A Gramophone

first_imgA fusty gramophone ,painted in dust, decorated by rust,seemed untouchedby headlong cosmos.When turned on after a decade or so,it retained its evergreen charm,seemed composed and calm.For the old it became an apricity,for the new it became a felicity.The curtains and the wind charmsdanced to its rhythm….The jitters it carried were plenty,but nothing counted,for it was a boon at its seventy…Even the untrained musician,sang his creation.For this time the tired mindsfelt the music and not the noiseFor some it was heartsomeand for some a heartsease…..last_img read more

California ISO gets more bad news on plants

first_img No posts to display The news represented another setback as California prepares for a summer in which most analysts have predicted outages are almost inevitable. The ISO’s summer forecast released earlier in March assumed all available power plants would be up and running and none would be down for routine maintenance. Previous articleBill could lower price of power in Texas after competition beginsNext articleCalifornia ISO’s Winter ‘shocked’ by FERC order chloecox Bibb delivered the bad news at Thursday’s board meeting. He said 1,450 MW of peaking units have already exhausted 50-75% of their annual nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide emissions limits. Units that run after using up their allowable hours ordinarily face heavy environmental fines and legal consequences. “The variances will have conditions attached,” said Bibb, mostly restricting the plants to operating during emergencies. He said the peaking units can only run to unload transmission lines, avoid a Stage 3 emergency preceding rolling outages, or unload Path 15 allowing power to flow north. The peakers will be dispatched by the ISO only for system reliability and not for economic reasons, Bibb said. Facebook Twitter “We would have preferred to finish all maintenance by first of June, obviously,” Bibb said. Facebook Linkedin Vietnam: scaling back coal-fired plans toward gas, renewables TAGSCAISO California ISO gets more bad news on plants “Because so much of this work has been deferred, five of these units will not be upgraded until after the summer [begins],” said Bibb. The ISO is working with the California Air Resource Board and other local air quality boards on a plan to insure these peaking units can continue to operate after the allowances are exhausted. They are developing criteria under which the plants would be allowed to operate. While the grid operator is still assuming variances allowing the 1,450 MW of peaking units to operate will be obtained by summer, nothing can be done about the 1,000 MW of base load that will not be back on line until mid-June. Twitter Moreover, he said five large base load plants which the grid operator expected to be on line to help meet summer demand will not be available for operation until mid-June. He said 1,000 MW undergoing upgrades to comply with environmental rules won’t be available until then because the work simply won’t be finished. Plant operators are working round the clock to try to complete the jobs. HOUSTON, Apr. 13, 2001 — Most peak power units in California will not be able to operate after May 2001 without special variances from environmental authorities and five base load plants will be out of service until mid-June, Tracy Bibb, director of scheduling and outage for the California Independent System Operator, said. By chloecox – Linkedin RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Mississippi Power cutting stakes in coal-fired, gas-fired stations to reduce excess MW, emissions New Jersey utility regulators extend zero-carbon breaks for PSEG nuclear power plants 4.16.2001 By the OGJ Online Staff EmissionsAir Pollution Control Equipment Serviceslast_img read more

New Olympic Medallists at FEI Nations’ Cup™ 2012 Series Finale

first_imgMore from Horse Sport:Christilot Boylen Retires From Team SportAfter an exemplary career as one of Canada’s top Dressage riders, seven-time Olympian Christilot Boylen has announced her retirement from team competition.2020 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair CancelledFor only the second time in its history, The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair has been cancelled but plans are being made for some virtual competitions.Royal Agricultural Winter Fair Statement on 2020 EventAs the Province of Ontario starts to reopen, The Royal’s Board and staff will adhere to all recommendations put forward by government and health officials.Government Financial Assistance for Ontario FarmersOntario Equestrian has recently released this update of several financial assistance packages available, including those for farm business. SIGN UP With the roars of the crowd at Greenwich Park still ringing in their ears, five medallists from the London 2012 Olympic Games will be in action as the last leg of the FEI Nations’ Cup™ 2012 gets underway at the Royal Dublin Society showgrounds in Dublin (IRL) next Friday afternoon. And it promises to be a real battle, because just 3.5 points separate the bottom six teams as the premier eight-leg, eight-nation contest draws to a close.The defending series champions from Germany hold a strong 10-point lead over France at the head of affairs, but Great Britain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Ireland and Belgium are all bunched closely together, and none of them want to finish up at the bottom of the pile.The Swiss side boasts the new Olympic individual jumping champion, Steve Guerdat, while Olympic team gold medallist, Nick Skelton, is included in the British selection. Team silver medallists, Jur Vrieling and Marc Houtzager, will be lining out for The Netherlands and the Irish crowd will be celebrating the return of Cian O’Connor who clinched individual Olympic bronze.CherishedIt is eight years since the Irish last won their cherished Aga Khan Trophy which is presented to the winning team in the FEI Nations’ Cup™ at Dublin. The host nation finished second in both 2010 and 2011, and it went to a two-way jump-off against the British to decide the result 12 months ago. Nick Skelton’s clear with Carlo clinched it for the visitors that day, and the 54 year old rider will be guaranteed a tumultuous reception when he arrives into the ring again this week because the Irish know a horseman when they see one. The old cross-channel rivalry will be put aside, for a few moments at least, as the crowd show their appreciation for what this exceptional competitor achieved in London last week, and throughout his spectacular career.Skelton is joined on the British squad by Tina Fletcher, William Funnell, Robert Smith and John Whitaker.Steve Guerdat’s fabulous individual gold medal winning performance will surely boost Swiss confidence. This country rejoined the top-level series in 2012 following a period in the Promotional League, and there is a real determination to reinforce their status amongst the leading jumping nations in the world. Guerdat’s Olympic ride, Nino des Buissonnets, is taking a break, so the 30 year old rider brings Jalisca Solier amongst his string, and is joined by Pius Schwizer, Jannika Sprunger, Nadja Steiner and Arthur da Silva in the Swiss squad.LeaderboardAfter the previous seven legs of the series, the Swiss are in equal-fourth place on the leaderboard along with Sweden whose line-up includes Angelica Augustsson, Jens Fredricson, Lisen Fredricson, Angelie von Essen and Daniel Zetterman.The Dutch, lying sixth and only two points further in arrears, were just pipped by the British in the battle for Olympic team gold last week so they are likely to come out with all guns blazing. It is a super-competitive Dutch side, with London 2012 silver medallists Houtzager and Vrieling joined by 2000 individual gold and silver Olympians Jeroen Dubbeldam and Albert Voorn along with Hendrik Jan Schuttert, and they could prove hard to beat. The Dutch have only won twice in Dublin even though they have been competing there since 1926, and Vrieling and Houtzager were on the second of those two winning sides back in 2010.Belgium is lying last on the league table, so there will be plenty of pressure on the four riders selected from Dirk Demeersman, Pieter Devos, Francois Mathy Jr., and father-and-son Ludo and Olivier Philippaerts. And plenty of pressure on the home side too because the Irish are only 0.5 points ahead of the Belgians.US-based Darragh Kerins and Richie Moloney are on call-up for Ireland along with Clem McMahon, Billy Twomey and Cian O’Connor – the latter bringing out his Olympic individual bronze medal winning ride, Blue Loyd, again this week.Most DominantAt the other end of the leaderboard the two countries that have been most dominant throughout the ten-year history of the FEI Nations’ Cup™ Top League series are positioned prominently yet again in this year’s closing stages. Germany and France are each four-time champions, but with a ten-point lead going into Friday’s clash it seems that only something very out of ordinary can stop the 2011 title-holders from Germany from making it a remarkable five.However the four riders chosen by German Chef d’Equipe, Sonke Sonksen from a pool that includes Hans-Dieter Dreher, Johannes Ehning, Jorg Naeve, Carsten-Otto Nagel and Tim Rieskamp-Goedeking, are likely to experience serious opposition from the crack French force selected from Roger Yves Bost, Penelope Leprevost, Kevin Staut, Jerome Hurel and Aymeric de Ponnat.The action begins at 15.00 local time, and even if you can’t be there you can take a ring-side seat with live coverage on FEI TV as another page of equestrian history unfolds… Tags: FEI Nations’ Cup, Nick Skelton, Steve Guerdat, Jur Vrieling, Marc Houtzager, ina Fletcher, William Funnell, Robert Smith, John Whitaker, Cian O’Connor, We’ll send you our regular newsletter and include you in our monthly giveaways. PLUS, you’ll receive our exclusive Rider Fitness digital edition with 15 exercises for more effective riding. Horse Sport Enews Subscribe to the Horse Sport newsletter and get an exclusive bonus digital edition! Email*last_img read more

