“On reflection of our adjusted Forecast for 2018, we can’t help but note there is a continued shift by the E&P’s from gas to oil well drilling. That shift to oil is easily supported by the ‘lower for longer’ price outlook for Canadian natural gas. We’re also seeing a geographic shift, forecasting 110 less wells to be drilled in B.C than in 2017. While this doesn’t seem like a large number, one needs to keep in mind that these are some of the most complex and ‘service intensive’ wells being drilled in North America today. We estimate these 110 wells represent over $850 million in capital that won’t be spent in B.C. this year. On the winning side of the equation is Saskatchewan which we estimate will see just over 300 additional wells drilled than 2017. We estimate the capital cost to drill those wells is approximately $400 million. When you add those two scenarios together, we’re conservatively looking at approximately $450 million less capital being deployed in Canada than our earlier forecasted numbers suggested.”Whalen said that completion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain expansion is but one key imperative to restoring investor confidence in Canada. Equally important, he said, is the need for Canada to communicate its energy brand internationally, one that proudly speaks to resource development that’s responsible, safe, ethical and to the highest environmental standards in the world.“The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently projected that global demand for energy will increase 31 per cent by 2040. This increase includes a 49 per cent increase in demand for natural gas and a 12 per cent increase in demand for oil. Canada must be an active contributor in providing affordable, reliable natural resources to energy constrained developing nations to help lift them out of energy poverty so they too can enjoy the standard of living and quality of life that we Canadians enjoy.” CALGARY, A.B. — The Petroleum Services Association of Canada released its midyear update to its 2018 Canadian Drilling Activity Forecast, and lowered the forecast for the number of wells drilled across Canada for 2018 by six percent.PSAC is forecasting that 7,400 wells will be drilled in Canada this year, 500 less than its original forecast of 7,900 made last October. PSAC has based its updated forecast on an average natural gas price of $1.75 CDN/million cubic feet (AECO), a crude oil price of US$61.45/barrel, and a Canada-US exchange rate averaging $0.79.“While our oilfield services sector is marginally busier than it was last year at this time, this hasn’t necessarily translated into financial bottom lines that signal business sustainability,” said PSAC President and CEO Tom Whalen. “In fact, we still have a number of services companies making staff reduction adjustments of 5-15 percent. This pales in comparison to the 40-60 percent staff reductions we saw mid-2015 to the end of 2016, but still a very telling sign that our services sector is far from healthy.”“The improved WTI price shift into the mid to high $60’s is certainly a welcome sign for our industry. However, the disconnect and volatility of the differential between WTI and WCS pricing means that exploration and production (E&P) companies and Canadians are not benefiting to the same level as our ‘energy independent’ focused southern neighbour. It’s shameful that we continue to sell our oil to the U.S. at a steep discount to WTI, short-changing Canadians over $15 billion per year. The sooner we expand our customer base, the better off Canadians and quite frankly, the rest of the world will be.”On a provincial basis for 2018, PSAC forecasts that approximately 32 percent fewer wells will be drilled in B.C., with PSAC’s revised forecast now at 500 wells, down from 730 in the original forecast. PSAC now estimates 3,800 wells to be drilled in Alberta, down from 4,000 wells in the original forecast. The revised forecast for Saskatchewan now sits at 2,840 wells compared to 2,930 wells in the original forecast, and Manitoba is forecasted to see 255 wells or a jump of 25 in well count for 2018.
The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) today failed to reach an agreement on the final vote of the budget.The SLFP met President Maithripala Sirisena today to decide on the stand it must take during the vote. However no agreement was reached and a final decision is expected to be taken on Thursday.The final vote on the budget for 2019 will be taken on Friday. (Colombo Gazette)
It looks like an election will be held before the summer — after the minority Liberals tabled their budget Thursday afternoon. The Tories say they won’t support it — which means the NDP will determine if the government survives. And early reaction says it’s not looking good.Premier Kathleen Wynne says she’ll give the New Democrats a week to decide whether to support the budget. It is a budget that has the government spending more of our money — and taking in less revenue. But the Liberals say they can still balance the books by 2017.None of the opposition members wanted to talk about the budget. From the Tories, we heard election-style speeches. They’ve said already they won’t support this budget. They say they have a plan that will actually balance the budget by 2017 — and the sooner the election writ drops, the better.The NDP, in an unheard of move, decided not to react at all. Leader Andrea Horwath was in budget lockup but declined to use the time set aside for her to talk to the media. She was also in the legislature when the budget was tabled. Here’s what happened when she left.“We’re going to be talking to you in the morning. We’re going to be looking through the budget this evening and we’ll talk about it in the morning.”She’s holding a news conference Friday morning at 10am. Meanwhile Sid Ryan of the Ontario Federation of Labour said afterwards this is an NDP budget — the NDP should support it and worry about election later.We also asked the finance minister about the transportation funding we’ve heard about — $29 billion over 10 years — split between the greater Toronto and Hamilton areas and the rest of the province. But the only line about future projects in Hamilton is a vague reference to rapid transit, and Charles Sousa just said, Hamilton will benefit.
