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06 сентября, 02:00

OPEC Secretary General meets with Algeria, Qatar Energy Ministers

OPEC Secretary General, HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, met with HE Dr. Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada, Minister of Energy and Industry of Qatar and President of the OPEC Conference, and HE Noureddine Boutarfa, Minister of Energy of Algeria.

09 августа, 20:39

Crude Output Control Speculation Resurfaces: 4 ETFs to Watch

After a failed initiative in April, major oil producers are speculated to take another shot at controlling crude production in late September.

13 сентября 2013, 06:01

Nigel Farage Slams Barroso's European "Disaster"

Following Barroso's State of the EU speech, we thought it useful to reflect on the true state of the EU. Nigel Farage's recent tirade slamming "Communist" Barroso's pro-bureaucrat policies are poignant as he exclaims the "disaster" that the EU has become for the poor and unemployed. To further color this rant we note Charles Gavekal's recent note on why Europe's still broken as worthless IOUs are 'transferred' around the union and "no one really knows who is going to take the final loss." Perhaps it is The Hamiltonian's summary of the structural problem (an interlocking set of European political, bureaucratic, media, academic and financial elites) and the sad fact that history suggests a crisis deferred is a crisis magnified. The first few minutes of Farage's speech focus on the real-world problems that his peers "are in denial" over... (the rest is global warming related) But to provide more specific reasons for why Europe's still broken, here is Charles Gave (of Gavekal Research), ... The interesting thing is that the median cost of capital across the eurozone has not changed significantly during the crisis period; what has shifted is the dispersion around that median. And the countries which are on the wrong side of the spread have seen interest rates remain above their economies’ structural growth rates. The result is a massive deleveraging of the private sector, offset by a huge increase in state spending in the likes of France, Italy, and Spain, etc. The logic of the system is inherently at odds with the budgetary stipulations set within the Maastricht criteria. Hence, so long as interest rates are set way above the growth rate, “austerity” must fail miserably.  This system is inexorably causing the destruction of the industrial bases in Italy, France, Spain and the others. The lost revenues from productive activity is for the moment offset by Germany (together with the likes of Japan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia) accumulating financial assets issued by the governments of those nations that face slow strangulation. It can’t last. A while ago, I argued that Germans might as well load much of their auto exports headed to eurozone countries on to a boat and sink it outside of Hamburg. It would do as much good as selling Audis in exchange for IOUs issued by bankrupt countries. But no problem—now those IOUs are held by the European Central Bank as shown by the still high Target 2 balances. Of course, what this really means is that no one really knows who is going to take the final loss and so the game continues (and this is the difference with a gold standard where cycles end with a simple depletion of the gold inventory). The end game will come when sovereign nations inside and outside Europe stop accepting this rotten paper. This denouement will ultimately be a political decision which is hardly my area of confidence. What I would say to those tempted by Europe’s “attractively valued” markets, is look elsewhere...  and From The Hamiltonian, Europe - Crisis Deferred Is Crisis Magnified, In the current period of surface calm in [Europe] it is more necessary than ever to point out the structural phenomena which mean that a crisis is bound to re-emerge. ... The structural problem... is an interlocking set of European political, bureaucratic, media, academic and financial elites. King said there are four possible resolutions to the crisis. One is continued mass unemployment in the cads in order to produce deflation; the second is inflation in Germany; the third is giving up on adjustment and instituting a perpetual transfer union (and, implicitly, German rule); the fourth is a change in euro area membership.  King, although he was not explicit, seemed to have grave doubts about the feasibility of the first three possible solutions (he would no doubt also rightly have major worries about the possible financial implications of the fourth possibility; but if nothing else is feasible, the authorities should be planning to mitigate the financial consequences of that possibility – but that would mean admitting that entering into monetary union pre-programmed some sort of financial crisis, something the progenitors of monetary union, and even some of their successors, will never admit). ... Ponzi games are sometimes excused, or even lauded, on the grounds that a crisis deferred is a crisis resolved. Sadly, history suggests that crisis deferred is a crisis magnified. Can one justify the creditstimulation ambition on the slightly more respectable argue that time is being bought? Well, one might – if it were clear what exactly the time being bought was expected to produce and if the price at which time is bought were specified. The second condition has never as far as we are, been fulfilled. What about the first condition? Two main possibilities are mooted by the proponents of buying time. One is that underlying structural improvement in the cads will allow structural adjustment without a need for deflation. The second is that the passage of time will allow the third of the possible resolutions outlined by King – a perpetual transfer union – to become more feasible politically. And of course the two arguments are linked: the greater an improvement in the structural performance of the cads, it is claimed (though often sotto voce), the more likely it will be that Germany will accept a transfer union and the more likely it is that cad societies, having already by hypothesis become more “Germanic”, will be able to accept the imposition of German rules (and, in effect, German rule) in return. ... Barroso’s comments last night, in which he claimed that any “rowing back” from “Europe” would re-create conditions like those which led to the First World War, are not just ludicrously wrong – wrong by 180 degrees – but frankly obscene. But apart from that, PMIs tell us all is well, right? (well, no!)        

05 сентября 2013, 05:15

David Stockman On "The End Of The American Imperium"

