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June, 2018


‘Combined Joint Task Force’ Rains Down Steel On Last ISIS Pockets

Iraqi And U.S. Guns Bring ‘Steel Rain’ to ISIS

In northwestern Iraq along the Syrian border, the desert echoes with the sound of artillery.

A fire support base hums with activity as service members move about in the heat, reloading, firing, cleaning, maintaining, and securing artillery positions. They speak different languages, but are bound by the common effort of defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria with each artillery barrage.

Iraqi security forces, working alongside troopers from the 3rd Cavalry Regiment “Brave Rifles” and Marines and sailors from other units of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, arrived weeks ago to establish the temporary fire support base.

Their mission is to provide supporting fires to forces participating in Operation Roundup, the operation to defeat the last pockets of ISIS from northeastern Syria. This required close coordination to synchronize fires from multiple weapon systems.

“The most satisfying moment in the mission, so far, was when all three artillery units — two Iraqi and one U.S. — executed simultaneous fires on a single target location,” said Army Maj. Kurt Cheeseman, Task Force Steel operations officer and ground force commander at the fire support base.


Common Technical Language

Iraqi and U.S. gun crews and fire direction centers developed a common technical language to coordinate fire missions and overcame any multinational language barriers.

“This mission required the use of multiple communications systems and the translation of fire commands, at the firing point, directing the Iraqi army guns to prepare for the mission, load and report, and ultimately fire,” said Army 1st Lt. Andrea Ortiz Chevres, Task Force Steel fire direction officer.

The D20 howitzer unit used different procedures to calculate the firing data, which is the information required to determine the correct flight path to achieve effects on the desired target, Ortiz said. “In order to execute coalition fire missions, we had to develop a calculation process to translate their firing data into our mission data to validate fires prior to execution,” Cheeseman explained.

The result was synchronized firing by both Iraqi and U.S. artillery. “This single fire mission was a perfect demonstration of the purpose, effectiveness, and lethality of the partnership at the fire base,” Cheeseman said.

Establishing the fire base and sustaining it presented its own challenges. Troopers arrived to a bare patch of desert, with no fortifications or life support.

“Everything originally emplaced was done by hand and, through the hard work of Marines and soldiers, we emplaced fighting positions, a tactical operations center and living areas,” said Army 1st Lt. Ashton Woodard, a troop executive officer in Task Force Longknife.

To create more permanent emplacements, engineering assets such as bulldozers and forklifts were brought forward, Woodard said.

“Following 10 days of around-the-clock labor in intense environmental conditions, the most satisfying moment was seeing the completion of the physical security perimeter,” said one Marine contributing to the security of the fire site.

Coalition forces and Iraqi partners worked with Brave Rifles engineer teams to establish a secure perimeter providing stand off and protection for the U.S. and Iraqi artillery units.


Various Units Involved

Many organizations came together to make the fire support base possible. Within 3rd Cavalry Regiment, personnel and equipment came from five different squadrons spread across the area of operations. Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force units also provided planners, personnel and equipment. Coalition partners from several different nations participated in the planning and coordination of the complex movement and logistical scheme that brought all the forces and resources together. 

“Supplies were delivered from both air and ground by the Army, Air Force and Marines, and include delivery platforms such as medium tactical vehicles, UH-60 Black Hawks, CH-47 Chinooks, CV-22 Ospreys, C-130 Hercules and a C-17 Globemaster,” Woodard said.

“We receive resupply airdrops that include food, water, fuel, and general supplies,” he added.

With the supply challenge solved, Brave Rifles troopers and coalition troops focused on working with their Iraqi counterparts, easily overcoming any language and technical differences. “The language barrier has not been a significant issue for the execution of fire support base operations,” said Army 1st Sgt. Reonel Mina, Task Force Steel. “The Iraqi army leaders are familiar with working with U.S. forces and the assigned linguists are extremely proficient and understand the mission and intent of the base. They are not only linguists, but also cultural advisors to fire support base leaders and soldiers.”