Odd summer for Manhattan’s condo market

first_imgFrom left: 25 Park Row, 220 Central Park South, 30 Riverside Blvd (COOKFOX, Getty; StreetEasy)The Manhattan condo market this summer was like deep-sea fishing: Not many deals rolled in, but they tended to be big.A total of 511 condo deals closed from July through September in the borough, down from 614 in the second quarter, according to an analysis by The Real Deal. The average sale price, meanwhile, rose to $3.6 million from $2.7 million per deal in the second quarter and $2.4 million a year ago.The larger deals pushed total sales volume up to $1.85 billion — a 13 percent increase from the prior quarter’s $1.63 billion.Read moreHere’s where Covid hit Manhattan condo market hardest in Q2Manhattan home sales down 46% last quarterConnecticut sales soar in third quarter One building in particular played an outsize role in this shift: Vornado Realty Trust’s 220 Central Park South. It single-handedly accounted for almost a third of the quarter’s sales volume, with 16 units closing for a total of $592 million — an average price of $37 million.The table below shows how different Manhattan submarkets fared in the third quarter, compared with the same period a year ago. It is hard to miss the impact of 220 CPS on Midtown sale volume and pricing.A few other buildings also saw a slew of closings in the quarter. L+M Development and J&R Music World’s 25 Park Row saw a whopping 29 closings for $67 million — increasing the Seaport submarket’s sales volume by more than 700 percent quarter-over-quarter and sixfold year-over-year.Out west, Related Companies saw five closings at 15 Hudson Yards and three more at 35 Hudson Yards for a total of $50 million — a 623-percent increase from the submarket’s prior quarter, but still 74 percent less than the $192 million Hudson Yards saw in the third quarter of 2019.Another busy building was 30 Riverside Boulevard in GID Development’s Waterline Square complex on the Upper West Side, which had 19 closings totalling $59 million.On a per-square-foot basis, pricing in Manhattan’s condo market rose by nearly a quarter from the previous quarter as well as year-over-year. The big sales at 220 CPS played a role here as well, but it was far from the only driver.As the chart below shows, submarkets including the Seaport, Midtown West, Chinatown, the Financial District and Chelsea also saw major increases in price per square foot in the third quarter.Contact Kevin Sun Full Name* This content is for subscribers only.Subscribe Nowcenter_img Message* Email Address*last_img read more

Kozina to replace Maric in Croatia

first_imgClick to comment Leave a Reply Cancel replyYour email address will not be published.Comment Name Email Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. ShareTweetShareShareEmailCommentsCroatian line-player Marino Maric had to cancel NT action in January due injury during the last match in 2016 between his MT Melsungen and SG Flensburg – 24:24.He will be replaced in Croatian jersey by Kresimir Kozina from Fuchse Berlin. Both of them played at Olympic Games in Rio.Croatia won bronze medal at Men’s EHF EURO 2016 in Poland, while Balkan team ended fifth at Olympics. ShareTweetShareShareEmail Related Items:last_img read more

