KATY — The Lamar Cardinals knew when and where they will be playing next. Friday afternoon they found out who they would be playing.The Cardinals (22-6 overall, 17-1 Southland Conference), who are the No. 1 seed in the Southland Conference Tournament, will face the fourth-seeded Nicholls State Colonels in the tournament semifinals at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Leonard E. Merrell Center in Katy. LU, which received an automatic berth in the semifinals as the top seed, faces Nicholls (17-13, 11-7) for the second time this season. The Cardinals were 76-61 winners at Nicholls on Jan. 24.Nicholls, which had a first-round bye, held on for a 61-59 win over fifth-seeded Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in Friday’s second-round game. Saturday’s other semifinal sees second-seeded Stephen F. Austin taking on third-seeded Central Arkansas at 3:30 p.m. The Cardinals, who were outright Southland Conference regular-season champions for the first time in program history, are making their 13th straight appearance in the SLC Tournament as they seek their first tourney title since 2010. LU is just one two teams, joining Stephen F. Austin, who have been in the tournament every season since the conference moved the tourney to Katy.“I think that speaks well for our program,” Harmony said. “We try to put out a good product every season. That’s a credit to everyone involved.”The Cardinals are guaranteed to be going to a national postseason tournament for the third time in Harmony’s five seasons at LU. Winning the conference tournament would give LU an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. If the Cardinals are not selected for the NCAA Tournament, they are assured of a spot in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament as a result of being the conference’s regular-season champion.“We don’t have to worry about seeing if we’re going to a tournament,” Harmony said. “The NCAA and WNIT are both prestigious tournaments. It is a relief to know that we are going somewhere.” The tournament’s championship game is scheduled for noon Sunday.LU has been idle since Saturday when it ended the regular season with an 81-72 victory at McNeese State to secure the outright title. LU coach Robin Harmony hopes the added rest will prove to be beneficial for the Cardinals.“It’s good to have the two byes because you’re guaranteed to be in the semifinals,” Harmony said. “You can give your kinds a couple of days off that normally you can’t do. At this point of the season, an hour and a half of practice; in and out. We already know what everyone is going to do. We know our stuff. It’s to stay fresh and stay in shape.” ALL-TIME SERIESThe Cardinals and Colonels have met 39 times, with LU winning 24 of those contests.ON THE AIR AND ONLINEAll LU postseason games will be broadcast on KLVI-AM 560, with Harold Mann providing the play-by-play. Saturday’s semifinal game will be streamed online on ESPN3. Sunday’s championship game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network (DirecTV 221, Dish Network 158, Verizon Fios 94 and 594, Spectrum 315).SLC TOURNAMENT TICKETSTickets are available on game day at the Merrell Center. LU fans who purchase game-day tickets at the Merrell Center are encouraged to purchase their tickets from the LU ticket window.
The Port Arthur Health Department reported Monday afternoon the first COVID-19 related death of a Port Arthur resident.Authorities said the male victim was between the ages of 45 and 50 and had underlying health issues.“He had no known travel history,” a health department release said. “He [was] presented to the hospital with known COVID-19 symptoms and passed away during his hospitalization.” Among the other counties: Orange County has reported 29, Jasper County three, Tyler County two and Newton County one.While 80 percent of individuals who contract COVID-19 will have mild to moderate symptoms and fully recover, they may spread the disease to people who are at high risk. Authorities said the death is an “important reminder” that COVID-19 is a very serious disease.The Southeast Texas Regional Emergency Operations Center has counted 78 confirmed cases of coronavirus, 17 of which are in Port Arthur. Beaumont has the most in the six-county area with 48, Nederland has recorded six, Groves and the China/Nome area each have three, and Fannett/LaBelle has one.Three citizens of Jefferson County have died from coronavirus. The other death in the area came from Hardin County, which has 31 confirmed cases. The elderly and people with underlying health conditions or weakened immune systems are at a much higher risk for developing serious complications from COVID-19.This tragic loss emphasizes the importance of taking all protective measures available to stop the spread of COVID-19, authorities said, imploring the community to follow the directives of the federal government, Office of the Governor of Texas, Jefferson County, and the city of Port Arthur.