Submitted by David Stockman via LewRockwell.com, Next week Congress can do far more than stop a feckless Tomahawk barrage on a small country which is already a graveyard of civil war and sectarian slaughter. By voting “no” it can trigger the end of the American Imperium - five decades of incessant meddling, bullying and subversion around the globe which has added precious little to national security, but left America fiscally exhausted and morally diminished. Indeed, the tragedy of this vast string of misbegotten interventions - from the 1953 coup against Mossedegh in Iran through the recent bombing campaign in Libya - is that virtually none of them involved defending the homeland or any tangible, steely-eyed linkages to national security. They were all rooted in ideology—that is, anti-communism, anti-terrorism, humanitarianism, R2Pism, nation-building, American exceptionalism. These were the historic building blocks of a failed Pax Americana. Now the White House wants authorization for the last straw: Namely, to deliver from the firing tubes of U.S. naval destroyers a dose of righteous “punishment” that has no plausible military or strategic purpose. By the President’s own statements the proposed attack is merely designed to censure the Syrian regime for allegedly visiting one particularly horrific form of violence on its own citizens. Well, really? After having rained napalm, white phosphorous, bunker-busters, drone missiles and the most violent machinery of conventional warfare ever assembled upon millions of innocent Vietnamese, Cambodians, Serbs, Somalis, Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis, Yemeni, Libyans and countless more, Washington now presupposes to be in the moral sanctions business?  That’s downright farcical.  Nevertheless, by declaring himself the world’s spanker-in-chief, President Obama has unwittingly precipitated the mother of all clarifying moments. The screaming strategic truth is that America no longer has any industrial state enemies capable of delivering military harm to its shores: Russia has become a feeble kleptocracy run by a loud-mouthed thief and the communist party oligarchs in China would face a devastating economic collapse within months were it to attack its American markets for sneakers and Apples. So the real question now before Congress recurs: how is it possible that the peace-loving citizens of America, facing no industrial-scale military threat from anywhere on the planet, find themselves in a constant state of war?  The answer is that they have been betrayed by the beltway political class which is in thrall to a vast warfare state apparatus that endlessly invents specious reasons for meddling, spying, intervention and occupation. In pursuit of nothing more ennobling than raw self-perpetuation, the propaganda machinery of the warfare state - along with its media affiliates such as the War Channel (CNN) and the War Press (Washington Post) - have over recent decades churned out a stream of vastly exaggerated “threats”, falsely transforming tin-pot dictators and tyrants like Ho Chi Minh, Daniel Ortega, Slobodan Milosevic, the Taliban, the Ayatollah Khomeini, Saddam Hussein and now Bashar Assad into dangerous enemies. At length, triggering incidents are concocted such as the phony gulf of Tonkin episode, the Madison Avenue based fabrications about Iraqi soldiers stealing babies from incubators in Kuwait, the vastly exaggerated claims of ethnic cleaning in Kosovo, and Saddam’s reputed WMDs.  Eventually, the drumbeat for military intervention is cranked to a fever pitch, and cable TV drives it home with non-stop telestrators and talking heads. Only after the fact, when billions in taxpayer resources have been squandered and thousands of American servicemen have been killed and maimed, do we learn that it was all a mistake; that the collateral destruction vastly exceeded the ostensible threat;  and that there remains not a trace of long-term security benefit to the American people. Setting aside the self-evident catastrophes in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, even the alleged “good” interventions are simply not what they are cracked up to be by warfare state apologists. The 1991 Persian Gulf War, for instance, only insured that Saddam Hussein would not get the oilfield revenues from what he claimed to be Iraq’s “19th province” so that he could fund projects to placate his 30 million deprived, abused and restless citizens. Instead, the loot was retained for the benefit of the despicable Emir Al- Sabah IV and a few hundred gluttonous Kuwaiti princes. Yet in the long-run, “saving” the Kuwaiti regime and its unspeakably decadent opulence did not lower the world price of oil by a dime (Iraq would have produced every barrel it could). And it most surely subtracted from national security because it resulted in the permanent basing of 10,000 U.S. troops on Saudi soil. This utterly stupid and unnecessary provocation was the very proof that “infidels” were occupying Islamic holy lands—the principal leitmotif used by Osama bin Laden to recruit a few hundred fanatical jihadists and pull off the flukish scheme that became 9/11. Likewise, the “triumph” of Kosovo is pure grist from the national security propaganda mill. The true essence of the episode was a mere swap-out among the ethnic cleansers:  The brutal Serbian army was expelled from Kosovo so that the Albanian thugs of the KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army which was on the terrorist list until it was mysteriously dropped in 1998) could liquidate minority Serbs and confiscate their property—–a tragic routine that has been going on in the Balkans for centuries. The recurrent phony narratives that generate these war drum campaigns and then rationalize their disastrous aftermath are rooted in a common structural cause: a vastly bloated war machine and national spying apparatus, the Imperial Presidency and the house-trained lap-dogs which occupy the congressional intelligence, foreign affairs and defense committees. This triangle of deception keeps the American public bamboozled with superficial propaganda and the media supplied with short bursts of reality TV when the Tomahawks periodically let fly. But it is the backbone of the permanent warfare state bureaucracy that keeps the gambit going. Presidents come and go but it is now obvious that virtually any ideological script - left or right - can be co-opted into service of the Imperium. The Obama White House’s preposterous drive to intervene in the Syrian tinderbox with its inherent potential for fractures and blowback across the entire Middle East is being ram-roded by the dogma of “responsibility to protect”. In that context, its chief protagonists—Susan Rice and Samantha Power - are the moral equivalent of Bush’s neo-con hit-men, Douglas Feith and Paul Wolfowitz. In both cases, ideological agendas which have absolutely nothing to do with the safety of the American people were enabled to activate the awful violence of the American war machine mainly because it was there, marching in place waiting for an assignment. And that truth encapsulates the inflection point now upon us. There should be no $650 billion war machine with carrier battle groups and cruise missile batteries at the ready to tempt Presidents to heed the advice of ideological fanatics like Power and Wolfowitz.  The cold war ended 25 years back, and like in 1919 and 1946 the American war machine should have been drastically demobilized and dismantled long ago; it should be funded at under $300 billion, not over $600 billion. The five destroyers today menacing the coast of Syria should have been mothballed, if not consigned to the scrap yard. No President need have worried about choosing sides among ethnic cleansers in Kosovo or Islamic sectarians and tribalists in Syria because his available tool-kit would have been to call for a peace conference in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, not a Tomahawk strike from warships in the Eastern Mediterranean. In this context, Barack Obama may yet earn his Nobel Peace prize, owing to the Syria debate he has now unleashed. It will finally show that there is no threat to America’s security lurking behind the curtain in the Middle East—only a cacophony of internal religious, ethnic, tribal and nationalist conflicts that will eventually burn themselves out. Rather than the “new caliphate” of Fox News’ demented imagination, the truth on the ground is that the Islamic world is enmeshed in a vicious conflict pitting the Shia axis of Iran, Syria, Southern Iraq and the Hezbollah-Lebanon corridor against the surrounding Sunni circle which is nominally aligned with the Syrian rebels. Yet even the Sunni world is noisily fracturing, with Turkey and Qatar lined-up with the Muslim Brotherhood and Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf State aligned with the Egyptian generals. Meanwhile, Jordan cowers in the shadows. The cowardly hypocrisy of the Arab League should tell the Congressional rank-and-file all they need to know about why we should stay out of Syria and shut down the CIA-sponsored rebel training camp in Jordan through which Saudi arms, including chemical weapons according to some reports, are being interjected into the slaughter in Syria.  If the Assad regime is truly an existential threat to regional peace and stability, let Saudi Arabia and Turkey take it out. After all, during the last several decades they have received a combined $100 billion in advanced aircraft, missiles, electronic warfare gear and other weaponry from American arms merchants financed by the US government. Needless to say, the spineless Arab League/Saudi potentates who are now demanding “deterrence” never intend to do the job themselves, preferring to stealthily hold the coats of American mercenary forces instead.  The truth is that at the end of the day, they find the threat of Iranian retaliation far more compelling than ending Assad’s brutality or building a pipeline through a prospective Sunni-controlled Syria to supply Qatar’s natural gas to European markets. That leaves the need to dispatch the final and most insidious myth of the warfare state: namely, the lie that Iran is hell-bent on obtaining and using nuclear weapons. Even the CIA’s own intelligence estimates refute that hoary canard. And whatever the proper share of blame ascribable to each side for failed nuclear negotiations in the past, the Iranian people have once again freely elected a President who wishes to normalize relationships with the US and its allies - notwithstanding the cruel and mindless suffering visited upon them by the West’s misbegotten economic “sanctions”. Indeed, if Obama had the wisdom and astuteness President Eisenhower demonstrated going to Korea, he would be now headed for a peace conference table in Tehran, not the war room in the White House. So let the sun shine in. Perhaps the unruly backbenchers on Capitol Hill will now learn that they have been sold out by their betters on the jurisdictional committees, such as knee-jerk hawks like Senators Feinstein and Menendez, who chair the key Senate committees, and Mike Rogers who chairs the House (alleged) Intelligence Committee. If they do, they will understand that the US has no dog in the Middle East hunt, and that the wise course of action would be a thorough-going retreat and disengagement from the internecine conflicts of the Levant, North Africa and the Persian Gulf, just as Ronald Reagan discovered after his nose was bloodied in Lebanon.  But however the current debate specifically unfolds, the good news is that the world greatest deliberative body is now back in charge of American foreign policy. By long standing historical demonstration, the US Congress specializes in paralysis, indecision and dysfunction. In the end, that is how the American warfare state will be finally brought to heel and why the American Imperium will come to an end - at last.    

27 марта 2013, 19:28

Ranger corruption 'impeding global fight against poaching'

Wildlife rangers are being bribed by criminal poaching syndicates to turn a blind eye to illegal killings, conservation chiefs warnCorruption among wildlife rangers is becoming a serious impediment in the fight against poaching, fuelled by soaring levels of cash offered by criminal poacher syndicates, senior conservation chiefs have admitted.Rangers in countries as diverse as Tanzania and Cambodia are being bribed by increasingly organised poaching gangs keen to supply ivory, rhino horn and tiger parts to meet huge consumer demand in Asia.While prices for ivory and rhino horn, in particular, have risen dramatically in recent years, ranger wages have failed to keep pace, resulting in a spate of bribery scandals."There's more money floating around now from the poachers, so it's more of a problem than ever before," said Sean Willmore, president of the Australian-based International Ranger Federation."It's as bad as I've known it. If rangers aren't getting enough remuneration, they can be corrupted. In Cambodia, for example, rangers were being paid $100 a month and that was cut to $30 a month by the government. What do you do if you want to feed your family?"While rangers in many countries remain chronically underfunded, with Willmore claiming that a lack of proper equipment and training is rife in poaching hotspots, the rewards for turning a blind eye to the illegal killing of rhinos and elephants have never been higher.The standard "bush" market value of ivory is $300 per kilogramme, meaning that a 30kg haul from a single elephant can bring in $9,000. From this, a ranger that turns a blind eye can get a cut of $2,000 – far more than his or her standard salary.The situation is particularly dire in Tanzania, which is losing around 70 elephants a day to poachers. The country has seen around half of its elephants slaughtered in just the last three years.Willmore said that corruption in the country is "systematic". Last year, the government minister and top officials at Tanzania's Wildlife Department were fired for taking bribes for the assignment of hunting blocs and, more brazenly, arranging for 116 live animals to be loaded onto a jumbo jet and flown to Qatar.But the economics are still lopsided even if the poachers are caught, with the punishment following conviction being as little as a $13 fine.Pratik Patel, the chief executive of the African Wildlife Trust, said: "The situation is very chronic – we've seen evidence of the armed forces and rangers colluding with poachers.""You're looking at very well-organised crime syndicates, spreading money around and buying services of government individuals.""It's like the cocaine industry. Or the mafia. The money allocated to conservation is so minimal that it just can't compete with that."Patel estimates that corruption rates among rangers in east Africa are running at around 50%. While big-name national parks such as the Serengeti and Ngorongoro are generally safe from poachers, the majority of animals in Tanzania live in areas where protection is sparse or compromised."You have good rangers and you have bad rangers," he said. "A shooter will be paid to kill the elephant and five or six people will hack the ivory off the body. They then ship it out in a concealed consignment for Malaysia or Vietnam."A lot of the shooters are in the military. They have armour piercing bullets and government vehicles. They can travel without being stopped. The rangers are paid to look the other way and give information on patrols."Patel said that the Chinese government should do more to crack down on the supply of ivory and rhino horn, given the booming demand for the products in the country.But there is a growing realisation that the numbers, both financially and personnel-wise, are tipping in the poachers' favour, placing rangers in an invidious position."Many rangers work for very low pay and don't become corrupt," said Willmore. "I've seen rangers refuse a bribe and say 'I have no reward for this job, so all you can take from me is my integrity'."We want rangers to be rewarded better, but not just financially. They need respect and proper support from their governments. The governments also need to clean things up and get rid of the bad eggs."Illegal wildlife tradeWildlifeConservationAnimalsTanzaniaAfricaAsia PacificChinaCambodiaOliver Milmanguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

