Justice Department takes aim at cleanup holes in FirstEnergy restructuring plan

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Plain Dealer:The U.S. Department of Justice fired a warning shot this week across the bow of FirstEnergy Solutions and its path toward restructuring itself free of past debt and other obligations. The warning did not leave out parent company FirstEnergy, which negotiated a deal with FES and creditors last summer and has since insisted it has no financial responsibility for FES and its many problems.The federal and state authorities don’t agree with that and filed an objection in bankruptcy court making sure the companies, its creditors, and the court understand that. In an eight-page court brief, lawyers for the Justice Department and Ohio and Pennsylvania attorneys general noted that they believe FirstEnergy has “significant independent liability.” They added that FES itself is also on the hook to pay for cleanup left behind by coal power plants and the long-term decommissioning cost of its nuclear plants.“The Non-Debtor Affiliates (FirstEnergy) have numerous liabilities to the Governments under environmental laws for their ownership and/or operation of (and/or disposal at) some of the same facilities for decades even before the Debtors [FES] became the owners/operators,” they argue.The brief reads that FES has for months repeatedly put off negotiating its liabilities for cleaning up power plant environmental damage while simultaneously cutting deals with its creditors and winning extra time from the court to independently restructure itself, free of past debt.“Counsel requested that the Governments be included early on in the negotiations [with creditors] and not be the only ones left out and then presented with a fait accompli that everybody else had negotiated,” the attorneys wrote.Yet, in the latest request to the court for a third time extension to continue to develop its restructuring plan without having to deal with competing plans, FES made no mention of its obligations to deal with the government, the brief to the court said. The FES request for a third extension of time was “silent with respect to the Governments’ concerns and makes no provision for any allocation or trust relating to environmental liabilities,” the government noted.More: Justice Department, Ohio AG warn FirstEnergy Solutions and FirstEnergy on environmental obligations Justice Department takes aim at cleanup holes in FirstEnergy restructuring planlast_img read more

50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 Moon Launch LIVE From Kennedy Space Center

first_imgFifty years ago today, Apollo 11 began its voyage into American history.The Saturn V rocket carrying astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 9:32 a.m. on July 16, 1969 — and just four days later, man first set foot on the moon.The moon mission was a milestone in human history.But it was also a groundbreaking moment in broadcast television, as CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite brought the frontier of space to living rooms across America.Today, Apollo 11 crew members Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins are reuniting at the Kennedy Space Center as special events are held across the country to mark the milestone.Saturday marks the golden anniversary of the lunar landing, when the late Neil Armstrong left the first human footprints on the moon.last_img read more

New temple to be opened in Leonora

first_imgThe community of Groenveldt, at Leonora, West Coast Demerara will see the opening of a Hindu temple, and the executive members of the Groenveldt Dharmic Shiva Mandir will be consecrating the newly constructed building at a ceremony set to begin on Monday and continue throughout the week with other activities.During the opening ceremony, a Ram-Leela presentation will be performed by members of the Ayodhya Research Institute of India, after which a prayer session is scheduled for the late afternoon hours. The events will commence at 17:00h.On Tuesday, prayer services commonly referred to as a Ramayan Yajna will be held at 06:30h, followed by a closing ceremony which will be conducted on June 29 at 09:30h to conclude the consecration exercise.The organisers are encouraging the general public to grace the event with their presence to partake in the week’s festivities.last_img read more