View Comments We’re counting down the days till Elsie Fest, Darren Criss’ star-packed one-day outdoor music festival taking place on October 7 at Central Park SummerStage in New York City. In addition to breaking the news this morning that fellow Glee alum Matthew Morrison and Riverdale star Casey Cott have joined the event’s starry lineup of talent, Criss has offered up a fresh take on Carole King and Gerry Goffin’s “One Fine Day” for fans to enjoy. Watch below and mark your calendar for what is sure to be a one-of-a-kind experience in NYC. Darren Criss(Photo: Jenny Anderson/Getty Images)
The district hopes to break ground on the new Trailwood Elementary this fall while students attend class in the existing building.A group of Trailwood Elementary parents are raising concerns that the Shawnee Mission School District’s accelerated timeline to rebuild the school at the same time it is undertaking the rebuilding of four other district elementaries may lead to a less-than-optimal outcome.Parents who have been following the rebuilding process say they don’t feel the community has been given adequate opportunities to give input on the project, and that many of those who have tried to raise concerns or give suggestions have been ignored.“People in general feel like no one is listening to them about their concerns,” said Trailwood mom Christine Pai. “The project feels like its rushed. And maybe that’s why they don’t want to listen to anybody and hear what we have to say.”While the district has held three meetings for all school parents on the project — Superintendent Jim Hinson met with the PTA on two occasions, and the district’s design team met with the PTA in late May — some of the parents complained that the meetings weren’t well publicized, and that they were held during daytime hours when many parents couldn’t attend.“People have found it very frustrating,” said Jessica Nance, who has two children at the school. “A lot of people haven’t had a chance to see the plans yet.”But Dr. Kenny Southwick, the deputy superintendent overseeing the elementary rebuild projects, said the district is still in the design development phase, and that the district is open to input and working to be responsive. After parents raised concerns to the design team, the district held a meeting with a group of five parents to get their specific feedback. Southwick said a follow up meeting with that group will be scheduled in the next few days to show what changes the district has made to their plan as a result of parent input.Among the concerns the parents have brought to the district’s attention are the configuration of the entrances, with some building access along 95th Street instead of the quieter, more residential Rosewood. Additionally, parents say that the proposed design they’ve seen doesn’t take advantage of opportunities for expanded green space and play areas.Southwick said the district has been taking parent input into consideration as it maps out its site plan.“The design that has been laid out for Trailwood, given the limitations of the site, is believed to be the best design with respect to the entrance, the academic flow of the building, as well as safety and security,” he said. “These factors have been considered and will be a part of the administration’s management plan for the building.”But parents like Nance say there’s a sense that the accelerated nature of the project — the district plans to break ground on the new school in the fall while students continue attending class in the existing building — seems to be hampering the district’s ability to take parental input into consideration.“I’m sure they’ll build a very lovely school, but they’ll miss some opportunities,” Vance said. “With a little extra effort, they could make a really great school.”An early design concept the district presented at a community meeting.