27 марта 2013, 16:19

Congress Tries To Avert Helium Crunch

By John Kemp LONDON, March 27 (Reuters) - Bipartisan bills introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate aim to avert the imminent shutdown of the Federal Helium Reserve, which provides a third of all the gas consumed worldwide, and develop a proper market to avoid a long-term crunch in supplies of one of the world's most critical raw materials. Helium is best known for filling party balloons and making people talk with a squeaky voice. But its properties as the second-lightest element, chemically unreactive, and with a boiling point just 4 degrees above absolute zero, give it an essential role in a range of cutting-edge scientific applications. The biggest uses are to cool the superconducting magnets used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners; help manufacture semiconductors and fibre optic cables; and, purge and pressurise the liquid hydrogen/oxygen propulsion systems used on space rockets, including the giant Delta IV launch vehicles that put spy satellites into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Prices for refined helium sold to end-users have quadrupled from $40 per thousand cubic feet in 2000 to $160 in 2012, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which warned the Natural Resources Committee of the House of Representatives last month of "urgent issues facing the Bureau of Land Management's storage and sale of helium reserves." Availability has fluctuated wildly in the last seven years. Problems at helium refineries in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, as well as start up delays with new refining facilities in Qatar in 2006, led to shortages and rationing. Reliable and affordable supplies are essential. But more than 40 percent of the helium used in the United States, and roughly a third of the gas consumed worldwide, is sourced from a stockpile in northern Texas left over from the Cold War. As a result, helium is one of the last commodities where the government still drives prices. The price charged by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which runs the Federal Helium Reserve, effectively sets minimum prices charged for helium around the world. However, legislative authorisation for sales from the reserve will expire in the next few months, leaving lawmakers scrambling to extend the sales programme temporarily, while putting in place proper price incentives and a market to enable a private helium production industry to flourish in the long term. WHY HELIUM MATTERS SO MUCH "The availability of helium at low prices and the stability of the market ... contributed to the rapid growth of MRI as a (medical) diagnostic tool in the 1980s," according to the U.S. National Research Council's report on "Selling the Nation's Helium Reserve." By 2010, when the report was published, there were already more than 22,000 MRI machines in the U.S. and abroad. In recent years, MRI makers have adapted their systems to use smaller quantities of helium and recycle more of it. But there is no substitute at the present time. Without an adequate helium supply, MRI scanners would cease working. Helium is irreplaceable in many other applications. "Helium is just one of a number of gasses used to make our memory chips, but it's absolutely vital. To put it simply, without helium, we cannot operate," one American semiconductor manufacturer warned the Natural Resources Committee. In 2011, Brookhaven National Laboratory was forced to delay restarting its particle accelerator, the second most powerful in the world, following an electrical fault, because of delivery problems obtaining fresh supplies of helium. RECOVERABLE SOURCES OF GAS The atmospheric concentration of helium, about 5.2 parts per million, is too low to make it economic to extract helium from air. Usable helium comes instead from the decay of uranium, thorium and other radioactive elements deep underground. Most of it is lost to the atmosphere, but small quantities are trapped in the same underground formations as natural gas and carbon dioxide, where it can be recovered along with natural gas. Most gas fields do not produce helium in sufficient concentrations to make it worthwhile separating out. But a few contain much higher concentrations that support commercial helium extraction. Exxon's Riley Ridge field in Wyoming contains 0.6 percent helium. Some fields in southern Kansas contain as much as 1.9 percent. Helium can be extracted as a by-product at natural gas processing plants that extract liquids like ethane, propane and butane. If the concentration is high enough, it may be worth constructing specialist facilities to remove it. Most helium is currently produced this way, which requires a minimum concentration of about 0.3 percent. In future, however, the most promising source of helium is the giant liquefaction plants used to produce LNG. Helium is left as a gas when methane is chilled to become a liquid. LNG facilities may be able to extract helium commercially at concentrations of just 0.04 percent. 1996 HELIUM PRIVATISATION ACT Helium's strategic importance was realised during the First World War, when it was used as a safer alternative to hydrogen to lift reconnaissance and weather balloons. The 1920 Mineral Leasing Act reserved all helium produced on federal lands for the federal government. In 1925, the Helium Act declared helium was a critical war material, controlled production and curbed exports. Production underwent a massive expansion during the Second World War, then again during the 1950s and 1960s as part of the cold war space race and missile programme. The 1960 Helium Amendment Act gave natural gas producers financial incentives to separate helium and sell it to the federal government. It also established a strategic helium storage facility in the Bush Dome Reservoir, a partially depleted gas field near Amarillo in Texas. Several companies built separation facilities at the most promising gas fields in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Roughly 36 billion cubic feet of helium were bought by the government and injected into Bush Dome. The stockpile borrowed almost $300 million from the U.S. Treasury to acquire and fill the facility. The aim was to pay the money back plus interest, as well as cover all operating costs, when the helium was eventually sold to consumers such as NASA and the Department of Defense. The loans were supposed to be repaid by 1985. By 1973 it had become clear helium demand would never be as high as originally forecast. New injections into the reservoir matched withdrawals. The stockpile remained about 35 billion cubic feet throughout the 1970s and 1980s. The deadline for repayment was eventually extended to 1995. But by 1995, the amount owed had spiralled to $1.3 billion, including accumulated interest, and it became clear the "helium debt" would never be cleared. The Clinton administration and Congress decided to get out of the helium business. The 1996 Helium Privatisation Act ordered the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to close all government-owned facilities for refining helium. It froze the helium debt, and ordered the Bureau to start selling crude helium from the reserve at a steady rate over 10 years starting no later than 2005 at prices sufficient to repay the debt and cover operating costs. UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES The law directed BLM to carry out stockpile sales "with minimum market disruption," but it has not worked out as intended. The cost-recovery pricing formula ensured BLM was originally charging much more for its helium than other suppliers, minimising the market impact. BLM sales were originally priced at about double the normal market rate. But BLM has become such an enormous seller, in a market with few other competitors and substantial barriers to entry, that other suppliers have taken it as a benchmark, and moved their own prices higher to match it. Helium prices have shifted upwards as a result. The main companies involved in refining and distribution are Air Products and Chemicals, Linde, Praxair and American Air Liquide. Meanwhile, helium demand has been growing more rapidly than expected, especially outside the U.S. in the burgeoning semiconductor and technology industries of Asia. Worldwide consumption rose 3.6 percent per year between 1990 and 2008, from 3.28 billion cubic feet to 6.3 billion, including a growth spurt of 7.8 percent per year between 1996 and 2001, according to the National Research Council. The Bureau has raised far more money from its sales than expected, meaning it will meet its target of paying off the helium debt early. At the end of September 2012, the outstanding helium debt had been reduced to just $44 million. BLM will meet its repayment deadline within a matter of months, far ahead of the original deadline of 2015. Once the debt is repaid, the helium programme will terminate automatically under the law. Any further sales revenues will go straight to the Treasury. Unless Congress appropriates money, there will be no money to pay the salaries of the 51 full-time equivalent employees and other operating expenses, including running a crude helium enrichment unit and pipeline infrastructure. Far more helium has been withdrawn from the reserve, earlier, than policymakers intended. "By 2008, the market price for helium began to hover near the BLM's price, leading to greater withdrawals ... than anticipated," a senior Interior Department official told the House Committee hearing. The strategic reserve is dwindling. Much of it is being turned into refined helium and exported. By the end of September 2012, BLM had sold 16.2 billion cubic feet and had just 11.4 billion left in the conservation reserve. As reserves have fallen, fears have grown about the long-term security of U.S. supplies. And because the BLM has become a huge supplier, it has stunted the growth of private helium production. Similar bills introduced into the House of Representatives and published in draft form in the Senate, both with cross-party support, would try to solve some of the problems. Both would extend the authority for stockpile sales, for one further year (the House version) or until the end of September 2014 (Senate bill). Thereafter, the bills would permit further sales, but require at least some of them take place on an auction basis. There are some differences in the details. But the intention is to create a proper market and enable price discovery, with the ultimate aim of stimulating the creation of a private helium industry. Both bills order BLM to disclose more information about its holdings and transactions to help create a proper market. Finally, the bills aim to encourage research into new ways to separate helium, particularly from reservoirs with low concentrations, in a bid to improve long-term security.