Depending on Partners

Working side by side, Iraqi and U.S. artillerymen depend on each other to achieve mission success. “Our Iraqi army partners at the fire support base are professional and battle-tested formations,” Cheeseman said. “They are rich in culture and tradition and are extremely gracious and generous.”

“They’re eager to work with the American M777 howitzer and fire direction crews and share artillery knowledge and procedures,” said Army Sgt. 1st Class Isaac Hawthorne, Task Force Steel master gunner. “The U.S. and Iraqi army soldiers spend time together training and sharing culture.”

Cheeseman agreed. “There is a common artillery bond that transcends nationality or unit,” he said.

“It is a pleasure [working with our Iraqi partners], they are very professional and willing to learn and teach to create shared understanding,” said Army Capt. Chase Kelley, a troop commander in Task Force Longknife and the security forces commander at the fire support base. “They respect our measures for security and participate in our regular drills and rehearsals.”

Coalition troops operating out of the fire support base remain extremely motivated and continue to demonstrate their proficiency and dedication to the mission, Cheeseman said.

The remote fire base is temporary and expeditionary, absent any permanent structures and exposed to summer desert temperatures well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius.

“They are enduring harsh weather conditions and a lack of luxuries, but unlike previous deployments for many, each element is performing their core function in a combat environment,” Cheeseman said. “The fire support base is a perfect example of joint and coalition execution that capitalizes on the strengths of each organization to deliver lethal fires, protect our force and sustain operations across an extended operational reach.”


[Source:  Army Capt. Jason Welch/3rd Cavalry Regiment | U.S. Department of Defense -/- Media Relations]
[Photo Credits: Photos and Video inserted by (credits embedded)]


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U.S. Airforce B-52 Bomber Out Of Guam Locates Missing Boat At Sea

B-52 Bomber Crew Aids in Rescue Off Coast of Guam

The B-52 Stratofortress bomber is world famous for its long-range capabilities, but during a routine June 25 flight near Guam, crew members with the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, and deployed to Andersen Air Force Base here were tasked with a unique situation: to use their aircraft’s versatility to aid in the search and rescue of a local vessel missing at sea with six passengers on board.

At about 11 a.m., Air Force Capt. Sean Simpson, 20th EBS aircraft commander, and his crew were airborne over Guam.

The Coast Guard Sector Rescue Coordination Center made a call to the 20th EBS at Andersen, requesting assistance locating a historic Pacific Island style canoe that has been missing since June 19.

The canoe sailors were supposed to make a one-day journey from Piagailoe Atoll with minimal provisions. But after they went missing for six days, their families contacted the Coast Guard for help.
B-52 over Guam

Unique Situation

The information was relayed to the crews of the squadron’s airborne B-52s. At first, they were surprised. “This was a unique situation for us,” Simpson said. “It’s not every day the B-52 gets called for a search and rescue.”

Operating under the knowledge that the vessel could be anywhere within a vast area southeast of Guam, the crew knew the mission wouldn’t be easy. Even finding a familiar or large missing vessel is a tricky task, Simpson said, and his crew didn’t know what this historically styled canoe looked like.

“We’d never heard of this kind of vessel before,” he added. “We knew this was going to be a challenge.”

But came in the form of a popular culture reference. The canoe happened to resemble one helmed by a famous Disney princess. “We asked for more details about the vessel,” Simpson said, “and the dispatcher told us, ‘It’s just like the boat from ‘Moana.’”

The reference sailed by Simpson, who’d never seen the film, but it gave the rest of the crew a clear idea of what to look for.


Three-Hour Search

For more than three hours, the crews scoured the ocean for the wayward vessel. At about 2:45 p.m., the crew in Raider 11 spotted a small wooden canoe with a white sail and six passengers on board. Somehow, in that large swath of ocean, they had found the small wooden ship.

“We spotted this vessel from about 19,000 feet,” said Air Force 1st Lt. Jordan Allen, 20th EBS crew member. “It’s really a small miracle that we were able to see it, because there were quite a bit of clouds.”