Share Using an innovative method, EPFL scientists show that the brain is not as compact as we have thought all along.To study the fine structure of the brain, including its connections between neurons, the synapses, scientists must use electron microscopes. However, the tissue must first be fixed to prepare it for this high magnification imaging method. This process causes the brain to shrink; as a result, microscope images can be distorted, e.g. showing neurons to be much closer than they actually are. EPFL scientists have now solved the problem by using a technique that rapidly freezes the brain, preserving its true structure. The work is published in eLife.The shrinking brain Pinterest Recent years have seen an upsurge of brain imaging, with renewed interest in techniques like electron microscopy, which allows us to observe and study the architecture of the brain in unprecedented detail. But at the same time, they have also revived old problems associated with how this delicate tissue is prepared before images can be collected.Typically, the brain is fixed with stabilizing agents, such as aldehydes, and then encased, or embedded, in a resin. However, it has been known since the mid-sixties that this preparation process causes the brain to shrink by at least 30 percent. This in turn, distorts our understanding of the brain’s anatomy, e.g. the actual proximity of neurons, the structures of blood vessels etc.The freezing brainA study by Graham Knott at EPFL, led by Natalya Korogod and working with Carl Petersen, has successfully used an innovative method, called “cryofixation”, to prevent brain shrinkage during the preparation for electron microscopy. The method, whose roots go back to 1965, uses jets of liquid nitrogen to “snap-freeze” brain tissue down to -90oC, within milliseconds. The brain tissue here was mouse cerebral cortex.This image shows two models of brain tissue reconstructed from serial EM images. The purple one is cryo-fixed, the brown one chemically fixed.The rapid freezing method is able to prevent the water in the tissue from forming crystals, as it would do in a regular freezer, by also applying very high pressures. Water crystals can severely damage the tissue by rupturing its cells. But in this high-pressure freezing method, the water turns into a kind of glass, preserving the original structures and architecture of the tissue.The next step is to embed the frozen tissue in resin. This requires removing the glass-water and replacing it first with acetone, which is still a liquid at the low temperatures of cryofixation, and then, over a period of days, with resin; allowing it to slowly and gently push out the glassified water from the brain.The real brainAfter the brain was cryofixed and embedded, it was observed and photographed in using 3D electron microscopy. The researchers then compared the cryofixed brain images to those taken from a brain fixed with an “only chemical” method.The analysis showed that the chemically fixed brain was much smaller in volume, showing a significant loss of extracellular space – the space around neurons. In addition, supporting brain cells called “astrocytes”, seemed to be less connected with neurons and even blood vessels in the brain. And finally, the connections between neurons, the synapses, seemed significantly weaker in the chemically-fixed brain compared to the cryofixed one.The researchers then compared their measurements of the brain to those calculated in functional studies – studies that measure the time it takes for a molecule to travel across that brain region. To the researchers’ surprise, the data matched, adding even more evidence that cryofixation preserves the real anatomy of the brain.“All this shows us that high-pressure cryofixation is a very attractive method for brain imaging,” says Graham Knott. “At the same time, it challenges previous imaging efforts, which we might have to re-examine in light of new evidence.” His team is now aiming to use cryofixation on other parts of the brain and even other types of tissue. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook LinkedIn Email
Sep 16, 2020 Oct 6, 2020 Aug 6, 2020 You may be interested in… New Haitian Ambassador to CARICOM accredited CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque has expressed CARICOM’s interest in the renewal of legislation for the extension of the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA) and the WTO waiver beyond December 2019 to allow continued duty-free access to the US market. The Secretary-General made the case as he accredited the new US envoy to CARICOM, Her Excellency Sarah-Ann Lynch, at the Secretariat’s Headquarters in Georgetown, Guyana on Tuesday. He said the Region also welcomes greater flows of US investments in Agriculture, Tourism and Transportation. Ambassador LaRocque underscored the importance of cooperation in clean and renewable energy, and in security amidst increasing security threats in the current global environment. In that context, he said CARICOM looked forward to collaborating with the United States at the US-Caribbean Security Cooperation Commission in Barbados, and at the Eighth Caribbean-US High-Level Dialogue in Washington next month. Aug 29, 2020 CARICOM congratulates Trinidad and Tobago on its 58th… CARICOM celebrates Jamaica’s 