PSAC cuts drilling forecast by 24 per cent by News Staff Posted Jan 27, 2015 9:18 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email The Petroleum Services Association of Canada is slicing its forecast for drilling in the country by 24 per cent in light of dropping crude prices.Mark Salkeld, the president and CEO of PSAC, says the drop in prices has forced companies to cut costs, which includes lowering production.Across the country, PSAC says 2,450 fewer wells will be drilled than originally forecast, while in Alberta, just fewer than 4,200 wells will be drilled, down from an original estimate of more than 5,700.Salkeld points out the industry has been through dips before and will get through it, but it’s still unknown how long the low prices will last.Last week, The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC) released its 2015 forecast, projecting a 41 per cent decrease in activity.
Jun 23rd 2017, 6:17 PM Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article AN UNGUARDED MOMENT in an interview has renewed speculation over one of contemporary art’s great mysteries — could elusive graffiti activist Banksy be Robert Del Naja of band Massive Attack?Goldie, a well-known DJ who was a friend and competitor of Del Naja as the two sprayed Bristol in southwest England with graffiti in the 1980s, made an apparent slip of the tongue in an interview this week.Goldie was speaking with dismay at the high prices that can be fetched for works by Banksy, whose signature style is politically provocative graffiti that appears suddenly on walls around the world.“Give me a bubble letter and put it on a T-shirt and write ‘Banksy’ on it and we’re sorted… We can sell it now,” Goldie told the Distraction Pieces podcast.“No disrespect to Rob. I think he is a brilliant artist. I think he has flipped the world of art over,” he said, before pausing and switching the conversation to music.Del Naja has often been speculated to be Banksy, who as an artist makes only shadowy appearances with his face and voice concealed.Banksy has cited Del Naja as an influence and writer Craig Williams in an article last year noted that several Banksy pieces emerged in locations shortly after Massive Attack concerts. 46,131 Views A slip of the tongue is fuelling speculation on Banksy’s real identity An interview with DJ Goldie has people wondering if the artist is in fact Robert Del Naja of Massive Attack. Share337 Tweet Email4 Friday 23 Jun 2017, 6:17 PM Could he be Robert Del Naja of Massive Attack? Image: Richard Gray https://jrnl.ie/3461046 Could he be Robert Del Naja of Massive Attack? 34 Comments Short URL An artwork by Banksy, depicting the girl from Les Misérables affected by tear gas, opposite the French embassy in Knightsbridge, London. Source: Yui MokIn 2008, however, The Mail on Sunday concluded after interviewing friends that Banksy was Robin Gunningham, another artist from Bristol.Banksy often produces art in charged political settings. In 2015, the artist painted a mural in the Calais “jungle” of migrants seeking to leave France for Britain.The work, The Son of a Migrant from Syria, depicts Apple co-founder Steve Jobs — who was of Syrian descent — clutching a bag of belongings and an Apple computer.Banksy earlier painted a series of images on the Israeli separation wall with the occupied West Bank, including one depicting a vacation setting with palm trees.Del Naja — who goes by the moniker 3D — and Goldie were two of the leading figures in Bristol’s graffiti movement in the 1980s, which took inspiration from the burgeoning hip-hop scene in New York.Massive Attack, led by Del Naja with Daddy G, helped create Bristol’s trip-hop sound which brought dark electronic layers to hip-hop.- © AFP, 2017Read: Banksy’s new mural shows a man chipping away at the stars in the European flag> By AFP Image: Richard Gray
Chelsea have announced that midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko has completed his season-long loan move to AC MilanThe France international joined the Blues last summer from AS Monaco and had made over 40 appearances in his first season at West London.However, consistency was something that often evaded him at Chelsea and Bakayoko had been linked with a move away from the club all summer.Chelsea hat-trick hero Tammy Abraham hopes for more Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Tammy Abraham hopes this season will be his big breakthrough at Chelsea after firing his first hat-trick for the club in Saturday’s 5-2 win at Wolves.“Tiemoue Bakayoko has moved to AC Milan on a season-long loan,” read a statement.The 23-year-old will now spend the entire 2018-19 campaign at Milan, although there has been no mention of his stay at the San Siro becoming a permanent one at the end of the deal.
