zoomImage Courtesy: BW LPG Provider of maritime gas transportation services BW LPG delivered a wider loss in the fourth quarter and full year 2018.Loss after tax was USD 34.1 million in the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2018, compared to a loss of USD 19 million reported in the same period a year earlier. Yearly loss also widened to reach USD 72.4 million for 2018, compared to a loss of USD 44.7 million reported in 2017.Operating revenue for the quarter increased to USD 154.3 million from USD 122 million in the same three-month period in 2017.The company’s Time Charter Equivalent income increased to USD 84.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, compared to USD 79.3 million reported in the same period a year earlier, mainly attributable to higher LPG spot rates.TCE income for the full year was lower in 2018 at USD 300.9 million, against USD 335.4 million seen in 2017.“With strengthening fundamentals, we expect the freight market to continue to improve going forward. We remain cautiously optimistic for the full year due to sustained U.S. LPG production growth and incremental export volumes being added from other key loading areas such as Australia and Canada,” according to BW LPG.“However, increased demand for VLGC’s from growing U.S. exports will in part be offset by a high level of newbuild deliveries. We maintain our neutral view on Middle Eastern VLGC exports as incremental regional growth is expected to compensate the effects from the re-imposed sanctions on Iran.”
HALIFAX – Nova Scotia Business Minister Geoff MacLellan says word of 49 layoffs at Cape Breton’s Donkin coal mine is tough news for the families affected.However, MacLellan says the layoffs are a “temporary bump in the road” for the operation, which had grown to a workforce of 130 people since production began in March.He says while the mine has made tremendous investments in the operation, it has reached a point where its costs aren’t matching its revenues.MacLellan says the rising value of the Canadian dollar isn’t hurting Donkin, although the company had hoped to be further along in its production schedule and the amount of coal sold on international markets.He says he’s confident the mine will rebound because the long-term market for coal is viable and the mine’s product in terms of quantity and quantity is “top shelf.”MacLellan says Kameron Coal Management will be bringing in new equipment that will be subject to a regulatory process the province is willing to help with, although he stressed there would be “no back doors” used to speed things up.
CALGARY – The Alberta Energy Regulator says it has suspended the licences of an oil and gas producer after no one answered its 1-800 emergency phone line when one of its hydrocarbon handling facilities appeared to be leaking.In a notice on its website, the regulator says it has yanked licences for nearly 30 wells, a similar number of pipeline segments and four facilities from Insch Commodity Ltd., a Warburg, Alta.-based company.It says the apparent leak was reported in an anonymous call to the Drayton Valley, Alta., office of the AER on March 13.An AER inspector visited the site west of Edmonton on March 20 and observed hydrocarbon pooling on soil and vegetation which potentially could migrate into a nearby waterbody. The inspector called the emergency number on a sign on the site and no one answered.The AER has ordered Insch to hire an environmental contractor to clean the affected site. The company is also to inspect, clean and shut down all of its other sites, and is being given 14 days to confirm it has done so.The AER says in its order the company also has failed to provide a security deposit or pay its 2017 contribution to the Alberta orphan well fund, which is used to reclaim oil and gas sites left behind by operators who can’t or won’t do the work.There was no immediate response to messages left at Insch’s Warburg contact number on Monday.