The B-52 crew members were able to give the Coast Guard the coordinates. The Coast Guard then contacted a nearby civilian ship to voluntarily assist in the recovery. The local islanders were travelling in a vessel important to their culture and heritage. They didn’t want to leave the canoe, but gratefully accepted food, water and directions back to land. The mission was successful.

“We were so excited to be able to help,” Jordan said. “This is a highlight of our tour here. It shows the spirit of teamwork we all have — not just the aircrew, but the Coast Guard and everyone else who was able to help.”

The squadron’s director of operations credited the successful mission to effective training and the crew’s ability to put it to work.

“I couldn’t be more proud of everyone here for their efforts,” Air Force Lt. Col. Jarred Prier said. “Search and rescue isn’t something people typically think of when they talk about the B-52, but our training and adaptability really paid off. Being a part of this successful search and rescue operation speaks to the diversity of our skill set and shows our importance here in the Pacific.”
Video: B-52 Stratofortress Documentary


[Source: Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jake Barreiro/36th Wing | U.S. Department of Defense -/- Media Relations]
[Photo Credits: Photos and Video Inserted by (credits embedded)]


Florida Doctor Convicted Of Unlawfully Distributing Opioids

South Florida Doctor Convicted Of Participating in a Conspiracy to Illegally Dispense Opioids and Other Drugs

Dr. Andres Mencia, 64, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida was convicted today by a federal jury in Fort Lauderdale, of participating in a conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.

Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Benjamin G. Greenberg for the Southern District of Florida; Special Agent in Charge Adolphus P. Wright of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division; Special Agent in Charge Shimon R. Richmond of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG).

Special Agent in Charge Mark Selby of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Miami Field Office, made the announcement.

According evidence admitted at trial, Dr. Mencia ran Adult & Geriatric Institute of Florida lnc, d/b/a AGI Medical & Dental (AGI), in Oakland Park, Florida. Beginning in or around January 2014 and continuing through October 2017, Dr. Mencia, and office personnel Oscar Luis Ventura-Rodriguez, 41, of Ft. Lauderdale, Nadira Sampath-Grant, 51, of Margate, and John Mensah, 50, of Miami, conspired to perform sham consultations with cash-paying patients. 
Morphin - Morphine
The evidence showed that the true and intended purpose of the consultations was to improperly issue the patients’ prescriptions for opioids and narcotics, such as Oxycodone, OxyContin and Percocet, in exchange for cash payments.  Pursuant to Dr. Mencia’s instructions, co-conspirators kept track of the drug-seeking patients by identifying them as “CS” (controlled substance) “patients.”  On occasion, Dr. Mencia provided his co-conspirators pre-signed prescriptions to issue the “CS” patients prescriptions for controlled substances in his name.  During the course of the conspiracy, Dr. Mencia was not providing a medically meaningful consultation but was in fact acting outside the scope of his professional practice and without legitimate medical purpose.

Dr. Mencia is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge William P. Dimitrouleas on Sept. 7, at 1:30 p.m. in Fort Lauderdale.

Ventura-Rodriguez, Sampath-Grant and Mensah previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States by unlawfully distributing controlled substances.  Judge Dimitrouleas sentenced Ventura-Rodriguez to serve 60 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release.  A re-scheduled sentencing date has not yet been set for Sampath-Grant.  Sentencing is set for John Mensah on Aug. 24, at 2:15 p.m.

The investigation was conducted by DEA, HHS-OIG and ICE-HSI.  The Aventura Police Department, City of Miami Police Department, Miami-Dade Police Department, and Miami Gardens Police Department assisted in the investigation.  This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Gilfarb of the Southern District of Florida and Trial Attorney Adam G. Yoffie of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.

[Source: U.S. Department of Justice -/- Media Relations]
[Photo Credits: Photos inserted by (credits embedded)]


DP World To Establish Logistic Complex In Ethiopia

DP World Plans To Set Up A Logistics Facility In Ethiopia

DUBAI, 30th June, 2018  — The DP World is planning to set up a logistics facility in Ethiopia to facilitate transport of goods to landlocked countries in Africa, revealed Sultan bin Sulayem, DP World Group Chairman & CEO and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation.