The burning issue

first_imgIf you have an engine bay fire, unless you are very lucky then it’s likely your vehicle will be destroyed. Not only is it expensive, it can also be bad publicity. Now, Arriva plans to fit an innovative passive fire barrier, called eQuilt, to all its new vehicles. Mel Holley reportsEngine bay fires can take hold very quickly and, unless the fire service is able to reach the scene within a few minutes, can rapidly spread to the rest of the vehicle with dramatic resultsEngine bay fires can take hold very quickly and, unless the fire service is able to reach the scene within a few minutes, can rapidly spread to the rest of the vehicle with dramatic results.Engine bay fire suppression systems are one answer, but they require regular maintenance and renewal, as well as adding weight. And, as a ‘one-shot’ device they might not always extinguish the fire, depending on its nature.The new alternative is eQuilt. A passive fire barrier, it is fitted instead of traditional engine bay sound-deadening and is extremely robust. It’s proved itself in a number of severe tests and demonstrated beyond doubt that it will contain a fire in the engine bay.Now, convinced by its worth, Arriva has decided to specify eQuilt to all new UK buses for its 2017 intake.The patented product is supplied by Westerham, Kent-based Clark Wright, and was invented in a joint venture by Sales Director Gary Hammatt, and Technical Director Will Burton.Says Will: “With eQuilt, if a fire starts in the engine bay, it stays in the engine bay.”Adds Gary: “We are so confident of the product that provided it’s fitted correctly (including grille closers) we will repair or replace the vehicle at our cost if eQuilt or any of our products are proved to have failed.”Fire stoppingLike fire doors in a building, eQuilt is designed to stop fire spreading to the passenger compartment – once this happens the vehicle is normally a total loss. There are 500-600 coach and bus fires in the UK each year of which 70% result in a total loss.And, it all happens very quickly. In London the average response time for a fire appliance is six minutes, although congestion makes that hard. In the provinces, especially rural areas, it can be longer.As recent incidents demonstrate – even with modern vehicles – a fire takes hold before the fire service arrives.The cost is significant. Not only the vehicle loss (which for larger operators comes straight off the bottom line due to self-insurance), but also the potential for the need to hire a replacement, cost of lost passengers/driver’s property, recovery of the remains and even resurfacing of the highway if it has been damaged.Gary Hammatt: ‘Guarantee that fire will be contained’Add to this that everybody is now a photographer, thanks to camera phones, and you can guarantee that you’ll be on the news; maybe even nationally if the vehicle was carrying children, anyone was hurt or it’s just a ‘slow news’ day. Reputational damage can be significant, as fires on London’s artics demonstrated.How it worksLooking like traditional insulation, eQuilt is fitted instead of current insulation in the engine bay. It has already passed numerous laboratory tests. In March 2014 it was put to a real-life test in a double-decker at the Fire Service College at Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire.A fire, simulated by igniting diesel in trays in the engine bay, was contained by eQuilt despite temperatures peaking at 790°C. The combustible temperature of wood is 300°C and aluminium is 650°C. After 20 minutes of this punishment, when the 3.5 litres of diesel had burned itself out, the GRP inside the passenger compartment was hot and had bubbled slightly, but had not caught fire. This was against the expectations of observers, and even the watching fire crews.How eQuilt works is secret, but once the temperature reaches 200°C it expands to 25 times its volume, enhancing its fire-stopping qualities.Properly fitted – to ensure that access holes to the engine bay such as for wiring, fuel lines, heating and grill closures are covered in a fire – eQuilt will stop a fire and contain it. The result is a vehicle that can be economically repaired.“Think of eQuilt as a fire control system for engine bays,” says Will.There is a modest net cost for eQuilt depending on specification; in terms of the overall new vehicle cost, it’s negligible.Arriva’s decisionThe March 2014 demonstration (routeONE, Big Story, 12 March 2014) was conducted in front of a number of engineers from major operators, bodybuilders, the SMMT and Transport for London. However, with Euro 6 redesigns on the horizon, manufacturers made promises about fire containment, so major orders for eQuilt had not been forthcoming.This changed after a fire in a brand new bus that destroyed it. Although it was a competing operator’s vehicle that burned out, Arriva UK Bus Engineering Director Ian Tarran contacted eQuilt and asked for a further demonstration. This took place in December 2015.It looks like conventional insulation, but eQuilt has unique fire-stopping propertiesYou may be familiar with the ‘fire triangle’ – the three ingredients needed for a fire to start and be maintained – of heat, oxygen and fuel. Remove one of these, and the fire will go out.Once again a double-decker (without fire suppression fitted) was used, but this time, in addition to an accelerant to start and maintain the fire, the engine was left running, with the injector pipe unions opened to feed the fire. The result was remarkable; once all the combustible material in the engine bay, such as wiring and rubber, had gone up in smoke the fire went out as there was nothing left to burn. After 23 minutes, the fire had still not penetrated the passenger compartment.Says Ian Tarran: “The number of fires has dropped significantly since we started fitting suppression systems in engine bays, but we still get the odd fire where you get severe amount of damage to the interior, because fire gets out of the engine compartment. So not even fire suppression works every single time.“The tests that we’ve done, both times have proved that you can keep the fire in the engine bay in excess of 15 minutes. Most places where we operate buses, you’d generally get a fire engine there in less than that time.“When you’re paying £200,000-plus for a bus, but paying a modest amount for eQuilt – you’re investing that in the life of the vehicle – that make sense to me.“It’s added protection. It’s going to be cost effective and maintenance free, and that’s what’s drawn me towards it.”Next stepsArriva is waiting for eQuilt to complete homologation with its suppliers ADL and Wrightbus. Volvo has already given approval for fitting to bodies on its double-decker chassis.Already a series of certified laboratory tests have confirmed eQuilt’s fire blocking credentials. Homologation tests include absorption – checking that it doesn’t absorb liquid or moisture – and sound deadening. On both, it has equalled or beaten conventional insulation. It is ECE R118 compliant in annexes 6,7,8 and 9.Although this will be the first major installation of eQuilt, it is already in service thanks to retrofits with Metroline (a Volvo President) and UnoBus of Hatfield (a Mercedes-Benz Citaro).Sure-fire winnerAlthough the product has taken a while to be accepted, Clark Wright would like to think that Arriva’s move to fit eQuilt will encourage other operators to do the same. It is a ‘fit-and-forget’ solution in new vehicles, providing exceptional heat, absorption and sound proofing. Unlike a fire-suppression system, it doesn’t require maintenance, and the only requirement for a full life is to ensure that it is not removed or damaged.This is why Clark Wright is confident its unique, British-invented and patented product will be a sure-fire winner.That Arriva will become the first major user is no surprise as it’s long been a leader in pioneering new technology that’s often now standard, from remote-reporting CCTV to driver monitoring systems, and software to prevent accidents as a result of accelerator/brake pedal confusion. Now, it will add eQuilt to this list of proven innovations.Details: www.clarkwright.co.uklast_img read more

