The three-year contract, worth an annual seven figure sum, has two additional two-year extension options Unity to provide Spirit Energy with well integrity services. (Credit: Pixabay/gloriaurban4) UK-based well integrity specialist Unity has secured a three-year contract from Spirit Energy for offshore platforms.Under the contract, the company will be responsible for maintaining wellhead equipment across twelve Spirit platforms in the East Irish Sea, Southern North Sea and the Dutch sector of the North Sea.Unity will deliver surface wellhead and Xmas tree maintenance services offshore 100 wellsUnity will offer surface wellhead and subsea Xmas tree maintenance services offshore for nearly 100 wells, in addition to equipment testing, repair, refurbishment and storage from its base in Great Yarmouth.The contract has two additional two-year extension options.Unity CEO Gary Smart said: “Having previously worked with Spirit Energy to provide well integrity and technology solutions, we have a strong understanding of the company’s operations. We are thrilled to add this service agreement to our growing portfolio of offshore contracts, which now includes over half of all major North Sea operators.“We are well placed to deliver an all-encompassing service to our clients through a workforce of highly experienced offshore technicians. Our team has exceptional knowledge of all OEM wellhead equipment which will add value throughout this project.“Our own range of spare parts, rental assets, innovative technology and specialised engineered solutions also offer reassurance for rapid equipment availability and solving any integrity challenges which may arise.”Currently, Unity is involved in development of lightweight additive manufactured wellhead components at its base in Aberdeen, to complement its maintenance and spare parts offering.The company stated that the parts will be delivered to clients at lower cost and with reduced lead times.Unity, a subsidiary of the Front Row Energy Technology Group, employs over 120 people across its UK sites and in Esbjerg, Denmark.
Housing Minister Alok Sharma (pictured, right) was roundly savaged in Parliament yesterday when it fell to him to make the announcement on a ‘fairer property management system’ four hours after it had been announced on his department’s website.His speech, which detailed the upcoming consultation on reform of the property management sector, said that management agents overcharge by £1.4 billion a year and pointed out that agents in the sector “do not need any qualifications, training or experience to call themselves an agent. They do not need a criminal records check. They do not even have to know what a managing agent does”.But shadow Housing Minister John Healey (pictured, left) heavily criticised Alok Sharma for “time wasting” with the call for evidence and that the desire to regulate the property management sector was a “feeble effort”.“It is not even a commitment to act; it is a commitment to ask some questions,” he said.“Can he confirm that this “call for evidence” today will not delay still further the announcement the Government made a year ago to ban letting agents’ fees?“When will that legislation be introduced, and when will it come into force? As a result of today’s announcement, can the Minister tell us how much on average each leaseholder and private renter will save, and when—oh, when—will he act on the other protections leaseholders and renters need from this Government?”.SNP MP Alison Thewliss (pictured, right), who until recently sat on the Communities and Local Government Committee, said the “statement represents just another consultation on a proposal. People out there in the real world want action, because the problems in the housing sector are well known.”The call for evidence announced will last for six weeks until 29th November and interested parties can either complete an online survey or email their submissions to [email protected] Healey MP property management reform alison thewliss Alok Sharma October 19, 2017Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021 Home » News » Housing Minister savaged for “another consultation on a proposal” previous nextHousing Minister savaged for “another consultation on a proposal”Alok Sharma endures a rough ride in Parliament after announcing call for evidence on consultation for possible new legislation to police property management sector.Nigel Lewis19th October 201701,236 Views
In a post in Oxford’s most notorious online discussion group, Open Oxford, admin Jacob Williams has announced plans to relaunch his controversial magazine No Offence, which debuted in Michaelmas of 2015.The magazine, which was initially planned to be distributed at last year’s Freshers’ Fair, was banned by OUSU for being “offensive”. Williams recently posted some “news for next term”, in which he revealed plans for “a new edition of No Offence and a real life discussion group”. He described last year’s magazine as containing “student-authored articles on a range of controversial subjects”, and proposed that the new edition “take on board some of the criticisms made of the previous one”, some of which ended in a police seizure of its copies. The new editors will “apply common sense judgement to ensure we cause no more offence than is necessary for the publication’s purpose”.The post was accompanied by a Facebook poll, which attempted to gauge interest in writing for the magazine and attending a new “debate/discussion group” with “‘edgier’ or more politically incorrect motions”. At the time of writing, thirty-two members of Open Oxford had expressed an interest in writing for a new No Offence. According to an OUSU statement, the 2015 magazine contained “a graphic description of an abortion, the use of an ableist slur, a celebration of colonialism, and a transphobic article”, and was banned from Freshers’ Fair.Speaking to Cherwell, Williams said, “it should be quite possible to express controversial ideas in a respectful way and that will be the goal of the new edition”.“‘Politically incorrect’ is just Newspeak for ‘unorthodox’. Challenging orthodoxy ought to be the whole point of a university. If an idea can’t stand up to the challenge it shouldn’t be orthodox.”The Facebook post suggested that Williams was waiting for an uptake from Open Oxford members before going ahead with the magazine. He told Cherwell that “plans are not yet finalised”.