DP World is planning to set up a logistics complex in Ethiopia where goods can be transported from the port to it, and from there it can be transported to different African landlocked countries. They have signed a number of agreements with Ethiopia that will promote friendly relationships with them.

“Business groups in Dubai can always benefit from DP World’s presence in different countries including Rwanda and Egypt where re-exporting opportunities are abundant” bin Sulayem remarked during an open dialogue with trade and business groups in Dubai.


“The world is witnessing rapid changes and developments in trade. There is now more focus on fair trade on the agenda and external policy of countries like the USA, which means protective measures will be taken to curb the flow of goods from the European Union and China into the American market. There are international efforts to reach for a fair and balanced trade, and these developments and changes have put us face to face with new challenges, but we have learnt from our wise leadership that challenges can be turned into opportunities. ” ”We carefully study developments in international trade to always find alternative markets, and this can be sustained through enhancing our strategic partnerships” he added.

About: DP World Group



DP World is a leading enabler of global trade and an integral part of the supply chain. They operate multiple yet related businesses – from marine and inland terminals, maritime services, logistics and ancillary services to technology-driven trade solutions.

They have a portfolio of 78 operating marine and inland terminals supported by over 50 related businesses in over 40 countries across six continents with a significant presence in both high-growth and mature markets. DP World aims to be essential to the bright future of global trade, ensuring everything they do has a long-lasting positive impact on economies and society.

Their dedicated team of over 36,000 employees from 103 countries cultivates long-standing relationships with governments, shipping lines, importers and exporters, communities, and many other important constituents of the global supply chain, to add value and provide quality services today and tomorrow.

Container handling is the company’s core business and generates more than three quarters of its revenue. In 2017, DP World handled 70 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalent units) across their portfolio. With its committed pipeline of developments and expansions, the current gross capacity of 88 million TEU is expected to rise to more than 100 million TEU by 2020, in line with market demand.

By thinking ahead, foreseeing change and innovating DP World aims to create the most productive, efficient and safe trade solutions globally.

[Source: Emirates Government News Agency / WAM/Tariq alfaham | DP World -/- Media Relations]
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Only 1 Percent Of The U.S. Population Will Ever Wear The Uniform Of The Nation

Vice Chairman Of The Joint Chiefs of Staff Salutes The 1 Percent of Population That Serves

WASHINGTON, June 29, 2018 — The men and women who serve in the U.S. armed forces represent the best America has to offer, volunteering to put themselves in harm’s way to serve and protect the nation, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said yesterday.“Only 1 percent of our population today will ever wear the uniform of this nation in any of its incarnations — soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, active, Guard or Reserve,” Air Force Gen. Paul J. Selva said at the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics convention at National Harbor, Maryland.


“That means we have to pick from the very best, because they are going to lead the very best,” he told the athletics administrators from the 1,700 colleges and universities in NACDA’s membership.

He thanked the administrators for what they do to lead, coach and bring out the best in young people. Those athletes include people who will join the military, as well as veterans, including wounded warriors, who will be welcomed back into their communities, he noted.

Strength of Wounded Warriors  

Selva hailed the strength and resilience of wounded warriors.

“They are such a small part of our population, but they’re an important part of our population,” he said. “We owe them everything we can give them for what they have given us.”

Earlier this month, Selva attended the Warrior Games for wounded, ill and injured service members. He described his latest experience at the games as enlightening, saying he has a greater insight into the challenges the men and women have overcome.

“They would say learning adaptive sports actually changed their lives forever,” he said. “It’s amazing to shake their hands or give them a hug after they’ve competed.”
US Navy 100715-N-4047W-004 Cmdr. David Lott salutes the side boys at the conclusion of a change of command ceremony for the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine

Upholding Oath to Constitution

The men and women of the all-volunteer force are upholding an oath to the Constitution of the United States, not to an administration, a party or a person, Selva said. “Every one of us wears the uniform of our nation because we choose to,” he added.