What’s Obama’s European legacy?

first_imgEurope should focus on developing its own foreign and security policiesObama’s foreign policy legacy for Europe has really been to compel European policy makers to think more thoroughly about the end of the uni-polar moment in international relations.Obama was seen as a president who over-compensated for the interventionism and unilateralism that came define his predecessor, George W. Bush. But by the same token, the recalcitrance of the U.S. to play a forceful role in settling the multitude of crises facing Europe should serve as a dire reminder that Europe needs to fully develop its foreign and security policies.Obama offered Europe a seat at the table: an opportunity for partnership in addressing global crises. The scene was set for Europe to implement its aspirations of “effective multilateralism.”Obama offered Europe a seat at the table … But the tragedy is that this evolution overlapped with a period of crisis within Europe itself.But the tragedy is that this evolution overlapped with a period of crisis within Europe itself. Handicapped by the economic crisis and then by a growing lack of internal cohesion, the EU failed to demonstrate it could be a mature and capable international actor.Yet the end of the Obama years won’t solve Europe’s conundrum. Obama’s prudence is likely to continue to have an impact U.S. foreign policy decision making in years to come. For one, the world has had to acknowledge the limits of U.S. power. To the extent that it continues to rely on U.S. leadership, Europe will be increasingly hard-pressed to address the manifold security threats taking a toll on its citizens. Ten leading politicians, thinkers and commentators weigh in on Obama’s rocky 8-year relationship with the Old Continent.* * *Europe will never have pride of place in the White House againWhen it comes to his track record on Europe, President Obama is likely to be remembered for two things. First, he continued to pursue a foreign policy in which Europe was a major, but no longer the main, focus of American foreign policy. Second, he reaffirmed America’s strong commitment to the defense of all NATO partners — most notably newer members in Eastern Europe.For nearly a quarter century, American foreign policy has moved steadily from its Cold War focus on Europe to a more global perspective. Now Asia and the Middle East compete with the Old Continent for Washington’s attention. Europe is still important to America — but Europeans need to accept that they no longer has pride of place in the White House, no matter who occupies the Oval Office.American foreign policy has moved steadily from its Cold War focus on Europe to a more global perspective.Still, Obama took critical steps to reaffirm America’s commitment to European defense. Early in 2009, he insisted on NATO contingency plans for the defense of all allies — including the Baltic States who were not previously included. He also pushed NATO to deploy modern anti-missile systems, major parts of which are now operational. It should have been a marriage made in transatlantic heaven.As ever, fault can be found on both sides. It has been a problem that Obama’s methodical, coolly dispassionate analytical intelligence makes him highly intolerant of less cerebral intellects and not-so-well-structured organizations. Temperamentally, Obama was disinclined to cut us rich mollycoddled Europeans any slack — and indeed, why should he? We messed up on Libya and nearly-enough messed up in a big way on our own eurozone crisis. The smorgasbord of mediocre leaders we have served up during the eight years of Obama’s presidency — with the President’s mind-mate Angela Merkel a rare exception — combined with the unreformed ludicrousness of our EU foreign policy set-up, makes engaging with us the dreariest and most irksome of slogs.Will Hillary Clinton, the likeliest next U.S.-President, be more patient? Probably. But we Europeans would be fools to count on it.Thomas Klau is a former Washington correspondent of Financial Times Deutschland and director of K-Feld & Co.* * *Obama did us a favor: We can’t afford to outsource foreign policyObama has trodden a far-from-faultless path abroad. His biggest mistake, in his own words, was not to follow-up on the Libya intervention, allowing the country to disintegrate and Islamic extremism to flourish. To this, I’d add: his refusal to intervene in Syria after he swore to do so if Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against his own people. We should be reflecting on our own failure, as Europeans, to become decisive central players in a changing world.Enrico Letta is a former prime minister of Italy.* * *Europe still has a place in the U.S. grand designBarack Obama is the first U.S. President in seven decades for whom Europe felt no closer than any other part of the world. He never really experienced divided Germany or the long stand-off with the Soviet Union. Obama represents a country that is redefining its global priorities away from the 20th century pattern. Europe certainly matters, but no longer as much.What some commentators call the “new Cold War” between the United States and Russia will not change that fact. For Obama, today’s Russia is more of a nuisance than a rival on the scale of the USSR. Obama has, of course, continued to reassure ever-jittery Eastern Europeans, but his administration doesn’t consider Ukraine to be worthy of much of its time. The situation is now squarely in German and EU hands.The quarter century-long period of unchallenged U.S. global dominance, the genuine Pax Americana, is over. Despite major mistakes, Obama’s dovish foreign policy stance has not been bad from a principled point of view. There is nothing wrong with being a cautious leader abroad; certainly not when you consider his predecessor. Obama has been fairly consistent. And he is right to say that over the past few decades, Europe often pushed the U.S. to act but showed “an unwillingness to put any skin in the game.” There are few credible rebuttals to his criticism that Europe has been “a free rider” for years.It is high time for us to realize we cannot outsource our foreign policy and military clout to other nations.Was it America’s duty to act in North Africa and the Middle East, or was it ours? After all, there is an ocean between America and the Middle East, while it is quite literally our backyard. It is only logical for the U.S. to gradually lose interest in the region now that it has gained energy independence. The global conditions are such that Obama’s successor might very well stay the course in that regard.So let us not misread Obama’s foreign policy for an exception to the rule, but let us see it for what it is: a wake-up call. With the Middle East, more than ever, our