President Biden orders pause of oil and gas lease sales on US federal lands

first_imgBiden administration accelerates planning for ‘irreversible path’ to net zeroThe Biden administration has placed environmental issues high on its agenda, and the latest round of presidential directives confirm that climate change will form “an essential element of US foreign policy and national security”.In addition to the interventions in oil and gas leasing, federal government agencies are being directed to procure fleets of zero-emission vehicles – purchased from domestic suppliers – and facilitate “a carbon pollution-free electricity sector no later than 2035”.The Interior Department is set a goal of “doubling offshore wind by 2030”, while new environmental protection targets aim to conserve 30% of the country’s lands and oceans by 2030.These initiatives, along with many others issued by the US president yesterday (27 January), underscore the new administration’s desire for a “government-wide approach” to tackling climate change, which combines the “full capacity of the federal government” and every sector of the economy.All branches of government, both foreign and domestic, are tasked with building climate considerations into their activities, planning and risk assessments – and a National Climate Task Force has been established consisting of department leaders that will administer these new policies.The director of national intelligence was also asked to prepare an assessment of the national and economic security impacts of climate change.“These executive orders follow through on President Biden’s promise to take aggressive action to tackle climate change,” the White House said in a statement previewing the actions, and will “put the US on an irreversible path to a net-zero economy by 2050.” The move builds on a series of Day One executive orders issued by President Biden targeting reform of the US energy system (Credit: Michael F Hiatt/Shutterstock) President Joe Biden continues to reshape the US oil and gas industry during his early days in office, moving to introduce a temporary ban on new lease sales across federal lands and waters as part of a wider-ranging sweep of climate actions.The executive order to suspend new auctions marks the first step towards fulfilling a contentious campaign promise to end oil and gas extraction on territory controlled by the federal government.The US Interior Department has been directed to “pause new oil and natural gas leases on public lands or in offshore waters, pending completion of a comprehensive review and reconsideration of federal oil and gas permitting and leasing practices”.Industry groups have criticised the suspension, saying an outright ban would damage jobs, revenues and energy independence. But climate campaigners welcomed the decision to prioritise renewable energy sources over fossil fuels.Gina McCarthy, the US national climate advisor, said the leasing decision seeks to “make sure that we take a little pause and review the entire strategy of [how] we’re looking at public lands”.“So it will include looking at what new leases ought to be approved and sold,” she added, and “how we manage public lands — consistent with climate, but also consistent with the marriage between climate and really growing jobs of the future.”Government agencies will be further tasked with identifying “opportunities for federal funding to spur innovation, commercialisation, and deployment of clean energy technologies and infrastructure”, according to a White House statement.In an additional order likely to generate controversy within the industry, President Biden also directs federal agencies to “take steps to ensure that, to the extent consistent with applicable law, federal funding is not directly subsidising fossil fuels”.“I don’t think the federal government should give handouts to Big Oil to the tune of $40bn in fossil fuel subsidies,” Biden said ahead of signing the orders.Furthermore, the Interior Department is instructed to “consider whether to adjust royalties associated with coal, oil, and gas resources extracted from public lands and offshore waters, or take other appropriate action, to account for corresponding climate costs”. Industry groups hit out at Biden, claiming ban on oil and gas lease sales will make US more reliant on foreign importsThe announcements follow on from several climate-focused directives made last week on inauguration day, which underscored the new president’s resolve to act on climate change and deliver a transformation of America’s energy system.These included rejoining the Paris Agreement, revoking a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, placing a temporary moratorium on lease sales in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), and reversing regulatory rollbacks on emissions standards introduced by his predecessor.Federal lands and waters have been identified by President Biden as areas where the footprint of US fossil fuel activity can be reduced as he targets deep energy reforms to secure emissions reduction and prioritise low-carbon, renewable industries.Bloomberg reports that 22% of US crude oil production and 12% of natural gas production came from federal lands and waters in 2019, citing US Energy Information Administration figures.The American Petroleum Institute (API) claims an outright ban on new oil and gas lease sales by the Biden team would in fact slow the transition to cleaner fuels.“With a stroke of a pen, the administration is shifting America’s bright energy future into reverse and setting us on a path toward greater reliance on foreign energy produced with lower environmental standards,” said API chief executive Mike Sommers.“Limiting domestic energy production is nothing more than an ‘import more oil’ policy that runs counter to our shared goal of emissions reductions and will make it harder for local communities to recover from the pandemic.”Anne Bradbury, chief executive of the trade group American Exploration & Production Council, added: “Penalising the oil and gas industry kills good-paying American jobs, hurts our already struggling economy, makes our country more reliant on foreign energy sources, and impacts those who rely on affordable and reliable energy.”But Josh Axelrod, senior advocate at the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) welcomed the leasing review. He said: “This moratorium gives the country a chance to modernise the way we deploy our natural resources for developing energy – and to speed up a just and equitable transition to good-paying clean energy jobs of the future.”Sierra Club’s director of public lands protection Athan Manuel added: “Pausing new oil and gas leasing will improve the health of our communities, our climate and our wild places. Public lands can, and must, be part of the climate solution.“They must also be a part of a just recovery by reinvesting in communities, tapping fossil fuel workers to clean up past pollution, and bringing communities together to diversify economies in ways that allow everyone to benefit.”center_img Among a series of sweeping climate initiatives, President Biden suspended new oil and gas lease sales on US federal lands and waters, and ordered a review of existing auction processeslast_img read more