Sunday — 659 adult summer chinook, 239 jack chinook, 3,683 steelhead, 381 shad, 501 sockeye. Water temperature was 69.1 degrees.
EXCLUSIVE: The University of Lincoln has rewarded its more than 2,000 employees through an online recognition scheme to thank them for their contribution to the organisation’s success over the course of the year.It has awarded employees with £40 worth of credit, which they can use to claim vouchers from a number of retailers. Students that have represented the university as staff are also being rewarded through the scheme. The credit is awarded to recipients through a bespoke website that has been created for the university’s employees. The university also used the website to send an individual thank-you message to staff from its vice chancellor.Ian Hodson, reward and benefits manager at the University of Lincoln, said: “By doing this we are embedding the fact we reward all staff from all levels and departments for their continuing efforts and contribution to the success of the university.”The scheme is built around our values and the reward supports employees that have worked hard to continue our efforts to move up the university league tables.”Rosie Damarell, reward and benefits administrator at the University of Lincoln, added: “We often hear that people are glad to be appreciated and this reward also shows that we appreciate them.“It is a way of showing our gratitude to employees and saying thank you for their contribution throughout the year.”
HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) – Police are investigating an overnight shooting in West Park.According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, at around 1:40 a.m., Tuesday, a deputy patrolling the area heard shots fired along Southwest 28th Street and 55th Avenue.Upon the deputy’s arrival, three suspects took off in a vehicle and a short chase ensued. The fleeing vehicle finally came to a stop near Johnson Street and North 72nd Avenue in Hollywood.Officials said the suspects bailed out. However, one person was detained and charged with fleeing and eluding.The victim suffered multiple gunshot wounds. He was transported to a nearby hospital where he was last listed in stable condition.If you have any information on this shooting, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Coleman also said that social media platforms have become a rich source of news. For instance, he said Huffington Post editors monitor Twitter “constantly.” He said Twitter “knows what’s hot” 12 hours ahead of other sources, like Google.What’s Hot“Social media will essentially fade into the background, in that it will be a part of virtually everything in the next few years.” That’s what CNET news staff writer Caroline McCarthy said during an afternoon panel discussion outlining the social media trends to watch. McCarthy and fellow panelists David Katz, founder and CEO of SportsFanLive, and MDC Partners digital innovation vice president Brandon Berger agreed that the collision between social and mobile technology—especially when combined with GPS applications—has perhaps been the biggest factor in social media recently.“The analogy I use is that that people were happy watching movies, then 3-D came along, creating a completely new experience that engages people in a new way,” said Katz. “The same thing is happening now on Internet and on mobile with consumers having GPS in their pockets. The trend is pretty significant. The impact of knowing where you are with real-time information will continue to have an effect on retail, especially on impulse buying.”Berger agreed that the implications of GPS applications, especially ones that offer customers points-based incentives, check-in offers and/or the ability to influence the purchases of others can “transform the entire retail experience.” “We’re seeing more apps being developed for in-store use. That’s what’s hot right now,” he says. “When you add in data and CRM, you can create better offers, incentives.”In terms of leveraging social media for brand marketing, McCarthy warned that there is no one particular solution for advertisers (and by extension, for publishers). Social media, she said, isn’t a one-way street—it’s about communication. “Be aware that not only do you need to be prepared to communicate over these platforms, but you need to be ready to deal with the responses you get.” NEW YORK—It’s not a matter of if, but when social media will permeate all forms of communication and business. That was the consensus among the experts from all corners of the social media spectrum who gathered here Wednesday for day one of AdweekMedia’s two-day Social Media Strategies conference. While attendees largely came from the advertising and marketing worlds, much of the content was relevant to publishing companies as well.In his keynote presentation Greg Coleman, president and chief revenue officer at the Huffington Post, said social media is a vital component to content creation at the Huffington Post. He said the site’s editors are required to have a deep understanding of search engine optimization, and that each editor manages their own SEO practices. “Blogging, aggregation and original, sharable content, regardless of the vertical, is what makes us so successful,” Coleman said.When asked whether he thinks SEO is the same as social media, Coleman said it’s not, but that social media is inherently reliant on SEO, as well as content.Although he declined to offer specific revenue figures concerning the site’s social media efforts, Coleman said the Huffington Post’s traffic already is up 125 percent over last year, with the top three verticals being entertainment, politics and comedy. In addition, comments on the site have doubled since last year. Coleman said another layer of its social strategy is enlisting thousands of “deputized moderators” to participate in the conversation by filtering comments.