Trinity College’s spokesperson stated that the college is “very excited to be celebrating his legacy in college and especially hope that students will be interested in learning more about what the wartime experience for those of Hillary’s generation was like – both at Oxford and beyond.” Hillary was born in Australia to British parents, and was sent back to England for school at the age of seven. He arrived at Oxford in 1937, and became well-known for leading Trinity to victory in rowing in 1938. On 8 January 1943, while training for night flight in adverse weather conditions, Hillary crashed a Bristol Blenheim bomber into Berwickshire, Scotland and died in the accident. He is remembered at Trinity as one of its most celebrated alumni, with a portrait outside its library. After spending time in the United States, Richard Hillary returned to the RAF, though he never regained complete control of his hands. He switched to piloting light bomber aircraft at RAF Charterhall. In 1939 Hillary put his degree on hold to join the Oxford University Air Squadron and enlist in military service, training as an RAF pilot. He was posted to No. 603 Squadron RAF in July 1940, and entered combat later that summer, flying a Supermarine Spitfire to counter German bombardment. The Last Enemy has never gone out of print, and is still read by many. 2019 marks the centenary of Hillary’s birth, and at on Thursday Trinity opened an archival exhibition featuring historical documents surrounding Hillary’s life and legacy. Writer David Haycock and Professor Dinah Birch then each delivered a short lecture, the former discussing “Eric Kennington: The Painter Behind the Portrait of Richard Hillary” and the latter’s talk titled “Richard Hillary and the Last Enemy”. After many successful runs targeting German aircrafts, on 3 September 1940 Hillary’s plane was shot down by a Messerschmitt Bf 109, leading him to parachute into the North Sea. He was rescued by a lifeboat and taken for medical treatment in London, where he became the patient of pioneering New Zealand surgeon Archibald McIndoe. The crash left him badly burned in his hands and face, and even three months after surgery he was still deemed too disfigured for public appearances. While in London Hillary began drafting a memoir of his experiences in the Battle of Britain, and after persuading British authorities to send him to America, he published the manuscripts under the title The Last Enemy in 1942. Widely regarded as one of the best pieces of war nonfiction to come out of the Second World War, The Last Enemy was well-received, and Hillary embarked on a promotional tour in America; however, although he often spoke on the radio, he never met readers in person. Trinity College commemorated WWII veteran alumnus Richard Hillary on Thursday with an archival exhibition titled “Richard Hillary: his Life and Legacy”, followed by a drinks reception and two short lectures. The Richard Hillary Memorial Lecture is given at Trinity every year, with past lecturers including Phillip Pullman, Carol Ann Duffy, Simon Armitage, and Tom Stoppard. In addition, each year Trinity runs the Richard Hillary Writing Competition and awards 500 pounds to the best creative writing piece under 3000 words.
On their home court tonight, the Ocean City High School Girls Basketball Team defeated Mainland Regional High School 38-31 to win the South Jersey Group 3 Championship.It was a hard fought game in front of an enthusiastic crowd. Earlier this season Mainland beat Ocean City, so this victory was extra sweet.Photo Credit: Antwan McClellan OCHS Girls Basketball Team pauses for a photo after there exciting victory.