58th Independence Anniversary CARICOM SG congratulates re-elected Premier of Bermuda He told Ambassador Lynch that her country should now be more sensitive to CARICOM’s concerns about black-listing by the European Union, since the US recently experienced that action itself. “As we seek to diversify our economies through services, some of our Member States which have developed their financial services sector have been labelled as non-cooperative tax jurisdictions. This is so despite the fact that the countries in question are not designated by the relevant regulatory authorities, such as the Financial Action Task Force and the OECD Global Forum.” “Blacklisted jurisdictions face major reputational damage which has an adverse effect, demonstrated by the “de-risking” strategies of international banks resulting in the withdrawal of crucial correspondent banking relationships. This development has had an impact on investment flows, on trade and on the financial operations of our economies, not to mention impeding the flow of remittances sent by Caribbean nationals living abroad. The US itself has the experience of being recently blacklisted and would therefore be now more sensitive to our situation,” Secretary-General LaRocque stated. The US envoy in her remarks lauded the structures of CARICOM integration which have, “successfully dismantled barriers to fair trade, and created the formidable Caribbean Court of Justice.” CARICOM has “impressively coordinated collective approaches to education, public health, disaster response, and development financing,” Ambassador Lynch said. She added that the United States is proud to continue to support the work of CARICOM and envisions a Community that “is an innovative and competitive force in the world’s economy.” The new envoy noted that United States supported and encouraged the single economic space of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). “With this economic integration, we have already seen new opportunities to attract investment and increase economies of scale. We expect to witness an even greater boost in trade, as well as an increased respect for intellectual property rights and consumer protection regulations.” “We also envision a populace in which every citizen has the opportunity to realize their potential, and contribute to economic, social, and cultural prosperity for themselves and for their society,” the new US envoy stated. She said as the USA strengthens its cooperation with the Region, its Caribbean 2020 strategy provides a framework for focusing U.S. interagency efforts on security, diplomacy, prosperity, energy, education, and health. She lauded the successes of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) which has boosted the capabilities of Caribbean law enforcement and security forces to deter violent crime, reduce the rate of organized crime, and curb illicit narcotics and weapons trafficking. Share this:PrintTwitterFacebookLinkedInLike this:Like Loading… CARICOM-US cooperation hailed for tangible benefitsCARICOM-US deepening cooperation in security, health and energy was underscored Tuesday as Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque received new United States Ambassador to CARICOM Mr. Perry Holloway. The Secretary-General, in remarks at the accreditation ceremony, highlighted the important collaboration on the troubling issue of security, with the Caribbean serving as a…October 21, 2015In “CARICOM”CARICOM SG hosts Annual Breakfast for CARICOM AmbassadorsCaribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, earlier today told Ambassadors accredited to Third States and CARICOM Member States, that the Community stood firmly behind the territorial integrity of Guyana and Belize. He gave the commitment at his Annual Buffet Breakfast in honour of the Ambassadors at the Marriott Hotel in…July 4, 2016In “Antigua & Barbuda”The Netherlands flags key areas for cooperation expansionClimate change, disaster risk management, security, and sustainable development and employment, are among areas that the Kingdom of Netherlands hopes to expand cooperation with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). The Netherlands’ Ambassador to CARICOM, His Excellency Jules Bijl, signalled his Government’s intention when he presented his credentials to CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador…January 19, 2017In “CARICOM”Share this on WhatsApp
With credit to a great sportswriter named Jimmy Cannon, who first wrote a “Nobody Asked Me, But” column . . .Nobody asked me, but . . .I bow to no one in my dislike of Donald Trump and his idiotic policies.However, and this is a big HOWEVER:Am I nuts in thinking that for nearly seven years the little fat kid from North Korea has been testing nuclear weapons and rattling sabers and threatening to kill us all?So, Trump, showing that he’s just as crazy as Kim Jong-un, has somehow pulled off a coup and has met with Kim Jong-un. He had a friendly lunch with the little twerp and made some sort of peace with him.They each issued a cockamamie proclamation, which may or may not mean anything. But we have gone from threats of war to a feeling that we just might work together.So how has The New York Times, CNN, and the rest of the media treated this?They’ve made light of the meeting, with headlines