Dan Cohen AUTHOR Military installations in Colorado Springs, Colo., are participating in a joint effort to partner with local governments to enhance their missions and increase efficiencies.“The goal is to partner with the local community and other bases to combine similar services and provide quality programs regardless of where those programs are hosted,” said David Clapp, deputy base civil engineer for the 21st Civil Engineer Squadron at Peterson Air Force Base.Earlier this month, the Pikes Peak Community Partnership Initiative held a charter signing at Peterson, reported 21st Space Wing Public Affairs. The effort currently has four partnership initiatives benefitting the bases and community.A joint public works bulk purchase for road deicer and winter chemicals allows area military installations and El Paso County to share costs and take advantage of bulk pricing. The agreement is expected to generate about $73,000 in cost savings and $6,400 in cost avoidance for the Front Range bases over a five-year period.A second initiative is centralizing transition assistance for separating service members, an effort intended to streamline information disseminated to personnel and provide a single location to obtain military and community resources.Under the experiential learning initiative, Pikes Peak Community College and other institutions can partner with local installations to create internships for students in a variety of disciplines. The partnership is increasing the number available internships for the community college and providing valuable on-the-job training for the students. At the same time, it is helping the military bases accomplish needed tasks, according to the story.A fourth partnership allows military providers and nurses the opportunity to train in local hospitals in order to obtain and maintain required credentials and competencies for their specialties, while providing needed skillsets and capabilities to the hospitals.
These herring pounds near Craig are floating pens used to hold herring while they spawn on kelp. (Photo: ADFG)New restrictions are being put into place for the upcoming spawn-on-kelp herring fishery in Southeast Alaska to address a declining population. For the first time, fishermen are required to share spawning structures with several others.Listen nowThe spawn-on-kelp fishery allows fishermen to catch herring near Craig and Klawock and put them into floating net pens called pounds. Blades of kelp are also put in there for the herring to spawn on. The eggs are then sold to Asian markets.Scott Walker is the Area Management Biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Ketchikan. He’s been helping manage the spawn-on-kelp fishery since it began in 1992.“We have been seeing throughout Southeast Alaska right now a downturn of herring stocks,” Walker said.In the past the fishermen were restricted by the number of blades of kelp they were allowed to use in their pounds. Now, fishermen will also be forced to share a pen with at least five other permit holders. The effort will mean less pounds being used, which is what the state is after, says Walker. Last year 46 structures were fished — the year before it was 76. This year it’s limited to 20 pens.Herring bubble near the surface of a herring pound. (Photo: ADFG)“I had to do something,” Walker said. “We couldn’t do the same thing we did last year. We’d go well over, at least double the amount of herring that I can legally allow to be utilized in this fishery. Our hope is that we’re going to utilize no more than our guideline harvest level allows.”The quota is 349 tons of herring and about 20 tons are used per structure, according to the state. The herring are released from the pounds after spawning but biologists estimate that most of them don’t survive. Fishermen can also use open pounds where the herring can come and go at will to spawn. But they are not as popular among fishermen.The state keeps track of herring stocks through aerial surveys of spawning and dive surveys of deposited eggs. That data is put into a model that estimates how many herring will spawn the following year.So why is the herring population declining? Walker thinks it’s likely cyclical and that the population will rebound. But it still has to be addressed this year.“The only other option we really have is to not have a fishery,” Walker said. “We can’t do business as usually like we did last year because we would catch more herring than we’re allowed to catch.”This is the only spawn-on-kelp fishery in Southeast again this year. Other fisheries have been closed for the past several years due to low numbers.Petersburg’s mayor, Mark Jensen, participates in the spawn-on-kelp fishery. He said he understands that biologists are concerned about the stocks but it will likely mean less income for fishermen.Herring pounds are fished near Craig in 2015. (Photo: ADFG)“Out state economy’s suffering already,” Jensen said. “We need to be protective of the stocks but we need to be sure we’re doing it in a manner where we’re capitalizing on the highest value on the fishery in my opinion.”Jensen said it will be interesting to see how fishermen sharing pounds turns out. He said he told the governor as much.“I said it’s hard to get two fishermen to agree on something and now you’re talking about 120 permit holders and 20 pounds,” Jensen said, laughing. “So we’ll see how that works.”Fish and Game’s Scott Walker agrees it will be challenging for fishermen but says the spawn-on-kelp is a complicated fishery anyway. He said there are practically endless variables from catching the fish to transporting the eggs on kelp.“There’s nothing easy about the pound fishery,” Walker said. “This fishery, there’s a thousand ways to lose your fishery, to get your product destroyed.”Walker hopes that by restricting the fishery this year it will allow it to continue in the future.Last year, 130 permit holders participated in Craig-Klawock fishery.The fishery opens for purse seining on March 17. Herring usually spawn between late March and mid-April.Petersburg Vessel Owner’s Association declined to comment for the story.