27 марта 2013, 16:19

Congress Tries To Avert Helium Crunch

By John Kemp LONDON, March 27 (Reuters) - Bipartisan bills introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate aim to avert the imminent shutdown of the Federal Helium Reserve, which provides a third of all the gas consumed worldwide, and develop a proper market to avoid a long-term crunch in supplies of one of the world's most critical raw materials. Helium is best known for filling party balloons and making people talk with a squeaky voice. But its properties as the second-lightest element, chemically unreactive, and with a boiling point just 4 degrees above absolute zero, give it an essential role in a range of cutting-edge scientific applications. The biggest uses are to cool the superconducting magnets used in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners; help manufacture semiconductors and fibre optic cables; and, purge and pressurise the liquid hydrogen/oxygen propulsion systems used on space rockets, including the giant Delta IV launch vehicles that put spy satellites into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Prices for refined helium sold to end-users have quadrupled from $40 per thousand cubic feet in 2000 to $160 in 2012, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which warned the Natural Resources Committee of the House of Representatives last month of "urgent issues facing the Bureau of Land Management's storage and sale of helium reserves." Availability has fluctuated wildly in the last seven years. Problems at helium refineries in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, as well as start up delays with new refining facilities in Qatar in 2006, led to shortages and rationing. Reliable and affordable supplies are essential. But more than 40 percent of the helium used in the United States, and roughly a third of the gas consumed worldwide, is sourced from a stockpile in northern Texas left over from the Cold War. As a result, helium is one of the last commodities where the government still drives prices. The price charged by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which runs the Federal Helium Reserve, effectively sets minimum prices charged for helium around the world. However, legislative authorisation for sales from the reserve will expire in the next few months, leaving lawmakers scrambling to extend the sales programme temporarily, while putting in place proper price incentives and a market to enable a private helium production industry to flourish in the long term. WHY HELIUM MATTERS SO MUCH "The availability of helium at low prices and the stability of the market ... contributed to the rapid growth of MRI as a (medical) diagnostic tool in the 1980s," according to the U.S. National Research Council's report on "Selling the Nation's Helium Reserve." By 2010, when the report was published, there were already more than 22,000 MRI machines in the U.S. and abroad. In recent years, MRI makers have adapted their systems to use smaller quantities of helium and recycle more of it. But there is no substitute at the present time. Without an adequate helium supply, MRI scanners would cease working. Helium is irreplaceable in many other applications. "Helium is just one of a number of gasses used to make our memory chips, but it's absolutely vital. To put it simply, without helium, we cannot operate," one American semiconductor manufacturer warned the Natural Resources Committee. In 2011, Brookhaven National Laboratory was forced to delay restarting its particle accelerator, the second most powerful in the world, following an electrical fault, because of delivery problems obtaining fresh supplies of helium. RECOVERABLE SOURCES OF GAS The atmospheric concentration of helium, about 5.2 parts per million, is too low to make it economic to extract helium from air. Usable helium comes instead from the decay of uranium, thorium and other radioactive elements deep underground. Most of it is lost to the atmosphere, but small quantities are trapped in the same underground formations as natural gas and carbon dioxide, where it can be recovered along with natural gas. Most gas fields do not produce helium in sufficient concentrations to make it worthwhile separating out. But a few contain much higher concentrations that support commercial helium extraction. Exxon's Riley Ridge field in Wyoming contains 0.6 percent helium. Some fields in southern Kansas contain as much as 1.9 percent. Helium can be extracted as a by-product at natural gas processing plants that extract liquids like ethane, propane and butane. If the concentration is high enough, it may be worth constructing specialist facilities to remove it. Most helium is currently produced this way, which requires a minimum concentration of about 0.3 percent. In future, however, the most promising source of helium is the giant liquefaction plants used to produce LNG. Helium is left as a gas when methane is chilled to become a liquid. LNG facilities may be able to extract helium commercially at concentrations of just 0.04 percent. 1996 HELIUM PRIVATISATION ACT Helium's strategic importance was realised during the First World War, when it was used as a safer alternative to hydrogen to lift reconnaissance and weather balloons. The 1920 Mineral Leasing Act reserved all helium produced on federal lands for the federal government. In 1925, the Helium Act declared helium was a critical war material, controlled production and curbed exports. Production underwent a massive expansion during the Second World War, then again during the 1950s and 1960s as part of the cold war space race and missile programme. The 1960 Helium Amendment Act gave natural gas producers financial incentives to separate helium and sell it to the federal government. It also established a strategic helium storage facility in the Bush Dome Reservoir, a partially depleted gas field near Amarillo in Texas. Several companies built separation facilities at the most promising gas fields in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Roughly 36 billion cubic feet of helium were bought by the government and injected into Bush Dome. The stockpile borrowed almost $300 million from the U.S. Treasury to acquire and fill the facility. The aim was to pay the money back plus interest, as well as cover all operating costs, when the helium was eventually sold to consumers such as NASA and the Department of Defense. The loans were supposed to be repaid by 1985. By 1973 it had become clear helium demand would never be as high as originally forecast. New injections into the reservoir matched withdrawals. The stockpile remained about 35 billion cubic feet throughout the 1970s and 1980s. The deadline for repayment was eventually extended to 1995. But by 1995, the amount owed had spiralled to $1.3 billion, including accumulated interest, and it became clear the "helium debt" would never be cleared. The Clinton administration and Congress decided to get out of the helium business. The 1996 Helium Privatisation Act ordered the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to close all government-owned facilities for refining helium. It froze the helium debt, and ordered the Bureau to start selling crude helium from the reserve at a steady rate over 10 years starting no later than 2005 at prices sufficient to repay the debt and cover operating costs. UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES The law directed BLM to carry out stockpile sales "with minimum market disruption," but it has not worked out as intended. The cost-recovery pricing formula ensured BLM was originally charging much more for its helium than other suppliers, minimising the market impact. BLM sales were originally priced at about double the normal market rate. But BLM has become such an enormous seller, in a market with few other competitors and substantial barriers to entry, that other suppliers have taken it as a benchmark, and moved their own prices higher to match it. Helium prices have shifted upwards as a result. The main companies involved in refining and distribution are Air Products and Chemicals, Linde, Praxair and American Air Liquide. Meanwhile, helium demand has been growing more rapidly than expected, especially outside the U.S. in the burgeoning semiconductor and technology industries of Asia. Worldwide consumption rose 3.6 percent per year between 1990 and 2008, from 3.28 billion cubic feet to 6.3 billion, including a growth spurt of 7.8 percent per year between 1996 and 2001, according to the National Research Council. The Bureau has raised far more money from its sales than expected, meaning it will meet its target of paying off the helium debt early. At the end of September 2012, the outstanding helium debt had been reduced to just $44 million. BLM will meet its repayment deadline within a matter of months, far ahead of the original deadline of 2015. Once the debt is repaid, the helium programme will terminate automatically under the law. Any further sales revenues will go straight to the Treasury. Unless Congress appropriates money, there will be no money to pay the salaries of the 51 full-time equivalent employees and other operating expenses, including running a crude helium enrichment unit and pipeline infrastructure. Far more helium has been withdrawn from the reserve, earlier, than policymakers intended. "By 2008, the market price for helium began to hover near the BLM's price, leading to greater withdrawals ... than anticipated," a senior Interior Department official told the House Committee hearing. The strategic reserve is dwindling. Much of it is being turned into refined helium and exported. By the end of September 2012, BLM had sold 16.2 billion cubic feet and had just 11.4 billion left in the conservation reserve. As reserves have fallen, fears have grown about the long-term security of U.S. supplies. And because the BLM has become a huge supplier, it has stunted the growth of private helium production. Similar bills introduced into the House of Representatives and published in draft form in the Senate, both with cross-party support, would try to solve some of the problems. Both would extend the authority for stockpile sales, for one further year (the House version) or until the end of September 2014 (Senate bill). Thereafter, the bills would permit further sales, but require at least some of them take place on an auction basis. There are some differences in the details. But the intention is to create a proper market and enable price discovery, with the ultimate aim of stimulating the creation of a private helium industry. Both bills order BLM to disclose more information about its holdings and transactions to help create a proper market. Finally, the bills aim to encourage research into new ways to separate helium, particularly from reservoirs with low concentrations, in a bid to improve long-term security.

07 марта 2013, 16:32

Al Gore SUED Over Current TV Sale

SAN FRANCISCO — A television consultant claims that former Vice President Al Gore and others at Current TV stole his idea to sell the struggling network to Al-Jazeera. Los Angeles resident John Terenzio is demanding more than $5 million in a lawsuit quietly filed in San Francisco Superior Court Tuesday. Al-Jazerra announced Jan. 3 that it would pay $500 million for San Francisco-based Current TV. Terenzio alleges he first brought the idea of the Qatar-owned Al-Jazeera's purchase of Current TV to board member Richard Blum in July, and he expected to be paid if his plan was used. The lawsuit claims Blum was open to the plan, which Terenzio laid out with a detailed PowerPoint presentation but feared Gore would find such a deal with the oil-rich government of Qatar "politically unappealing." Neither Gore or Blum, nor their representatives, could be reached for comment late Wednesday. Gore co-founded Current TV in 2005 with Joel Hyatt, with each receiving a 20 percent stakes in Current, a politically left leaning news and talk network. Comcast Corp. had less than a 10 percent stake. Another major investor in Current TV was supermarket magnate and entertainment industry investor Ron Burkle, according to information service Capital IQ. Blum, a venture capitalist and husband of California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, is also an investor in Current TV. Terenzio claims he presented to Blum "a step-by-step approach for making the sale of the liberal media outlet to Al-Jazeera palatable to U.S. lawmakers, pro-Israel factions, cable operators and, most importantly, the American public." Terenzio claims he created the English version of China Central Television and reprogrammed it for American audiences. He said he planned to use the same strategies in rebranding Current TV into Al-Jazeera America. "Blum greeted Terenzio's proposal with enthusiasm, indicating that he and other investors were eager to salvage their multi-million investment in the floundering cable network," Terenzio claims in his lawsuit. Terenzio said he believes Gore did turn down the deal in July and was "adamant" in rejecting it. Terenzio's attorney, Ellyn Garofalo, said an "insider" told her client of Gore's rejection but refused to identify that person in a brief email interview Wednesday night. Garofalo represented Dr. Sandeep Kapoor when a jury acquitted him of illegally funneling prescription drugs to Anna Nicole Smith. Terenzio said Al-Jazeera's January announcement of the sale was the first he heard of it.