CALGARY – Bryan de Lottinville’s relationship with charities is complicated.As the founder and CEO of Calgary-based Benevity Inc., the 58-year-old wants to help as much as he can by providing his multinational corporate clients like Nike, Coca-Cola, Google and Apple with software solutions that more efficiently extract money, volunteer hours and general “goodness” from employees.But he really wishes there were fewer than two million charitable organizations from around the world in his cloud-based database. And that they could be a little more organized in how they collect and spend money.“Charities, there are way too many of them,” he says during an interview.“If they were companies, they wouldn’t survive. Someone would come along and roll them up into an efficient infrastructure. But in the not-for-profit sector, all it takes is one or two well-intentioned donors to keep something alive that would be better combined with something else.”The giving business is giving back for Benevity, which took over three floors of a brand new seven-storey building on the north side of the Bow River in downtown Calgary late last year and is already looking to expand into a fourth floor.The company has come a long way from 2008 when de Lottinville decided to execute his idea to reinvent corporate giving.From four software developers working in a tiny office over a shawarma shop, the company has grown to employ 425 people, mainly in Calgary, but also in offices in Victoria, San Mateo, Calif. and Gloucester, U.K.This year it expects to distribute about $1.2 billion to 150,000 charities around the world.The Benevity system is all about choice and options, de Lottinville says.Participant companies can design their programs to allow any level of matching for any term by any group of employees. They can support as many or as few charities as they wish. They can also use the system to handle grant requests.About 87 per cent of donations via Benevity are distributed electronically, compared with only about eight per cent of the $390 billion per year in donations to charities in North America.Most of Benevity’s revenue comes from extracting a 2.9 per cent “support fee” from donations made by about 300 big corporate clients, with the fee capped for large individual transactions.Like many software-as-a-service businesses, Benevity isn’t making profits — yet. De Lottinville says the equity investments allow the company to grow bigger, more efficient and, hopefully, profitable.Last year, Benevity was hired to track a program at Telus Corp. through which the telecommunications company gives $1 per volunteer project hour worked to a charity of the employee’s choice. This year, it asked Benevity to organize its donation-matching program for its 28,000 staff in Canada.“They have created this system where they already interface directly with charities,” said Jill Schnarr, Telus vice-president of corporate citizenship. “Before … there was a huge administrative burden.”In January, the company announced that General Atlantic, a US$25-billion New York-based growth equity investment firm founded by American philanthropist Chuck Feeney, had become a major owner and partner with an undisclosed investment.Since then, Benevity bought companies in the U.K. and California to expand its geographic reach and gain access to their brand name clients.The financial injection allowed de Lottinville to pay back with interest the 40 or so small private investors who initially invested in Benevity — he jokes they thought they were making a charitable donation at the time. The company was also able to reduce the stake held by JMI Equity of Baltimore, which initially invested $38 million in 2015.Alex Crisses, managing director at General Atlantic, said it decided to invest in Benevity because it is “truly different” than the other companies in the space.“It’s really about employee engagement and making sure employees feel valued,” he said.He said General Atlantic is a long-term investor with no pre-set targets or liquidity timetable. It has a presence on Benevity’s board of directors but fully supports de Lottinville’s vision.De Lottinville is talkative when discussing business but turns quiet when asked if his childhood growing up in Ottawa shaped his interest in helping others. When pressed, he concedes it’s a factor, and part of the reason he volunteers with YWCA Calgary.“I grew up with a single mom and she was a vulnerable person, so some of that is personal resonance,” he said.His business resume starts with training as a lawyer in Ottawa and working in Toronto with a corporate finance practice.There he met Mogens Smed, founder of a company that made modular construction components in Calgary.The two hit it off and he joined Smed International as an executive in the mid-1990s. He helped grow it from $20 million in annual revenue and 200 workers to $300 million and 2,500 staff before it was taken over by a competitor in 2000.De Lottinville then joined iStockPhoto as chief operating officer. It was one of first multi-sided platform businesses to employ user-generated content and crowdsourcing. It was sold for $50 million to Getty Images in 2006.Building and selling businesses paid handsomely but the “recovering lawyer” said he yearned to do something to make the world a better place.He decided he lacked the skill and patience to work directly for a charity. He made an angel investment in a “consuming for good” software loyalty program startup but it failed miserably.Benevity satisfies both his entrepreneurial and philanthropist sides.De Lottinville said his latest goal is to find a way to help companies work together on big projects — water conservation, for example — instead of donating to multiple charities all trying to do the same thing.The efficiency appeals to him.Follow @HealingSlowly on Twitter.