×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15 Ushering in the New Year, Amazon Prime Video is bringing in a slate of original content, with new movies and television shows including “Beautiful Boy,” the second season of “Informer,” and the new season of animated show “The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle” coming to the streaming service this month.Accompanying these are classics like “Jane Eyre” and the Gene Wilder version of “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.” In the midst of awards season, those who didn’t catch Bo Burnham’s widely applauded “Eighth Grade” in theaters now have a chance to watch it at home, along with another Debra Granik’s acclaimed feature, “Leave No Trace,” about a father and daughter duo who live in the Oregon woods.Find the full list of titles coming to Amazon Prime Video below.Jan. 1A Beautiful Mind Alpha DogBrazilBreaking Big, Season 1First Civilizations, Season 1Frontline, Season 36GI Jews: Jewish Americans in World War IIGoing to WarJane EyreNova Wonders, Season 1ReprisalRwanda: The Royal TourThe Art of the ShineThe Jazz AmbassadorsWilly Wonka & the Chocolate FactoryJan. 3Leave No TraceJan. 4Beautiful BoySherlock GnomesJan. 11Informer, Season 1Jan. 12Final ScoreJan. 13Eighth GradeJan. 16The DebtJan. 18The Grand Tour, Season 3Jan. 19Fahrenheit 11/9Jan. 25Escobar: Paradise LostFour More Shots Please!, Season 1Jan. 29Endeavour, Season 5Coming in January, date TBDThe Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, Season 1b Popular on Variety
More than 700 foreign strippers received a special Swiss work permit in 2015, the last issued in a controversial programme that expires on January 1, the immigration office said today.Switzerland began awarding eight-month permits in 1995 to women from outside the European Union who wanted to come to the country to work as strippers and cabaret dancers.The programme was meant to protect people who may have otherwise been vulnerable to sex traffickers, and dancers from Russia, the Dominican Republic and Thailand were among the top recipients.But following a prolonged investigation, Swiss authorities in 2014 announced that the programme was no longer serving a protective role, with some permit holders subjected to forced prostitution after arrival in the country.Migration office spokeswoman Lea Wertheimer confirmed that the programme will formally be cancelled as of the new year.