U.S. Navy’s Great Green Fleet

first_img Named to honor President Theodore Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet, the Great Green Fleet is a U.S. Navy initiative highlighting how the Navy and Marine Corps are using energy efficiency and alternative energy/fuels to increase combat capability and operational flexibility.Stockdale became the first naval ship to use the fuel blend for regular operations when it departed for deployment from San Diego, Jan. 20. Mobile Bay and the other destroyers received the biofuel during replenishments-at-sea from Military Sealift Command (MSC) ships.The alternative fuel is made from 10 percent beef tallow provided from farmers in the Midwest and 90 percent marine diesel, and is cost competitive with traditional fuels. It is used as a drop-in alternative, meaning no modifications to engines or operational procedures are required.A centerpiece of this yearlong initiative is John C. Stennis Strike Group (JCSSG), which departed on a regularly scheduled Western Pacific deployment in January and is scheduled to join the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise later this month.“As a whole, these energy saving measures allow us to be on station longer and to do our job better,” said Cmdr. Walter C. Mainor, commanding officer, USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110). “The Navy has been at the forefront of energy innovation [for generations]. From coal to steam to oil, this is just another measure that the Navy is taking on and leaning forward for energy innovation.”Guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), and guided-missile destroyers USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), USS Stockdale (DDG 106) and William P. Lawrence are all operating in the Indo-Asia-Pacific using alternative fuel.The U.S. Navy’s carrier fleet, including USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) has operated using only an alternative fuel source, nuclear energy, since 2009. Nuclear power eliminates large-volume storage requirements for fuel, increasing capacity for other consumables and improving sustainability.There’s more to the Great Green Fleet than alternative fuel. JCSSG uses various ECMs including energy-efficient systems, and operational procedures to operate farther, stay on station longer and deliver more firepower.Chung-Hoon’s crew implemented a temperature control initiative in May, adjusting the settings of thermostats, ensuring that they are in proper working parameters, and finding and replacing faulty parts in the chill water cooling system.Sailors replaced legacy lighting fixtures aboard all JCSSG ships with solid state lighting (SSL) lamps that use light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The new bulbs are rated for 100,000 hours of service life, compared to the 100 hours of use of an incandescent bulb.The cruisers and destroyers of the strike group all have stern flaps installed. These modify the flow of water under the ship’s hull to reduce drag and resistance. Mobile Bay has a fouling release hull coating, which makes it harder for barnacles and other organisms to attach to the hull. Both of these ECMs reduce resistance through the water, thereby increasing fuel efficiency.In March, William P. Lawrence separated from the strike group for its Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI) tasking in the Western Pacific, but continued practicing energy-efficient operational procedures as part of the Great Green Fleet.During OMSI tasking, William P. Lawrence burned an average of 20,159 gallons of fuel per day, 4.4 percent of its total fuel capacity and 40 percent less than its average fuel burn rate in 2015.When operational tasking allowed, the strike group conducted trail shaft and drift operations, which are both operational procedures U.S. Navy ships use to conserve energy use. Trail shaft means driving a ship with one of two propellers while the other remains out of use with a pitch angle set to minimize drag. Drift operations are just what they sound like, drifting with ocean currents.Great Green Fleet ships recently participated in a ‘green’ replenishment maneuver with ships from the Italian Navy which also works on developing fuel efficiency measures. June 28, 2016 U.S. Navy’s Great Green Fleet Authorities Share this articlecenter_img View post tag: Great Green Fleet Back to overview,Home naval-today U.S. Navy’s Great Green Fleet View post tag: US Navylast_img read more

New figures show rise in university admissions

first_imgAdmissions from students across the UK and the EU for the 2013 cycle were 446,000, a nine per cent rise on the lower than average 2012 figure, dispelling concerns that a hike in tuition fees would reduce the number of students applying to UK universities.This year’s rise may have taken some universities by surprise. The University of York has been fined a total of £500,000 after accepting more students than permitted for courses starting this year.Oxford have yet to release their admissions figures for this year, which are expected in November, but considering that Cambridge received its highest number of applicants for five years, the outlook appears positive.Ed Eliot, a third-year historian, commented, “Given that Oxford is seen as such a prestigious university I’d imagine higher fees, although pretty ridiculous, wouldn’t put applicants off as much, especially when fees are high across the board.”The increase in applications occurred across the UK including in Scotland, where the government voted to scrap tuition fees in 2007. However, there was a continued fall in the number of Scottish students studying at universities in England and Wales; just 1,540 – fewer than six per cent – opted to study south of the border, arguably because coming south of the border means paying the £9,000 fees.Scottish student Will Hesselmann explained the situation north of the boarder, telling Cherwell, “With the tuition fee difference, that’s going to be a major factor in making a decision about which unis to apply to for any Scottish student. They’re faced with £9,000 a year extra, long (and often costly) travel, and a higher cost of living if they want to go to an institution south of the border, so it’s no surprise that the proportion of Scots is far lower than you might expect.”Despite such considerations, the rise in applications has been widely welcomed by universities following concerns that, despite government assurances, applicants from underprivileged backgrounds would be put off applying for fear of debt.last_img read more

