The National Weather Service forecasts today’s high in Los Alamos near 49 with a 50 percent chance of rain and snow showers before noon, then scattered rain showers. Tonight’s low around 33. Courtesy/NWS
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China Oilfield Services Limited (COSL), a Chinese offshore services provider, has completed its first exploration operation in the Far East. COSL informed in early June it won a seismic acquisition contract in the “Far East” but did not reveal the name of the client nor the exact location of the survey.The company used the Hai Yan Shi You 718 seismic vessel for the project that started in late June.COSL said on Thursday, August 4, 2016, that the operation situation was ‘complicated’, including the complex fishery and year-round foggy weather.Also, operating in the shallow water zone is a threat to the underwater equipment, the company noted.The operation was, according to the company, completed safely.Offshore Energy Today Staff
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International firm Hogan Lovells has posted its ‘best ever’ annual results, with profit per equity partner up 10% in 2013 to $1.208m (£718,564), compared with 2012.Turnover increased 5.2% to $1.718bn (£1.03bn) in 2013, with revenue per lawyer up 3.7% to $742,613 (£444,661).Europe represented 47% of the firm’s billings, followed by 66% from the Americas and 7% from Asia and the Middle East.The firm said it has a number of ongoing initiatives to remain successful in a competitive market. ‘Our regulatory capabilities stand out in particular as a distinctive strength,’ it said in a statement.Hogan Lovells became one of the largest firms in the world following the merger between US firm Hogan & Hartson and City firm Lovells in 2010. The deal created a combined revenue of more than £1bn, with 2,500 lawyers in more than 40 offices.According to Thomson Reuters Legal Advisers’ annual M&A review in January, Hogan Lovells outperformed all other UK firms in the value of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) it advised upon in 2013, ranking ninth in the world.In recent months the firm has opened an office in Luxembourg, combined with Routledge Modise in South Africa and opened its second office in Brazil.
A Conservative MP has clashed with campaigners over the benefits of the criminal courts charge during an exchange in parliament.Members of four justice groups appeared before the House of Commons justice committee today to give their summary of the effects of an extra charge for convicted people since April.The witnesses said evidence is emerging of innocent people being coerced into pleading guilty because they would face a £150 charge rather than one for £520 if convicted in the magistrates’ court.It is estimated that defendants were required to pay around £5.7m from April to June – money which goes back into the financing of the courts system.Shipley MP Philip Davies (pictured), a member of the committee, accused some of the groups of struggling to ‘differentiate between personal and political opinions and evidence’.Addressing Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, who suggested that beggars convicted of minor crimes are subject to the charge, he questioned her evidence basis, adding: ‘You have no idea, you just made that up to be emotional.’Davies acknowledged the concerns that innocent people are forced to plead guilty, but he asked what evidence existed of the scale of that.The MP added: ‘Would you all say this is simply a one-way street?‘Would you perhaps concede that if [the charge is] encouraging innocent people to plead guilty, there’s half a chance that it may actually be encouraging guilty people to plead guilty? Does it only apply to innocent people pleading guilty? Or would anyone concede there is half a chance that it may encourage people to plead guilty rather than trying to work the system?’Phil Bowen, director of the Centre for Justice Innovation, said any system which introduces an element of ‘plea bargaining’ will convince some people to seek a ‘better deal’.He added: ‘[I’ve seen] innocent people with two or three convictions behind them who went ‘actually on this I’m innocent, but what’s the point as the system is loaded against me. There are aspects of the criminal court charge which are like that.’When Davies suggested the evidence basis for innocent people wrongly convicted was ‘one case’, Criminal Justice Alliance director Ben Summerskill replied: ‘It is a case we regard as reliable and I have to say, given my personal view of the importance of confidence in British justice, one case of someone pleading guilty to something they didn’t do is, with respect, one case too many.’Summerskill also stated that he had heard directly from a judge based in London who had reduced the amount of victim compensation the defendant was required to pay, in the knowledge that the courts charge had to be added further down the line.Malcolm Richardson, deputy chairman of the Magistrates’ Association, said judges and magistrates were supposed to consider the charge only after compensation, Crown Prosecution Service costs and any fine, but added: ‘We are only human beings and we work the sums out.’
Professional negligence lawyers should brace themselves for a flurry of work arising from a surge in the number of poorly advised private prosecutions, experts in the field have predicted.Colin Witcher and Anthony Eskander, of Church Court Chambers, told the Professional Negligence Lawyers Association conference that they expected an increase in actions against solicitors where their conduct caused the collapse of a prosecution and/or adverse costs orders. The barristers, who represented campaigner Marcus Ball (pictured above) in his private prosecution of Boris Johnson earlier this year, said there had been a ‘marked increase’ in similar proceedings brought by individuals. But with the increase has come more law firms claiming to be specialists in the field and making unrealistic promises of success.Witcher said: ‘In [our] chambers it has been about a 3,000% increase in enquiries from serious causes wanting advice in prosecutions. The risk of that is that people are running before they are walking, which is where professional negligence lawyers come in.’ He added that the courts have been quick to award costs against losing parties ‘no questions asked’ and that this may have been meant as a warning to lawyers not to bring unmeritorious cases. ‘There will be victims [who are] very unhappy a private prosecution goes wrong and they are lumbered with costs almost always in six figures.’ Witcher and Eskander attribute the increase in private prosecutions to a number of factors, including a lack of confidence in the Crown Prosecution Service, the victim wishing to retain control, and active involvement and wider public awareness of the right to bring private prosecutions. Earlier this year, all members of the Private Prosecutors Association agreed to abide by a published code that aimed to improve the standard of prosecutions and set a benchmark for best practice.
CHINA: The Institute of Railway & Urban Transit at Shanghai Tongji University is to set up an RFID laboratory to develop and test applications for railway and mass transit systems. Located at the Jiading campus, the laboratory will investigate the use of RFID equipment from Swedish firm TagMaster in onboard and trackside applications. The campus has a 700 m section of test track which can be used to verify RFID applications developed at the university.
USA: BNSF is planning to invest $3·3bn under its 2018 capital plan unveiled on January 31. This the same level of spending as 2017, and brings the total investment to more than $60bn since 2000.Within the total figure, $2·4bn has been allocated for maintenance and renewal of both infrastructure and rolling stock. ‘Our infrastructure is strong and robust’, explained President & Chief Executive Officer Carl Ice. ‘Our efforts to normalise our maintenance investment have positioned us to replace the right assets at the right locations at the right time. This allows our maintenance investment to be at similar levels year-to-year.’Among the infrastructure priorities are the replacement of more than 800 km of rail and nearly 3 million sleepers, as well as reballasting. Track surfacing and/or undercutting will be undertaken on work on more than 20 000 route-km.BNSF expects to invest $300m in new rolling stock during 2018, including freight wagons and other equipment. Around $100m has been allocated for Positive Train Control in order to meet the December 31 implementation deadline. BNSF says it is the only Class I freight railroad to have completed the installation of PTC on all its federally mandated subdivisions.
Thousands of university and college students in Tanzania are in danger of being expelled from their learning institutions after the country’s education authorities discovered a major scam involving the enrolment of unqualified students.The country’s Education Minister Joyce Ndalikacho has announced the dissolution of the Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) board and suspended other senior officials.Local media report that the government has already expelled 489 students who had been admitted to St. Joseph University, amd given government loans even though they did not “even qualify to pursue a certificate in teaching”.The government has since closed the university’s campuses in northern and southern Tanzania.