Service members are asked to do inherently dangerous jobs in the defense and protection of freedom and liberty, Selva told the audience. “For that, we have vowed to give our dying breath if that’s necessary,” he said.

“That 1 percent, those sons and daughters of our citizens, are the treasure of this nation,” he said. “What we owe them, which is what I spend most of my time on, are the best tools, the best education and the best training available to allow them to do the tasks they have to do.”

Selva said he means it when he says he works for the men and women in the military, not the other way around.

“I’m here to tell their story, not mine,” he said. “I’m here to remind you how great they are because they serve you, and I thank you for the privilege of being able to lead them.”

[Source: Lisa Ferdinando | U.S. Department of  Defense -/- Media Relations]
[Photo Credits: Photos inserted by (credits embedded)]


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U.S. Defense Secretary Meets With South Korea After Visiting China

Mattis Consults with South Korean Allies After China Visit

WASHINGTON, June 29, 2018 — After meetings in Beijing with Chinese leaders including President Xi Jinping, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis traveled to South Korea’s capital of Seoul to brief leaders there.

Mattis met with Chinese leaders June 27 and yesterday and “reaffirmed the importance of strategic transparency in the U.S.-China defense relationship,” chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White said. “The leaders discussed a broad range of defense issues and reaffirmed the importance of the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea.”

His stop in Seoul to meet with Defense Minister Song Young-moo emphasizes the importance of the U.S.-South Korea alliance. The secretary stressed that the United States and South Korea share democratic values and common security interests. “The U.S. commitment to the Republic of Korea remains ironclad, and the U.S. will continue to use the full range of diplomatic and military capabilities to uphold these commitments,” he said.


U.S. Troop Presence

The United States will maintain current U.S. force levels on the Korean Peninsula of about 28,500 service members, the secretary said. As outlined in President Donald J. Trump’s whole-of-government Indo-Pacific strategy, he noted, the U.S. maintains an enduring commitment to a peaceful, secure, prosperous, free and open Indo-Pacific.

The trip is Mattis’ seventh to the region since becoming secretary. During his last trip to the region in early June, he called on all nations in the region “to strive toward a shared destiny, one steeped in common values and respect for international law,” he said.

The National Defense Strategy calls for strengthening existing alliances while seeking to build new ones.

“I welcome the opportunity to reinforce concrete relationships with stalwart allies while opening avenues for substantive dialogue with others in the region, as I did in China these last few days,” Mattis said.

Close Consultation

He promised the United States would continue its close consultation with South Korean leaders and other partners in the region as “our diplomats continue their work to achieve the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”

The secretary addressed the decision to suspend Exercise Freedom Guardian. He said this gives diplomats increased opportunity to negotiate, increasing prospects for a peaceful solution on the peninsula. “At the same time, the U.S. and [South Korean] forces remain united, vigilant and ready to defend against any challenge,” he said.

This year marks the 65th anniversary of the signing of the U.S.-South Korea Mutual Defense Treaty at the end of the Korean War. The vehicle for discussions between the countries is the joint security consultative meeting.

It is the Americans’ turn to host the meeting, and Mattis said he looks forward to the discussions in Washington in October.

[Source: Jim Garamone | U.S. Department of Defense -/- Media Relations]
[Photo Credits: Photos inserted by (credits embedded)]


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Hungary Wants Strategic Partnership Between The EU and Azerbaijan (Natural Gas Supply)

Hungary is calling for the renewal of the strategic partnership between the EU and Azerbaijan

“Hungary is calling for the negotiations on the renewal of the strategic partnership between Hungary and Azerbaijan to be successful, because the use of natural gas from Azerbaijan is the most likely scenario for the diversification of Europe’s gas supply”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said in a statement to Hungarian news agency MTI concerning his official visit to Baku on Friday.