Hundreds of mountain bikers will retrace the steps of 16th century Spanish explorers in Costa Rica in a race that begins Thursday. The Ruta de los Conquistadores traverses Costa Rica from the Pacific to the Caribbean through some of the country’s most grueling terrain.Each of the three stages is named after one of the three conquistadors who arrived in Costa Rica five centuries ago, beginning with the Juan de Cavalón stage Thursday. The race begins at 6 a.m. in Playa Herradura, Puntarenas and ends in Atenas in the Central Valley, covering more than 100 kilometers with a cumulative elevation gain of approximately 3,400 meters (12,000 feet). Throughout the three days, riders will travel more than 255 kilometers (160 miles) and climb more than 7,725 meters (25,344 feet).As far as international cycling events go, the Ruta de los Conquistadores is consistently named among the most difficult in the world, especially for mountain biking events.Outside Magazine calls it one of the 13 toughest races — of any sport — in the world. The magazine notes that riders have three days to finish the route while the Spanish conquistadors took 20 years. Racers cross a bridge during the last stage of the Ruta de los Conquistadores in this file photo from 2007, in Bananito, Costa Rica. Yuri Cortéz/AFPNearly 400 riders will participate in the 23rd edition of the race, including international riders from countries like the United States, Spain, and Colombia.Chris Case, the managing editor of U.S.-based cycling website Velo News, is a longtime cyclist who competed in the race in 2013. On the last day of the race, just an hour before he finished, Case fell through a hole in a train bridge over a river. He struggled to keep himself from falling 50 feet into rapids while holding his bike over his head. A military policeman rushed over to lift him up and Case continued on to the finish line.But he said the harrowing experience, which he later chronicled on his website, didn’t muddy his memories of Costa Rica and the arduous race.“I would do it again,” he said in a telephone call from Colorado. “I remember just loving it.”The route, which changes slightly every year, takes riders through jungle paths, around volcanoes, and over raging rivers, like the one Case almost fell into. This year’s edition of the race also offers an optional rafting detour on the Pacuare River.“It’s just such a crazy adventure, it’s far more than a bike race,” Case said.The winner of last year’s race was Portugal’s Luis Leao Pinto. The favorites heading into this year’s race are Colombia’s Luis Mejía and Costa Rican Olympian Paolo Montoya, who has won the race four times, more than any other rider in race history. Facebook Comments Related posts:Colombia’s Luis Mejía claims second straight Ruta de los Conquistadores title PHOTOS: Ruta de los Conquistadores bike race heads into final leg Costa Rican cyclist Andrey Amador moves into third place in the Giro d’Italia VIDEO: Traffic cop stops Costa Rican bicyclist Andrey Amador in bizarre highway altercation
Related posts:Costa Rica is Central America’s most honest country, says latest TI corruption index Lula’s bridge to nowhere hints at global reach of Brazil graft FIFA corruption probe: Swiss to extradite ex-VP Figueredo to US Argentina opposition attacks Macri over Panama Papers Facebook Comments The single-story brick building at 1209 North Orange St. in downtown Wilmington, Delaware, looks bland and innocuous. But the building, home to the Corporation Trust Company, has an intriguing claim to fame. In the last few years, it has served as the registered address for more than 250,000 businesses, giving companies around the world access to Delaware’s business-friendly laws.During his 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama criticized Caribbean tax havens. He mentioned one building in the Cayman Islands that is the registered home of more than 12,000 U.S.-based corporations, saying, “That’s either the biggest building in the world or the biggest tax scam on record.” But as the example of 1209 North Orange St. demonstrates, the same activity is going on in President Obama’s backyard.A massive leak of confidential documents from Mossack Fonseca, a law firm in Panama that helped wealthy clients set up anonymous companies in tax havens, is highlighting how the global offshore industry secretly invests massive amounts of wealth around the globe. The 11 million leaked documents cover 40 years of the law firm’s operations and allegedly touch on the financial dealings of 12 current or former heads of state, as well as 60 more people linked to world leaders.The documents, which have not been reviewed by The Washington Post, allege connections among offshore accounts set up by Mossack Fonseca and money laundering, bribery and tax evasion, among other charges, according to The Guardian, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, and other publications that accessed the documents.See: Costa Rica in the Panama Papers leakMossack Fonseca largely helped its clients set up offshore accounts in the kind of tropical locations that people typically think of as tax havens – the British Virgin Islands, Panama, the Bahamas and the Seychelles – countries that do play a big role in shuttling the wealth of the world’s richest people around the globe.But one of the least recognized facts about the global offshore industry is that much of it, in fact, is not offshore. Indeed, some critics of the offshore industry say the U.S. is now becoming one of the world’s largest “offshore” financial destinations.