Speech: MI6 ‘C’ speech on fourth generation espionage

first_imgLadies and Gentlemen, it is a pleasure to be back at St Andrews. I had no idea that I would return one day as Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, SIS – as we call ourselves – or MI6, as we are known to the world.After I graduated, I joined a Scottish Regiment. But within 4 years I found myself sitting in MI6 Headquarters, staring at a blank piece of paper. I imagine some of you might be familiar with that situation.I had been given, as my first job, the task of penetrating an organisation intent on genocide in the Western Balkans in the mid-1990s.Starting from that blank piece of paper, I had to find my way to the heart of that organisation and obtain secret information for the British government.It took me to places I never thought I would visit, often travelling under a false identity. It involved many nights drinking obscure homemade alcohol, piecing together the intentions of the parties to that conflict, and allowing me to create the secret relationships necessary to provide the intelligence our country urgently needed.I had the satisfaction of knowing that my work, along with that of many others, helped to pave the way for the eventual arrest and prosecution of war criminals implicated in the murder or displacement of hundreds of thousands of people.Intelligence work on its own can’t stop every attack or prevent every evil. But it can shorten wars, and it can and does save lives.That sense of pride at being part of an effort and cause greater than myself has never left me for a single day of nearly 30 years serving my country as an intelligence officer. I believe this to be true of every member of our organisation.When I look back on those early days of my work with MI6 and ask myself how I was able to do it, I realise that it owes a great deal to this university. More than I knew at the time, St Andrews shaped me as a person.The – how shall I put it – lack of distraction in this corner of Fife lends itself to deeper human relationships than are typical of university life.St Andrews taught me to think in an open-minded way about the world. It taught me the value of the human curiosity and curiosity about humans that has propelled my career, and the career of the surprisingly large number of St Andrews graduates in the ranks of SIS.For if you strip away the mystique that envelops our organisation, that is our fundamental role: we provide human intelligence.Our task is to create human relationships that bridge forbidding cultural and linguistic boundaries, in some of the most challenging environments on earth and online. We do this for a specific reason: in order to obtain information and take actions required by the British government to keep this country safe.Our skill lies in our ability to create relationships of trust between our officers and people inside the organisations we need to understand. We call these brave people agents, and they put their livelihoods, and sometimes even their lives, at risk on behalf of the United Kingdom. That is why our people, our methods and our operations must always remain secret.While I’m going to speak today about how the world is changing and SIS is changing with it, I do not expect our human intelligence role will ever change fundamentally. We will always need to understand the motivations, intentions and aspirations of people in other countries. Even in an era of artificial intelligence you need human intelligence, in fact it will become even more important in a more complex world.The degree of interconnectedness between nations, peoples and systems today, the ubiquitous nature of information, and the exponential pace of technological change, are making the world dramatically more complicated.This complexity has eroded the boundaries we have traditionally relied upon for our security: the boundaries between virtual and real, the domestic and the international, between states and non-state actors and between war and peace. The result is a world of far greater ambiguity.I want to be clear: our adversaries did not create this ambiguity and they did not create the things that divide us.But they have shown a keen willingness to exploit ambiguity in an opportunistic way, taking advantage of blurred lines to probe our institutions and defences in ways that fall short of traditional warfare.We refer to these as hybrid threats. They include the cyber attacks, misinformation and disguised use of military force seen in Ukraine and elsewhere, combined with political obfuscation, or what you might call implausible deniability.The good news is that we are far from powerless when confronted by these challenges.We are better placed than most countries to cope with a world of hybrid threats, because of the strength of our alliances, our values, and our institutions. This includes the UK intelligence community. After all, ambiguity is the state SIS is constituted to dispel, but it is also the context in which we operate. We are at home with ambiguity. It is a new environment, but it is our traditional business.We are one of the few truly global intelligence agencies, capable of going to the source of problems anywhere in the world to recruit and run secret agents, penetrate terrorist organisations, provide our government with the intelligence it needs to safeguard the national interest, give UK authorities information they need to disrupt terrorist attacks at home and against our allies, and detect and counter efforts by state and non-state actors to traffic drugs or proliferate nuclear and chemical weapons.So SIS’s mission is a crucial aspect of our strength as a democracy, and as a member of the Western Alliance in the 21st century.As Chief I rarely speak in public. I am a spy. And less is more. This is only my second public speech in 4 years; and you might have to wait quite a long time for another one.But I am speaking today because it is vital that people hear enough about SIS to know what we really do – as opposed to the myths about what we do – and because we want talented young people across our country to join us.While I am delighted to say that we recruit the very brightest talent, and have extraordinary young people working in our organisation, this is not something I will ever take for granted. We are going to need the most diverse and skilled officers possible in the years ahead. Because the reality of the world is going to become more ambiguous, and more complicated.While I was St Andrews I also studied computer science. The radical thought in those days was that computers would soon be able to talk to each other. Now, billions of people and devices are connected worldwide.We are in the early stages of a fourth industrial revolution that will further blur the lines between the physical, the digital and biological realms. Lawfully used, technology such as bulk data, modern analytics and machine learning is a golden opportunity for society at large, including for MI6 as an organisation.But I have also witnessed the damage new technologies can do in the hands of a skilled opponent unrestrained by any notion of law or morality, as well as the potentially existential challenge the data age poses to the traditional operating methods of a secret intelligence agency. We and our allies face a battle to make sure technology works to our advantage, not to that of our opponents. Liberal democracies should approach this with confidence, as the originators of this technology.But the twin drivers of technological change and international complexity mean that we have to keep adapting if we are to be as effective at spying in the future as we are today. There will be a dividing line between those Intelligence Services that grasp this, as the UK agencies have, and those services that don’t.The era of the fourth industrial revolution calls for a fourth generation espionage: fusing our traditional human skills with accelerated innovation, new partnerships and a mindset that mobilises diversity and empowers the young.Across the century of SIS’s existence, we have evolved continuously to confront each generation of threat: from the World Wars to the Cold War to the rise of transnational threats including international terrorism. Now, we are evolving again to meet the threats of the hybrid age – the fourth generation I am speaking of.This evolution takes 3 forms, that I want to describe to you:First, when your defences as a country are being probed on multiple fronts at the same time, it can be difficult to see the totality of what your opponent is trying to do. Security in the hybrid world is therefore all about who can partner to the greatest effect.In the UK, we call this the Fusion Doctrine, and it involves drawing together all our national capabilities to detect, deter and counter hybrid attacks and other threats to the United Kingdom.When I joined SIS, operations were largely conducted by individuals, as the story of my blank sheet of paper on my first mission suggests.We now operate dynamic teams that draw on skills and knowledge across the whole of SIS: bringing together the formidable talents of our agent recruiters and runners, our analysts, our subject matter experts, our linguists, our data scientists and our technical and engineering officers – known to the public as Q branch.We work more closely than ever before with our sister agencies M15 and GCHQ. We each have a distinct mission and culture, but we have found that everything we do is interdependent, and we have made a virtue of this. We are among the most closely integrated intelligence communities in the world.The spirit of partnership extends further, to the police and other domestic agencies, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence, and the UK Armed Forces we often serve alongside.We also draw on unparalleled partnerships overseas, including our Five Eyes allies the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, and our close and historic security relationships across Europe.The implications of the Brexit debate have been set out by Ministers. For our part as SIS, we will always work with our sister agencies to strengthen our indispensable security ties in Europe.We also work with other partners across the world, to disrupt terrorist activity and counter other serious threats – but always on our terms, and based on our laws and our values as the United Kingdom.When you consider these concentric circles of partnership, and the breadth of skill, experience and trust that they encompass, it is not surprising that adversaries seek to offset their relative disadvantage through hybrid means. Indeed, when they can they will take steps to undermine these partnerships, and we must take action of our own kind in response.So second, alongside our core mission of revealing the intentions of adversaries and giving the UK government strategic advantage overseas, our task now is to master covert action in the data age.When I joined SIS, our principal task was finding out secrets. In