islands

Authorities were using boats and large vehicles on Saturday to rescue and evacuate residents in parts of the Midwest where a recent deluge of rainwater and snowmelt was sent pouring over frozen ground, overwhelming creeks and rivers, and killing at least one person.

The scramble to move people out of harm's way was expected to subside going into the new week, as rivers and creeks in flooded eastern Nebraska and western Iowa were expected to crest Saturday and Sunday. That left officials downstream looking to prepare for likely flooding.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson had already met with emergency management team members Friday to review and update flood-response plans, and the Missouri Highway Patrol was preparing additional equipment and putting swift water rescue personnel on standby. The Missouri National Guard also temporarily relocated the 139th Airlift Wing's C-130s from Rosecrans Air National Guard Base in St. Joseph as a precaution.

The National Weather Service said the Missouri River at St. Joseph reached nearly 26 feet on Saturday, about a foot below what's considered major flooding at the northwest Missouri city. But it's expected to crest Wednesday or Thursday at 29.3 feet — more than two feet above major flooding level.

Evacuation efforts in eastern Nebraska and some spots in western Iowa on Saturday were hampered by reports of levee breaches and washouts of bridges and roads, including part of Nebraska Highway 92, leading in and out of southwest Omaha. Authorities confirmed that a bridge on that highway that crosses the Elkhorn River had been washed out Saturday. In Fremont, west of Omaha, the Dodge County Sheriff's Office issued a mandatory evacuation for some residents after floodwaters broke through a levee along the Platte River. And in Mills County, Iowa, authorities ordered people in some rural areas to evacuate after the Missouri River overtopped levees.

The flooding followed days of snow and rain — record-setting, in some places — that swept through the West and Midwest. The deluge pushed some waterways, including the Missouri River, to record levels in Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota. The flooding was the worst in nearly a decade in places.

The family of farmer James Wilke, 50, of Columbus, Nebraska, said he was killed Thursday when a bridge collapsed as he was using his tractor to try to reach stranded motorists on Thursday. His body was found downstream, his cousin Paul Wilke told the Columbus Telegram. Gass Haney Funeral Home confirmed James Wilke's death.

At least two other people were missing in floodwaters in Nebraska. Officials said a Norfolk man was seen on top of his flooded car late Thursday before being swept away in the water and another man was swept away by waters when a dam collapsed on the Niobrara River.

Officials in Sarpy County, south of Omaha, said Saturday that power may be shut off to communities along the Missouri, Platte and Elkhorn rivers for safety reasons. They warned those who choose to ignore calls to evacuate that rescues would be attempted only during daylight hours. Some cities and towns, such as North Bend on the banks of the Platte River, were submerged. Others, such as Waterloo and Fremont, were surrounded by floodwaters, stranding residents in virtual islands with no access in or out.

"There is no way out of here unless you've got a helicopter — or a boat," the Rev. Mike Bitter, pastor of Christian Church of Waterloo, told the Omaha World-Herald.

Officials in western Iowa and eastern Nebraska were urging people not to drive unless necessary. In Iowa, a section of northbound Interstate 29 that runs parallel to the Missouri River was closed due to flooding. Authorities were rerouting motorists at Kansas City, Missouri, using a detour that took people almost 140 miles (225 kilometers) out of the way.

Farther east, the Mississippi River saw moderate flooding in Illinois from Rock Island south to Gladstone. Meteorologist Brian Pierce with the National Weather Service's Quad Cities office in Davenport, Iowa, said flooding on the Mississippi could get worse a few weeks as more snow melts in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

"What we're having now is the dress rehearsal for the main event that's going to happen in early April," he said of the flooding on the Mississippi.

Rising waters along the Pecatonica and Rock rivers flooded some homes in the northern Illinois cities of Freeport, Rockford and Machesney Park. The National Weather Service said record crests were possible along the rivers, with water levels forecast to continue to rise over the next several days and remain above flood stage through most of the weekend.

Freeport resident Mary Martin told the (Freeport) Journal-Standard that she went to the store to get milk and bread when she saw floodwaters were rising Friday.

"Within an hour of going to the store, I could not get back in. That's how fast the water was coming up," Martin said.