problem too, Europe needs to create a tight defense union that gives credibility to a more united foreign policy. It is high time for us to realize we cannot outsource our foreign policy and military clout to other nations. Obama has made that very clear.Guy Verhofstadt is European parliamentary group leader for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), and former prime minister of Belgium. * * * Obama delegated the biggest challenge to European security during his presidency — Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — to Germany’s Angela Merkel. Obama has yet to set foot in Ukraine as President (he did as a Senator), missing a huge opportunity to demonstrate solidarity with beleaguered Ukrainians, and has refused to provide lethal assistance critical for Ukrainians to defend themselves. Similarly, he failed to visit Paris to pay his respects after the terrorist attacks there last November although he was in Turkey at the time. TTIP has stalled, and NATO has suffered from weak American leadership.Overall, transatlantic relations have suffered badly under Obama’s watch. Only a Trump administration — gulp! — might burnish Obama’s European legacy.David J. Kramer is senior director for human rights and democracy at the McCain Institute in Washington, D.C.* * *A transatlantic relationship on the rocksObama comes to Europe as the president who promised a new dawn in transatlantic relations. Just think back to the ecstatic reception he received in Berlin in 2008 from hundreds of thousands of Germans, the grandchildren of those who had similarly hailed Kennedy in 1963. But at the end of his presidency the transatlantic alliance has never less sure of its future.If the U.K. votes to leave the EU in its June referendum, the event would blow European unity apart, and play into the kind of U.S. isolationism articulated by Donald Trump. Obama has done little to preserve the heritage of his predecessors, from Roosevelt to the Bushes. Despite a shared approach, President Obama was not all that terribly interested in Europe itself. He attended all the right meetings and said all the right things about Europe, NATO and our collective global engagement but something was off. Europe’s doubts and fears were confirmed when the President spoke passionately of America’s pivot to Asia and the new Pacific Century, and Europe suddenly felt relegated to the 20th century.Still, Europeans didn’t make a fuss — until they urgently needed the help of a more active and engaged U.S. A series of political challenges have weakened the Continent, and suggest America will be required to return to its traditional leadership role in Europe. What is unclear is whether it will.Heather Conley is senior vice president for Europe, Eurasia, and the Arctic and director of the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Also On POLITICO Symposium Is Poland a failing democracy? By POLITICO * * *We can’t blame Obama for our own failureTo many Europeans, Obama is the president who didn’t love them enough. The end of his second term has confirmed some of his European partners in their position, as evaluations of his outspokenness on sensitive subjects like Libya or Europe’s lack of competitiveness swarm national media.I don’t share their conviction. Obama has absolutely not been a Euro-shy president. He has demonstrated a quality that is typical to us as Europeans too — the tendency to see ourselves as the center of the world. We reacted to Obama’s pivot to Asia as jealous lovers would, and overlooked the fact that Obama made a natural and fundamental choice in a country that is just as Pacific as it is Atlantic. We too should be looking toward Asia as the future, considering that its growing importance now appears unstoppable.Obama has absolutely not been a Euro-shy president. He has demonstrated a quality that is typical to us as Europeans too — the tendency to see ourselves as the center of the world.Obama has worked side by side with us on every sensitive issues we’ve faced. He helped the EU get out of the euro crisis; he shared major decision-making with Europe on crucial international issues like Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and Iran; he pushed for returning from a G-8 to a G-7 summit, thereby creating a new forum for transatlantic cooperation. Most significantly, he didn’t divide Europe the way his predecessor did.Basically, I don’t see what we could possibly hold against him.center_img Yet the quarter century-long period of unchallenged U.S. global dominance, the genuine Pax Americana, is over. Russian actions in Crimea, Donbass and Syria, on one hand, and China’s strategic moves on sea and on land, on the other, signal the return of major power rivalries. India is inching in the same direction. The Middle East is already mostly a playground for regional players, with the U.S.’s role significantly reduced. The United States continues to be dominant, but its dominance no longer goes unchallenged.Obama has had to face up to new realities. While his foreign policy is often dismissed as lacking focus, twin economic deals — the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) — suggest otherwise. They represent strategic initiatives on the scale of the Bretton Woods system and the NATO alliance. Obama’s “retrenchment” is not a reversal toward isolationism — he merely shifted gears as the going got harder. Europe definitely has a place in the new U.S grand design, only its exclusivity is a thing of the past.Dmitri Trenin is director of the Carnegie Moscow Center.* * *Obama has neglected his European alliesPresident Obama’s “pivot” to Asia starting in 2011 sent a terrible signal to Europe. His foreign policy emphasis on the rise and importance of the East implied that he saw Europe as a continent in decline. His recent comments in the Atlantic underscored his lack of interest: He gratuitously slighted European allies, especially the U.K.’s David Cameron, and slammed them as free-loaders for not spending enough on defense. Obama’s visit this week to London, with Brits distracted by their upcoming referendum, is too little too late to salvage what was the special U.S.