The Minister told the press that he had met with the Azerbaijani Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Ministers for Economy and Agriculture. During the visit, a cooperation agreement was included between Hungary’s Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy, in addition to which the existing cooperation agreement between the Balassi Institute and the University of Languages in Baku was also extended.



“Hungary remains a committed supporter of tighter relations between Azerbaijan and the alliance systems of which Hungary is also a member, and accordingly Hungary firmly supports the renewal of the strategic partnership between Hungary and Azerbaijan in view of the fact that the transport of Azerbiajan natural gas to Europe and Central Europe ‘is the most likely scenario’ for the diversification of Europe’s gas supply in the mid-term”, he explained.

“The first shipment of natural gas from Azerbaijan along the gas pipeline built in the direction of Turkey began at the end of May, and it is now up to Europe to perform the required infrastructure development projects to enable Azerbaijan gas arriving in the Southeast European region to reach Central Europe”, Mr. Szijjártó stated. “Ten billion cubic metres will currently be arriving in the Southeast European region from Azerbaijan, and this quantity is expected to double within a few years’ time thanks to the extraction of more natural gas from another gas field”, he pointed out.

The Foreign Minister also spoke about the fact that Hungary is currently NATO’s Contact Point Ambassador to Azerbaijan, which has further increased its participation in NATO missions, and in addition military personnel from Hungary and Azerbaijan are serving together in NATO’s mission to Afghanistan. “The reinforcement of this cooperation also serves the security interests of all of NATO, including Europe”, he said.

On the subject of bilateral relations, Mr. Szijjártó said that major progress has been made with relation to agriculture and food industry cooperation in view of the fact that Hungary’s Export-Import Bank is financing the construction of a 17 million euro greenhouse investment project by a Hungarian and Azerbaijani company, and this project will be followed by others, also with the involvement of Hungarian enterprises.

“One of Europe’s busiest airlines, Azerbaijan-based Silk Way, recently relaunched its air route between Budapest and Baku, thanks to which the transport of goods between the two countries has become significantly easier”, he said. “In addition, a Hungarian energy drink has occupied first place on the Azerbaijan energy drink market”, Mr. Szijjártó told the press with relation to yet another business success.

[Source: Government of Hungary| Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade | (MTI) -/- Media Relations]
[Photo Credits: Photos inserted by (credits embedded)]



First Private ‘Renewable Energy Project’ Launched In Morocco

EBRD’s First Private Renewable Project In Morocco Launched

The inauguration of the Khalladi wind farm in Morocco today marks the official launch of the EBRD’s first private renewable project financed in the country.In 2015, the EBRD, the Banque Marocaine du Commerce Exterieur (BMCE) and the Climate Investment Funds’ Clean Technology Fund (CTF) extended a loan of €120 million to the project company ACWA Power Khalladi, without state support. The funding went towards the development and construction of the wind farm, which began generating power in December 2017 and is now fully operational.


The Khalladi Wind Farm is one of the first private renewable energy projects in the country developed under a renewable energy law that allows private producers to sell electricity directly to clients connected to the high voltage and medium voltage grid, most of which are industrial companies.

The completed wind farm has 40 wind turbines with a total capacity of 120 MW, will produce around 380 GWh per year to be sold to large industries, and is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 200,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

The EBRD loan was extended under the Bank’s US$ 250 million Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Private Renewable Energy Framework (SPREF) which supports the generation of renewable electricity by private sector energy companies in Morocco, EgyptTunisiaJordan and, since June 2018, Lebanon. EBRD loans under the programme are complemented by grants to be used towards project preparation and concessional financing from the CTF and Global Environment Facility, to finance part of the investment cost.

Harry Boyd-Carpenter, EBRD’s Head of Power and Energy Utilities, said: “We are extremely pleased to have taken part in the financing of the Khalladi wind farm. This is a landmark project in particular because it does not rely on government support but instead is selling power in a competitive environment, demonstrating that clean, renewable power has really come of age. We are very grateful to the support from the Clean Technology Fund and the Global Environment Facility for this project. We are also delighted to partner again with ACWA, who have been at the forefront of driving renewable energy to grid competitiveness across different countries and different technologies.”