Duo found guilty of murdering guard at Berbice Mandir

first_imgFollowing a four-hour deliberation, a mixed jury returned the guilty verdict against two men who were accused of murdering a security guard at a Mandir in Berbice.The duo – Shivnarine Jainarine of Train Line Dam, Port Mourant, Corentyne; and Ryan Persaud, also called “KK”, 17, of Williamsburg, murdered Jagdat Ramcharran, called “Ronald”, 61; a security guard of Bloomfield, Corentyne between January 6 and 7, 2013.A third suspect, Kerwin Hintzen, had earlier pleaded guilty to the heinous crime and given a 20-year sentence.State Prosecutor Mandel Moore during the trial stated the trio murdered the security guard during the commissioning of a robbery. The man’s body was foundShivnarine Jainarinebound and gagged at the Iskcon Hari Krishna Mandir at Block 6 Williamsburg, Corentyne, Berbice.During the trial which started on October 1, the prosecution called 12 witnesses. The lengthy trial was over shadowed by a voir dire which took weeks.It was to determine the admissibility of caution statements given by the two suspects. The trial was heard by Justice Priya Sewnarine-Beharry, while Attorney Mursalene Bacchus represented Jainarine and Attorney Arudranauth Gossai represented Persaud.Among those who were called to the witness stand were Magistrate Sherdell Isaacs who conducted the Preliminary Inquiry (PI) and committed the trio to stand trial to the High Court.In his opening address, Moore told the court that Ramcharran was a watchman at the Mandir when the two men and others broke and entered the place of worship and in the course of committing a burglary, murdered the victim.A bell, two golden murti, a pair of slippers and a tape recorder were missing and the entire building was ransacked. The bandits had reportedly cut open a grill on a window to gain entry to the building.The security guard’s body was discovered around 03:00h by a worshipper who visited the temple for his early morning worship. When he arrived, no one came to greet him and the gate was locked.After making several calls and getting no response, the worshipper scaled the fence and to his horror, found the watchman lying on the ground. Government Pathologist, Dr Vivakanand Bridgemohan gave the cause of death asRyan Persaudstrangulation. Ramcharran’s head was also bashed in.Both accused told the court that they were beaten to sign caution statements. Police witnesses during the trial said there were video and audio recordings of those caution statements. Persaud said he was beaten four times.He also told the court that after he was remanded to prison, he was taken to the Mibicuri Police Station and locked up for several days in an effort to prevent prison authorises seeing the injuries he received as a result of the beating.However, one Police witness told the court that there was no evidence available to the police to indicate that Persaud made those utterances to the Magistrate during the PI.In a mitigating plea, Attorney Bacchus asked the court to take into consideration the age of Jainarine who was 16 when the murder was committed. Attorney Gossai asked for a probation report.The trial Judge proponed sentencing until November 29 when the probation report is expected to be presented to the court.last_img read more