Source: NewsMax America

FILE PHOTO: Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London
FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall arrive for the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey, on Commonwealth Day, in London, Britain March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

March 16, 2019

By Sarah Marsh

HAVANA (Reuters) – Prince Charles and his wife Camilla embark on a Caribbean tour on Sunday during which they will become the first British royals to visit Communist-run Cuba, even as the island faces rising hostility from Britain’s closest ally, the United States.

The royals will kick off their 12-day tour of ten islands with a visit to St Lucia, continuing onwards to Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Kitts and Nevis, and Grenada, according to their private office. Many of the islands are former British colonies and retain Charles’ mother Queen Elizabeth as head of state.

On March 24, the royal couple will land in Havana for a three-day visit at the request of the British government to underscore warming British-Cuban ties, where they will dine with Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who replaced Raul Castro last year.

Charles, the heir to the British throne, already met the president last November on his 70th birthday, when Diaz-Canel was visiting London.

“This is an acknowledgement not only of Cuba’s people, but also of the government, and tells the United States we are not that isolated,” said Havana resident Cira Llerena, 70.

The visit forms part of a broader normalization of relations between the communist-run country and Western nations. Over the past five years, Cuba has taken steps towards an opening that has seen a growth in free enterprise, internet connectivity and foreign investment.

The initial enthusiasm over that opening, however, has subsided since U.S. President Donald Trump took power, vowing to roll back a detente initiated by his predecessor Barack Obama and returning to Cold War rhetoric.

The trip comes as the Trump administration is intensifying attempts to end what it views as Latin America’s “troika of tyranny” – the socialist governments of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba – and has sparked some controversy.

U.S. Senator Rick Scott in Florida, home to the largest community of Cuban exiles, had urged Charles publicly to cancel his trip and instead visit Florida to meet with dissidents.

In a video posted on Twitter, the British ambassador to Cuba, Antony Stokes, said the visit reflected Britain’s growing relationship with Cuba, including greater cooperation in fields like biotech and renewable energy.

Charles, a vocal environmentalist, will visit a solar farm in Cuba being built by a British company. He will also hear about the island’s plans to tackle climate change.

“That doesn’t mean we agree on everything – we don’t – but meaningful diplomacy can help us to talk more closely on issues both where we agree and where we differ,” Stokes said.

DIANA MEMORIAL IN HAVANA

While communism and royalty may seem unlikely companions, in a corner of Havana’s bustling historic center lies an unexpected homage to Britain’s monarchy: a small memorial garden for Princess Diana, Charles’ late first wife.

“She was very beloved in Cuba,” said Margarita Rego, 73, who works for the office of the city’s official historian and said Cubans had heard about her in magazines from abroad.

Cubans would sometimes lay flowers at the foot of a marble sculpture by artist Juan Narciso Quintanilla showing a sun representing her luminosity, she said.

Workers were busy pruning plants and fixing the fountain as Charles is expected to pay it a visit during a tour of Old Havana, she added.

But many in the former Spanish colony know little of the British royals, while others are indifferent.

“So many foreigners have come here and yet everything continues the same,” said Julio Poyato, 76, complaining about Cuba’s beleaguered, still highly centralized economy.

“There are no eggs, chicken, nothing at all,” said the former welder, who struggles to live off a pension of around $10 per month, referring to chronic shortages of basic goods in Cuba.

Charles is set to meet some of the entrepreneurs breathing new life into the economy, despite heavy restrictions, as well as a group of owners of British classic cars.

He and Camilla will conclude their Caribbean tour with a visit of the Cayman Islands, a British overseas territory.

(Reporting by Sarah Marsh, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A worker stands outside the construction site of the new Best Sunshine Live casino at Saipan
FILE PHOTO: A worker stands outside the construction site of the new Best Sunshine Live casino at Saipan, a U.S. South Pacific island, November 21, 2016. REUTERS/Natalie Thomas/File Photo

March 15, 2019

By Farah Master

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong-listed Imperial Pacific, the owner of a multi-billion Saipan gaming project, is being sued by former construction workers who say they were victims of forced labor and human trafficking on the U.S.-administered Pacific island.

Seven Chinese construction workers made the claim via a filing on Friday to the Federal Court in Saipan, part of the Northern Mariana Islands.

They are seeking unspecified monetary compensation for pain and suffering as well as punitive damages.

Imperial Pacific did not respond to a request for comment.

The lush mountainous island of Saipan, controlled by the United States since the end of World War Two, approved a casino in 2014, after which Chinese investment skyrocketed.