WASHINGTON – U.S. employers posted the most jobs in two decades in August, and hiring also reached a record high, fresh evidence that companies are desperate to staff up amid solid economic growth.Job openings rose a slight 0.8 per cent to 7.14 million, the highest on records dating back to December 2000, the Labor Department said Tuesday. That is also far more than the 6.2 million of people who were unemployed that month.The number of available jobs has swamped the number of unemployed for five straight months. Hiring has been solid, which has pushed down the unemployment rate to a nearly five-decade low of 3.7 per cent. Strong demand for workers when so few are out of work may force more companies to raise pay in the coming months.President Donald Trump celebrated the report on Twitter, tweeting: “Incredible number just out… Astonishing! It’s all working!” Trump added that the stock market was “up big” and referenced “Strong Profits.”Yet so far, pay raises have been modest. Average hourly earnings rose 2.8 per cent in September compared with a year earlier. That’s much higher than several years ago, but below the roughly 4 per cent gain that is typical when unemployment is so low.It’s a sharp turnaround from the Great Recession and its aftermath. In 2009, there were as many as six unemployed workers for each available job. Now, that number has fallen below one.Employers hired roughly 5.8 million people in August, the report showed. That is also the most on record, but that increase partly reflects population growth. The percentage of the workforce that found jobs in August ticked up to 3.9 per cent from 3.8 per cent in July. That matched an 11-year high first reached in May.Job openings rose in August in professional and business services, which include mostly higher-paying positions in engineering, accounting and architecture, as well as temporary help. Postings in that category have jumped 27 per cent from a year ago.Construction firms are also desperate for workers, posting 298,000 open jobs. That’s nearly 39 per cent more than a year ago. Job openings also increased in finance and insurance and health care.Openings fell in August from the previous month in manufacturing, retail, and slipped slightly in hotels and restaurants.
New York: Us director Jordon Peele is not interested in casting “white dudes” as leads in his films as he believes there are already too many movies focusing on them. The director, who made his debut with Get Out, has once again struck box office gold with Us, about a family terrorised by their doppelgangers. Peele said being a successful director gives him a chance to put minority faces on the screen. “The way I look at it, I get to cast black people in my movies. I feel fortunate to be in this position where I can say to Universal, ‘I want to make a 20 million horror movie with a black family.’ And they say yes,” Peele said while speaking to improv students at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: Priyanka”I don’t see myself casting a white dude as the lead in my movie. Not that I don’t like white dudes, but I’ve seen that movie.” With the success of black directors in Hollywood, Peele said it has brought about a renaissance in storytelling. “It really is one of the best, greatest pieces of this story, is feeling like we are in this time – a renaissance has happened and proved the myths about representation in the industry are false.”
Darjeeling: Discontent and confusion has surfaced in GNLF over support to the BJP candidate in the Darjeeling constituency. GNLF leaders in Kalimpong have set a precondition to the BJP in lieu of their support.GNLF steering committee member Maurice Kalikotey and other GNLF leaders held a meeting in this regard on Thursday. Later, while talking to media persons, Kalikotey stated that the leaders were compelled to call a meeting as there was constant pressure from the rank and file of the party, demanding answers behind the sudden support to the BJP. “It was resolved in Thursday’s meeting that if the BJP comes to power in the Centre, they will pass the 6th Schedule Bill in the very first session of the Parliament. This has to be incorporated in the national manifesto (not state or regional). Then only will we support them,” stated Kalikotey. When questioned on the scenario where the BJP fails to do the same, Kalikotey stated that there would be a similar meeting to chart the future course of action. Avoiding questions on whether the GNLF is in for a split, Kalikotey said: “Our late supremo Subash Ghising had made the demand for the inclusion of the Darjeeling Hills in the 6th Schedule. A memorandum of settlement was also signed with the government in 2005. It is our responsibility to ensure that his aspiration is fulfilled. We will go at it irrespective of support from other leaders.” The GNLF president and spokesperson were not available for comment. It may be mentioned that the GNLF has forged an alliance with bête noire Bimal Gurung and his men. Together, they have extended support to the BJP and the NDA. Incidentally, Gurung, who was a close confidant of Subash Ghising, had ousted him and the GNLF form the Hills in 2007 over the 6th Schedule issue. Following political unrest in the Hills in 2017 which culminated in a 105 day long bandh, Gurung, who has been charged in multiple cases, has been absconding.