The Curious Case of the Imploding Windows

first_imgIn 2008, a Dutchman named L. Korn found himself in Toronto buying windows for a house he was building back in the Netherlands. Unavailable at the time in Europe, the quad-pane insulated glass he wanted could be ordered from a Canadian manufacturer, and Korn was ready to do business. Korn placed an order for 193 insulated glass units — just the glass, no frames — with Eco Insulating Glass Inc. of Mississauga, Ontario in April 2009. The $40,400 order went to a warehouse in New York and from there was shipped by sea to his house in the Netherlands. Carpenters inserted the glass into frames that had been made in Guatemala and installed them. The krypton-filled insulated glass units (IGUs) consisted of two sheets of glass and two sheets of Heat Mirror film. The high-performance windows were part of Korn’s plan to use only the best green building materials he could find in the construction of his 3,000-square-foot, €1.2 million home. He also bought one spare unit and stored it in a garage, just in case something happened to one of the windows in the house.RELATED ARTICLESAdvances in WindowsAre High-Performance Windows Worth Their High Cost?Installing High-Performance WindowsAll About Glazing OptionsWindow Reflections Can Melt Vinyl Siding And by 2016, something did start to happen to the windows in his house. They began imploding. “The first IGs imploded in 2016,” Korn said in an email. “It made a big bang. I had no idea what happened. I reported the problem to Eco Insulating Glass on 29 November 2016.” Now, two years later, a total of nine windows have imploded. The manufacturer blames the problem on Korn’s decision to glue wood grilles on the outside faces of the glass and has voided its warranty. An engineer hired by Korn says the practice is common in Europe and that a manufacturing defect, not the grilles, is the most likely reason that the glass panels are failing. In the meantime, Korn is left with a number of shattered windows and a €135,000 estimate to replace them. The problem is not unknown Insulated glass units consist of two or more panes of glass, with the sealed space between them typically filled with gas, often argon or krypton. After the units are manufactured, the outer panes of glass are susceptible to some distortion as temperature and air pressure change, says Dutch engineer Walter Frank Westgeest. The phenomenon is well known in the glass industry, but it rarely results in a problem. “Yes, I’ve seen many glass panes that are curved by air pressure differences or other causes, but it hardly ever results in breaking,” Westgeest said in a telephone call. “If you look at buildings, you can see all kinds of curvature in the glass panes, especially with a certain ratio of length and width.” An exasperated Korn hired Westgeest to find out what happened after an extended exchange of emails with the manufacturer got him nowhere. Westgeest, who works for the Dutch firm Bouwkans, is a building scientist who spent 10 years working solely for a glass consultancy. In a report on Korn’s windows last year, Westgeest said that all of the IGs he inspected, except for one, appeared to be concave, with interior panes always distorted more than the exterior pane of glass. The wood window grilles that had been glued onto the glass were often detached, meaning they had pulled away from the glass and could no longer impede movement. Westgeest said that he measured distortion with a straight ruler and a sliding gauge. The distortion ranged from 2mm to 8 mm (0.06 inch to 0.31 inch) on the inside pane, and from 1 mm to 4 mm (0.03 inch to 0.157 inch) on the outside pane. The uninstalled spare unit also showed an inward distortion: 3.8 mm (0.149 inch) on the inside pane. Why do glass surfaces deflect? Westgeest cites three reasons why insulated glass units become concave or convex in shape: The gas content inside the IG is constant, but the ambient air pressure where the window is installed varies. The IGU is convex at low ambient air pressure and concave at high ambient air pressure. He describes this as a “dynamic process whereby the IGU will eventually return to its original flat shape …” It is not, he adds, enough to break glass panes, but the effect is magnified when the unit was manufactured under air pressure conditions significantly different than where the windows are put into service. Sealants and spacers are designed to contain the gas inside the IGU, but the gas can still leak out. Argon and krypton have a tendency to move from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration, and materials used for sealant barriers let some molecules go through more easily than others. Krypton and argon can get out, but larger oxygen and nitrogen molecules in the atmosphere can’t get in to replace it. Westgeest calls this a “molecular sieve.” In time, the sealed space inside the window is at a much lower pressure than ambient air pressure. A dessicant is placed inside the sealed space to absorb moisture, but when a dessicant with the wrong specifications is used, gases like argon, krypon and nitroten are absorbed instead. “Because these gases are the main content of these IGUs, the absorption or ‘disappearance’ leads to a lower pressure in the unit, which will lead to concave shaping of the IGU,” his report says. Westgeest said the insulated glass industry has, in time, learned to cope with these problems and that reports of glass failure now are unusual. For example, IGUs can be subjected to big differences in air pressure when they are shipped from a low-altitude manufacturing plant to a house high in the Swiss Alps. Manufacturers counter the problem by inserting very small tubes that vent the interior of the window and let excess pressure escape. When the windows arrive at their destination, the tubes are sealed. Westgeest believes that either a faulty dessicant or a faulty sealant is to blame for Korn’s window problems. “I can’t imagine anything else,” he said. “That’s the only thing I can really think of. It can be worsened by transport, but I don’t think that’s the primary cause.” In the U.S. early IGU makers learned to tweak the internal pressure of the windows so they wouldn’t rupture on the trip from a manufacturing site in the Denver area (elevation of 5,000 feet) to the Houston area, one