Imperial Pacific has the sole license to operate a casino in Saipan but has faced a slew of delays and setbacks to open its hotel resort.

Scrutiny of the project intensified after the death of a construction worker in 2017 and an FBI raid that found a list of more than 150 undocumented workers in a contractor’s offices, as well as a safe containing several thousand dollars in U.S. currency, several hundred Chinese yuan and employee pay stubs.

Several executives have resigned over the past year and worker protests have been a recurring theme as they claim unpaid wages and injuries.

The filing, which names Imperial Pacific as well as its contractors, MCC International Saipan Ltd and Gold Mantis Construction Decoration, alleges workers were required to work more than 12 hours a day and sometimes do a 24-hour shift.

It also accuses employers of withholding a portion of their wages and claims they often failed to pay them for weeks at a time.

MCC, which is owned by Metallurgical Corp of China, and Gold Mantis, a subsidiary of Suzhou Gold Mantis Construction Decoration, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The filing states Imperial Pacific knew about, or at a minimum, “recklessly disregarded its contractors’ exploitive and illegal practices” and that the company was repeatedly told about the use of unauthorized workers on the construction site.

Crammed into dormitories, often with no showers or air-conditioning, plaintiffs were made to work on a construction site that was extremely dangerous, it said.

“One Gold Mantis supervisor, who had already physically beaten another employee, threatened to kill plaintiffs if they disobeyed him,” it said in the filing.

All plaintiffs suffered injuries including a badly burnt leg, scalded hand and partially severed finger, according to the filing.

Saipan’s casino commission has extended the deadline for the completion of the resort to February 2021. Imperial Pacific was contractually obliged to open the casino in March 2017.

(Reporting by Farah Master; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Source: OANN

Whitney Tipton | Contributor

The Southern Poverty Law Center recently reported assets of over half a billion dollars, $121 million of which sits outside the U.S.

SPLC is a left-wing group whose subjective political rankings are used by media and business entities to define “hate speech.” The Washington Free Beacon obtained 2018 financial documents recently submitted to the California attorney general, which the outlet compared to the 2017 documents posted on SPLC’s website.

Its Tuesday analysis revealed the Montgomery, Alabama, based nonprofit organization reported total assets of $518 million in 2018, $41 million higher than reported in 2017.

The most significant change the Beacon found was the increase in non-U.S. investments, which were $121 million in 2018, up from $92 million the previous year. While 2018 details of non-U.S. transactions are unknown because foreign forms are not required to be disclosed publicly, the Beacon’s 2017 investigation showed interests in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 29: Richard Cohen, President of the Southern Poverty Law Center, speaks during a press conference November 29, 2016 in Washington, DC. During the press conference the Southern Poverty Law Center, in conjunction with additional human rights groups and education leaders, called on U.S. President-elect Donald Trump to "immediately and forcefully publicly denounce racism and bigotry." (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, speaks during a press conference on Nov. 29, 2016 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The nonprofit also reported a $16 million increase in its U.S. public equity funds from in 2018 for a total of $92 million. It also itemized $24 million in real estate asset funds and $60 million in private equity funds.

An additional development found in the organization’s audited 2018 financial statement was the launch of a nonprofit political action group called the “SPLC Action Fund,” which has applied for designation as a 501(c)(4) “social welfare” group. Per the website, the SPLC Action Fund was created to “engage in legislative battles at every level of government and to support critical ballot initiatives.”

The SPLC maintains a list of “hate groups,” or organizations whose purpose the SPLC has deemed to be hateful. The list has long been criticized because of its disparate nature. Groups universally accepted as offensive, such as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), appear alongside much more common organizations, like the Family Research Council.

In addition to media and business organizations, The Daily Caller News Foundation recently uncovered a number of major internet media firms use the SPLF list to suppress search results or police their platforms. (RELATED: Exclusive: Facebook, Amazon, Google and Twitter All Work With Left-Wing SPLC)

The SPLC did not immediately return TheDCNF’s request for comment.

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Source: The Daily Caller

Michael Bastasch | Energy Editor

  • Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore had some harsh words for the environmental group he spent years leading.
  • Moore shot back at Greenpeace for, once again, trying to claim he was not a co-founder, despite listing him as one on their website for years.
  • “This is a case of historical revisionism,” Moore said in an interview.

Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore fired back at the environmental group he spent years leading over attempts to rewrite the history of their founding.

“This is a case of historical revisionism,” Moore told The Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview.

Greenpeace renewed their years-long feud with Moore, tweeting in response to President Donald Trump’s touting of Moore’s comments on Fox News that the ecologist “was not a co-founder” of the group and called him a “paid lobbyist, not an independent source.” (RELATED: Greenpeace Tries To Erase Inconvenient Co-Founder From History)

However, Greenpeace’s website listed Moore among its “founders and first members” before quietly removing it around 2007. Moore is only listed as a member of the group’s 1971 maiden voyage to oppose nuclear testing. Greenpeace’s revised history also claims that Phil Cotes founded the group in 1970 with Irving Stowe and Jim Bohlen.

Yet, there was never a Phil Cotes. Greenpeace is likely referring to Paul Cote, but he is not listed as a founder on the group’s website despite being mentioned (as Phil Cotes) in the group’s public statements.

Greenpeace activists stay next to the giant statues depicting U.S. President Trump and Statue of Liberty during the protest at the G20 summit in Hamburg

Greenpeace activists stay next to the giant statues depicting U.S. President Donald Trump and Statue of Liberty during the protest at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer.

Moore, who left Greenpeace in 1986, called the group “corrupt, decadent and lazy.” Indeed, Greenpeace has been rocked by scandals in recent years, including losing millions in donations speculating on international currency markets.

“I can think of all kinds of words that are worse to describe them,” Moore said. “These guys are floating around on a $32 million boat like a bunch of college kids. Then they always forget to mention it’s powered by an 1,800-horsepower diesel engine.”

Moore said Greenpeace achieved great things while he was there, including restricting whaling and atomic testing, but by the 1980s the group had become too radical. Moore also served as the president of Greenpeace Canada for many years.

“My decision was made in the 1980s. At the time I said very clearly, ‘I’m going to stick with science and logic, you can keep your fear-mongering,’” Moore said. “We did a good job and it’s a shame it got turned into a racket. They should retire.”

Now, Moore is an outspoken opponent of what he calls “fake science” that’s often used by activists to push an anti-energy, alarmist agenda. Moore got into his most recent spat with Greenpeace after publicly criticizing the Green New Deal resolution, which Greenpeace supports.

Greenpeace activists bar the entry to European Union headquarters in Brussels during a EU finance ministers meeting

Greenpeace activists bar the entry to European Union headquarters in Brussels March 10, 2009, urging finance ministers inside to bail out the planet and devote billions of euros to help poor nations tackle climate change. REUTERS/Yves Herman.

Specifically, Moore called the resolution’s main champion, Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a “pompous little twit” for pushing anti-fossil fuel policies that would result in “mass death.”

Moore took part in the 1971 voyage aboard a shoddy fishing vessel to protest hydrogen bomb testing in the Aleutian islands. Greenpeace came about in the wake of that journey, which is widely considered the group’s birthday.

Moore said Greenpeace seemed to have no problem with him calling himself a co-founder until he came out in favor of nuclear energy.

The Nuclear Energy Institute launched the “Clean And Safe Energy Coalition” in 2006 with Moore and Christine Todd Whitman, who headed the Environmental Protection Agency under President George W. Bush.

“It was the only position in my 15 years at Greenpeace that I regretted. I made a mistake in conflating nuclear war with nuclear energy,” Moore said.

A member of Greenpeace is chained to a gas pump at a Shell gas station during a protest in Zurich

A member of Greenpeace is chained to a gas pump at a Shell gas station during a protest in Zurich, June 30, 2015. Greenpeace demands to stop plans of Royal Dutch Shell to begin drilling for oil in the Arctic of Alaska. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann.

Greenpeace opposes nuclear power, calling it “a dangerous and expensive distraction from real solutions to climate change.” Though, some prominent environmentalists have come around on nuclear power because of its emissions-free, baseload power.

Moore also came out as skeptical of catastrophic man-made global warming around the time Greenpeace removed him from their list of “founders and first members.” However, Moore still believes in the original goals he and other activists set out to achieve in the early days of Greenpeace.

“It’s not like I want to go back to the mass slaughtering of whales, H-bomb testing and dumping of toxic waste into rivers,” Moore said.