Paddy Padmanathan, President & CEO of ACWA Power, said: “To fulfil our mission to deliver renewable energy at the lowest possible cost to the industries and people of the Kingdom and to also add value to social and economic development of the country and the communities within which our power plants are located by maximizing local content and local employment creation and by contributing to community development we need committed financing partners like EBRD who provide not just the funds but who also share our vision. We are also proud that EBRD selected this project for their first participation in the renewable energy sector in the Kingdom.”

The EBRD has been working in Morocco since 2012. To date, the Bank has invested over €1.5 billion in 36 projects across the country, in addition to over €250 million of trade facilitation credit lines with local banks.

[Source: By Nibal Zgheib and Maria Rozanova | European Bank for Reconstruction and Development(EBRD) -/- Media Relations]
[Photo Credits: Photos inserted by (credits embedded)]



The Illegal Migration Crisis To Be Hot Topic At EU Summit

Migration Set To Overshadow Eurozone Reform Debate At EU Summit

The political crises in Germany and Italy revolve around a longstanding debate on migration at European level, which is set to overshadow all other issues during the European Council in Brussels, on 28-29 June. reports.

The European Council’s agenda may be loaded, but the issue of migration is set to take centre stage as it has risen to the top of the political agenda in recent weeks.


This is all the more surprising as the crisis is not in full swing as all experts agree that the worst was during the 2015-2016 period which saw a massive influx of refugees, particularly from Syria and Afghanistan, arrive in Europe.

Drehscheibe Köln-Bonn Airport - Ankunft Flüchtlinge 5. Oktober 2015-0290
“What we are dealing with is a fit of hysterics, not a migration crisis,” said Yves Bertoncini, president of the French European Movement.

The number of entries in Europe in 2018 has fallen sharply. “The controversy of the recent weeks are linked to political tensions in Germany and Italy. But the debate has been relaunched  and should make it possible to ask fundamental questions,” stated the French President’s Office.

The pressure put by the CSU on the German government to toughen its stance on migration policy and send migrants back to their country of first entry in exchange for money, is largely to blame for the situation.
Drehscheibe Köln-Bonn Airport - Ankunft Flüchtlinge 5. Oktober 2015-0325
However, this is allowed under Article 36 of the Dublin Regulation, which provides for the possible establishment of bilateral agreements. France already has a bilateral agreement with Italy, and Germany would like to follow suit and go further.

The Council could therefore make a decision on the subject without necessarily finalising the long-overdue reform of the obsolete Dublin Regulation, which is currently stuck because of a lack of consensus.

France rejected the most radical proposals put forward at the mini-summit on migration held in Brussels last Sunday (24 June), including the idea of organising refugee camps in third countries rather than in European countries, which would be “contrary to our values” according a source in the Elysée.

On the other hand, France wants to reintroduce the idea of “hotspots”, or closed detention centres for migrants like those organised in 2016 in Greece and Italy, even though the difference with centres outside the EU seems minimal.
Drehscheibe Köln-Bonn Airport - Ankunft Flüchtlinge 5. Oktober 2015-0273

A light economic programme

Along the major macroeconomic reforms, the summit is also likely to end up being a disappointment for France, which has made its plan for eurozone budget one of its “red lines”.

The subject will be discussed with the 27 member states on Friday morning notably because it will touch on the banking union.

Some countries do not find the idea of creating a eurozone budget appealing, according to a joint statement by the Dutch Finance Minister and 11 other European finance ministers. It remains clear that there is no consensus on the subject, which finally got Germany’s support.

In the latest draft Council conclusions, the issue itself is not raised.

To soften up  opposition, French President Emmanuel Macron will meet the Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz on Thursday (28 June), days before Austria takes over the six-month rotating presidency of the EU Council on 1st of July.

Macron will also meet the leaders of the Visegrad group of central European countries – Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia – before the start of the summit.