When new MD Paul May talks about an “aggressive” growth strategy for Patisserie Valerie (PV), the word jars somewhat with one’s perceptions of the shops. Original owner Madame Valerie was quite happy with one store thank-you-very-much, and it took over 60 years before PV opened its second store. Since 1987, the business has been quietly nurtured by the Scalzo brothers, who took the original Old Compton St shop and added eight more over 20 years. While the one remaining Scalzo in the business, Victor, carries a frame you wouldn’t mess with, this ain’t the kind of aggressive retail expansion form that gets the big high street players running for mummy.Now, with private equity backing, PV has plans for 125 stores in three to five years. That would place it 11th on BB’s Top 50 league table of bakery retailers. “It’s not as daunting as you might think, effectively opening up two stores a month!” says Scalzo, who is adapting nicely to the new pace and appears completely unfazed by the prospect of setting up five new outlets in the next three months.But he was alone among his siblings in embracing the change. The switch in direction prompted older brother Enzo to cash in his chips and retire, while Victor’s twin, Robert, exited five months after Risk Capital Partners – which owns restaurant chain Giraffe and Borders bookshops – bought a majority stake in the business. Risk’s PV Holdings vehicle, which also owns Druckers Patisserie, is targeting 150-stores across the two brands “as quickly as we possibly can”, says MD Paul May.”We did have a growth plan before but it wasn’t as ambitious as that!” chips in Victor, who concedes that brother Robert was unable to embrace the dramatic change. “We were looking to do two new stores every 18 months, but we were particularly choosy about where we wanted to be and it was very restrictive in terms of the management team – it was myself and two brothers. But we still aspire to be the best, to be a market leader and to be aspirational.”Meanwhile, May is keen to stress that stripping out quality to boost profits is not in the game plan. “We’re not looking to mess with that at all,” he states. “We’re very cautious not to change the offer – it has fantastic quality products.” Instead, he’s focusing on transforming PV from a “family lifestyle business”, to a branded chain with systems and structures to match. In fact, one product has even been upgraded at greater cost, with a recent switch to tea brand Suki.”We’re passionate about this business,” explains May. “It’s rare that you come across a great brand – we want to build that brand and from a shareholders’ perspective, we’re not looking to sell.”Broader expansionAfter taking over in September 2006, PV Holdings’ original plans were confined to within the M25. Then Midlands patisserie Druckers was snapped up in May 2007, with an eye to integrating Druckers’ central production facilities and 40 stores into PV. “Sales were quite suppressed [in Druckers] and it was an old offering, so we saw potential to enhance that business and do some store conversions [into Patisserie Valerie],” says May.Since then, three PV sites have opened, two of Druckers’ stores have been converted, and “there are a hell of a lot of new sites in progress”. All the new ones will be PV and not Druckers-branded, with prime high street locations rather than the typical shopping centre sites of Druckers – shopping centres being too restrictive in opening times and costs, says May. Locations will be in upmarket areas of towns with a good mix of residential, office and high street shopping.Two teams of architects are sharing work on bespoke shopfittings for each outlet and the range will be adapted to each site. “We’re not a cookie cutter,” says Scalzo, “and I don’t want every new shop the same as the last – it’s too easy, it’s not challenging. Although we need a strong, branded image, the charm of our shops is that they all have a different feel about them, and that’s linked to premises and store location.”Initially, sites will be focused in London, though five sites have been agreed outside of the M25, with imminent plans to hit the south west. “Every city or major town in the UK has a market for one, two, three Patisserie Valeries,” believes Scalzo. And while the roll-out may be aggressive, the service certainly shouldn’t be: “We want comfortable, attractive rendezvous points – somewhere that you could take your girlfriend for breakfast or your granny for tea.”—-=== Vital statistics ===History: the chain was founded in 1926 by Belgian immigrant Madame Valerie, and acquired by the Scalzos in 1987. “We took over the original shop, and that was a great success,” recalls Victor Scalzo. “We dragged that into the 20th century, introducing pain au chocolat, pain au raisin – things that were relatively new to the UK at that time. We developed the tea room menu and on the back of that opened more stores.”Products: eat-in sales outweigh take-away at 55%/45%; take-away cake sales represent over 30%, with a quarter of that celebration cakes. The rest is a mix of sandwiches, pastries, ice creams, fruit salads and drinks.Typical customer: a mature, A-B demographic profilePricing: PV is planning to increase prices imminently – something Scalzo admits is a risk given the current economic climate. “Fortunately, we’ve always had very good margins,” he says. “But we would never substitute inferior ingredients.”New store uplift: two Druckers sites in Milton Keynes and Bromley have been converted to Patisserie Valerie, with 100% uplift in sales in the former, and 35% in the latterProduction: larger units will act as hubs, such as its new Spitalfields store, which supplies five shops with fresh deliveries seven days a week; Druckers’ production capacity will be used for some product lines; morning goods are baked-off from frozen on siteAdd-on sales: two cake ordering websites have been introduced for PV and Druckers, for pick-up in stores. “Sales ignited almost straight after we launched it last year, and PV is now getting 15,000 hits a month,” says May[http://www.patisserie-valerie.co.uk]—-=== Patisserie Valerie, Bedford St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9HE ===== The brief ==Patisserie Valerie wants to avoid identikit stores, and is working to a brief of “80% the same, 20% different”. Seating and a café offer is key to the concept, with an emphasis on table service and big portions, though there’s also a drive for take-away sales. Scalzo says the PV concept should separate it from the nearby competition – Paul, Apostrophe and Caffè Nero. “It’s got to have a contemporary, French flavour and feel about it,” he says. “There’s no point just reproducing the 1930s French café look and décor – it just wouldn’t work.”== The execution ==Despite a low-profile, marketing-free launch, 15 gateaux were sold on the opening day alone, while the first press review appeared within three days. It has been open eight weeks now, and is already ahead of target to hit a turnover in excess of £1m. May says: “We have a five-year forecast and we’ve been careful with regards to how we build up to maturity and growth, but this store hit year-three maturity level in its first week!”May acts as a negotiator on property deals, while a single agent is used to do the leg work in identifying sites; Scalzo is very hands-on in the design, layout and staffing aspects. “The architects don’t have carte blanche – I’m on them all the time, changing the design. And I won’t let them influence the way I want the shop to operate and look,” he insists.The store took seven weeks to fit at a cost of £500,000 – longer and costlier than its standard four-week turnaround, due to the site being an empty shell, requiring some construction, air-con and flooring.When completed, a store opening team works on all key areas of the operation until they’re happy with standards; with the KPIs in place, the regional manager takes over running the stores, which have opening times up until 9pm Monday-Saturday, and 8pm on Sundays.