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Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: A gas flare on an oil production platform in the Soroush oil fields is seen alongside an Iranian flag in the Persian Gulf
FILE PHOTO: A gas flare on an oil production platform in the Soroush oil fields is seen alongside an Iranian flag in the Persian Gulf, Iran, July 25, 2005. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/File Photo

March 13, 2019

By Jonathan Saul and Parisa Hafezi

LONDON/DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran is discreetly scouring the globe for second-hand oil tankers to replace its ageing fleet and keep crucial crude exports flowing as U.S. sanctions start to bite, Iranian and Western sources said.

Since U.S. President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions in November, exploratory talks with South Korea for up to 10 new supertankers have stalled, Panama has removed at least 21 Iranian tankers from its registry and Tehran is now looking for extra vessels in places such as Vietnam, the sources said.

Washington has put restrictions on Iran’s port, energy and shipping sectors but it has given waivers to the country’s eight biggest oil customers, which include China, India and Japan, so they can keep buying Iranian crude.

With oil exports accounting for an estimated 70 percent of Iran’s revenues, maintaining an effective fleet of tankers to store and move that oil is crucial for Tehran.

But potential sellers of used vessels are more wary this time round after a Greek network that helped Iran buy tankers under previous sanctions was blacklisted. Western insurers are also steering clear, complicating Iran’s attempts to export crude to U.S.-approved buyers.

If Iran runs into difficulties exporting its oil it could have a significant impact. Besides the importance of oil for its budget, Iran is estimated to produce about 2.8 million barrels a day, more than 9 percent of OPEC’s output.

“Whatever sector you look at, companies will keep in mind being cut off from the U.S. financial system when deciding whether to trade with Iran,” said Mehdi Varzi, an independent oil consultant who has previously worked at the state-run National Iranian Oil Co http://en.nioc.ir/Portal/Home.

‘HAPPY TO DO BUSINESS’

Israel warned this month that its navy could take action against Iran, which it said was smuggling oil using clandestine measures similar to those employed during the previous round of sanctions.

According to maritime specialists, methods used for skirting sanctions in the past have included changing the names of ships, switching off AIS (Automatic Identification System) location transponders and conducting ship-to-ship transfers of oil.

Since the previous round of sanctions in 2012, ship tracking has become more sophisticated and more available. Washington has also cracked down on more Iranian networks, making it riskier to get involved with Iran, according to bankers.

Iran reached an agreement with world powers in 2015 over its nuclear program which led to the lifting of sanctions in 2016 but Trump pulled out of the deal in May last year and reimposed U.S. restrictions in November.

“Many big oil traders are very worried about going into Iran due to Trump, and even the Chinese are trying to comply with what the Americans want,” said Varzi, who is based in Britain.

A senior Iranian official played down the threat to its oil exports because of pressure on its fleet.

“Plenty of countries are happy to do business with Iran,” the official said. “As we have done in the past, there are several ways to overcome the shortage, including using tankers of other countries.”

MORE SCRUTINY

A second Iranian official said discussions with South Korea over the possibility of ordering as many as 10 supertankers, each able to carry up to 2 million barrels of oil, had been delayed by U.S. sanctions.

“We are working on it,” the official said.

A South Korean government official had no comment on the matter.

After Western sanctions were lifted, Iran also started talks with South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co. <042660.KS> about forming a joint venture to establish a shipyard in Iran.

A spokesman for Daewoo said it signed a preliminary agreement with Iran in December 2016 to cooperate on developing the shipyard, but said no progress had been made since then. A third Iranian official said talks were still ongoing.

According to one shipping source, Iran has been searching for more ships in places such as Vietnam and two sources said it had also been looking for middlemen in the Greek market, one of the main hubs for second-hand ship deals.

“Iran has been looking for ships, but this time round it is going to be harder – there is so much more scrutiny now. It is going to take them longer,” one of the shipping sources said.

When asked about Iran’s efforts to secure ships, a third Iranian source said they were looking at all options.

Vietnamese officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Iran has more than 50 tankers, but needs them for both transporting oil and storing unsold stocks in its territorial waters – given its limited onshore storage capacity.

Data based on AIS tracking by shipping intelligence platform MarineTraffic showed 12 Iranian tankers, or more than a fifth of its fleet, were being used for floating storage in March.

‘FLOATING LIABILITY’

Iran is struggling to keep its ships flagged to foreign registries too. All commercial ships have to be registered – flagged in a particular country – partly to comply with safety and environmental laws.