-UK relationship.Overall, transatlantic relations have suffered badly under Obama’s watch. A disappointing love affairIt has certainly been a long, strange trip with President Obama. As with so many ill-fated love affairs it started with a bang of passion. His appearance in Berlin in the summer of 2008 captured European minds, but especially our hearts. After eight years of George W. Bush, here was a president that said all the right “European” things, and reignited the love in our transatlantic love-hate relationship. We even pinned Obama with the Nobel Peace Prize. Alas, it was not meant to be. With expectations that high we set ourselves up for disappointment.Our love soon became unrequited. With the Obama administration’s pivot to Asia, it seemed that America had turned its back on a crisis-stricken Europe. We fumed and hemmed and hawed. Then came betrayal and the revelation of the National Security Agency’s worldwide surveillance. Europeans were shocked to find that Angela Merkel’s phone, along with millions of private communications, had been tapped under our beloved President Obama. The damage was real and the anti-Americanism that has been a consistent element of Europe’s post-World War II ethos reared its head.The damage was real and the anti-Americanism that has been a consistent element of Europe’s post-World War II ethos reared its head.With Russia’s annexation of Crimea came the realization that we both need each other. A civil, if a bit cold, relationship developed. This distant functionality has come to define these last years with some successes, with the Iran Nuclear Agreement was exhibit A, and some failures — most notably Syria.Perhaps by some bold stroke — like TTIP perhaps — Obama will end this meandering relationship on a memorable note. But the way we see Obama will most likely be defined by who follows him. If it is Donald Trump, we will pine for the salad days of Victoria Nuland’s “Fuck the EU.” All-in-all, I fear, the lasting impression that Barack Obama will leave us with is one of disenchantment.Ana Palacio is an international lawyer and the former foreign minister of Spain. Barack Obama burst onto the European scene in 2008 in Berlin, with a speech that dazzled a crowd of thousands. His hopeful and fresh rhetoric hit a nerve on a continent disillusioned with the interventionist politics of the Bush era. Expectations sky-rocketed.And quickly plummeted. Russia’s annexation of Crimea; the NSA wire-tap scandal; the escalating civil war in Syria; the spread of terror in the Middle East and ensuing waves of refugees: Obama’s eight years in office have been riddled with crises that strained the transatlantic relationship, and for which he faced harsh criticism.This week he goes to Britain and Germany, perhaps his last visit to two of his closest European allies. So what has Obama meant for Europe — and vice versa? What will be his legacy on the Continent — and what will define it? Unlike Bill Clinton, or the Eisenhower generation who knew what happened when the U.S. ignored Europe, or indeed Ronald Reagan who forged an alliance with Margaret Thatcher to bury Soviet communism, Obama has the thinnest record on Europe of any American president since U.S. distanced itself from Europe between 1919-1941.Kennedy had “Ich bin ein Berliner”; Reagan’s “Tear down this wall” resonated throughout Europe. Obama has had no comparable European moment.His notorious interview with Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic scorned leaders like Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron for their grand-standing in Libya. He has no strategy to counter Putin’s aggressive tactics in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, or Putin’s plans to extend control over the Arctic. Kennedy had “Ich bin ein Berliner”; Reagan’s “Tear down this wall” resonated throughout Europe. Obama has had no comparable European moment. Obama’s pivot to Asia has turned U.S. global policy into a zero sum game, leaving Europeans to feel abandoned. As we have seen, when Europeans are left to their own devices inward-looking populist nationalist demons resurface.To be sure, Obama found no partners in a Europe short of leadership. But he has shown no interest himself in being a leader in a new transatlantic era. If the next president can’t breathe life in the alliance, it may be time to write its obituary.Denis MacShane is a former U.K. Minister of Europe and author of “Brexit: How Britain Will Leave Europe.”* * * One of the most pernicious effect of Europe’s stasis has been its inability to adjust to the new world order the Obama years foreshadowed. In an age of austerity, the state of public opinion has become a real obstacle as Europe tries to develop the capabilities to shoulder the burden of the complex security challenges we now face.Sinan Ülgen is the chairman of the Istanbul based EDAM think tank and a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe.* * *Europe has been let down, but still needs the USEurope cheered for America’s first African-American president. By simple virtue of not being President George W. Bush, President Obama was honored with a Nobel Peace Prize eleven months after his inauguration. With an excess of irrational European euphoria, the President’s legacy was secured.What is fascinating about President Obama’s foreign policy approach is that it is so similar to Europe’s: It is multilateral, focused on the environment and exudes soft power — be it by working on international trade agreements or providing generous global humanitarian and development assistance.President Obama was not all that terribly interested in Europe itself. Obama also moved quickly to reassure European allies following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014, deploying forces on land, at sea, and in the air. Earlier this year, the administration announced a $3.4 billion initiative to bolster the U.S.’s NATO presence, which, as during the Cold War, underscores its readiness to stand by its longstanding European partners.Europe may not be the sole focal point of American foreign policy, but the United States under Obama has remained fully committed to an enduring defense and economic relationship with its most important partners.Ivo Daalder served as U.S. Ambassador to NATO from 2009-13 and currently is president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. * * *Why should Obama cut us any slack?It should have been a marriage made in transatlantic heaven. On the one side of the ocean, we, the European Union. On the other, Barack Obama, an admirably hard-working and highly intelligent man, a defender of multilateralism and a law-based international order, a critic of unthinking American interventionism espousing a coolly dispassionate, quasi-European perspective on American power, its pitfalls and limitations. A politician, moreover, who grew up abroad, and can view and feel American power the way foreigners do. A man of mixed racial heritage, more deeply aware than his predecessors that American history is built on oppression as much as on liberation, and therefore more conscious of the dangers of a messianic approach to U.S. adventurism abroad.For all these reasons and others, many of us in Europe cried with joy and relief when he was elected. Yet, somehow, something went terribly wrong — the marriage, while not wholly disastrous, has remained barren. Why?last_img read more