The White Stripes are pissed. Just two days ago, former band members Jack White and Meg White made a rare joint statement to denounce presidential candidate and all-around terrifying human being Donald Trump‘s use of their song “Seven Nation Army” at his campaign rallies. Jack White is a very vocal member of the music community, while Meg White has faded into recluse since they disbanded, so Trump’s use of their song must have really struck a nerve if she was involved in a public statement. The Stripes did not mince words, making their feelings perfectly clear on the matter, as you can see below.Well, the Stripes’ outrage continues, as they have now released an anti-Trump t-shirt for sale on the website for Jack White’s Third Man Records. The shirt says “Icky Trump” on the front, a play on their hit single “Icky Thump”, with a verse of lyrics from the song on the back of the shirt that perfectly matches their anti-Trump sentiment. The verse reads:White Americans? What?Nothing better to do?Why don’t you kick yourself out?You’re an immigrant too.Who’s using who?What should we do?Well, you can’t be a pimpAnd a prostitute too.Pretty powerful and spot on stuff. You can purchase the “Icky Trump” t-shirt for $25 at this link.
Students will have an additional food option this spring with the opening of a Philly Pretzel Factory location in South Bend.Maryse Naman, a Saint Mary’s 1996 graduate, said she and her husband decided to open a franchise in South Bend because they wanted to bring a slice of their home in New England back to Notre Dame.“Being from New Jersey, I loved the product because we were around it a lot,” she said. “So we wanted to bring something new, but also something which we consider home … out to the Midwest. Because the company is not this far out west yet.”Mark Naman, Notre Dame class of 1996 and a former member of the office of development, said the low cost for a Philly Pretzel Factory product sets the franchise apart from other pretzel companies.“You go to an Auntie Anne’s or a Ben’s Pretzel, it’s a little bit of a different experience where you’re going to buy a pretzel and pay $3.50, or whatever it is,” he said. “The Philly Pretzel is designed more to be a mass pretzel purchase that you can share with a lot of people. … The idea is, for a very low cost, you get a lot of these high-quality bread pretzels to share with your friends, which is a huge benefit, I think, and it’s great for students.”In addition to products ranging from traditional pretzels to Philly cheesesteak pretzels, Mark Naman said, the Philly Pretzel Factory offers pretzel trays and catering for events such as tailgates.“We expect that, locally, our biggest days of the year are going to be when we have home football games,” he said. “So we do plan to have ways for people to pick up their pretzel trays for their tailgate, as well.”The Namans also plan on getting students from the Notre Dame community involved with distribution, Maryse Naman said.“We have a lot of aspirations in terms of expanding and involving [students] all throughout the course of the year,” she said. “But, specifically, I would say the highest volume you get on campus in one day would be football season. And we do have some ideas in our heads as to how to get the student body involved on a football Saturday, early in the morning.”Mark Naman said the franchise could also provide fundraising opportunities for students.“Part of the appeal of the product for us is it’s not just going to be sold in our store,” he said. “We do wholesale deals and other things where, for example, we could sell them at a pretty deep discount to the dorms for their ability to sell them and make money off them. So if a dorm wants to buy … a couple hundred pretzels for a given day and sell them, they get to keep the profits for their dorm.”Mark Naman said he and his wife will reach out to various student groups in the Notre Dame community to contribute to any fundraising efforts.“We will plan to do some outreach from that perspective,” he said. “Hopefully to the … Hall Presidents Council [and] hopefully some other groups on campus. Even just student groups who want to do fundraising — if they want to sell pretzels to make money, that’s a possibility and that’s definitely part of what we do with the product.”Mark Naman said, as of now, students can expect the location to open before the end of the spring semester.“Early to mid-April is the target right now,” he said. “Maybe a little bit before, a little bit after, [but] we’d love to be open before the Blue and Gold game, and before the students leave campus in early May.”The Namans are also hoping to allow students to use Domer Dollars at their location, which will be across from The Linebacker Lounge in Edison Plaza, Mark Naman said.