saying this was a great big non-event and a waste of time; with “analyses” that Trump had been made a fool of by Kim Jong-un; with liberal pundits harrumphing that the fat kid got us to stop our “war games” with South Korea — as if the pundits ever gave a fig about war games anywhere, and with a general derision of the process, which makes his critics appear to want to go back to the good old days when we were about to annihilate each other.This is not fair. It’s false and it’s no way to treat the millions of people who rely on the media to tell them what and how to think.So, I propose a new way to handle any events where the media’s hatred of Trump gets in the way of their telling the truth.It’s a simple test.In the future, before writing a word or saying a word on television, why don’t they ask themselves this question?HOW WOULD I HAVE FELT AND REPORTED THIS IF OBAMA HAD DONE IT?**********If Donald Trump gets us into a war with Canada, I’m on Canada’s side. I’m ready to run guns, bombs, hockey sticks to Canada — anything it takes to help them win.**********May Donald Trump and his evil elf attorney general burn in hell forever for taking little children from their parents in an attempt to blackmail this country into giving them a wall between Mexico and the United States.**********This comes out of the column I wrote last week about cell phone madness:We need a new holiday.Call it DID Day.Close schools . . . close businesses . . . give everyone a three-day holiday.What does DID stand for?It stands for Dead Idiot Day. A day when we honor all these idiots who died because they crossed the street with their cell phones on their ears and paid no attention to traffic. These are people whose last sight on Earth was the screen on their iPhones. People whose last words were, “I just saw a wonderful pair of shoes, they had these cute little bows . . .” or “Did you see that play Judge made in the Yankees game last night?”To these people, these were important thoughts that had to be said immediately — thoughts that couldn’t wait until they got to the safety of a sidewalk. So, they died. The least we can do is honor those dead idiots with a holiday for all of us to enjoy.**********Tell me this isn’t the fastest spring/summer of your life. I admit I’m a downer and I start my end-of-summer countdown when the Kentucky Derby is over. But for crying out loud, Memorial Day shot by like a flash. There’s been one rainy bleak day every weekend in this so-called spring. The Fourth of July is just a few weeks away. In a few minutes, the stores will begin their back-to-school ads.And don’t tell me that September is the best month of the year in the Hamptons. September is to winter what May is to summer. September is f*ing September. It’s when you have to go back to school.**********If you want to read a good mystery in what’s left of this summer, read Chris Bohjalian’s The Flight Attendant, a novel featuring a promiscuous flight attendant named Cassie who wakes up one morning in a hotel in Dubai next to a dead hedge fund manager, the victim of a grisly murder. Promiscuous flight attendants and dead hedge fund managers — who can ask for anything more?Want to do a nice thing? Call BookHampton in East Hampton or Harbor Books in Sag Harbor and order The Flight Attendant and a few other books. Then you’ll have the satisfaction of reading a good book while supporting one of our great local bookstores.**********What follows is a joke that made me laugh, which I’ve printed in this column before. The truth is, it is not a politically correct joke. But then again, I’m not a politically correct guy. If you are politically correct, stop reading this column now. In fact, if you’re politically correct, what the hell are you doing reading this column any time? Go fret and wring your hands someplace else.And now the joke:ITALIAN VIRGINITY TESTMario is planning to marry and asks his family doctor how he could tell if his bride-to-be is still a virgin.His doctor says, “Mario, all the Italian men I know use three things for what we call a ‘Do-It-Yourself Virginity Test Kit’: a small can of red paint, a small can of blue paint, and a shovel.”Mario asks, “And what do I do with these things, doc?”The doctor replies, “Before you climb into bed on your wedding night, you paint one of your balls red and the other ball blue.“If she says, ‘That’s the strangest pair of balls I’ve ever seen,’ . . . you hit her with the shovel!”**********Finally, NOBODY ASKED ME, BUT . . . HAVE A GREAT REST OF THIS SO-CALLED SUMMER. STAY SAFE.If you wish to comment on “Jerry’s Ink” please send your message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Share