a world of hybrid threats it is not enough to know what your adversary is doing. You must be able to take steps to change their behaviour.This is primarily driven by the threat from terrorism – the ultimate manifestation of the eroded boundaries of the 21st century. SIS is the arm of government that has the ability to go overseas to the source of terrorist threats, and to disrupt them lawfully through our partnerships.And I can tell you today, that since my last speech, we and our sister agencies have disrupted multiple serious Daesh attack plans originating overseas that, if successful, would have caused significant loss of life.This includes an important contribution to helping European countries, particularly our French and German allies, prevent terrorist attacks in their countries or against their citizens.This has involved exceptionally difficult and dangerous work. We have asked our agents – the people who agree to work in secret for MI6 – to do extraordinary things and run great risks. And I will not hide from you that some have paid the ultimate price. Our country and our allies owe them a debt they can never truly know and never fully repay.We are proud of the contribution we have made to the coalition action in Syria which has now come close to destroying the so-called Caliphate. This has had a welcome effect on the direct threat to Europe. But to be clear, if the tragic events of 2017 in the UK are not sufficient of a reminder, we face a persistent and evolving threat from terrorism, one that demands that we evolve in turn.You might think that countering terrorism was challenging enough. But now we face the additional complexity of the threats posed by nation states operating in the grey spaces of the hybrid era, which is a wholly separate problem.Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which states that an armed attack against one or more of the NATO allies will be considered an attack on all, is the cornerstone of our defence and security. But it presupposes a clear distinction between a condition of war and a condition of peace – precisely the distinction that our opponents are seeking to obscure.As allies we are determined to uphold and deepen our Article 5 commitment to each other’s security. But it is significant that we face adversaries who now regard themselves as being in a state of perpetual confrontation with us.One of the most egregious examples of this was the attack in Salisbury, in which the Russian state used a military-grade chemical weapon on UK soil.We did not respond to this flagrant hostile act by emulating Russian tactics. Instead, we operationalised our values, our legal system, and our alliances. We exposed the perpetrators and coordinated the largest ever collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers from NATO and partner states, significantly degrading Russian intelligence capability.When faced by these kinds of attacks, our approach with our allies is to seek to attach a cost to the behaviour. Our intention is for the Russian state to conclude that, whatever benefits it thinks it is accruing from this activity, they are not worth the risk.We will do this in our way, according to our laws, and our values. We will be successful nonetheless, and I urge Russia or any other state intent on subverting our way of life not to underestimate our determination and our capabilities, or those of our allies. We can do this to any opponent at any time.But I should emphasise that even as the Russian state seeks to destabilise us, we do not seek to destabilise Russia. We do not seek an escalation. If we see a change in Russian behaviour, we will respond positively. But we will be implacable in defence of our people and our vital interests.We will continue to defend the rule of law and the international rules-based system robustly.Our allies trusted in our intelligence in the aftermath of the Salisbury attack. We felt this as an act of solidarity and it meant a huge amount to us. But we have been clear to our allies that it was an act of self-interest on their part as much as one of solidarity. Whatever an adversary can do to us they can and have done to others.Our approach to attaching a cost to malign activity also applies to cyber attacks, as in February this year when the UK attributed responsibility for the NotPetya attack against Ukraine, which also affected the United Kingdom, to the Russian government.Much of the evolving state threat is about our opponents’ increasingly innovative exploitation of modern technology. So simply put, we’ve got to innovate faster than they can. Indeed, future generations would not forgive us if it were otherwise.This brings me to the third driver for change in SIS: the need to ensure that technology is on our side, not that of our opponents.The digital era has profoundly changed our operating environment. Bulk data combined with modern analytics make the modern world transparent, a fact which contributed to GRU embarrassment after the Salisbury attack. But it is also a serious challenge if used against us.So we are evolving rapidly. Cyber is now our fastest-growing directorate. We are shifting our focus to the nexus between humans and technology. And for the first time, through the National Security Strategic Investment Fund, we are pursuing a completely different type of partnership with the tech-innovation community, giving the private and academic community the role we need and they deserve.Ironically, the most profound consequence of the technological challenge is a human one. We are determined, of course, to attract people with an even higher level of technical skill to join our ranks, in the best traditions of Q. But my organisation will need to adapt even faster if it is to thrive in the future. And that will require people with new perspectives, capable of harnessing their creativity in ways that we can’t yet even imagine.It is why we are determined to attract people from the widest range of backgrounds to join SIS. This will enable us to bring the widest range of approaches to bear on solving complex problems and so make our missions even more effective.People sometimes ask what causes me to lose most sleep at night. The answer might surprise you. The biggest risk that I see is a failure to make full use of the amazing talent in our organisation and in our country at large. As the leadership of MI6 we are determined not to let that happen.I believe in empowering those closest to the problem with the skills and authority they need to solve it. We delegate assertively. In the cyber age, newcomers will often be better equipped to solve problems than those, like me, steeped in experience can be. If you join us, you will be trusted to use your talents.I have spoken of how SIS is pioneering a fourth generation of espionage – deepening our partnerships to counter hybrid threats, mastering covert action in the data age, attaching a cost to malign activity by adversaries and innovating to ensure that technology works to our advantage.But while all these things change, there is one thing that will not alter, and about which there is no ambiguity, and that is our commitment to the values and laws of the United Kingdom.We understand that what we do we do in the public’s name, and that public confidence in what we do is fundamental to our success. Above all, we know that if we undermined our values even in the process of defending them, then we would have failed.SIS operates in secret, but secret does not mean unaccountable. Our actions are tasked and authorised by ministers and carried out only in support of government policies. And we are answerable to independent scrutiny by the Investigatory Powers Commissioners and oversight by Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee.Alongside this duty to be accountable we of course have a duty to learn the lessons of the past.I am one of the many SIS officers who have served in Afghanistan. After the 9/11 attacks I witnessed at every level in SIS a profound impulse to step forward into the line of danger. We felt that our organisation was one of the few that could make a difference, faced with a wholly new, and open-ended, threat from international terrorism.I am proud of the courage and reflex to do the right thing that SIS demonstrated. But the government has acknowledged in its response to the Intelligence and Security Committee’s recent report, that we were not fully prepared for the challenges that we faced in those fraught times. Some of our officers were sent into a situation for which they were not fully prepared, and it took SIS too long to rectify that.The report made hard reading for those of us who want our service to be the best it can be. But be in no doubt that we will learn the lessons.So fifteen years later, we have improved our operational policy and practice, strengthened our training and guidance, and we now operate within an enhanced oversight and operational framework. And I’m proud that the Committee also concluded that SIS has the values and resilience to meet the current counter-terrorism challenge.Above all, I have unshakeable faith in the quality, humanity and decency of the men and women who choose to join SIS. When faced with some of the very worst behaviour and dangers that humanity can devise, their instinct is to put themselves forward in the service of their country, and their fellow men and women.We want people from across our country who feel a similar call to service to consider applying to join our ranks.I have spoken at St Andrews today because of the deep affection I have for this university, and because you are one of the best in the world for the study of terrorism, international relations and artificial intelligence. But my message is to students in every school, college and university across our country. In particular, I want to speak to young people who have never seen themselves in MI6.The stereotype is that we only want a certain “type” to join MI6. This is false. If you think you can spot an MI6 officer, you are mistaken. It doesn’t matter where you are from. If you want to make a difference and you think you might have what it takes, then the chances are that you do have what it takes, and we hope you will step forward.It is the greatest honour of my career to lead the women and men of MI6. I believe the more you knew about what they were doing the prouder you would be.You can tell a lot about the soul of a country from its intelligence services. In SIS, we have a service rooted in and inspired by the values of liberal democracy, determined to defend our country and the international rule of law, and carrying out remarkable and highly effective work in the face of potent threats, with creativity and courage and integrity.These are the qualities that allow us to be the secret front line, to stand between this country and danger, and to help create an international environment in which our country and our people can prosper and thrive.Thank you very much.last_img read more