expert who didn’t want to be quoted by name told GBA. Early on, windows failed. Then manufacturers learned how to adjust. These days, failures on the scale of Korn’s experience are rare indeed. The manufacturer blames the applied grilles Glenn MacEachern, vice president for sales at Eco Glass,  believes the problem with Korn’s windows stems from the decision to glue wood grilles to the outside of the glass, not a manufacturing defect. That was the basis of a letter from Eco attorney Stephen Walters to Korn last year in which the company disavowed any responsibility for the breakage. Walters said the 20-year warranty on the window units excludes “glass breakage from any cause” and exempts units that have been retrofitted with “any type of solar film or tinted film or any other added covering to the original glass surface.” “We have inspected the unit you shipped to Eco for review and note that your complaint is in respect of the breakage of the glass and that, in addition, the glass had an added covering to the original glass surface,” Walters wrote. “As such, the products supplied are exempted from any warranty coverage. The glass breakage is excluded from coverage, and the glass was covered with a non-factory covering and excluded from coverage.” Bottom line: “Eco has no obligation pursuant to the warranty or otherwise to replace the glass.” In a telephone call, MacEachern said the grilles could interfere with the “pumping action” that any IGU undergoes with changes in ambient air pressure. “It’s a violation of the warranty,” he said. “A unit has to be able to change with changing environmental conditions.” He said he suspects Eco’s warranty is no different on that point than a “vast majority” of IGU manufacturers. Moreover, Eco has not had any other complaints of this kind in the more than 30 years it’s been making IGUs with the Heat Mirror film developed by Southwall Technologies. “If this problem were going to be across the board, we would have had a similar situation exist in production other than Mr. Korn’s,” he said. “This one example is the only one that we’re aware of … If there’s a problem with our production methodology then why is it just this one specific job? That’s it. I’ve not seen it anywhere else.” The privately held company manufacturers IGUs, but not finished windows, for the North American market. MacEachern declined to be specific about production volume or sales. A long string of emails goes nowhere Korn has posted his tale of woe online, including a series of email exchanges with MacEachern, another Eco Glass executive named Jim Larkin, and officials at Eastern Chemical, which owns the Heat Mirror technology. The emails trace Korn’s repeated requests for an explanation and help, from the early days following the initial implosion in 2016 through his frustrated accusation last month that Eco Glass was refusing to take responsibility for its production errors and didn’t seem to care about damaging its reputation. Eco at first seemed eager to help. In January 2017, MacEachern wrote that he was trying to find an engineer in Europe who could help assess the problem. He offered possible causes for the breakage — the frames around the units were too tight, or the sealant on the window edges was not sufficiently protected from UV light. “Please rest assured that we are working diligently to address your situation,” he said in an email. In a followup email in April 2017, MacEachern told Korn that he was waiting to hear from Eco’s gas supplier as well as suppliers of polyurethane and silicone, who might also have some ideas. “I’ve always been a proponent in assessing the root cause for failures so that we simply do not repeat the problem again for you,” MacEachern said. “I want to get to the bottom of things and correct the situation.” But as time went on, the correspondence became less cordial. By last month, Eastman was asking to be dropped from any further inquiries, and Eco made it clear it was at the end of its efforts to help. “The bottom line here is that Eco Insulating Glass Inc. simply cannot be responsible for the mishandling or misuse of our product after delivery,” Larkin wrote. Next steps uncertain Korn, 56, said he originally found Eco through a Google search. No one in Europe was using Heat Mirror film at the time, so he piggybacked a visit to the Eco factory with a family trip. The visit went well. “It was all OK,” he said, “they’re not a big company.” Separately, Korn had selected a Guatemalan firm at a building fair to manufacture the frames. He also visited that company before placing his order. The window frames were shipped separately to Holland where they were married up with the glass from Canada and installed in the house. The windows were installed without incident, and it wasn’t until 2014 that someone pointed out to Korn that one of the windows seemed to have a concave shape. The following year, the first of the windows imploded, he said in a telephone call, but the window was in a room that didn’t get much use and he put the problem out of mind. But the following year, two others went and Korn’s concerns grew. At Eco’s request, Korn removed a damaged window and sent it to the company for testing.  On the advice of his engineer, he declined to send Eco the only uninstalled unit he had. But, Korn says, he never was told what the tests revealed. Eco’s did not follow through on its initial offer to find an engineering firm in Europe to look into the problem, and the company did not comment on the results of Westgeest’s €1,200 report, he said. In short, Korn doesn’t seem to have much leverage with Eco, and not much of a way forward without hiring a lawyer, a move he recognizes as an expensive next step. “If you start talking to a lawyer, the first thing he says is, ‘Well, send me 10,000 Euros and I’ll have a look into it.’ That’s the first thing they say,” Korn said. “… I’m looking into it but first I want to try if I could convince Eco Glass to handle this in a normal way. “They have tried to get around it, and of course that has made me very upset and angry,” he continued. He hopes the website he has created will prompt others who have experienced the same problem to step forward, but so far none has. “I have no idea,” he said when asked what he will do next. “I’m just waiting and hoping.”last_img read more