Following the reimposition of sanctions, Panama, the world’s leading flag state for commercial shipping, decided to de-flag Iran’s ships, a fourth Iranian official said. Shipping data shows nearly all Iran’s tankers had been registered with Panama.

A source at Panama’s flag registry said the cancellation, “affects approximately 60 Panama registered ships that are related to Iranian and Syrian owners”. The source did not provide further details.

A U.S Treasury spokesperson said: “We intend to fully enforce these sanctions and we encourage the cooperation and compliance of our allies and partners.”

Renewed U.S. sanctions have also meant Iran has been unable to secure vital certification services from foreign providers to ensure its ships remain seaworthy, shipping officials said.

Shipping records show that 16 of Iran’s tankers are at least 19 years old – and three of those vessels have been in service since 1996.

Iranian tanker Sanchi sank off China in 2018 after colliding with another vessel while five of the eight tankers Iran bought via the Greek network under previous sanctions have since been scrapped, adding to the need for more ships to fill the gaps.

U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, described Iran’s tanker sector as a “floating liability” in November.

IRANIAN FLAG

Shipping data showed at least two Panama flagged tankers – the Sarak and the Sobar – were re-flagged to Iran on Jan. 1. The owners of the vessels, who were listed in the British Virgin Islands, could not be contacted.

More than 20 other tankers in Iran’s fleet have been reflagged to Iran this year.

Having its tankers flagged in Iran rather than a third country such as Panama presents further problems for Tehran, even if it can secure more vessels and approved buyers for its oil, shipping experts say.

Besides China, India and Japan, Washington also gave South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy and Greece the green light to keep buying Iranian oil, although it’s unclear whether these waivers will be renewed when they expire in May.

Dealing with Iran’s flag registry raises compliance issues for counterparties as there is a risk they might interact with individuals or entities blacklisted under U.S. sanctions.

And with few buyers now willing to take all the commercial risks involved in oil sales, Iran is also having to cover the shipment of cargoes, including securing insurance in most instances, shipping sources said.

Mike Salthouse with the International Group https://www.igpandi.org, which represents companies that insure about 90 percent of the world’s commercial shipping, said Western insurers were very unlikely to do business with Iranian shipping companies.

“The biggest problem for insurers these days is finding a bank willing to handle a payment for goods or services where the beneficiary is designated by the U.S.,” said Salthouse, chairman of the International Group’s sanctions sub-committee.

“Banks will not engage when you mention the Iran word.”

(Additional reporting by Jane Chung in Seoul, James Pearson and Khanh Vu in Hanoi, Elida Moreno in Panama City and Michelle Nichols in New York; editing by David Clarke)

Source: OANN

Jon Brown | Associate Editor

A Chesapeake Bay retriever who failed out of narcotics training has found his calling sniffing for the feces of endangered species.

Train, who was too energetic to make the cut at drug-sniffing school after being recruited from the Humane Society, landed a spot on a research project in Argentina that maps the habitats of elusive endangered species, like pumas and jaguars. (RELATED: A Woman Climbed Over A Zoo Wall To Take A Selfie With Jaguar. It Did Not Turn Out Well)

With a grant from National Geographic, the research aims to map out a corridor of conservation to protect species under threat.

“Without this corridor,” the grant says, “these protected areas are at risk of becoming isolated islands of forest surrounded by human-modified landscapes putting long-term survival of the region’s biodiversity at risk.”

In the past, similar research has used cameras to track the animals, but with mixed results, according to CNN. But with Train’s nose and hyper nature, the scientists have been able to pinpoint the animals with greater accuracy.

The project allows Train to expend his excess energy traversing vast areas, tracking animals by sniffing out their feces. Last year alone, Train reportedly covered over 1,000 kilometers of Argentinian wilderness.

Train on the job (Facebook screenshot)

Train on the job (Facebook screenshot)

Conservation biologist Karen DeMatteo, Train’s owner, extolled her dog’s talents in an interview with CNN, explaining how his talented nose and endless stamina play an indispensable role in her research.

“Train was just a machine,” DeMatteo remembered. “We just switched him to use all that energy and search really big areas and find this poop for us.”