Bagpipe Band enters 15th season of entertaining fans

first_imgWednesday nights, the unmistakeable sound of bagpipes echoes out of the back of Washington Hall. The Notre Dame Bagpipe Band is preparing for Saturday home football games.The band currently consists of 13 members, according to sophomore band pipe sergeant Tyler Johnson. And while the band may contain differing levels of experience, the passion that radiates off each of the members, decked out in their kilts and belts, as they lead the Irish into the stadium with their rendition of “Scotland the Brave” is undeniable. Photo courtesy of Dylan Klee The Notre Dame Bagpipe Band poses in Notre Dame Stadium on Sept. 5 prior to the Texas game. “We have nine pipers and four drummers,” Johnson said. “Most bagpipers have experience, but I do some teaching with new people who want to learn. I don’t think any of the drummers have any experience with bagpipe bands.” Sophomore Allegra Wallingford, who plays snare drum for the band, said she joined this year because she loved the idea of being a part of a Notre Dame tradition.“I joined because I love playing music and wanted a way to do that while I’m here,” she said. “I also really enjoy being part of something very traditional and playing in bagpipe band makes me feel very connected to Notre Dame.” The band’s roots can date back to the early 1950s, according to their website, when the Irish Guard was began as a bagpiper unit in the Notre Dame Marching Band. But the bagpipes did not fare well in the cold and were abandoned by the Irish Guard until the 1990s, when Paul Harren formed a band and started teaching students how to play. The band first performed at football games during the 2001 season.Sending off the football team to meet their opponents isn’t the only thing the band does on game day, Johnson said. The band’s Saturdays consist of several short performances throughout the day. “For typical football weekend with a 3:30 p.m. kickoff, we’ll start at 11:30 a.m.,” he said. “We’ll play a fifteen minute concert in front of the dorm, we’ll play marching through LaFun and then we’ll do the player walk.”Johnson said playing for a group that’s so well-known and beloved by the Notre Dame community has been a lot of fun. “I’ve been playing for twelve years — I’m the pipe sergeant of the band,” he said. “So I’ll do all the tuning and some logistic work, stuff like that. I play with a band back home, but on game days, it’s probably the best crowd I ever play for. It’s just insane the number of people who crowd around, especially because most people hate the bagpipes.”In addition to football game days, the band plays in a variety of other concerts through the year. They’ve even performed in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Chicago, Johnson said.  “My experience has been pretty cool, being able to play for so many people and having such a receptive crowd,” he said. Tags: bagpipe band, football, Football Friday Feature, Game Daylast_img read more