Marine Le Pen’s cash-flow crisis

first_imgFor Front officials, the solution to their problems could be to have France’s Socialist government intervene on their behalf, out of “respect for democracy.”French election rules state that all candidates who win more than 5 percent of the popular vote get their expenses reimbursed. That’s almost certain to happen with Le Pen, who is polling as high as 30 percent, which would allow her party to service any loan.But Dubois noted that banks were refusing to lend to all political parties, not just to the Front.In the wake of the “Bygmalion affair” — a scandal linked to alleged improper accounting during Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2012 campaign — French banks have become wary of lending to political parties. The banks do, however, continue to roll over the conservative Républicains party’s debts, which run to some €60 million.“Thank you, Nicolas Sarkozy,” said Dubois, tongue firmly in cheek.An official at the French Banking Federation said each bank was free to follow its own lending practices. However, their approach was contingent on an evaluation of commercial and regulatory risks attached to any loan, and recent lawsuits could influence the banks’ risk assessment. “At the European Parliament, ENL officials defend in a constant manner the interest of Russia, whether it’s during their actions in various committees, in the plenary session or through their votes,” says Camus’ report.The other obvious source of funding for the National Front, Jean-Marie Le Pen’s lender Cotelec, is also problematic. The elder Le Pen was kicked out of the party last year for making anti-Semitic and xenophobic comments, and the party wants to break all links with his legacy, going as far as to remove references to the National Front and its tricolor flame logo from its campaign material.But the financial ties are unbroken. The elder Le Pen told POLITICO that he would probably sign off on loans to the National Front, as he did during regional elections late last year.Front officials say Jean-Marie has no choice: Cotelec functions by accepting loans from private lenders at an interest rate of 3 percent, then repackaging them and giving them to candidates at 6 percent. Since no other political party will borrow from Cotelec, they argue, Le Pen has no choice but to finance his daughter.Even so, for a party desperate to sever any link with its scandal-tainted past, being depending on loans from Jean-Marie Le Pen is not ideal.In the end, the National Front is likely to use money from a foreign lender and from Cotelec, but that will only fuel the impression that the party is a mouthpiece for its financiers — no matter how loudly Marine Le Pen proclaims her independence. Marine Le Pen (L) takes part in a meeting on School and higher education | Patrick Kovarik/AFP via GettyUnlike the U.S. presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders – frequently cited by Le Pen as an example of a well-run campaign by an outsider – Le Pen’s party never set up an efficient grassroots fundraising campaign. It also lacks access, according to Dubois, to a network of financial players in New York and London that other presidential candidates — from conservative frontrunner Alain Juppé to government dropout Emmanuel Macron — call upon for donations.The only avenues left available are Cotelec, a lender presided over by Marine’s father Jean-Marie Le Pen, and foreign banks. But, at least on the latter score, the prospects look grim after the Czech Republic’s central bank in March banned the ERB from taking deposits or making loans, according to Reuters.“The bank does not lend anymore, but we still need to pay back what we’ve borrowed, that’s how these things work,” said Saint-Just. “The loan was not granted with any kind of favorable conditions for us.”A ‘rigged’ systemFor Dubois, French banks’ refusal to lend to the Front is proof that the system is rigged against them.Le Pen’s team sent letters soliciting funds to 45 banks in France and abroad. None of the banks courted by the party has responded favorably, Dubois said. In May, Le Pen complained that Frédéric Oudéa, head of the French Banking Federation, had refused to meet with her to discuss the matter.Behind the complaints of financial injustice is a desire to show that the National Front is doing its utmost to secure a loan from a French bank. In the National Front’s case, there is no campaign finance scandal comparable to the Bygmalion affair. But Saint-Just and other officials linked to the party are under formal investigation on suspicion that they inflated campaign spending in 2012 to increase the amount they would be paid back by the state.Saint-Just denies any wrongdoing.Strings attachedBehind the complaints of financial injustice is a desire to show that the National Front is doing its utmost to secure a loan from a French bank.Le Pen’s decision to borrow from a Russian-backed bank brought accusations that the Front, which is openly supportive of President Vladimir Putin, had been bought by the Kremlin. Asked about the Russian loan, Le Pen told journalists in Fréjus that it came with no strings attached, and was being paid back with interest.“I would absolutely not feel any obligation toward foreign banks,” Le Pen said. “It would just be a loan with interest.”Marine Le Pen listens to FN’s overseas territories secretary Jean-Michel Dubois | Martin Bureau/AFP via GettyHowever, a close look at the Front’s voting records in the European Parliament suggests, at the very least, that the Front has aligned its foreign policy agenda with Moscow. According to researcher Jean-Yves Camus, 93 percent of votes by the Europe of Nations and Freedoms (ENL) group, to which the National Front belongs, went in the direction of Russia’s interests. PARIS — Marine Le Pen’s presidential campaign says it will run out of steam in December unless her anti-EU party can find €8 million to bankroll its events.Seven months before the French head to the polls, Le Pen is already hard at work on the campaign trail. Earlier this month in the Riviera town of Fréjus, which is controlled by the National Front, she presided over a sprawling event designed to cement its transformation from a party of protest into a party capable of government, three weeks after another expensive gathering in the eastern French town of Brachay.But while Le Pen projects strength and rides high in opinion polls, her campaign finance manager Jean-Michel Dubois told POLITICO that her party had only €4 million of the “minimum” €12 million needed to underwrite a proper presidential campaign. Taken together with the cost of a campaign for parliament seats after the presidential vote, Le Pen’s party is short by more than €20 million, said Dubois and National Front treasurer Wallerand de Saint-Just. Also On POLITICO Marine Le Pen’s election pitch: I am free By Nicholas Vinocur Marine Le Pen learns makeover from Vladimir Putin By Nicholas Vinocur “How do you want to run a campaign without funding?” said Dubois. “If nothing changes in the next few months, we will have to run a minimal campaign that will not be on the scale of Marine’s ambitions.”Saint-Just added that the trouble would start in December when the party will start to plan for the final stretch of the presidential campaign.Le Pen’s begging bowlThe Front’s chronic funding shortage underscores an irony at the heart of its anti-establishment posturing.Virulently critical of big banks and of any foreign influence on French politics, the National Front remains heavily reliant on foreign banks to fuel its march on power. In 2014, it secured a €9 million loan from Europe-Russia Bank (ERB), a Moscow-backed lender based in the Czech Republic, that allowed it to fund two national election campaigns.Now it has no choice but to go knocking on the doors of foreign banks once again.The money problems also reflect a weakness in the organization of a party that is struggling to overcome a reputation for amateurishness.last_img read more

Optimistic about playoff chances, Larson ready to hit his stride

first_imgEven factoring in his laidback Californian-cool personality, listening to Kyle Larson this week, it’s obvious that he is both optimistic and confident about his chances to qualify for the 2019 edition of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.That’s not to say, however, Larson doesn’t have a plan.The popular driver of the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet is ranked 13th in the driver standings as the series heads into Sunday’s Gander RV 400 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Larson holds a 14-point advantage on Clint Bowyer, who is currently in the 16th and final playoff transfer position. He has a 31-point advantage on Jimmie Johnson and Daniel Suarez, who are 17th and 18th respectively, tied in points with six races remaining to set the field.RELATED: Larson in your fantasy lineup for Pocono?“I feel okay about it (position) but thankful the rest of the bubble guys had issues this last race (at New Hampshire) because I DNFed and only lost nine points to the cutoff,” Larson said. “I was surprised by that.“I do feel like our cars are definitely fast enough and capable and should be in the playoffs. As far as speed goes, I feel good about it. But obviously, I’ve got to just not make mistakes to give up a lot of points, like I could have this last weekend.”Not too surprisingly to his fans and the greater NASCAR nation who has gotten to know the young talent, Larson would prefer not to rely on points advantages and instead earn that first victory of 2019. Just win.And the series is visiting venues where that could happen – places where Larson has traditionally shined.This week’s 400-miler at Pocono Raceway is followed by races at Watkins Glen, Michigan, Bristol, Darlington and finally the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway.Larson has a runner-up finish at Pocono in 2018. He won two stages and led 35 laps in the race this June, only to finish a disappointing 26th. And Larson has a pair of top-10 runs in five starts at Watkins Glen – including a best of fourth in 2014.But the brightest and biggest circle on Larson’s schedule is probably around the Aug. 11 stop at Michigan International Speedway where Larson won his first ever Monster Energy Series race in 2016 and answered by sweeping the 2017 season. He hasn’t had a top 10 since his last victory in 2017 at the track, but was encouraged by his 14th-place finish back in June. It remains a valid opportunity to secure that “safety net” victory.“Michigan, we’ve obviously had a lot of success, but the racing was way different then, so it’s hard to say that I go there with the same amount of confidence I had back in 2017,” Larson said. “But we raced there a few weeks ago and we were really fast, our pit strategy just didn’t work out there at the end. I ran inside the top-three, top-five most of the race. We could be good there.“Bristol and Darlington, those are a couple of my best tracks. I’m excited about the upcoming month and a half of racing because those are tracks I’ve historically run pretty well at.”RELATED: What are Larson’s odds for Pocono?Bristol Motor Speedway’s high-banked half-mile has been a particularly good venue for Larson. He’s won the pole position twice and finished runner-up in both races last year. Twice, Larson has led at least 200 laps in a race at Bristol.The historic Darlington (S.C.) Raceway has been another positive entry in Larson’s young career. He has four top 10s in five starts, including a pair of career best third-place finishes. He led a dominating 284 of 367 laps in his third place effort last year.“Consistency is probably what we need to do the most to gain points, but then you know, if a win is there for the taking, we’re definitely going to try to win,” Larson said. “But we also can’t do anything too crazy in terms of fuel strategy or things like that, that could cost us if it doesn’t work out. Obviously, we’d like to not be close to the Playoff bubble because then we could call our races a little differently, but that’s just the box we’re in.”And so Larson insists his method involves taking care of himself and not paying too much attention to the immediate playoff competition. He’s optimistic. That’s half the battle.“It is kind of crazy seeing Jimmie Johnson floating around that cutoff, I don’t really pay attention to that necessarily – everyone’s history and successes that they’ve had,” Larson said.“I just want to make the playoffs, so we’ll keep trying to finish these races. We were doing a good job and gaining a lot of points and this past weekend kind of set us back a little bit. But we’ve got fast cars and that helps make it a little easier to be consistent and do what we’ve got to do to make the playoffs.’’last_img read more

Greensky Bluegrass Welcomes Tom Hamilton To Kick Off Two-Night Denver Run With Ghost Light [Photos/Videos]

first_imgGreensky Bluegrass was in Denver, CO on Friday where the jamgrass outfit opened their weekend run at Mission Ballroom with support from Ghost Light in front of a packed crowd. Having two popular headline-level bands on the bill all weekend presents ample opportunity for some top-notch sit-ins, which is exactly what happened last night when Greensky welcomed guitarist Tom Hamilton to help play on a few tunes towards the latter half of the show.Related: Greensky Bluegrass Announces 2020 Dates For Camp GreenskyFollowing Ghost Light’s opening performance, Greensky took the stage to open the first of their two sets with “The Four”, “Train Junkie”, “Can’t Make Time”, “White House Blues”. “Old Barns” and “Blood Sucking F(r)iends” also rounded out the first half of their show before sending their fans into set break with “Stop That Train”.Greensky Bluegrass – “The Four” – 12/6/2019[Video: Nate Searcy]Greensky returned for a second set that included “Clinch Mountain Backstep, “Worries About the Weather”, and a two-part “Wish I Didn’t Know” into Tears For Fears‘ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”. The highlight of the set came when they welcomed Hamilton to the stage to play on The Allman Brothers Band‘s “Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More” and “Kerosene” to close the show. The band returned to the stage sans Hamilton for a one-song encore of “Past My Prime”.Watch videos from the second half of the show below.Greensky Bluegrass – “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” – 12/6/2019[Video: john jeffries]Both Ghost Light and Greensky Bluegrass will have plenty of opportunities to trade sit-ins as the two have a number of previously-announced performances together scheduled well into the early 2020 winter months.Saturday’s show at Mission Ballroom is sold out, but fans can head to the Greensky Bluegrass and Ghost Light websites for upcoming tour info and tickets.Below, you can view a gallery of the show courtesy of photographer Jason Myers.Setlist: Greensky Bluegrass | Mission Ballroom | Denver, CO | 12/6/2019Set One: The Four, Train Junkie, Can’t Make Time, White House Blues, Do It Alone, Living Over, Old Barns, Blood Sucking F(r)iends, Stop that TrainSet Two: Reverend, Clinch Mountain Backstep, Cathedral Eyes, Worried About the Weather, Wish I Didn’t Know> Everybody Wants to Rule the World (Tears for Fears cover), Before Bring Out Your Dead > Bring Out Your Dead, Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More* (The Allman Brothers Band cover), Kerosene*Encore: Past My PrimeNotes:* w/ Tom Hamilton (guitar)Greensky Bluegrass | Mission Ballroom | Denver, CO | 12/06/19 | Photos: Jason Myers Photo: Jason Myers Load remaining imageslast_img read more