DeMatteo explained how the endangered animal scat that Train discovers can be used to “figure out which habitats they like and which habitats they avoid.” With that information, scientists can discern which areas are most important for conservation. (RELATED: Melania Trump Feeds Baby Elephants In Kenya, Visits Ivory Burn Sites)

Train with a ball (Facebook screenshot)

Train with a ball (Facebook screenshot)

One of the species brought to the forefront by DeMatteo’s research is the South American bush dog, a rarely seen and little-known nocturnal canine. They were classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as “near threatened,” thanks to data uncovered by DeMatteo with Train’s help.

According to some surveys, the bush dog population has dwindled to fewer than 110,000 over an area of over 4 million square miles over South and Central America.

“From morning to evening, [bush dogs are] underground,” DeMatteo told onEarth. “So unless you know they’re underneath you, you could walk right over them and have no idea that you’re walking over a bush dog.”

But thanks to Train, who can reportedly identify nine different species based on scat scent, the research team is better able to track the bush dog and other shy animals, carving out areas for conservation that enables them to flourish.

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Source: The Daily Caller

Bermuda Premier David Burt and Finance Minister Curtis Dickinson issue statements before a group of business leaders shortly after the EU added the island to a tax haven blacklist at the Cabinet Office in Hamilton
Bermuda Premier David Burt and Finance Minister Curtis Dickinson (L) issue statements before a group of business leaders shortly after the EU added the island to a tax haven blacklist at the Cabinet Office in Hamilton, Bermuda March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Emma Farge

March 12, 2019

By Emma Farge

HAMILTON (Reuters) – Bermuda’s Premier David Burt on Tuesday called the European Union’s decision to put the British overseas territory on a list of global tax havens “a setback” but said he was confident it would soon be reversed.

“The news from Brussels this morning is a setback for Bermuda,” a grave-faced Burt told local journalists at a news conference, flanked by business leaders.

“Bermuda is compliant and we are confident that within a matter of weeks that will be accepted by EU member states and Bermuda will be removed from this list,” he added.

The 28-nation EU set up the so-called blacklist in December 2017 after revelations of widespread tax avoidance schemes used by corporations and wealthy individuals to lower tax bills.

EU governments adopted a broadened blacklist of tax havens on Tuesday, adding 10 jurisdictions to the updated list. They are: Bermuda, the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba, Barbados, Belize, Fiji, the Marshall Islands, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Vanuatu and Dominica.

Blacklisted jurisdictions face reputational damage and stricter controls on their financial transactions with the EU, although no EU sanctions have yet been agreed by European states.

In an effort to meet an EU deadline, the self-governing island passed legislation in December that obliges companies domiciled in Bermuda to have a “substantial economic presence,” granting some firms a grace period for implementation.

While Britain had pushed other EU states not to include Bermuda on the list, it lifted its objections after the European Commission argued that the island has “been playing games” to dodge EU requirements, according to minutes of a meeting of EU envoys on the matter.

Burt rejected that assertion, saying the impression arose due to a “technical omission which was rectified in good time.”

Jurisdictions are added to the tax haven blacklist if they have shortfalls in their tax rules that could favor tax evasion in other states. They are removed from the blacklist if they commit to reforms by set deadlines.

Bermuda was required to change its tax rules by the end of February, but added new loopholes in revised legislation and did not provide a final text by the deadline, according to the commission.

Burt denied the deadline was missed and said its legislation was perceived by businesses as more stringent than other jurisdictions.

The north Atlantic island, which is also a major reinsurance hub, has far fewer companies on its registry than other British territories like the Cayman Islands and British Virgin Islands which have more than 100,000 each.

But Bermuda made headlines in recent months when documents filed at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce revealed that Google moved 19.9 billion euros ($22.7 billion) through a Dutch shell company to Bermuda in 2017, as part of an arrangement that allows it to reduce its foreign tax bill.

Asked whether Bermuda should consider banning Google, owned by Alphabet Inc, Finance Minister Curtis Dickinson said: “We would like to encourage Google to help us through this by establishing a more substantive presence in Bermuda.”

He added that Bermuda, which has already opened a government office in Brussels, will also send officials to Paris and Berlin in the coming weeks to defend the island’s position.

(Reporting by Emma Farge; writing by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Tom Brown)

Source: OANN

Anders Hagstrom | Justice Reporter

The IRA claimed responsibility for four letter bombs found in London and Glasgow Tuesday, and told police there is a fifth explosive that has yet to be found.