Lure Butterfly Larvae

first_imgOne thing that works is to keep a patch of truly wild weeds and grasses.Georgia has more than 150 kinds of butterflies. There are more kinds of larval foodplants than there are butterflies. A hundred or so native grasses and other plantsgathered from old fields will put you off to a good start.If you prepare such a wild place, the butterflies will come. They will most likely besmall, obscure butterflies, including some skippers, satyrs and wood nymphs.But unless you get down into the weeds and crawl along looking for them, you won’t seetheir larvae.You could also plant trees that will serve as caterpillar food. The tiger swallowtailwould be nice to have. Its larvae feed on trees including tulip poplar, wild cherry, ashand sweet bay.But the tiger swallowtail has so many common trees to choose from, why should it chooseyours?That’s why I like the sugarberry. It tends to be scarce. But I have a few in my yard.Sugarberry is the host for hackberry, tawny emperor and snout butterflies, which come tomy yard each summer.But tree-feeding caterpillars are likely to be up too high to see.How about flowers?Certain flowers are advertised as larval food plants. But before you buy, askspecifically which butterflies use them.Milkweeds are a common recommendation for monarchs. But I’ll bet you’ve never seen amonarch caterpillar on milkweed in the Southeast. It does happen, but northbound springmonarchs are scarce in these parts.Up north, monarchs are common all summer. There a butterfly enthusiast can search amilkweed patch in July and have a good shot at finding monarch caterpillars.So what will work here?Forget flowers — think vegetables.Plant parsley, carrots and dill for black swallowtails. Dill is their favorite. Ifblack swallowtails pass through your garden, this will work.Maypop or passion flower is a good choice. It’s not a vegetable, but it thrives in thedisturbed soil of a vegetable garden better than in the wild.In late summer, search maypop for the spiny caterpillars of two beautiful butterflies,the gulf fritillary and the variegated fritillary.Plant beans for long-tailed skippers. This butterfly is a gem. It’s brown with dustyblue hindwings bearing long tails. Its hairless, big-headed green larva is fat in themiddle and tapers to both ends.Longtailed skipper larvae can defoliate your beans. So plant a few extra for them — orthin out the caterpillars if they’re eating too much.If you don’t mind a few pests and like moths, too, watch the tomatoes for tomato sphynxlarvae. They come by night like jumbo hummingbirds to lay their eggs.The caterpillar is green with white diagonal stripes. It has a conspicuous, butharmless, horn on the tail. It may grow to be four inches long. But it doesn’t make acocoon. It burrows into the soft soil and transforms into a chrysalis.If you want to see your caterpillars transform, gently capture a few when they arenearly full grown. Put them in a cage and feed them the source plant from which you tookthem. Then watch for the miracle. Butterflies don’t live on flowers alone.If you’re a butterfly gardener, you’ve no doubt heard the advice to plant “larvalfood plants” so your butterflies can lay eggs on them. Then watch the spectacle ofinsect metamorphosis unfold before your eyes.This advice sounds sincere and simple. But has it ever worked for you?Chances are you’ve rarely seen a sure-enough butterfly caterpillar in your garden –except maybe cabbage butterfly larvae, and who cares about them?last_img read more

Brazilian Naval Peacekeepers Conclude UNIFIL Mission After a Decade

first_imgBy United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon December 14, 2020 After almost a decade-long service with United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon’s (UNIFIL) Maritime Task Force (MTF), assisting Lebanese Navy in securing the country’s vast territorial waters, Brazilian peacekeepers concluded their mission with UNIFIL before returning home December 2, 2020.Also concluding the UNIFIL mission, together with more than 200 Brazilian sailors, was the MTF flagship, frigate BRS Independência after nine months of service.Brazilian peacekeepers led MTF, which until the latest departure had six ships and about 800 sailors, since 2011. Five ships — one each from Bangladesh, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, and Turkey — will continue to carry out the mandated tasks at sea.Brazilian Navy sailors hold their national flag flanked by the Lebanese and the U.N. flags prior to a ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the UNIFIL Maritime Task Force in the port of Beirut on October 21, 2016. The MTF, part of the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon, deployed on October 2006 within the mandate of the Security Council 1701, and it is the first and only naval task force ever to take part in in a U.N. peacekeeping mission. (Photo: AFP)As the U.N. Peacekeeping’s first and only major naval component, UNIFIL MTF was deployed on October 15, 2006, at the request of the government of Lebanon. A total of 15 countries have contributed to the MTF, which supports the Lebanese Navy in preventing the unauthorized entry of arms or related materiel by sea into Lebanon.Its mission also focuses on assisting Lebanon raise its own naval forces to control and protect Lebanon’s seaways and territorial waters. In order to achieve that, MTF carries out a range of different training courses and coordinates exercises with the Lebanese Navy to prepare it to assume all duties required for maritime security, protecting Lebanon’s sovereignty and supporting economic investment.Speaking on behalf of Italian Army Major General Stefano Del Col, UNIFIL head of Mission and Force commander, during a farewell ceremony onboard Independência on December 1, Ghana Armed Forces Brigadier General Irvine Nii-Ayitey Aryeetey, UNIFIL deputy Force commander, paid tribute to the service of the outgoing Brazilian peacekeepers.“Today, we bid farewell to the outgoing MTF ship, and it is a remarkable date for UNIFIL, MTF and, of course, for the Brazilian Navy, after almost 10 uninterrupted years in support and contribution to the cause of peace in Lebanon,” he said.“I praise you all for your tireless dedication and professionalism, especially in this year, with all the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the blast here at the Beirut Port,” Brig. Gen. Aryeetey continued. “Through hard work and dedication, the Frigate Independência, representing here the Maritime Task Force and its sailors, has proven that, dominating the maritime domain can bring benefits to peacekeeping operations and economic development by ensuring a safe maritime environment.”On his part, outgoing MTF commander, Brazilian Navy Rear Admiral Sérgio Renato Berna Salgueirinho, said Brazil’s participation in the UNIFIL MTF contributed directly to the maintenance of peace “in such important mission,” adding that the departure was a “historical moment.”“This accomplishment will always be remembered in the Brazilian Navy, as well as it will be recorded in the history of UNIFIL,” he said. “Overcoming unprecedented challenges, in such a particular year for all of us, I recognize that you, men and women, peacekeeping crew members of the frigate Independência, have worked hard to fulfil this mission.”Since 2006, MTF has hailed 106,000 ships and referred about 15,000 of those vessels to the Lebanese authorities for further inspections, at sea or land. MTF’s area of maritime operations (5,000 nautical square miles or 17,171 square kilometers) is almost 16 times bigger than the area of UNIFIL area of operations on land in south Lebanon.last_img read more