Sub-Saharan Africa’s leading industrial gases and welding company attributed its increased revenue to volume growth in certain sectors of the business and successful recovery of cost inflation from effective pricing management.Adjusted for the impact from the change in liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) market prices of R96m ($6.27m), total revenue growth was 2.3%.Earnings before Interest and Taxes (EBIT or Group Operating Profit) at R867m ($56.6m) increased by 45.5%.This increase in EBIT resulted from growth in the Healthcare business, recovery of cost inflation via pricing, efficiencies from restructuring and improved plant performance.After adjusting for the 2018 non-recurring item, Afrox’s EBIT increased by 23.3% as a result of growth in strategic markets, solid price cost inflation recovery, continued productivity gains from various efficiency projects and the positive impact of the restructuring activities.Despite the deterioration in the socio-economic environment, load shedding in late fourth quarter and a shortage in supply during the second quarter, the company showed its resilience during the year.Within its Atmospheric Gases operating segment, Afrox benefited from the additional Healthcare business during the reporting period.Afrox invested a total of R143m ($9.35m) by the end of 2019 in order to meet the requirements of the tender awarded to Afrox for the public hospital business.Afrox delivers medical gases and regulators in all nine provinces within the public healthcare sector of South Africa.Reduced levels of South African business activity led to a continued volume erosion in the Hard Goods segment, lower volumes in the Industrial Packaged Gas business and a reduction in the LPG Bulk volumes at industrial customers.However, with growth of more than 3% from the LPG cylinder business, the total EBIT of the operating segments increased 19% to R1.09bn ($71.25m).Afrox said its corporate cost has decreased by R45m due to a R28m ($1.83m) reduction in employee share scheme expenses and other non-trading income.The subsidiaries have contributed with satisfactory results from better pricing and growth in the LPG cylinder business despite continued subdued economic conditions.Operating cash flow of R1.4bn ($91.47m) increased by 56.4%. Afrox said the increase was a result of a decrease in trade and other working capital due to R124m ($8.1m) increase in trade and other payables; a reduction in inventory of R38m ($2.48m) partially offset by a R97m ($6.34m) increase in trade and other receivables.Atmospheric GasesRevenue increased by 7.9% compared to 2018, reflecting growth in the Healthcare business and the impact from higher prices in order to recover cost inflation.Afrox said most market sectors have improved compared to 2018. Volumes reduced marginally; however, Afrox said this was countered by effective pricing in line with inflation.Healthcare revenue increased significantly due to an increase of 33% largely from higher volumes of liquid oxygen.Afrox said this growth was achieved despite challenging economic conditions. The company experienced improved plant performance delivering higher efficiencies and better plant utilisation, with only limited buy-in of product being necessary for the security of supply to our customers.Afrox Atmospheric Gases supplies a diverse and broad portfolio of products to the sub-Saharan industry.The business has demonstrated high levels of resilience with positive nominal growth in most sectors which demonstrated Afrox’s ability to successfully compete in its core segment.Within Industrial Gases (acetylene, oxygen, nitrogen and argon) the demand for the company’s bulk products was above the prior year with good volumes in CO2 supplied to a major beverage producer across sub-Saharan Africa and higher demand at South African refineries. On-site revenue improved the pass-through of higher electricity costs and volume growth from various customers, mainly stainless steel.Afrox benefited from its new installations at public hospitals in the additional four provinces.Afrox now supplies all public hospitals in South Africa for at least another four years as part of the Government tender awarded, with an estimated R1bn ($65.35m) revenue over the term.Afrox will invest in ‘high-tech’ equipment and its installation to meet the growing demand within the sector.Afrox’s Industrial Packaged Gases volumes were slightly below prior year levels. The marginal volume erosion was, however, offset by improved recovery of cost inflation due to effective pricing.EBIT increased by 28.1% to R587m, which Afrox attributes price cost recoveries, higher volumes in Healthcare and the 2018 non-recurring R55m plant impairment.Hard goodsRevenue in the Hard Goods operating segment decreased by 4%, which Afrox said was as a result of lower volumes in the welding consumable business despite effective recovery of cost inflation from imported products via pricing.The continued lower demand from mining, steel and manufacturing resulted in this top line reduction.The overall trend in reduced business activity in the South African mining sector and lower output levels in the manufacturing industry mainly affected this business segment.Whilst Afrox experienced reduction in volumes in welding and gas equipment, the Self-Rescue Pack business, reported growth in sold units due to increased take-off from the mining sector.The continued growth in sub-Saharan Africa was encouraging, the company said.Afrox aims to embark on a strategic partnership to strengthen the manufacturing hub north of Johannesburg.Continued focus on cost containment, efficiencies in our factories and improved, just-in-time delivery and price management in line with cost inflation assisted the business overall to mitigate the underlying negative market trends.EBIT decreased by 15.5% to R109m as a result of lower volumes due to the continued contraction in demand across most sectors and products.