10 months agoDONE DEAL? Claims Ramsey has SIGNED Juventus pre-contract

first_imgDONE DEAL? Claims Ramsey has SIGNED Juventus pre-contractby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveArsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey has AGREED to a pre-contract with Juventus, it has been claimed.Sportmediaset says he is preparing to head to Italy after penning a four-year deal with the Serie A giants.And Ramsey, 28, will pocket £145,000-a-week at Juventus.A host of Europe’s biggest clubs have been linked with a move for the popular ace.However, it now looks certain that Ramsey will be lining-up alongside Cristiano Ronaldo for the Old Lady next season.He has made over 300 appearances for the North London side. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Spence and Robinson end fasts call on Canadians to fix years of

first_imgBy Kenneth JacksonAPTN National NewsOttawa – The fast may be over, but the fight continues.That was the message delivered Thursday as Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence and Elder Raymond Robinson officially ended their weeks-old fast.“It does not end because the hunger strike ends. The fight continues. We have mobilized a nation,” said Spence spokesman Danny Metatawabin at a press conference Thursday. “You, Canadians, we want our rightful place as well…We will stand up. We will persevere. We want to be acknowledged.”Spence couldn’t attend the press conference but Robinson was there, as well as Liberal leader Bob Rae, NDP MP Romeo Saganash and Saskatchewan Assembly of First Nations regional chief Perry Bellegarde.Metatawabin said Spence was bedridden under doctors’ orders. She went to the hospital Wednesday and was put on an IV. She may be released later Thursday or Friday.Robinson, from Cross Lake, Man., said he also attended the hospital but when he was being seen a by a nurse he said she questioned why he was there, how he got there and had no clue Robinson had been on a fast for 43 days. Robinson said he felt the nurse was almost racist and walked out without being assessed.He said his fast, next to Spence’s side, was a rollercoaster ride for him and his family.“It is with mixed emotions, a lot of stress, joy, jubilation that I make the statement today that the journey of my hunger strike ends,” said Robinson before taking questions from media. “It’s a rollercoaster ride for my sake, my family’s sake…for the journey I took upon myself to try and get some kind of word out to general population in respect to the way my people have been treated over the course of these generations.”Robinson said it’s amazing in this day and age that First Nation people still struggle to control what’s theirs – land, water and resources – while the federal government tries to take control of it all.He said when Europeans first arrived they survived because of Indigenous peoples.“We nurtered you guys and gave you our medicine. You guys would have died without our medicine, without us teaching you how to live and survive in this country,” he said. “We forged a relationship with you guys hoping that you would be our partners in everything – 50/50. You smoked our Pipe to symbolize the relationship we wanted to forge with you.”But it didn’t work that way.Through time the non-Aboriginal society thought they could take everything from the First Peoples said Robinson.That includes their children and Indian Residential Schools.“I’m an Indian Residential School survivor. I went to three Residential Schools,” he said. “The government of Canada tried to take my identity away from me, my life, my language, my being a First Nation person to try assimilate me into a foreign culture I don’t know about.”This rooted his 43-day fast that began a day after Spence began hers on Dec. 11. They survived on tea and fish broth.But there was more to the fast.“To tell the world, to tell Canada that enough is enough,” said Robinson. “Can’t you just leave us alone, can’t we just be ordinary people in this land, can we have the same opportunities you guys live in a daily basis…can I be received as a human being in my own land.”He said Bill C-38 gives the government power to do what they wish in First Nation territories. Bill C-45 takes control of their resources he said.To make changes such as Robinson is saying the government is to consult with First Nations as per the Constitution Rae reminded reporters in the gallery.That was the main reason behind the Idle No More movement that now includes hundred of years of oppression.“This is your fight too. These acts, these bills will kill us all,” said Robinson. “Fight with us and make sure these bills don’t go anywhere.”Bill C-45 became law just before Christmas.APTN National News reported early Wednesday morning that Spence had already decided to end the fast but news of the end came much later in the day.Spence and Robinson officially agreed to end their fast based on a 13-point plan endorsed by the Assembly of First Nations, the Native Women’s Society of Canada, the NDP and Liberal caucuses. The plan calls for such things as proper funding for education, respecting treaty rights and consulting First Nations on changes to their lives.Spence, however, was facing pressure from her own band council to end the fast and a delegation from Attawapiskat was to leave for Ottawa Wednesday to hand-deliver a letter urging her to quit the protest or face removal as chief.Her health was also starting to fail and she had been considering a way to end the protest on a high note after realizing she would not be able to obtain her goal of forcing a meeting between the prime minister, the governor general and First Nations leaders.Spence’s teepee on Victoria Island became a type of pilgrimage destination for many First Nations people across Canada who came to visit her, offer her gifts and blessings.“We end our hunger strikes with signed commitments from elected First Nations leaders and opposition parties to urgently carry forward our action plan which ensure that our treaty rights are recognized, honoured and fully implemented,” said Spence in a released statement. “Indigenous peoples have lived well below the poverty line in a country that is considered one of the wealthiest in the world. We are no longer idle and precedence has been established over this past six weeks. There’s no going back, our voices have been heard and now I ask for your involvement to move our agenda forward.”The opposition leaders said they will use the 13-point declaration as a “blue print” going forward to push Prime Minister Stephen Harper on First Nation issues.“I view this document as a blueprint for the future in our relations with First Nations in this country and what the NDP is saying, essentially, is we are endorsing this document because we want to accompany you on this road, on this journey to a better future, for a better tomorrow for your communities,” said Saganash.Rae said the document is also a sign of political will.“I think you have to see the document as an expression of political will on our part, and on the part of the AFN, and on part of the (NDP), and on part of a lot of other people on behalf of lot of other Canadians. I think there are a lot of Canadians who want us to move forward,” he said. “Is it something that the Conservatives are going to sign on to tomorrow? Some of it they might, some of it they might not. I think there is a process of public persuasion that needs to go on. I accept that.”That begins with education said Metatawabin.“We need to educate the Canadian people of who we are. I hold this feather in honour because it recognizes a symbol, a closeness I have with the Creator, but you, the average Canadian, probably just think it’s a feather,” he said. “This is who we are. We are spiritual people. It goes back to the treaties. There is a spiritual intent and we have to bridge that gap.”[email protected]@afixedaddresslast_img read more