[Source: By Aline Robert | | translated by Freya Kirk | -/- Media Relations]
[Photo Credits: Photos inserted by (credits embedded)]


IATA Releases Quarterly Air Cargo Market Analysis

IATA Release

We are pleased to send you herewith the latest quarterly Cargo Market Analysis.

Key points:

Year-on-year growth in air freight tonne kilometres (FTKs) slowed to 4.0% in the three months ended April, with freight volumes now having broadly tracked sideways in seasonally adjusted (SA) terms over the past six months.
The best of the upturn in air freight demand is now well behind us, and it is important to note that wider momentum in world trade also looks to be slowing in the face of a pick-up in protectionist measures. Strong consumer confidence and bottlenecks in global supply chains should continue to lend support to air freight demand in the near term. But business surveys currently point to annual FTK growth slowing further in Q3 2018.

The upward trend in cargo yields has moderated since the start of the year. However, the ongoing increase in daily freighter aircraft utilization should help to reduce average costs and to partly offset the impact of rising fuel prices.

Please View full report

[Source: IATA  -/- Media Relations]
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U.S. DHS Requests ‘Department Of Defense’ To House 12,000 Illegal Aliens

DHS Requests DoD House Up To 12,000 Migrants

WASHINGTON, June 28, 2018 — The Defense Department has received a request for assistance from the Department of Homeland Security to house and care for an alien family population of up to 12,000 people, defense officials announced yesterday. DHS requests that DoD identify any available facilities that could be used for that purpose.

If facilities are not available, the officials said DoD has been asked to identify available DoD land and construct semi-separate, soft-sided camp facilities capable of sheltering up to 4,000 people at three separate locations.
DHS prefers the facilities to be built in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, or California to enable access to and supervision of the sites and to comply with the Flores Settlement Agreement’s provision that reasonable efforts be made to place minors in the geographic area where the majority are apprehended, defense officials said.

DHS requires the requested capacity to house 2,000 people within 45 days, the officials said, noting that a timeline will be developed to add additional capacity.

[Source: U.S. Department of Defense -/- Media Relations]
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Securities And Exchange Commission Charged A Former Equifax Manager With Insider Trading

Former Equifax Manager Charged With Insider Trading

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged a former Equifax manager with insider trading in advance of the company’s September 2017 announcement of a massive data breach that exposed Social Security numbers and other personal information of approximately 148 million U.S. customers.   This is the second case the SEC has filed arising from the Equifax data breach.  In March, the former chief information officer of Equifax’s U.S. business unit was charged with insider trading. 

In a complaint filed in federal court in Atlanta today, the SEC charged that Equifax software engineering manager Sudhakar Reddy Bonthu traded on confidential information he received while creating a website for consumers impacted by a data breach.

According to the complaint, Bonthu was told the work was being done for an unnamed potential client, but based on information he received, he concluded that Equifax itself was the victim of the breach.  The SEC alleges that Bonthu violated company policy when he traded on the non-public information by purchasing Equifax put options.  Less than a week later, after Equifax publicly announced the data breach and its stock declined nearly 14 percent, Bonthu sold the put options and netted more than $75,000, a return of more than 3,500 percent on his initial investment.

Bonthu, 44, was terminated from Equifax in March after refusing to cooperate with an internal investigation into whether he had violated the company’s insider trading policy.

“As we allege, Bonthu, who was entrusted with confidential information by his employer, misused that information to conclude that his company had suffered a massive data breach and then sought to illegally profit,” said Richard R. Best, Director of the SEC’s Atlanta Regional Office.  “Corporate insiders simply cannot abuse their access to sensitive information and illegally enrich themselves.”

In a parallel proceeding, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia filed criminal charges against Bonthu.

To settle the SEC’s civil charges, Bonthu has agreed to a permanent injunction and to return his allegedly ill-gotten gains plus interest.  The settlement is subject to court approval.

The SEC’s investigation, which is continuing, has been conducted by Elizabeth Skola and Justin Jeffries.  The litigation is being led by Shawn Murnahan and Graham Loomis.  The SEC appreciates the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

[Source: SEC -/- Media Relations]
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