“We often say that the U.S. is one of the easiest places to set up so-called anonymous shell companies,” says Mark Hays, a senior adviser with Global Witness, an NGO that advocates for financial transparency.Offshore isn’t so much a destination anymore as “a set of capabilities,” which include ensuring secrecy, minimizing taxes, managing assets, and providing clients security and access to their wealth from anywhere in the world, James Henry, a senior adviser to the Tax Justice Network and former chief economist of McKinsey & Co, wrote in a 2012 report. The Tax Justice Network ranks the U.S. third in terms of the secrecy and scale of its offshore industry, behind Switzerland and Hong Kong but ahead of the Cayman Islands and Luxembourg.A 2012 study in which researchers sent more than 7,400 email solicitations to more than 3,700 corporate service providers — the kind of companies that typically register shell companies, such as the Corporation Trust Company at 1209 North Orange St. — found that the U.S. had the laxest regulations for setting up a shell company anywhere in the world outside of Kenya. The researchers impersonated both low- and high-risk customers, including potential money launderers, terrorist financiers and corrupt officials.Contrary to popular belief, notorious tax havens such as the Cayman Islands, Jersey and the Bahamas were far less permissive in offering the researchers shell companies than states such as Nevada, Delaware, Montana, South Dakota, Wyoming and New York, the researchers found.Part of the reason that the U.S. looks so attractive as a tax and secrecy haven is that the country has not signed on to new global disclosure standards that are forcing anonymous companies to reveal their real owners around the world. Compared with other developed countries, and even traditional offshore destinations such as Switzerland and the British Virgin Islands, the U.S. now appears to be among the most lenient and secure destinations for the fortunes of the global rich.Since the late 1990s, the “onshore-offshore” market in the U.S. has blossomed, as states have competed with each other to provide inexpensive limited liability corporations and asset protection trusts with levels of secrecy and tax advantages similar to those of traditional offshore havens, writes Henry of the Tax Justice Network.In many U.S. states, people registering shell companies do not need to show a form of identification, like a driver’s license or passport, and corporate service providers aren’t required to verify the identity of the person who owns the company, called “the beneficial owner,” or know what the company is for. The beneficial owner may be asked to give their name, address and phone number, but for an additional fee, the corporate service provider can provide a “nominee” to take their place as the public face of the company — a person who controls the company in name but not in reality, disguising the beneficial owner’s identity.“In some places [in the U.S.], it’s easier to incorporate a company than it is to get a library card,” Joseph Spanjers of Global Financial Integrity, a research and advocacy organization that wants to curtail illicit financial flows, said in an interview earlier this year.There’s nothing inherently wrong with shell companies, which are inactive companies without assets or operations. Sometimes shell companies are used for legitimate purposes, such as when companies use them to temporarily conceal the development of a new product until its release, or make an investment in a new technology without alerting competitors. Anonymous companies also help protect the privacy of wealthy individuals, including hiding personal wealth to diminish the risk of kidnapping.Too often, however, shell companies are used as a vehicle for criminal activity — disguising wealth from tax authorities, financing terrorism, concealing fraudulent schemes, or laundering funds from corruption or the trafficking in drugs, people and arms. A report published by Global Witness in 2014 detailed some of the nefarious purposes shell companies have been used for in the U.S., including setting up sham companies that tricked elderly people into investing in worthless business schemes, laundering millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels, accepting political bribes, and circumventing U.S. sanctions against Iran.Critics of the industry say that those worried about these practices must be concerned about anonymous companies, which are instrumental in funding and concealing them from law enforcement investigations.In the secretive offshore industry, estimates for how much money is invested through shell companies registered in the U.S. are hard to come by. But anecdotes suggest that this laxity of regulation has led to the creation of many anonymous companies in the U.S. that could be used for nefarious purposes. U.S. firms are legally prohibited from knowingly helping customers to avoid taxes, but they can offer them privacy and secrecy, and ask very few questions.Reporting by Bloomberg detailed how lawyers, trust companies and financial firms including Rothschild are moving offshore accounts from locations such as Switzerland and Grand Cayman Islands into the U.S. to take advantage of the country’s relative lax regulations. Nearly half of residential properties purchases of over $5 million made in the U.S. in the last few years were carried out by anonymous shell companies, data analyzed by the New York Times has shown.These trends are in part the result of changing global regulations since the financial crisis, which are making the U.S. look even more appealing as a financial destination.Since the financial crisis, developed countries have led a crackdown on global tax havens, as a way to recover revenue and mitigate skyrocketing inequality. In 2010, the United States implemented legislation called the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA, in hopes of catching U.S. tax cheats. The law required financial firms around the world to report accounts held by U.S. citizens to the Internal Revenue Service – or else face being frozen out of the U.S. financial system.Related: Have you received a FATCA letter?In response, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, a group of 34 advanced countries, drew up its own tough tax disclosure requirements, called