“I’ve started the conversation to figure out what it would take to get Domer Dollars,” he said. “We’re not all the way in yet on an answer on it, but we want to accept Domer Dollars and I’m pretty certain it’s going to be fairly easy to do.”The Namans’ ultimate goal, Maryse Naman said, is to provide quality products for the Notre Dame and South Bend communities.“Being that we both went to Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame … the biggest relationship that we can have with Notre Dame and the students, the better,” she said. “We were both students there, so we want them to be very happy with the product.”Tags: Naman, Philly Pretzel Factor, Pretzels
By Dialogo February 22, 2012 Helped by billions of dollars in U.S. aid during the last decade, Colombia’s armed forces have used better intelligence and mobility to batter guerrilla armies, pushing their fighters into ever more remote hideouts. The largest group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, has adjusted its tactics, however, by returning to its guerrilla roots and using smaller units – in contrast to the 1990s when it seized swathes of territory. So while the army has killed top FARC commanders such as Raul Reyes in 2008, Mono Jojoy in 2010 and Alfonso Cano in 2011, the war goes on. Military and civilian sources familiar with the new strategy say the main change is to increase the focus on the FARC’s logistics and financial operations, as well as its main fighting units. “The strategic center of gravity for the FARC isn’t their leaders, it’s their structures,” a local military source said. “Mono Jojoy died and nothing happened, the FARC continued. Cano died and nothing happened either. There was demoralization and a weakening, but the rebels aren’t finished.” The new task forces will aim to destroy key rebel “fronts”, which are similar to battalions and combine to make up bigger regional “blocks” resembling army divisions. Some blocks are led by leaders from the FARC’s ruling seven-member secretariat. The revamped strategy is to dismantle the fronts involved in cocaine smuggling, arms trafficking, the manufacture of bombs and illegal mineral mining, as well as specialist combat units such as the feared Teofilo Forero mobile front, the sources said. Colombia has activated a total of seven task forces, and plans to add at least five more. Made up mostly of personnel from army units, they operate autonomously and are under the direct control of the head of the armed forces. The largest of the task forces so far is “Omega”, which has around 25,000 men with air, artillery and marine support. In an apparent early victory, the military said it was Omega troops who killed the head of the FARC’s “62nd front” in the oil-producing Meta province this week. He was not part of the FARC’s secretariat, but had been a vital coordinator between its southern and eastern blocks. Security is vastly better than a decade ago and that has helped attract record levels of investment, mainly in oil and mining. Colombia expects to see foreign investment of $16 billion this year, compared with about $2.1 billion in 2002. The military’s new strategy will focus mainly on the FARC, but also on the smaller ELN insurgent group and on new criminal gangs that include former drug-smuggling groups and right-wing paramilitaries who laid down their weapons in 2003-2006.
Equifax has been breached and it’s said that 143 million U.S. consumers could be affected. Cybercrime is becoming more prolific and you need to protect yourself. We strongly suggest that you consider freezing your credit as a precaution. Contact each of the credit reporting agencies individually. Their contact information is:Equifax — 1-800-349-9960 or https://www.freeze.equifax.com/Freeze/jsp/SFF_PersonalIDInfo.jspExperian — 1-888-397-3742 or https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.htmlTransUnion — 1-888-909-8872 or https://www.transunion.com/freezeYou’ll have to provide your personal information and pay a small fee, except from Equifax who is providing the freeze for free since they were breached.After they receive your freeze request, each agency will send you a confirmation letter containing a unique PIN (personal identification number) or password. Keep the PIN or password in a safe place as you will need it if you choose to lift the freeze, for example, to refinance your mortgage or take out an auto loan, etc.By freezing your credit, you will block anyone from accessing your credit, which should prevent thieves from taking out credit cards in your name. continue reading » 13SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr