage if the clients they refer experience an inferior service as a result. To perform a referral with due diligence, Severn says solicitors would have to conduct a ‘considerable amount of research’, determining the limitations of a restricted financial adviser and explaining those limitations and their consequences to clients. Severn recommends that if the rules do need to be changed, solicitors should be required to refer clients to more than one firm, of which at least one would be wholly independent. The SRA is due to announce its plans on 17 October but has already stated its preference for scrapping rules requiring referrals to wholly independent advisers. A consultation paper released last month admitted the proposal was ‘controversial’ but said the lawyer and client would work together to decide whether an independent or restricted adviser would be the best choice.
With the failings of a once-vaunted privatisation programme now clear to see, the government of Argentina is seeking to create two new state-owned companies to reform the railway sector and carry out much-needed investment.,THE ANNOUNCEMENT by President Kirchner that two new companies are to be formed to manage Argentina’s railway infrastructure and train operations (RG 7.07 p404) marks another twist in a 150-year history that has seen the railways pass from private-sector to public ownership, revert to private control, and now come back again. It confirms the government’s growing concern that the country’s pioneering programme of railway concessioning in the early 1990s has failed to deliver the expected benefits, which can be attributed to a mix of economic, political and financial constraints. This month the railways of Argentina celebrate their 150th anniversary. What began on August 30 1857 with a short 10 km line financed by Argentinian merchants grew rapidly to become the most important rail network in South America. More than 40 000 track-km was built, mostly by British companies. The 1 676 mm gauge trunk routes were supplemented by a 1 000 mm gauge network financed by the government, which aimed to develop those regions where the private companies could not generate sufficient profits to justify the huge investment needed.Following what was then almost a worldwide trend, the private companies were nationalised in 1948. Highway construction by the government had contributed to a sharp decline in railway profitability, and the disruption caused by World War II to the activities of the British-owned companies had taken its toll on maintenance. Although at the beginning the six state-owned railways were able to provide a good standard of passenger and freight service, political factors soon entered the equation and began to prevail over the economic and administrative aspects of the rail business. This was most evident in the way that the payroll was increased as a means of fighting unemployment – by the 1960s Argentine Railways had more than 160 000 employees. Spending on maintenance and to modernise the system was cut back in a dubious attempt to combat an ever-increasing deficit.The first major cuts to the network and its services took place at the end of the 1950s. From then on, most governments did not attempt to retain a viable network and concentrated on reducing the demand for money from the public purse to keep services running. As a consequence of this, the decay was long and deep and by the beginning of the 1990s the network was in chaos. Only a few freight trains were able to run because the available locomotives were needed to satisfy the demands of passenger services, particularly the need to move millions of passengers every day on the busy Buenos Aires suburban network.Privatisation no panaceaNot wishing to provide the money required to renew and upgrade the network, this time the government decided to privatise it. With the sole exception of some services transferred to the Province of Buenos Aires, long-distance passenger trains were abruptly withdrawn. At the same time, bids were called from the private sector for concessions to operate suburban passenger and freight services. The main criteria adopted for awarding the concessions were the level of subsidy required by the suburban bidders and the ‘canon’ or fee to be paid by the new freight companies for using national railway assets, although the contracts contained provisions stipulating the investment projects to be undertaken to improve service quality.The signing of the contracts apparently ushered in a new rail renaissance. Through relatively minor investment the private concessionaires were able to rehabilitate locomotives and rolling stock to satisfy relatively low demand, modernising operating practices and abandoning obsolete equipment such as brake vans and an antiquated manual block signalling system. By making widespread use of radio communications and track warrant control, the number of staff on the railways was reduced to under 10 000. At the start of the concessions these measures were sufficient to greatly improve service quality, and traffic began to grow again.But as traffic grew and more locomotives and rolling stock were needed, the private companies became increasingly reluctant to make the investment required to increase capacity. Many companies were also reluctant to comply with the more expensive requirements of their respective contracts, especially those related to track renewals and upgrades. Service quality began to decline again. The worst economic crisis in Argentina’s history struck in 2001, causing a sharp decline in traffic which in some ways eased the pressure on the railways but also dealt the final blow to the concession contracts as neither the government nor the private companies could afford to meet their obligations any longer.The new government that took office in 2003 set itself as a key objective the revival of the national rail network, including the reinstatement of long-distance passenger services between the major cities of this vast country. At the same time, the economy began to grow at a rate of between 8% and 10% a year and national unemployment fell from around 19% to less than 10%. The economic upturn saw traffic grow again, but not the income needed to improve and add new services. In addition, the government decided to freeze or control most of the prices directly affecting the consumer price index, including utilities and fares on public transport. At the same time, salaries were allowed to increase in line with the government’s policy to redistribute income.This situation still prevails and it has seen the private operators caught between a dramatic rise in operating costs and a slow rise in revenue generated by increased patronage. Very soon the railways were unable to meet their operating costs nor pay the wages bill, and the government introduced a system of subsidies not only for suburban railways but also for other modes of transport and other industries. Subsidy levels have increased, but this policy has proved ineffectual in tackling the decline in the quality of the service offered to the public, many of whom now wonder where this money actually goes. As the gap between costs and revenues increased, private investment dried up and the suburban rail operators are now little more than managers of government contracts rather than true entrepreneurs.Passengers revoltAlthough suburban traffic has not yet returned to its pre-2001 levels, the increase in passenger numbers has been sufficient to impose a growing strain on infrastructure and rolling stock that in most cases has not been well maintained by the private sector. The government has purchased used locomotives, EMUs, DMUs and passenger coaches from Portugal and Spain, but they are only slowly entering service on some routes and this measure has not been able to halt the decline in service quality across the board.On most lines, late trains, cancellations and asset failures are the daily torture that thousands of passengers must face when commuting. Serious overcrowding has increased the risk of accidents, as most suburban rolling stock has manual doors which are kept open by passengers attempting to ride on the steps. The situation is worse on certain outer-suburban diesel-operated branches, where the track is in such a state of disrepair that derailments occur very often. The sole exception to this sorry picture is probably Ferrovías, operator of the Belgrano Norte line, which renewed all track at the start of its concession and keeps its motive power and rolling stock in good condition, providing a very reliable service.The first concession to fall apart in 2004 was the San Martín route, operated by Metropolitano, after a series of unfortunate – but predictable – accidents involving passengers falling from moving trains. The main problem was however a lack of reliable motive power, as most units were elderly and poorly-maintained Alco diesels for which spare parts had become difficult to obtain. Operations were provisionally transferred to Ugofe, an emergency management unit formed by the other suburban train operators Ferrovías, Metrovías and Trenes de Buenos Aires. They quickly implemented a programme to rehabilitate the 55·4 km route between Retiro and Pilar, refurbishing stations and rolling stock as well as undertaking emergency track repairs and acquiring ex-Portuguese Railways locomotives. Back in 2004 the government announced plans to electrify the line, but nothing has been done so far.On May 22 this year President Néstor Kirchner signed a decree stripping Metropolitano of its two remaining concessions, the Roca and Belgrano Sur lines (RG 6.07 p335). This came after passengers rioted at the Plaza Constitución terminus in Buenos Aires, setting fire to this historic landmark that had recently been refurbished, after arriving at the station for their evening journey home to discover that all services had been suspended due to technical difficulties. This was not the first time that passenger frustration had boiled over into criminal damage – two trains were set on fire at Haedo station on the Sarmiento route last year – but following this latest incident, the government took immediate action by cancelling the Roca and Belgrano Sur concessions and transferring operations to Ugofe. While the relatively small Belgrano Sur operation will be managed by the same unit in charge of the San Martín line, the larger Roca network will need a new operating structure which was due to be implemented at the end of