Common Reporting Standards, and asked roughly 100 countries and jurisdictions around the world to approve them. Only a handful of countries have refused, including Bahrain, Vanuatu and the United States.The United States argues that since its program is similar to Europe’s, it doesn’t need to join it – instead, the United States plans to sign bilateral agreements with other countries. But in the interim, the United States is not providing European countries with the kind of data it is requesting from them — creating an incentive for financial firms to move their business to the United States. The result is, basically, a “disaster,” says the Tax Justice Network, a research and advocacy group. “Washington’s independent-minded approach risks tearing a giant hole in international efforts to crack down on tax evasion, money laundering and financial crime,” the group says in a report on the U.S.European countries are passing other regulations to lift the veil on the kind of secrecy shell companies create. The U.K. has created a public registry for companies, which allows anyone to freely look up the beneficial owners of all British companies. Meanwhile, the EU has passed a sweeping anti-monetary directive, under which countries are setting up company registries that will be available to law enforcement, as well as the public and the media by special request.In the U.S., Global Witness and other groups are pushing for similar legislation. Reps. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and Peter King, R-N.Y., and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., have introducing a bill calling for all shell companies registered in the U.S. to report their real owner, called a “beneficial owner.”But the bill has faced resistance from Delaware, Nevada, Wyoming and other states through an organization called the National Association of Secretaries of State, who worry about the loss of tax revenues and the burden of regulation.So far, the documents from Mossack Fonseca have not implicated U.S. politicians or other wealthy people, according to Fusion, which reviewed the leaked material. Those names may yet emerge, though, in an interview with Fusion, Henry of the Tax Justice Network suggests that there is a reason for their absence.The U.S. has an onshore haven industry that is as secretive as anywhere, Henry said. “[Americans] discovered that they really don’t need to go to Panama.”Ana Swanson is a reporter for Wonkblog specializing in business, economics, data visualization and China.© 2016, The Washington Post
– / 25 Comments Share While training camp is still in its infant stages, one holdover from last season, outside linebacker Sam Acho, already sees a change in the scenery — and not the kind that has to anything do with moving practices from Northern Arizona University to University of Phoenix Stadium.“I think any time that you change coaching staffs, you’re always going to see a big difference,” Acho told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo Monday. “We have a big difference in this coaching staff, as well. We have a lot more coaches, a lot more hands-on coaching with the number of coaches on staff. “It’s also about learning a new scheme. Every time you have players coming together to learn a new defense, it takes time to adjust.”Although the transition period will certainly take time, Acho noted that he and his teammates have already found a big positive in their new system. “There’s a lot of creativity,” said Acho. “Coach Horton was awesome, but we’re loving Coach Bowles’ defense. We’re making a lot of plays in it.“They’re similar in some regards, because we have to do a lot of 3-4. But we also have a little bit of a 4-3 off of it, so that’s probably the biggest difference, working in the 4-3 off of our 3-4 scheme.” The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Top Stories LISTEN: Sam Acho, Cardinals LB Your browser does not support the audio element. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The fourth-round pick made his fair share of plays (four sacks, two interceptions and two fumbles forced) in 2012, but like his unit, Acho is not immune to change, either.Despite serving as one of the team’s better pass rushers on third down last season, the former Texas standout might see a reduced role with the addition of Abraham, a 13-year veteran who has made a living getting after the quarterback.But to Acho, having Abraham on board is less about competition and more about learning from one of the game’s elite players at his position.“The coolest thing about John is that literally from the first day he stepped on the field he was teaching us some of the stuff that he’s done,” said Acho. “He has something like 122 career sacks, is the active leader right now, but he instantly jumped on board and is teaching us how we can do it better. “So it’s almost like having — not a coach on the field — but someone who says ‘Hey this is what I’m doing, here’s what you can do to be better.’ There’s a lot of learning going on right now with every outside linebacker and John.” The times, they are a-changin’.At least, that’s what it must have felt like for the Arizona Cardinals defense this offseason.For a unit that finished 2012 as the second-best NFC team in passing yards allowed/game (200.8) and interceptions (22), there was a notable amount of turnover.Their popular defensive coordinator (Ray Horton) was replaced with a lesser-known commodity (Todd Bowles), their heart and soul (Adrian Wilson) was released, their secondary — outside of Patrick Peterson — was almost completely remodeled with new faces (Jeremiah Bell, Jerraud Powers, Antoine Cason, Tyrann Mathieu and Javier Arenas) and their linebacking corps received a mix of good news (signings of John Abraham, Karlos Dansby, Lorenzo Alexander and Jasper Brinkley) and bad news (Pro Bowler Daryl Washington suspended the first four games of 2013 season).
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