Authorities: Great Neck Cardiologist Wanted Rival Doctor Killed

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York What began as a seemingly routine prescription pill investigation into a Great Neck cardiologist spiraled into a complex probe into a brazen murder-for-hire plot allegedly targeting a former business partner-turned rival doctor, authorities said Wednesday at a press conference announcing the bizarre Gold Coast feud.The 54-year-old cardiologist at the center of it all, Dr. Anthony J. Moschetto of Sands Point, was arrested Tuesday and charged with various crimes, including conspiracy, arson and criminal solicitation. Investigators discovered illegal guns and a cache of weapons, including ornate swords, daggers and axes, as a part of the probe, authorities said.“It’s unusual for an investigation to reveal such a wide array of crimes being committed by an individual who is seemingly respected by the medical community,” said acting-Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter. Moschetto, Krumpter added, “was exposed as a deplorable, despicable criminal.”Two men—41-year-old James Kalamaras of Suffolk County and 43-year-old James Chmela of Selden—whom Moschetto allegedly solicited to destroy his rival’s office building at 38 Northern Blvd. in Great Neck in February were also arrested Tuesday for arson, authorities said. Both Chmela and Kalamaras were also charged with burglary while Chmela was additionally charged with criminal possession of a weapon and criminal sale of a firearm.Medieval-style weapons seized by police during a murder-for-hire plot investigation involving a Gold Coast doctor and his rival. (Rashed Mian/Long Island Press)On the same day he was arrested, officers executed a search warrant at Moschetto’s home, which allegedly revealed a cache of weapons—many of them illegal—located in an apparently secret room behind a motorized bookcase that only opens when a switch is activated, authorities said.The five-month investigation, which is still ongoing, began in December when the Drug Enforcement Administration, after receiving a tip, became suspicious of unusually high prescriptions of oxycodone coming out of Moschetto’s Great Neck office, authorities said.“The investigation led to the discovery of a common link between this contraband and a then-unsolved Feb. 25 arson in Great Neck, and even a subsequent murder-for-hire plot that was foiled by this investigation,” acting-Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said Wednesday.Moschetto “was the supplier and mastermind behind this elaborate scheme,” Singas added.Authorities said they found a cache of weapons at a Great Neck doctor’s Sands Point home while executing a search warrant on Tuesday, April 14. (Rashed Mian/Long Island Press)Authorities said Moschetto and the intended victim had a business relationship and worked out of the same office.The seemingly conventional probe sparked a multi-agency investigation that authorities said also uncovered an illegal drug distribution scheme and put the brakes on the trafficking of illegal weapons.Moschetto was arrested after he was seen on video allegedly soliciting an undercover officer to murder a competing doctor, officials said. Investigators were also able to link Moschetto and the two other defendants to a failed arson attempt at the rival doctor’s office building, authorities said.No one was injured and the blaze caused minimal damage to the building because the fire was set directly below the office’s sprinkler system. The fire was extinguished quickly and Nassau County fire officials were able to obtain evidence from the scene, authorities said. At the press conference, authorities displayed surveillance photos of the arson as it was in progress.Authorities did not say why the relationship between the two doctors soured, but once it did, Moschetto moved his practice to 370 Northern Blvd. in Great Neck. Investigators also revealed that the intended victim filed a harassment complaint against Moschetto with Nassau police.“[Moschetto] wanted to put him out of business so he could get his business,” said Anne Donnelly, deputy chief of organized crime and racketeering bureau, and an assistant district attorney.The DEA’s investigation began in December with the first of six undercover drug buys, which continued until last month, the district attorney’s office said. More than 400 oxycodone pills were sold during that time as well as 198 bags of heroin, the DA’s office said. The probe also led to a more recent sale that included two assault rifles and heroin.After the alleged arson attempt, undercover officers overhead a conversation that connected the office fire to the guns and pills, Donnelly said.One of the items seized by police in the investigation of a Great Neck doctor involved in an alleged murder-for-hire plot. (Rashed Mian/Long Island Press)Discussion of the alleged murder-for-hire plot began after the failed arson attempt, authorities said. Moschetto was allegedly prepared to pay the supposed hit-man $5,000 to assault the doctor bad enough that he’d have to be hospitalized for several months and $20,000 to kill him. Moschetto, authorities said, gave a confidential informant and the undercover officer blank prescriptions and cash as payments. Guns were also offered as payment, officials said. At one point, Moschetto allegedly broached the topic of assaulting the victim’s wife if she was present during the encounter.Prosecutors said Moschetto frequently see-sawed between having his competitor injured or killed.“At the time of Dr. Moschetto’s arrest [Tuesday], his instruction had most recently reverted back to the commission of an assault against his victim,” the DA’s office said in a press release.The collection of weapons seized by police seemed better suited for a Hollywood thriller set: daggers decorated with hissing dragons, dragon-winged double-sided axes, demonic-handled knives, and blade-protruding brass knuckles similar to the claws that shoot out of the hands of “X-Men” comic hero Wolverine.“I can’t imagine what evil this man has already committed and what evil he planned in the future,” Krumpter said.Moschetto, who was also charged with criminal sale of a firearm, criminal possession of a weapon, burglary, criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance, was expected to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon at First District Court in Hempstead. His attorney’s information was not immediately available.last_img read more

HTP Korcula launched a campaign: Korcula -The island made of dreams

first_imgIn this campaign, destination promotion is imperative, Lopatny points out, adding as a special emphasis on experiences, all the experience we bring home with us from vacation. Also, communication should be adjusted according to the current situation using slogans such as do not cancel the trip but postpone it. As always, storytelling plays a major role, and it is necessary to tell and interest future guests through the story. What’s important to point out is that it’s not just one video, but a rounded campaign. In the first phase, it is planned to be held for a month via social networks and is intended primarily for regional guests. “The campaign is elaborated in such a way that on Mondays posts are published related to historical facts and the rich cultural heritage of the island of Korčula entitled: Dreams made of medieval heritage. On Wednesday, the natural beauties of the island will be presented under the name: Dreams made of turquoise sea / Dreams made of sunlit beaches. On Friday, it is planned to publish information on gastro and sports activities with the title of the publication Dreams made of unique experience / Dreams made of joy and leisure. Through Instagram stories, efforts will be made to encourage guests to post materials related to the island of Korcula near KorculaTheIslandMadeOfDreams”Concludes Lopatny. Thus, HTP Korčula dd emphasizes the dreaming phase through the main communication, presented through a new campaign: orKorčula – The island made of dreams˝ “The aim of the campaign is to focus on promoting the destination and its authenticity in these challenging times when we are unable to travel, and thus stay in touch with current visitors, as well as attract new visitors to dream with us, and then visit the island of Korcula – when this will be possible due to the COVID-19 epidemic”Points out Maja Lena Lopatny from HTP Korčula dd The main narrative of communication is dreams and daydreaming Through the campaign, visitors are invited to dream about the beauties of the island of Korcula – which are presented in the campaign, as well as the message that we hope that soon we will all be able to realize those dreams, with #StayHome, #DreamNow, #TravelLater uniting in # KorculaTheIslandMadeOfDreams. As I have repeatedly pointed out, it is necessary to communicate in this crisis situation as well. At the moment, of course, you should not do the classic sale of accommodation, but communicate to guests that you are still there and give them motives for future travel in the context of the dreaming and planning phase. After last year’s investment in the first phase of the PORT 9 Resort beach, which amounted to more than two million kuna, the works of the second phase have just been completed and guests of HTP Korcula will be able to enjoy 1000 m2 of promenade, special horticultural landscaping, ambient lighting. lounge area and new attire of the traditional tavern and modern beach bar, which are located on the beach.last_img read more

Spain readies to ease lockdown, warns will need discipline

first_imgThe country’s overall death toll from the virus rose by 453 to 24,275, the health ministry said, adding that the additional cases were from the previous days in the region of Galicia.The number of diagnosed cases rose by 2,144 from Tuesday to 212,917, the world’s second-highest tally after the United States, the ministry said.”The evolution we are seeing is still very favorable and is in line with what we expected,” health emergency coordinator Fernando Simon told a news briefing on Wednesday.He said the so-called ‘R’ rate – the average number of infections that one person with the virus causes – stood at below 1, signaling a downward trend, in almost all areas of the country. Topics : Spain’s lockdown is making progress against the new coronavirus but a gradual easing from next week will require even more discipline, officials said on Wednesday, after the country recorded 325 deaths from the infection overnight.The lockdown, one of the toughest in Europe, has halted public life since March 14 and nearly paralyzed the economy.In Madrid, workers were painting “keep your distance” signs on to zebra crossings in the capital in preparation for restrictions to be gradually removed.center_img The daily number of deaths has decreased sharply from the high of 950 seen in early April.Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced late on Tuesday a four-phase plan to lift the lockdown that would culminate in a return to normality by the end of June.Foreign tourism But Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska told a news conference on Wednesday “the period of easing measures would take more discipline than lockdown” itself.Implementation will vary from province to province depending on factors such as how the rate of infection evolves, the number of intensive care beds available locally and compliance with distancing rules. These targets are yet to be announced.Health Minister Salvador Illa said the rules on visiting friends and family would be provided in the coming days.The Hotel Business Association of Madrid on Wednesday expressed its “serious concern” over the plan, as well as its “disbelief” that the government was contemplating reopening hotels “when the arrival of clients is impossible” because of closed borders and suspended flights.The government’s plan does not specify when Spain will be able to reopen its tourism industry, which is worth 12% of Gross Domestic Product.”Foreign tourism is the hardest part to manage. We look at what has happened to those ahead of us [in Asia]; when they started cross-border mobility there were outbreaks of imported cases,” said a government official who declined to be named.”We also want to take the decision at [European] Community level, especially in view of the Schengen area,” he added.Data released on Wednesday showed Spanish retail sales fell 14.1% in March from a year earlier on a calendar-adjusted basis, after rising 1.8% in February.Most stores closed during the second half of last month as part of the lockdown and have remained shut in April.last_img read more