The four devices arrived at three buildings in London and the University of Glasgow on March 5 and 6, CNN reported. Police issued a statement saying the devices resembled those used by “dissident groups associated with Northern-Ireland related terrorism,” and that police opened a line of inquiry into that possibility. (RELATED: Who Is The Best Irish President?)

The IRA first claimed responsibility by contacting a local news station in Northern Ireland Monday, with police confirming that the caller used a code word common in the IRA, according to CNN. The mail bombs also sported Irish stamps and post marks, according to The Irish Times. (RELATED: How American Pro-Lifers Responded To Ireland’s ‘Yes’ On Abortion)

“This was a reckless and cowardly attack on the entire community. I condemn in the strongest possible terms the people who carried out this act,” Irish Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said. “We must work together to reject those isolated groups who would discard the accomplishments of the peace process for all communities on these islands for their own narrow objectives. Their futile agenda will not succeed.”

The individual who claimed responsibility specified that three devices had been sent to commercial targets and the remaining two were sent to British Army recruitment centers, according to The Telegraph. One of those devices remains unaccounted for.

Authorities in the U.K. have contacted businesses with instructions on how to address any explosive devices they receive.

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Michael Bastasch | Energy Editor

  • Greenpeace lashed out at ecologist Patrick Moore after President Donald Trump echoed his criticism of the Green New Deal.
  • Greenpeace also claimed that Moore was not a co-founder of the group as he claims.
  • However, Greenpeace listed Moore as a co-founder on its website for years, until it quietly removed his name around 2007.

Greenpeace is distancing itself from Green New Deal critic and ecologist Patrick Moore, dubiously claiming the former activist is not one of its co-founders.

“Patrick Moore was not a co-founder of Greenpeace. He does not represent Greenpeace. He is a paid lobbyist, not an independent source,” Greenpeace USA tweeted Tuesday in response to President Donald Trump.

“His statements about [New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] & the [Green New Deal] have nothing to do with our positions,” Greenpeace USA tweeted.

Moore made headlines in conservative media over his criticism of Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal resolution. Moore left Greenpeace in 1986 because he saw the group as becoming too radical, and, for years, Greenpeace listed Moore as one of its co-founders. (RELATED: Manchin, Murkowski United In Opposition To The Green New Deal)

Trump tweeted out Moore’s remarks on Fox News about Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal resolution. Moore said the “climate crisis is not only fake news, it’s fake science.”

Greenpeace, which supports the Green New Deal, lashed out after Moore’s comments as part of a years-long public relations war against its former co-founder, arguing that he’s a paid industry shill who did not co-found the group.

However, Greenpeace’s website listed Moore as a co-founder for years before his name was quietly removed around 2007. Moore is now listed among those on board the fateful 1971 voyage to protest U.S. nuclear testing in the Aleutian Islands.

“Phil Cotes, Irving Stowe, and Jim Bohlen founded Greenpeace in 1970. Patrick Moore applied for a berth on the Phyllis Cormack in March, 1971 after the organization had already been in existence for a year,” Greenpeace International says on its website.

In a 2012 essay, Moore speculated Greenpeace’s blacklisting him is “[p]ossibly coincidental with my decision to come out publicly in favor of nuclear energy.” Moore also came out as a skeptic of catastrophic global warming and a proponent of genetically modified crops.

What’s also interesting is Greenpeace U.K.’s website says those who set sail in 1971 are “the founders of Greenpeace.”

Rainbow_Warrior

Source: Photo and Vector/Shutterstock

“I was on that old fishing boat, so it is reasonable for me to describe myself as a co-founder of Greenpeace,” Moore wrote in 2012. “I was not only a member of the original voyage but I stayed on for 15 years as a director and campaign leader. No other member of the original voyage stayed with Greenpeace nearly that long.”

Though, Moore did admit that the whole debate over who is, and isn’t, a Greenpeace founder is somewhat of a gray area.

“The late Bob Hunter, one of the most important leaders and communicators in the early years, claimed you could find a Greenpeace founder in nearly any bar in Canada,” Moore wrote. “It turns out he was pretty much right, given the number of ex-Greenpeacers who lay claim to that honor today.”

“The truth is that Greenpeace was always a work in progress, not something definitively founded like a country or a company,” Moore wrote, though he clearly lays out his role in Greenpeace’s founding.

Moore did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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