June.Investment neededThe main problem is the money that the government will have to spend to bring track and rolling stock back up to an acceptable standard. First estimates suggest that US$100m is required to solve the most urgent problems with the track, signalling and telecommunications and rolling stock maintenance on the Roca network. This does not include day-to-day operating and maintenance costs, nor the wages of 4 000 employees who will now be paid by the government, like their counterparts on the San Martín railway. The most optimistic forecasts suggest that operating the Roca will cost around US$11·5m per month until the end of this year.But probably the most important and long-lasting consequence of this situation is that the federal government has now decided to take direct charge of the railways. To this end, it has sent to Congress a bill that will authorise the creation of two new companies under the umbrella of the Ministry of Federal Planning: an infrastructure company known as AIF and an operating company known as ORF (RG 7.07 p404). The bill states that the main objective of both companies will be ‘to transform the railway into a competitive means of transport’. Based on the model of ADIF in Spain, AIF will manage existing infrastructure and any new routes that may emerge, taking responsibility for safety, maintenance, operational control and the allocation of train paths. ORF will provide passenger and freight services with its own rolling stock. Although both companies will be state-owned, the bill allows for the existing private operators to retain their concessions if they honour the commitments set out in their contracts, and provides for the creation of public-private partnerships to operate rail services and manage infrastructure.AIF and ORF would be subject to the oversight of the nation’s principal audit bodies in order to ensure that taxpayers’ money is well spent, as the present subsidy arrangements have been heavily criticised for their lack of transparency and the meager results obtained so far. Disused railway assets currently administered by national agency Onabe will be transferred to the new companies, although this section of the bill is being questioned by some politicians who would like to see surplus property such as stations and yards transferred to provincial or municipal governments that in many cases are already using these sites for other purposes. Many senators have also expressed their desire to pay special attention to the freight business as they believe that it is crucial to the economic viability of agriculture and industry within the provinces they represent.What future for freight?It remains unclear how the new structure will affect the private freight operators. Although freight traffic grew rapidly at the start of the concessions it had levelled off before the 2001 crisis and then abruptly declined. The rapid economic recovery that followed produced only a modest increase in rail tonnage, probably due to the lack of capacity to meet renewed demand caused by an aging locomotive and wagon fleet. While Nuevo Central Argentino and Ferrosur Roca are doing relatively well, ALL and its Mesopotámico and Central operations are facing complaints from Argentinian shippers. They allege that ALL is giving priority to grain movements arriving by river from Bolivia and Paraguay for onward movement to Brazil, while setting high tariffs for domestic customers and not providing an adequate service to get their crops to market.The northwestern provinces have also been complaining about virtually non-existent freight service provided by Belgrano Cargas. This 1 000 mm gauge network failed to attract the interest of the private sector and so in 1999 control was transferred to Unión Ferroviaria, the union representing most railway staff except drivers. The government promised to provide US$250m for investment over five years, but this never happened and the network fell apart. The present government invited new bids in 2005, again without success, so the railway was declared to be in a state of emergency and operations were transferred to a consortium including Macri, Sanhe Hopefull of China, Emepa and Roggio (RG 5.06 p244). Other members are Unión Ferroviaria and two other unions representing train drivers and truckers.The government plans to invest US$180m at Belgrano Cargas in 2007-09 to renew 830 km of track and upgrade 370 km, as well as repairing 21 locomotives by the end of this year and purchasing a further 30 in 2008. In total 1 500 wagons are to be returned to service. Although very few freight trains are running, some progress has been seen with the route to Formosa under repair, service restored between Córdoba and Mendoza and the route from Salta to the Chilean border at Socompa now being upgraded with provincial funding.There can now be little doubt that rail privatisation in Argentina has not delivered the anticipated results. Will the new structure be able to modernise the rail system and provide an adequate standard of service? At present, this remains an open question, but it seems clear that huge investment will be required and that a development plan setting out clear objectives and priorities must be drawn up as a matter of urgency.