Searcher Seismic has announced plans for Phase 2 of the Silver-Eye Broadband 3D survey in the Barents Sea, Norway.Following the successful acquisition of Phase 1, comprising 2,663 square kilometers, Searcher is now acquiring additional broadband 3D data in the area.Phase 1 of the acquisition was completed in September 2015 with data processing revealing exciting results for both conventional and unconventional play models, supporting the need for Phase 2, the company said.Acquisition of Phase 2 is scheduled to start in April 2016 with a PSTM data volume being made available in November 2016.Phase 1 PSTM data will be available in April 2016 with PSDM available in Q3, 2016. Phase 2 final data in both time and depth is expected in early 2017, the company added.Jan Gunnar Opsal, Country Manager for Searcher Seismic, Norway, said the survey extension covers existing discoveries and vacant acreage within the APA area.“Searcher is excited to be expanding our 3D library in the Barents Sea and to offer high quality data for evaluating this area of the Hammerfest Basin in the APA, 2017,” Opsal added.
If you can bear to tear yourself away from contemplation of justice cuts in the UK, here is a story of justice cuts in the richest country on earth. We are becoming poorer in the West, loaded with debts from living beyond our means, while countries in the East are growing richer. Even the US has justice troubles. The current president of the American Bar Association has set up a Task Force on the Preservation of the Justice System as one of the four core initiatives of his presidential year. He has asked two legendary US litigators to chair it, David Boies (Democrat, who represented Gore in Bush v Gore) and Theodore B. Olson (Republican, who represented Bush in the same case). The US courts system has been under-funded for some time, but matters are now critical. I shall start with two pieces of constitutional background, which may be well-known to you. First, the courts are one of the three branches of government in the US, along with the executive and the legislature. There is a feeling that the other two branches are starving the third branch of funds – which in any case takes up a tiny percentage of the budget, usually between 1% and 2% – to increase their own power. Second, the courts which are really suffering are the state (not federal) courts, which are funded by the state governments. Just for information, in 2001, there were 37 million filings in state courts, while the number of filings in federal courts totalled only 1.49 million bankruptcy cases, and 317,996 civil and criminal cases. Federal courts are suffering, too – from judicial vacancies and the politicisation of the confirmation process – but nowhere near as much as state courts. There is a very interesting table and map showing the effects of the budget squeeze. Here are some of the consequences, with the number of states affected in brackets after each activity: reduced hours of operation (15 – for instance, the courts were closed one day per month in California in 2009-2010); increased filing fees and costs (22); judicial vacancies not filled (26); furlough – what we would call reduced days of working with consequent pay reductions – for judges (9) and support staff (16); salary freezes (29). The list of measures goes on and on: resources diverted from civil adjudication (jury trials suspended); increased number of self‐represented litigants; lengthier time for cases to be heard (prioritising criminal and child welfare); and consolidation of courts. There is an interesting by-product to the gloom, which is an increased use of technology, for obvious cost-saving reasons. Nearly every state reports a steep increase in the use of technology, from e-filing, e-payment of fees and fines, videoconferencing for court hearings, and (maybe not so justifiably) remote court interpreting by video or phone. What are the consequences? Here are some of them taken from an interview with the two chairs: ‘They are closing whole courthouses in Los Angeles so now a juror has to drive an hour and a half to get to jury duty… ‘Judges are saying, “We are being asked to do more, we want to do the right thing and we are not able to do the right thing because we don’t have the resources to do the right thing. ‘”We are being asked to work more cases, longer hours under more difficult circumstances, we don’t have interpreters in our court, we don’t have court reporters in our court, we don’t have bailiffs to preserve security in our court and we’re not being paid enough. So what are we going to do? We’re going to quit. We’re not going to be there any more.” … ‘This is not a conservative or liberal issue, this is not whether you like a particular court decision or dislike it. It’s not a Republican or Democratic issue. ‘This is an issue for everybody who believes in our constitutional system. It’s for everybody who cares about justice. It’s for every individual who cares about having a predictable, safe place to go to get disputes resolved when other aspects of our society fail them.’ From a distance, it does look like a Republican or Democrat issue: why don’t they raise taxes? But that is to begin a debate which has echoes here in the UK, and will bring down an avalanche on my head.