07 марта 2013, 16:32

Al Gore SUED Over Current TV Sale

SAN FRANCISCO — A television consultant claims that former Vice President Al Gore and others at Current TV stole his idea to sell the struggling network to Al-Jazeera. Los Angeles resident John Terenzio is demanding more than $5 million in a lawsuit quietly filed in San Francisco Superior Court Tuesday. Al-Jazerra announced Jan. 3 that it would pay $500 million for San Francisco-based Current TV. Terenzio alleges he first brought the idea of the Qatar-owned Al-Jazeera's purchase of Current TV to board member Richard Blum in July, and he expected to be paid if his plan was used. The lawsuit claims Blum was open to the plan, which Terenzio laid out with a detailed PowerPoint presentation but feared Gore would find such a deal with the oil-rich government of Qatar "politically unappealing." Neither Gore or Blum, nor their representatives, could be reached for comment late Wednesday. Gore co-founded Current TV in 2005 with Joel Hyatt, with each receiving a 20 percent stakes in Current, a politically left leaning news and talk network. Comcast Corp. had less than a 10 percent stake. Another major investor in Current TV was supermarket magnate and entertainment industry investor Ron Burkle, according to information service Capital IQ. Blum, a venture capitalist and husband of California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, is also an investor in Current TV. Terenzio claims he presented to Blum "a step-by-step approach for making the sale of the liberal media outlet to Al-Jazeera palatable to U.S. lawmakers, pro-Israel factions, cable operators and, most importantly, the American public." Terenzio claims he created the English version of China Central Television and reprogrammed it for American audiences. He said he planned to use the same strategies in rebranding Current TV into Al-Jazeera America. "Blum greeted Terenzio's proposal with enthusiasm, indicating that he and other investors were eager to salvage their multi-million investment in the floundering cable network," Terenzio claims in his lawsuit. Terenzio said he believes Gore did turn down the deal in July and was "adamant" in rejecting it. Terenzio's attorney, Ellyn Garofalo, said an "insider" told her client of Gore's rejection but refused to identify that person in a brief email interview Wednesday night. Garofalo represented Dr. Sandeep Kapoor when a jury acquitted him of illegally funneling prescription drugs to Anna Nicole Smith. Terenzio said Al-Jazeera's January announcement of the sale was the first he heard of it.

06 марта 2013, 00:07

David Crisanti: Don't Mess With Texas

If you come across the op-ed headline 'America's Red State Growth Corridors' in the Wall Street Journal do you need to read the article to know what it's about? Like, say, the movie Snakes on a Plane, or unlike Happiness, the title pretty much says it all. With the Journal piece my guess was it's going to be someone from the Hoover Institute patiently explaining that lower taxes and non-stop drilling is the way to prosperity -- just look at Texas! Well, turns out I didn't know everything from the title since the author, Joel Kotkin, is not a Hoover member (his inclusion on the op-ed page might be the Journal's version of affirmative action) and he mentions other oil-producing regions in addition to Texas. But Kotkin and his cohorts ignore a handful of inconvenient truths in espousing the virtues of the 'Texas model' of more drilling and lower taxes. First, it makes no sense to compare economic policies for those states with mineral resources to those without. Texas has oil and gas. North Dakota has oil and gas. So does Norway, which has the second highest GDP per capita in the world among industrialized nations (barely behind Japan). But whereas Japan makes cars and semiconductors and steel and power generators that the rest of the world wants , Norway's biggest non-oil export is fish. Sitting on hydrocarbons is what makes Norway as rich as Japan, keeps Qatar from being Ethiopia and allows pundits to cheekily point to Texas as an example of the benefits of low taxes. Without oil, would Texas be Mississippi? We don't know, but since less than a quarter of US states are sitting on meaningful reserves of easily accessible oil and gas it's senseless to advocate the Texas model for wide adoption. Second, the advocates of lower state taxes fail to mention the elephant in the room--if all states cut taxes to the bone the strategy wouldn't work. Texas can get away with lowering taxes precisely because most other states don't follow suit. If other states did then Texas would not be as large a net recipient of inter-state migration and they wouldn't make up their lower revenue per capita by housing more people. Still, some will say that if all states lowered rates, though they wouldn't benefit as they would if they were the only state, it's still good for the country. But there is no evidence that lower taxes means better economic outcomes, even on a state by state level where lower tax states can 'steal' population at the expense of higher tax states. Massachussetts, which Kotkin uses as one of the poster states for backward policies, has a higher tax rate than Texas but also has a higher GDP per capita even as it produces no oil. Maybe that's because Massachusetts uses that tax revenue to rank twelve places above Texas in quality of education. It's not just Massachusetts that scrapes by despite higher taxes. In fact, a scatter plot of GDP per capita v effective tax rates in all fifty states shows, if anything, higher per capita production in higher taxed states. View image If some states are to drill with abandon, why don't they at least accompany it with a sensible tax regime? Norway, as mentioned above, home to the second highest GDP per capita, has an even higher tax regime than Massachussetts. It also has a pension fund created by surplus oil wealth that has $129,000 for every citizen. The other pillar of the Norway model is don't drill all at once, conserve. Why don't we call for similar restraint? What is wrong with saving some for a rainy day? Instead of the cost of filling the strategic petroleum reserve, which can only hold approximately forty days usage and is largely symbolic, we can leave a lot more of the stuff in place at no cost. And philosophically, don't conservatives espouse, you know, conservation? We have seen the Texas model at work in Mexico and Venezuela, Russia and Nigeria, Iran and Iraq. All of which have have suffered from the Resource Curse, where mineral riches create a tiny cadre of super rich while the country as a whole stagnates. None of those countries tried the Norway model, which is the rest of the world's (i.e. non Hoover) example for how to best benefit from found mineral riches. Why are some states here so anxious to forsake it as well?

04 февраля 2013, 04:01

George Osborne threatens to break up banks

The chancellor will issue separation warning to institutions that flout the rules over high street and investment banking divisionsGeorge Osborne will threaten to break up banks if they flout new rules intended to prevent another taxpayer bailout of the financial system.The chancellor's pledge to force through changes to the industry came amid continued upheaval at Barclays , which is losing two more top executives after being hit by a £290m fine for rigging Libor, the rate at which banks lend to each other. Royal Bank of Scotland also faces a £500m fine for manipulating the key interest rate.Osborne will publish legislation to ringfence high street banking operations from so-called "casino" investment banking arms and go one step further by handing regulators symbolically important powers to punish those banks which fail to erect the division correctly."My message to the banks is clear: if a bank flouts the rules, the regulator and the Treasury will have the power to break it up altogether - full separation, not just ring fence," Osborne is expected to say.In his speech in Bournemouth, Osborne will not bash banks, instead blame Labour for the regulatory system that led to the bank bailout and outline changes he is making to break up the Financial Services Authority and hand more powers to the Bank of England."Any bunch of politicians can bash the banks, chase the headlines, court the populist streak. But what good would that do our country? The jobs, the investment, the banking system we all need would go with it. Let's take the anger we feel about the banks and turn it into change to build the banking system that works for us all," said Osborne.The announcement by Barclays that Chris Lucas, its finance director since 2007, is planning to retire, came alongside an announcement that general counsel Mark Harding is also preparing to leave after 10 years. Their departures are the latest management upheaval at the bank which has also lost its chief executive, Bob Diamond, chairman Mark Agius and chief operating officer Jerry del Missier in the wake of the Libor scandal.Lucas has health problems which have had a bearing on his decision to retire but have not affected his ability to do his job. He also faces an investigation by the City regulator about disclosures the bank made during a 2008 fundraising that prevented Barclays taking a taxpayer bailout. He will stay on until his successor is found.The bank insists that the disclosures it made when it raised the crucial lifeline from investors, including from the Gulf state of Qatar, were adequate. Lucas is one of four current and former Barclays bankers' being investigated.With RBS facing a multi-million pound fine for Libor rigging, Osborne has called on the bailed out bank to use its bonus pool to pay the penalty, the majority of which will go the US regulators.Labour's shadow Treasury minister accused the chancellor of "rhetoric".BankingBanking reformFinancial sectorGeorge OsborneRoyal Bank of ScotlandBarclaysLiborJill Treanorguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

22 января 2013, 02:27

Study Calculates Cost Of Curbing Climate Change

* Says spending needed on buildings, energy, transport * Governments haggle over who should pay the bill * Recessions limit state resources to tackle climate change By Alister Doyle OSLO, Jan 21 (Reuters) - The world must spend an extra $700 billion a year to curb its addiction to fossil fuels blamed for worsening floods and heat waves and rising sea levels, a study issued by the World Economic Forum (WEF) showed on Monday. As government and business leaders prepare to meet at the forum in Davos, Switzerland this week, the world's nations are divided over who should pay for lowering emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for a growing number of extreme weather events. Recessions in Western economies since the global financial crisis have slowed carbon emission growth but also left governments with scarcer state funds to channel into green technologies. The Green Growth Action Alliance, which compiled the study on behalf of the WEF, said the extra spending was needed to promote other forms of energy generation and greater efficiency in sectors including building, industry and transport. The $700 billion, part of which would promote cleaner energies such as wind, solar or hydro-power, would be on top of about $5 trillion projected to be spent each year on infrastructure under a scenario of business as usual until 2020. "Shaping a global economy fit for the 21st century is our greatest challenge," former Mexican President Felipe Calderon and chair of the Alliance wrote in the report. The Alliance is a public and private group tied to the WEF that was launched at a Group of 20 meeting in Mexico last year. The study said a $36 billion annual rise in global public spending to slow climate change - less than the estimated $50 billion cost of damage by Superstorm Sandy in the United States in October - could unlock far greater private investment. It suggested a $36 billion jump in state spending to $126 billion a year, from a current $90 billion, might trigger $570 billion from private investors if properly managed. It noted that the world population was set to rise to about 9 billion by 2050 from 7 billion now. "Greening the economy is the only way to accommodate 9 billion people by 2050," said Thomas Kerr, Director of Climate Change Initiatives at the WEF. COMBINED EFFORT Governments and the private sector have often failed to work in tandem to mobilise funds to combat climate change. "There is still private sector money going to climate destruction," said Jake Schmidt, international climate policy director at the National Resources Defense Council in Washington. "To deal with climate change, everyone has to be moving in the right direction." "And the key to all of this is how do you unlock big sources of private finance... Sovereign wealth funds, pension funds have a lot of capital. Mobilizing them would be the holy grail." The WEF-commissioned report pointed to some hopeful signs -- global investment in renewable energy in 2011 rose to a new record $257 billion, up 17 percent from 2010. But U.N. climate negotiations in Qatar in December ended with little progress on a global framework for emissions cuts. Instead, governments agreed to devise a new United Nations pact to limit climate change that would enter into force from 2020. A study published in the science journal Nature this month said it would be far cheaper to act now to keep global warming within an agreed U.N. limit of 2 degrees Celsius than to wait until 2020. (Editing by Tom Pfeiffer)