Leach, the active captain of the EHCL South Carolina Stingrays, is currently tied for third place in points amongst defensemen in the ECHL with twenty points (two goals, eighteen assists) for the season. On December 15, 2018, Leach earned a career high points with one goal, and three assists against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. He is on a five game point streak with one goal, and 10 assists. In an announcment from The Hershey Bears today, Defenseman Joey leach will be back in Hershey on a professional tryout agreement. You will see him wearing Bears sweater #29 instead of his old #33 jersey from seasons past. Hailing from Wadena, Saskatchewan, the six foot four, two hundred and five pound, twenty six year old defender spent two seasons in Hershey back in 2015-17. He played in 24 games, earning himself six assists and a +13 while on the ice in Chocolatetown. Leach spent the 2015-16 season in South Carolina with Hershey Bears Spencer Carberry leading the ECHL team as head coach. He has earned points in 293 ECHL games amongst three teams (Bakersfield, Fort Wayne, and South Carolina), Leach has 110 points, 19 goals, 91 assists, and a +113 while on the ice. Please follow and like us:
CEST Real Madrid players like Fabio Coentrao and Sami Khedira, who will leave the club this summer, will not get a last run out in Los Blancos shirts. The most interesting news from the squad is that Martin Odegaard has been included and may make his debut for the team this weekend, becoming Real Madrid’s youngest ever player. Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema too, are out injured. Sport EN 22/05/2015 They have not been included in the squad for the game against Getafe, both players suffering with injuries. Upd. at 15:25 Ancelotti has called up 19 players, though he will have to cut one of the goalkeepers from the squad. The squad is: Iker Casillas, Keylor Navas, Pacheco, Carvajal, Arbeloa, Varane, Pepe, Marcelo, Nacho, Illarramendi, Kroos, Lucas Silva, Isco, James, Bale, Jesé, Odegaard, Cristiano Ronaldo, ‘Chicharito’.
By Nick Creely It took months of hard work, dedication and a love for the jumper to culminate in a…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.
By Alana Mitchelson SINGING and dancing troupe Justice Crew are bringing their fun catchy beats to Pakenham for its sole…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.
Team Wolfpack overcame a 3-1 deficit to dump The Steelers 7-4 in the final of the Christmas Classic Indoor Tournament held last week at the Soccer Quest Facility. Staff at Mallard’s Source for Sports would like to add to the celebrations with Team of the Week honours. The team includes, back row, L-R, Jules Chopin, Luke Mori, Dylan Zaitsoff, Kevin Lewis and Titouan Chopin. Front, Sonja Poole, Sarah Fuhr, Bryn Forsty, Danica Long and goalkeeper Ryan Lewis.
??? Preparations are well underway ahead of Ballinrobe’s two day race meeting on Monday & Tuesday May 30th & 31st. Monday’s meeting will be sponsored by Breaffy House Resort. The Castlebar Hotel, one of the leading Hotels in Mayo, has sponsored a race for the past number of years and has decided this year to sponsor all 7 races on the evening. The feature race is the Breaffy House Resort Mares Handicap of €30,000. Wilson Bird General Manager of Breaffy House Resort commented “ Breaffy House Resort are proud to sponsor the seven race card including the Feature Race “The Breaffy House Resort Mares Handicap Hurdle” with a Prize Fund of €30,000.Locally based Ballinrobe Company McHale will sponsor Tuesday evening’s meeting for the third year running. The all national hunt card has become one of the highlights of the racing season at Ballinrobe. The two feature races on the evening are the McHale Mayo National and the McHale Coranna Handicap Hurdle with a prize fund of €30,000 for each race.Padraic McHale, Managing Director of McHale commented “We are delighted to be sponsoring the race day for the third year running. Our relationship with the racecourse has developed greatly over the last 15 years and we are delighted to be involved with the race day on May 31st. Last year proved a great success and a thoroughly enjoyable evening was had by all. Let’s hope the weather is as good as last year, on May 31st.”John Flannelly, Racecourse Manager said “We are very fortunate to have two high profile Mayo businesses sponsoring this 2 day meeting. We would like to thank them for their continuing support and commitment to the racecourse. It is always a great social occasion and we are looking forward to welcoming a large crowd on both evenings.”The first race on both evenings will start at 6pm.print WhatsApp Facebook Twitter Email