Washington DC: NASA’s landmark twins study has revealed surprising and reassuring data about how one human body adapted to — and recovered from — the extreme environment of space, the US space agency said. The Twins Study, which took place from 2015-2016, provides the first integrated biomolecular view into how the human body responds to the spaceflight environment. It serves as a genomic stepping stone to better understand how to maintain crew health during human expeditions to the Moon and Mars, NASA said in a statement. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USRetired NASA astronauts Scott Kelly and his identical twin brother Mark, participated in the investigation, conducted by NASA’s Human Research Program and encompasses work from 10 research teams. Mark provided a baseline for observation on Earth, and Scott provided a comparable test case during the 340 days he spent in space aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Scott became the first American astronaut to spend nearly a year in space. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls”The Twins Study has been an important step towards understanding epigenetics and gene expression in human spaceflight,” said J D Polk, chief Health and Medical Officer at NASA Headquarters. “Thanks to the twin brothers and a cadre of investigators who worked tirelessly together, the valuable data gathered from the Twins Study has helped inform the need for personalised medicine and its role in keeping astronauts healthy during deep space exploration, as NASA goes forward to the Moon and journeys onward to Mars,” Polk said in a statement. Key results from the NASA Twins Study, published in the journal Science, include findings related to gene expression changes, immune system response, and telomere dynamics. Other changes noted include broken chromosomes rearranging themselves in chromosomal inversions, and a change in cognitive function. Many of the findings are consistent with data collected in previous studies, and other research in progress, NASA said. The telomeres in Scott’s white blood cells, which are biomarkers of ageing at the end of chromosomes, were unexpectedly longer in space then shorter after his return to Earth with average telomere length returning to normal six months later. In contrast, his brother’s telomeres remained stable throughout the entire period, the study found. A second key finding is that Scott’s immune system responded appropriately in space. For example, the flu vaccine administered in space worked exactly as it does on Earth, the US space agency said. A fully functioning immune system during long-duration space missions is critical to protecting astronaut health from opportunistic microbes in the spacecraft environment. A third significant finding, NASA said, is the variability in gene expression, which reflects how a body reacts to its environment and will help inform how gene expression is related to health risks associated with spaceflight. While in space, researchers observed changes in the expression of Scott’s genes, with the majority returning to normal after six months on Earth. However, a small percentage of genes related to the immune system and DNA repair did not return to baseline after his return to Earth. The study identified key genes to target for use in monitoring the health of future astronauts and potentially developing personalised countermeasures.
Rabat – The US administration is considering Morocco’s development model as an “exceptional success” in the region, said Morocco’s minister-delegate for foreign affairs and cooperation, Mbarka Bouaida.In an interview with Morocco’s TV channel 2M, Bouaida said the visit paid by King Mohammed VI to the USA last week, has opened new prospects in Morocco-US partnership, recalling that the two countries started last year a strategic dialog process and have agreed to consolidate the Millennium challenge Account, the free-trade agreement and to hold the 2nd conference on development in Rabat in 2014.She also pointed out that the Moroccan and US heads of state have agreed to appoint a high-ranking personality to follow up implementation of all decisions made during their summit meeting. Inter-government and private agreements signed during this visit will lead to concrete results for both Morocco and Africa, she went on.
Paris – The approach of the King Mohammed VI on the African continent which links security issues to development was on the agenda of the Elysée Summit for peace and security in Africa, said, Saturday in Paris, Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar. In a statement to the Moroccan press, Mezouar noted that the resolutions of the Summit took into account the priorities and urgent matters, especially in the security field through the training of specialized response units, noting that there a concrete commitment to support European countries in this field.On the economic front, the minister noted that Africa can no longer be seen as a problematic sphere that needs donations and support, but as an area that needs investment, clear commitments to the development of its resources, and wealth creation. Regarding the issue of climate, emphasis was placed on the need to respect the commitments made to Africa, he said, stressing the importance of supporting the continent, including financial plan to promote renewable energy.The Elysée Summit for peace and security in Africa wrapped up Saturday with the adoption of a final declaration in which participants reaffirmed their commitment to security in Africa.Forty African Heads of State and Government attended the Summit which focused on three main themes, including peace and security, economic partnership and development and climate change.