22 января 2013, 02:27

Study Calculates Cost Of Curbing Climate Change

* Says spending needed on buildings, energy, transport * Governments haggle over who should pay the bill * Recessions limit state resources to tackle climate change By Alister Doyle OSLO, Jan 21 (Reuters) - The world must spend an extra $700 billion a year to curb its addiction to fossil fuels blamed for worsening floods and heat waves and rising sea levels, a study issued by the World Economic Forum (WEF) showed on Monday. As government and business leaders prepare to meet at the forum in Davos, Switzerland this week, the world's nations are divided over who should pay for lowering emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for a growing number of extreme weather events. Recessions in Western economies since the global financial crisis have slowed carbon emission growth but also left governments with scarcer state funds to channel into green technologies. The Green Growth Action Alliance, which compiled the study on behalf of the WEF, said the extra spending was needed to promote other forms of energy generation and greater efficiency in sectors including building, industry and transport. The $700 billion, part of which would promote cleaner energies such as wind, solar or hydro-power, would be on top of about $5 trillion projected to be spent each year on infrastructure under a scenario of business as usual until 2020. "Shaping a global economy fit for the 21st century is our greatest challenge," former Mexican President Felipe Calderon and chair of the Alliance wrote in the report. The Alliance is a public and private group tied to the WEF that was launched at a Group of 20 meeting in Mexico last year. The study said a $36 billion annual rise in global public spending to slow climate change - less than the estimated $50 billion cost of damage by Superstorm Sandy in the United States in October - could unlock far greater private investment. It suggested a $36 billion jump in state spending to $126 billion a year, from a current $90 billion, might trigger $570 billion from private investors if properly managed. It noted that the world population was set to rise to about 9 billion by 2050 from 7 billion now. "Greening the economy is the only way to accommodate 9 billion people by 2050," said Thomas Kerr, Director of Climate Change Initiatives at the WEF. COMBINED EFFORT Governments and the private sector have often failed to work in tandem to mobilise funds to combat climate change. "There is still private sector money going to climate destruction," said Jake Schmidt, international climate policy director at the National Resources Defense Council in Washington. "To deal with climate change, everyone has to be moving in the right direction." "And the key to all of this is how do you unlock big sources of private finance... Sovereign wealth funds, pension funds have a lot of capital. Mobilizing them would be the holy grail." The WEF-commissioned report pointed to some hopeful signs -- global investment in renewable energy in 2011 rose to a new record $257 billion, up 17 percent from 2010. But U.N. climate negotiations in Qatar in December ended with little progress on a global framework for emissions cuts. Instead, governments agreed to devise a new United Nations pact to limit climate change that would enter into force from 2020. A study published in the science journal Nature this month said it would be far cheaper to act now to keep global warming within an agreed U.N. limit of 2 degrees Celsius than to wait until 2020. (Editing by Tom Pfeiffer)

17 января 2013, 20:23

Boeing rushes to restore faith in 787 Dreamliners

All Dreamliners grounded after a string of safety scares with first airline pushing for compensation and FAA starting investigationBoeing has said it is "working round the clock" to restore faith in its troubled Dreamliner after safety warnings from US authorities prompted airlines around the world to ground the plane, and the first demands for compensation that could run into hundreds of millions of pounds.Ethiopian Airlines on Thursday became the final airline to withdraw its four 787s from service, a day after the two Japanese airlines who pioneered Dreamliner operations suspended their flights after a string of incidents.A dismal 10 days for Boeing culminated in an All Nippon Airways (ANA) plane making an emergency landing on Wednesday, leading the carrier and fellow Japanese airline JAL to ground their entire fleets, having already suffered battery fires, fuel leakages and cracks in the windscreen over recent days.American regulators followed their lead and grounded the Dreamliner in their jurisdiction – United Airlines owns six such planes – saying a recent series of safety incidents meant urgent action was needed. Chile's LAN, Air India and Qatar Airways followed suit.LOT airlines, the Polish national carrier which had championed the Dreamliner ahead of its maiden transatlantic flight from Warsaw to Chicago on Wednesday, announced it would seek compensation from Boeing after grounding its plane at O'Hare airport before the return leg. LOT also warned it would only accept delivery of three additional Dreamliners, expected in March, if the technical issues have been resolved.LOT's move is the first unequivocal demand for compensation, although the Qatar Airways chief executive, Akbar Al-Baker, last month indicated he would want to be reimbursed for "teething problems" that affected its services. Qatar's five 787s are now grounded.Analysts expect the final cost for Boeing to run into hundreds of millions of pounds, although compensation would likely take the form of discounts on orders, free service and repair rather than direct payment. Analysts at Mizuho Securities in Japan calculated that grounding the 787s could cost ANA alone more than $1.1m (£700,000) a day.Boeing's chief executive, Jim McNerney, expressed "deep regret" over recent events and said he would make the entire resources of the company available to assist the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in its inquiries. He said: "The safety of passengers and crew members who fly aboard Boeing airplanes is our highest priority. The company is working around the clock with its customers and the various regulatory and investigative authorities."We are confident the 787 is safe and we stand behind its overall integrity. We will be taking every necessary step in the coming days to assure our customers and the travelling public of the 787's safety and to return the airplanes to service."The troubles overshadowed some good news for the Seattle-based manufacturer, as rival Airbus confirmed it had fallen behind Boeing in annual orders, and been outstripped in delivery of planes for the first time in a decade. While Airbus trumpeted 833 net orders, exceeding its targets, and a record delivery figure of 588 aircraft in 2012, Boeing's 1,203 orders and 601 deliveries last year – mainly of 737s – put it back on top.Airbus refused to be drawn into the Dreamliner debate. Speaking ahead of his company's unveiling of its 2012 results in Toulouse, France, the chief executive, Fabrice Bregier, said it was not his place to "give Boeing lessons" and noted that Airbus had suffered similar problems – alluding to the cracks in the wings of the new Airbus A380s in 2011.The advanced technology behind the 787, a "plastic plane" made from lighter, carbon composite materials, garnered enormous orders from airlines eagerly awaiting its fuel savings. Holiday firm Thomson – scheduled to be the first British airline to operate Dreamliners – based its advertising on the new planes, which also promise a better experience for passengers and fewer ill-effects from long-haul flights.However, its cutting edge status could backfire if problems erode public confidence. After production problems that delayed delivery by three years, the aircraft's "teething problems" – after 15 months in service – have now prompted the FAA to act. Its chief initial focus is the lithium-ion batteries that caught fire. Japanese authorities believe the latest incident could have resulted in a serious accident.In one silver lining, analysts said the Dreamliner's woes and delays could provide a temporary fillip for the airline industry overall, which has had profits hit by an excess of plane capacity.BoeingAirline industryAir transportAirbusUnited StatesJapanAsia PacificGwyn Tophamguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

17 января 2013, 10:09

Boeing Dreamliner: US joins Japan in grounding 787s

Influential US regulator the FAA joins Japan in taking troubled planes out of service, followed by India and ChileAmerican regulators followed the lead of Japanese airlines by grounding the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on Wednesday night, saying a recent series of safety incidents meant urgent action was needed.The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it would require airlines to demonstrate that the plane's cutting-edge batteries were safe before allowing further flights. It has notified regulators in other countries of its action.Japan's two leading airlines, All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines, had already grounded their fleets of Boeing 787s after one of the Dreamliner passenger jets made an emergency landing, the latest in a series of incidents that have heightened safety concerns over a plane that many see as the future of commercial aviation.After the FAA announcement, India and Chile were the next countries to move. Air India spokesman K Swaminathan said India's aviation authority had directed the state airline to stop flying the Boeing planes on Thursday morning as it waits for an investigation by Indian regulators to take place. "Air India has temporarily ceased operation of its Dreamliners," Swaminathan said.Chile's LAN airline said it was suspending flights of its three Dreamliners in compliance with the FAA directive.The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and other air safety authorities around the world are likely to bring in similar measures now that the FAA has intervened. A spokesman for EASA told the Reuters news agency that it would usually follow safety directives if they were issued in a country where the aircraft was built. "In this case we have issued no airworthiness directive so far, so the FAA's directive should be endorsed by EASA," the spokesman said.In one show of faith, Poland's LOT airlines had been planning to send one of its two Dreamliners on its maiden transatlantic flight from Warsaw to Chicago, to the reported disquiet of some passengers interviewed, although the flight was later cancelled at the last minute. LOT is the only airline within the jurisdiction of EASA that has taken delivery of the 787 so far.Other countries whose airlines use the 787 are Ethiopia and Qatar.ANA said instruments aboard a domestic flight indicated a battery error, triggering emergency warnings. The incident was described by a transport ministry official as "highly serious" – language used in international safety circles as indicating that there could have been an accident. Boeing shares fell 2% in after-hours trading to $72.80 (£45.50) after the FAA announcement.Its move came as American safety investigators were due to fly to Japan on Thursday to liaise with Japanese counterparts.ANA and Japan Airlines have 24 Dreamliners between them, representing almost half of the 50 delivered by Boeing to airlines worldwide. Last week the FAA announced a full review of the revolutionary plane's design and manufacture after five incidents in five days on different planes in Japan and the US. These included a battery fire, fuel leakages from engines, and cracks developing in the cockpit windscreen.Given the Dreamliners' significantly greater fuel efficiency than most models, airlines have been queuing up to buy a model that promises greener, quieter – and cheaper – aviation.The aircraft's design also makes emerging long-haul destinations feasible with fewer passengers. In Britain, British Airways, Thomson and Virgin have placed orders, with BA expecting to operate the first of its 24 Dreamliners this year.Production problems drastically held up delivery of the aircraft: it first entered service in late 2011, four years after the first 787 was unveiled. Issues have since been reported with the plane in India and Qatar. While analysts say such "teething problems" are not uncommon, Boeing will be acutely aware that rival Airbus has the new A350 coming to offer an alternative for airlines updating their fleets.Aviation consultant John Strickland said: "This story is going to run on for Boeing. The key thing is that the Dreamliner 787 is so leading edge."The Seattle-based manufacturer may be facing a repair bill to rival the £200m costs Airbus incurred as a result of cracks in the wings of the A380 in 2011. It said: "Boeing is aware of the diversion of a 787 operated by ANA to Takamatsu in western Japan. We will be working with our customer and the appropriate regulatory agencies."•This article was amended on 17 January.BoeingAirline industryAir transportAirbusBritish AirwaysVirgin AtlanticJapanUnited StatesGwyn Tophamguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

12 января 2013, 03:47

How to End the 'Gun Debate' Forever

UN's 2011 Homicide Study(pdf). Tony Cartalucci, ContributorActivist Post Violence is driven by socioeconomic and cultural factors, not the mere presence of firearms. The statistics clearly show this, and the very same statistics manipulated by so-called "gun control advocates" irrefutably contradicts their agenda's premise when put into proper context. Worse yet, the obsession over gun control sidelines the urgency needed to address issues like poor education and dismal economic prospects for those living in the most destitute and violence-stricken neighborhoods in our country.    UK vs. Japan: 2 Unarmed Societies, 2 Vastly Different Homicide Rates. Despite both nations being disarmed and having almost no "gun-related homicides," according to UN statistics*, Japan and the UK still have an astronomical gap in homicide rates. Why? A visit to either country reveals an entirely different culture, education system, infrastructure, and socioeconomic paradigm. This is why despite Japan having a much larger population, even total homicides are lower than the comparatively more violent but less populated United Kingdom - with homicide rates in the UK nearly 3 times higher than those in Japan. According to the UN's study, which includes the most recent annual data available, Japan, with a population of roughly 130 million, had a mere 506 homicides over the stretch of a single year. Conversely, the UK, with less than half of Japan's population (53 million) had 722 homicides. The rates per 100,000 people for Japan and the UK are 0.4 and 1.2 respectively. The UK, despite being an unarmed population, and having virtually no gun violence, still has 3 times the murder rate than the nation of Japan. Those that are murdered in the UK or Japan, are just as dead as any human being murdered by a gun in the United States. And clearly, this indicates that the presence of guns, or their banning, is not a significant factor driving homicides and violence.   Gun Control Doesn't Work - Ask Mexico. Despite the hundreds of millions of guns to be found across the United States, with tens of millions of American citizens armed - some very heavily, the homicide rate of America is still below the global average of about 7 homicides per 100,000 people. The US' homicide rate? 4.8 murders per 100,000. google_ad_client = "pub-1897954795849722"; /* 468x60, created 6/30/10 */ google_ad_slot = "8230781418"; google_ad_width = 468; google_ad_height = 60; A nation like Mexico - which is conveniently dismissed by gun control advocates, has - according to the UN - a homicide rate of 22.7 murders per 100,000 people, despite having vastly stricter gun control laws on the books. A visit to Mexico and the United States would, like visiting Japan and the UK, reveal a starkly different culture, education system, infrastructure, and socioeconomic landscape. Socioeconomic factors drive Mexico's rampant violence - not a lack of gun control laws.Logical Fallacy of Focusing on "Gun-Related Homicides" It is true that "gun-related homicides" are higher in the US than other nations in a carefully selected "industrialized nations" category - however, it can also be said there are more snowmobile deaths in Michigan than all of America's southern states combined. However, in comparing Michigan and America's sub-tropical region, the problem isn't snowmobiles, the problem is reckless behavior. Comparing only "gun-related homicides" in the United States with other nations is similarly dishonest, intellectual bankrupt, and statistically invalid. The problem is homicide and violence in general - not merely the means with which a murder is committed. A human being stabbed to death with a knife or throttled to death with one's bare hands, is just as dead as a human being shot with a pistol, shotgun, or "assault rifle." A serious dialogue in tackling violence cannot begin until "violence" in and of itself is recognized as the problem - and not merely a myopic fixation on one of many implements that can be used to commit acts of violence. Indeed, guns do enable people to proficiently kill large numbers of people - but then again, so we are told by the US government, a handful of men with box cutters managed to kill 3,000 innocent people on the morning of September 11, 2001 - with not a single shot fired. The human capacity to commit violence is unencumbered by a lack of means to do so. Banning certain implements will not deter an individual, or group of individuals from harming others if that is their intent. As the UK's disarmed but still violent society illustrates, merely banning guns is not the solution. The differences between Japan and the UK are not legal - but socioeconomic and cultural. In the UK, violence in general is the problem. A focus on the implements rather than the factors that drive it, is like treating a cancer by nursing the symptoms. It is a logical fallacy - and ultimately a fatal one. Obsession with "Assault Rifles" According to the FBI's 2011 analysis of homicide in the United States, out of 8,500 gun-related homicides, only 323 (3%) were committed using rifles of any kind - including "assault rifles." Compared to knives and other cutting instruments (1,694), blunt objects (496), and bare hands/feet (728), rifles should be the least of the honest "gun control" advocate's concerns.The obsession with "assault rifles" for most is psychological, irrational, and a result of a manipulative mass media, blowing out of proportion what are superficially horrific "massacres," but statistically rare (a fraction of 1% of all gun violence). On an institutional level, the obsession with "assault rifles" stems from the fact that semi-automatic rifles are the standard arms of modern combat, just as muskets were when the 2nd Amendment was first put to parchment. For a runaway tyranny, tens of millions of rifles in the hands of its citizenry poses a major obstacle for further exploitation and expansion both at home and abroad. Handguns in the most destitute parts of the United States, driven by poor education, poor economic prospects, and rampant drug crime, drive the vast majority of "gun-related homicides." Solving this problem means empowering these people with a proper education, and the means to make for themselves a viable local economy as well as acquire the skills necessary to participate socially and economically on a national level. By addressing the root of violence, it would also empower disenfranchised people to take for themselves a larger percentage of the nation's wealth - something the current ruling elite are demonstrably not interested in. So the violence will continue for the sake of preserving the wealth and influence of corporate-financier special interests, while attempts to disarm the public will be made to allow for that wealth and influence to be expanded further yet at our expense. End the Debate Through Organization and Deterrence1. Address the Real Cause of Violence: Looking over the UN's statistics and then studying the multitude of factors in each country driving total homicide rates can give us a glimpse into both the cause of violence and real solutions for reducing violence. Cherry picking weapon-related homicides to suit one's political proclivities at the expense of ignoring systemic violence is not only intellectually and morally depraved, but negligent as well.  The most violence-stricken nations - nations like Honduras, El Salvador, Ivory Coast, Guatemala, Mexico, South Africa, Sudan, Colombia, Puerto Rico - suffer from tremendous socioeconomic disparity, a lack of education, political turmoil, rampant drug gangs, and even low intensity civil wars and proxy invasions fueled by Fortune 500 exploitation. Guns did not create these conditions - guns are not even manifestations of the turmoil spurring on the violence, rather the abuse of firearms are - the runaway fever of a bacterial infection. Treating a fever alone will not cure a serious infection - and to ignore the infection and myopically fixate on the fever alone will cost the patient their life. Conversely, education, socioeconomic development, technological progress and the leveraging of technology to empower the downtrodden, impoverished, and violence prone, are the antibiotics used to battle and ultimately cure the infection. The body's ability to induce a fever is a natural defense against infection - as an armed population is a natural defense against armed gangs, despotic governments, and foreign invaders. The fever is only dangerous if left unattended and if chronic infection beyond the fever's ability to suppress it sets in. Disarming a population is analogous of disarming the body of its natural defenses, an immunodeficiency which turns routine sickness into life-threatening conditions.Mexico's decision to disarm law abiding citizens across its nation has left millions defenseless in the face of drug gangs who have no intention of honoring Mexico's gun control laws - the result is horrific violence that threatens the very survival of Mexico as a nation. Commit to addressing all violence - not just "gun related" crime, and force the "gun control" advocates to both recognize the true cause of crime and commit to facing it. Will an honest individual argue against stopping all murder as opposed to only "gun-related homicide?" Will an honest individual argue against improving education and socioeconomic prospects for poverty-stricken, violent segments of the population? Will an honest person look at the inner-cities of America and honestly say simply banning guns will cause rainbows to shine and progress to finally be made toward lifting people out of socioeconomic stagnation? Do honest individuals or media personalities only cry to "ban guns" on the rare occasion suburban children are killed, when people in the inner-city face death on a daily basis? An honest person would not.2. Get Organized Locally: It is clear that the "gun control" agenda peddled by the US government and the global corporate-financier interests that direct its policies, is aimed at subjugating civilization. This is the same government that willfully lied to the American people regarding "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq to trigger a decade-long war that cost a million innocent Iraqis their lives, along with thousands of US troops sent off to hunt the non-existent weapons and fight terrorists funded and armed by America's own allies, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. A government interested in stemming violence and protecting innocent life, they are not. Trying to debate a criminal who only debates as a means of stalling for time and obfuscating his ceaseless efforts to exploit, dominate, and destroy all around him, is an exercise in futility. There is no debating or negotiating with a criminal, nor with an illegitimate, criminal government. The interests of Wall Street and London driving American and European politics will not be "convinced" to end their assault on human freedom through clever debate. When confronting a belligerent adversary, the first priority should be avoiding conflict - be it rhetorical and political, or upon the battlefield. This is not a tenet of pacifism - but rather a stratagem devised by renowned Chinese warlord, Sun Tzu in his treatise, The Art of War:To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting. The idea is to pose a level of martial, economic, and social prowess, vigilance, and preparedness - denying your adversary even the opportunity of feasibly confronting you. It also involves imposing your will upon the adversary, rather than simply responding to a series of your adversary's provocations. It cannot be said of America's firearms owners that they possess any of these qualities - which is why their rights and freedoms are being slowly subverted, and the battle slowly taken from them. Getting organized locally, first as a shooting club, then as community activists involved heavily with local law enforcement, volunteer firefighters, disaster response, gun safety and marksmanship courses, competitions, and so on creates a physical infrastructure, a coordinated, active and well exercised armed citizenry capable of facing a myriad of adversity together as a community, for their community.  For each county in the United States to have such an organization, guided by American values as documented in the US Declaration of Independence and US Constitution, would collectively create a deterrence that would shut down the "gun debate" before it even started. Banning guns would be as feasible as banning gravity. Such an organization being present and prepared for natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, would be able to maintain law and order in a personal, local way - a way federal agents, troops and mass-murdering Blackwater mercenaries could not compete against. Such an organization would have immediately went into action, and FEMA would have been left at a roadblock outside New Orleans, barred from meddling in the affairs of a responsible, sovereign citizenry.  Getting organized is the only solution. Anything less will lead to the slow but sure, incremental erosion of our rights and ability to address our responsibilities in the manner of our own choosing. Endlessly debating professional propagandists is a necessity, but this alone will never succeed. Presenting a corrupt, tyrannical government with the organizational capacity to defend our rights both preserves these rights, and prevents conflict from even occurring in the first place. That such organizational capacities would include local law enforcement, and ideally even the National Guard, would take organized force out of the hands of special interest, and put them back in the hands of the people for whom they were formed to defend in the first place. Getting organized locally can be as simple as two people gathering around a table for a preliminary meeting, going to the range to responsibly exercise their rights as firearms owners, or organizing a firearms safety course through local law enforcement. It seems like a small step to take, one that will not make much of a difference, but a single viable model can provide an example for others to replicate across the country, in parallel and to great effect. Those groups that aim on being balanced, responsible, inclusive, representative of all who live in their community, objective, and attempt to reach out to everyone, especially those who stand against the right to bear arms, will be amongst the most successful. Additionally, such organizations must by necessity address the actual causes of violence through improving education, infrastructure, and economic prospects on a local level - as is the duty of all responsible, well-informed citizens. Having weapons is not enough if you have no means of sustaining yourself socially, economically, or logistically. Building a strong, self-reliant community, and a nation built up of such communities is the other necessary ingredient needed to sustainably preserve freedom.The first county that actually reduces crime by addressing its causes rather than endlessly fighting its symptoms, and is able to successfully communicate that success, will have erected a mile-high brick wall for "gun control" advocates to climb over. It is likely that even opponents of gun ownership will see activism addressing many of their own political causes, including poverty, education, and economic disparity, and realize the best option is not animosity and endless debate, but pragmatism and cooperation in the streets. Such organizations expanding in parallel across the country will have an incremental effect on reversing the tide that has been set in motion by special interests posing as "progressives" and manipulating the minds of the well-intentioned the world over. It was through slow, incremental regression that got America to where it is today - and it will take lots of hard, patient work to progress forward.   The corporate-financier driven mass-media - be they faux "left" and anti-gun, or faux "right" and pro-gun, are here to ensure we chase our tails endlessly in debate while the government pragmatically eliminates our ability to arm ourselves, all while the violence continues unabated. The purpose is to prevent us from stepping back, and actually doing something constructive to both protect our rights and improve the conditions our communities are suffering from. We are subconsciously preparing for a confrontation we will never win, because it is one that will be "pushed back" indefinitely until all the weapons have been banned, confiscated, or sufficiently regulated out of practical use. Heed the words of Sun Tzu - stop holding your breath for a battle you should not want to fight in the first place, and instead, begin building locally the organizational capacity and deterrence to render moot gun control advocacy and the insidious greed of special interests that drive it. Get organized, and end the "gun debate" forever.  * The complete UN study, from the UN's website in .pdf format can be found here.  Tony Cartalucci's articles have appeared on many alternative media websites, including his own at  Land Destroyer Report, Alternative Thai News Network and LocalOrg. 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11 января 2013, 17:40

Boeing 787 Dreamliner to be investigated by US authorities

Full review planned by the Federal Aviation Administration of the 787 after two more safety glitchesBoeing's troubled 787 Dreamliner is to face a full review of its design and manufacture by the US government after two more incidents were reported – making five in five days for the model that promised to revolutionise flying.The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced a comprehensive review of the 787's critical systems, including the design, manufacture and assembly, but stressed its confidence in the plane's safety.The US transportation secretary Ray LaHood said he would have "no reservation in boarding these planes and taking a flight" but admitted the administration was concerned about recent events and would be looking for the root causes.Pilots on an All Nippon Airways (ANA) domestic flight in Japan reported a crack developing in the cockpit windscreen before landing safely on Friday, while oil was found leaking from the engine of another of the airline's Dreamliners.A string of problems in the last week has threatened to erode confidence in the mould-breaking aircraft, a carbon-composite plane that is at the forefront of the aviation industry's pledges for a greener, quieter future. At Boston airport, a battery started a fire on an empty Japan Airlines 787, while another leaked 40 gallons of fuel on to the taxiway, delaying its takeoff. Another ANA internal Dreamliner flight was cancelled on Wednesday due to a brake control computer glitch.British Airways will be operating Dreamliners this year. Willie Walsh,chief executive of BA's parent company IAG, said: "We welcome the joint review and remain committed to taking delivery of the aircraft."Thomson, which expects delivery of its first Dreamliner next month, and Virgin, which has ordered 16, both stressed they had "every confidence" in the safety of the plane. Qatar Airways last month became the first airline to operate regular services to and from Heathrow with the 787.The aircraft, with a list price of $217m (£134m), has attracted airlines mainly because of its leap in fuel economy, as well as a range that makes emerging destinations possible with fewer passengers. The model's promise of a 40% reduction in noise could also be a key factor in winning over opposition to the expansion of airports around London.Boeing president Ray Conner said the 787 had undergone "the most robust and rigorous certification process in the history of aviation". He pointed to similar issues when Boeing's 777 came into service. "We are not seeing anything exceptionally unusual in what we're going through."Conner said that a ramped-up production rate and outsourcing to meet demand had not affected the plane. He also said it was important to note that back-ups and redundancies in the design had worked to ensure safety. "The planes have performed exactly as designed once the incidents happened."Boeing said the Dreamliner had now logged 50,000 hours of flight and there were more than 150 flights occurring daily.The FAA chief Michael Huerta promised "whatever technical resources necessary" for the review of an aircraft which is already worth tens of billions of dollars in US export orders. "Our focus is developing a complete picture. Nothing we have seen so far suggests it is not safe."He added: "It's an extremely important airplane – we care about maintaining public confidence that it is safe … [It's] an incredibly fuel efficient airplane – it represents the future where aviation needs to advance."The 787 Dreamliner made its first commercial flight in late 2011, after a series of production delays put deliveries more than three years behind schedule. By the end of last year, Boeing had sold 848 Dreamliners, and delivered 49.Analysts said the problems did not suggest great safety concerns but could pose problems for the aircraft manufacturing giant.Douglas McNeill, investment director at Charles Stanley, said: "What you're seeing is teething problems not uncommon with new aircraft types. They get tested rigorously but it's different when they come into service. I don't think there is any question over the safety of the aircraft."However, he warned: "Boeing may well be picking up a bill from the airlines and it may cost Boeing money for some while. And coming down the line is the Airbus A350 – so if Boeing doesn't iron out the problems it may lose out in that competition."In 2011, hairline cracks in the wings of A380 aircraft produced by rivals Airbus landed the manufacturer with a repair and service bill of more than £200m, although it refused to pay compensation for revenue lost while its planes were grounded.BoeingAirline industryUnited StatesGwyn Tophamguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds