Calpine declares bankruptcy, cites natural gas prices

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Electrical power generator Calpine Corporation declared bankruptcy on Tuesday. The San Jose, California based company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in U.S. Federal Court, to facilitate debt restructuring and to allow for normal operations to continue. Calpine has obtained secured debtor-in-possession financing from Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse First Boston totaling $2 billion. The company announced that some of its Canadian subsidiaries would also file for creditor protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. Calpine and its subsidiaries operate natural gas and geothermal electricity generating plants in 21 U.S. states and 3 Canadian provinces.

The recent rise in natural gas prices due to Hurricanes Rita and Katrina has pushed Calpine’s cost significantly above the locked in selling price for its long-term contracts. Calpine has asked the court to void eight long term contracts, including a 20-year contract entered into with the State of California’s Department of Water Resources and Pacific Gas and Electric Company in 2001.

The company received permission on December 21 from the Federal Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York to use $500 million of its financing to continue operating and to keep paying its employees’ salaries and benefits.

Wikinews interviews Jim Babka, chair of Libertarian organization Downsize DC

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A reporter from Wikinews recently interviewed Jim Babka, chair of Libertarian organization Downsize DC. The organization claims to have arranged for 22,158 people to send a message regarding the “American Freedom Agenda Act” proposed by Ron Paul, in addition to supporting many other laws. The full text of the interview can be found below.

British white paper on public health

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

ENGLAND – UK Health Secretary John Reid has proposed widespread legislative and health care changes in a new white paper on public health released Tuesday. Titled “Choosing Health”, the paper details government plans to restrict smoking in public places, limit ‘junk food‘ advertisements to children, make available “lifestyle trainers”, campaign against sexually transmitted diseases and tobacco, and improve food labelling.

The white paper comes after extensive public comment that involved 150,000 people.

Smoking would be restricted in enclosed public spaces, restaurants, workplaces, and some pubs. The ban would be enacted gradually, affecting government and NHS buildings in 2006, enclosed public places in 2007, and private property in 2008. Permanent exemption would be granted to pubs that do not serve prepared food — though not at the bar — as well as private clubs, a decision that has provoked some to call the measure incomplete. Up to 90% of pubs are expected to be affected. The Scottish executive proposed a complete ban on smoking in enclosed public places last week, and Ireland has already banned smoking in pubs and restaurants.

Food advertisements targeted to children would be banned until 9pm, under the White Paper’s proposals. The restriction is a measure to tackle rising rates of childhood obesity. The government also intends to develop voluntary standards on food and drink advertisements to children with industry, only threatening legislation if an acceptable standard is not reached by 2007. Additionally, low income families would receive vouchers for fresh fruit, vegetables, milk, and infant formula. School lunches would also be held to stricter nutritional standards. Reid has warned that unless childhood obesity is tackled, “we face the prospect of children having shorter life expectancy than their parents”.

Food labelling would also be improved, with a “traffic light” system implemented. Packaged food would be evaluated based on its fat, sugar, and salt content.

The paper is unusual for suggesting a more holistic approach to health care, offering for the first time “lifestyle trainers.” The National Health Service would be funding with an additional £1bn to make people’s overall lives healthier, which is expected to save £30bn in preventable illness.

The paper additionally makes mention of reducing accidents, which affected 2.7m people last year and is a leading cause of child death, curb binge drinking, and reduce substance abuse among youths.

The paper has been criticized by many parties. The Tory Shadow Health Secretary has criticized the Labour government’s comprehensiveness and creation of a “new nanny state approach”. He has additionally described it as “gimmicks”. The Liberal Democrats have accused the government of not being comprehensive enough. It has also been criticized by the British Medical Association as being implemented too slowly, saying “When lives need saving, doctors act immediately”.

Mr. Reid has argued against the nanny state label, saying “In a free society, men and women ultimately have the right within the law to choose their own lifestyle, even when it may damage their own health. But people do not have the right to damage the health of others, or to impose an intolerable degree of inconvenience or nuisance on others … This is a sensible solution which balances the protection of the majority with the personal freedom of the minority in England”.

The full white paper “Choosing Health” can be read here.

Yani Tseng captures Women’s British Open title for a record fifth major

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Yani Tseng made golf history by winning the 2011 Ricoh Women’s British Open championship at the legendary Scottish Carnoustie Golf Links on Sunday. At the age of 22 years and 6 months she is the youngest professional golfer of either gender to earn five major titles. Her final round of 69 allowed her to overcome a two shot deficit to third round leader Caroline Masson of Germany and finish with a four shot cushion over runner-up Brittany Lang of USA.

The Ricoh Women’s British Open is one of four designated major championships on the LPGA Tour and the final such tournament on the 2011 schedule.

Contents

  • 1 First round
  • 2 Second round
  • 3 Third round
  • 4 Final round
  • 5 Sources

Team Building In The Workplace!}

Submitted by: Majlinda Priku

Team Building in the Workplace

Team building in the workplace is not something that every company considers a high priority. Though high productivity and customer/client satisfaction are always on the minds of executives and managers, the approaches traditionally taken to achieve these ends often ignore the company’s most valuable asset: their workforce.

As the business world becomes ever more competitive, businesses in every economic sector are becoming aware of the need to take advantage of every opportunity to outcompete their rivals and this has come to include team building. By encouraging and even actively promoting team building in the workplace, companies are able to foster more open communication between their staff, build strong work relationships and build morale, with the end result being happier, more productive workers and a healthier corporate culture overall. When employees are respected by their employer and their value to the organization acknowledged, they are far more willing to take the extra steps necessary to achieve beyond the expectations of the company.

How Do You Begin?

There are two important elements to successfully building teams in the workplace: commitment and consistency. Team building isn’t something which can be done with a single activity or corporate retreat – it’s a process, not a destination in itself and as such, team building in the workplace demands a comprehensive strategy aimed at not only developing, but maintaining a team-oriented work environment.

Begin by asking yourself a few questions:

Purpose: Is every member of your team clearly aware their role and of what is expected of them? Does the team share an identifiable purpose or goal to work towards? Do their job descriptions spell out these goals and expectations?

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The Big Picture: Does your team know how they integrate into the organization as a whole? Do team members have an understanding of not only their goals as a team, but of the wider goals of the entire company?

Resources: Are there resources which are available to your team right now -and are team members aware of them and how to put them to use? Is your team missing resources which could help them to more efficiently achieve their goals?

Communication: What kind of communication capabilities exist between team members; the team and management and the team and the company itself? Are there open and transparent channels of communication available to the team? Are your team members a part of decision making processes?

Morale: Do the members of your team enjoy their work? What strategies do they use to cope with obstacles to their goals; and how do they deal with failure?

Tips for effective team building in the workplace

Identify common ground: Encourage discussion to find goals which are common to the members of your team. Identify and emphasize common interests, ideas which members share and so on.

What you’re doing here is building common ground as a foundation for the team to come together and put their strengths to work to achieve their common goals. This serves to unify the team and identify skills and talents which could be used to improve company operations.

Value each member of the team: Along with building a rapport with your team, you need to do the same with each member individually. Obviously, you’ll have a different kind of relationship with each member and you’ll need to listen to and talk to each member on their own merits. When you talk to the entire team, you’re speaking to the things they share; but when you speak to team members one on one, you are speaking to what makes them individuals – and acknowledging their individuality, which can lead to great things in the workplace.

Lay the groundwork for small victories first: Build your team’s sense of self-worth by helping them to make some small victories; the more confident they feel in themselves and in the team, the better their morale and productivity – and the more motivated they’ll be to go after bigger goals in the future.

Foster creativity: You should always be open to ideas from your team; have an open door policy for your team, establish idea boxes and above all, encourage them to think outside of the box and come up with creative solutions. Once you show them that you value their ideas and encourage them to think creatively, amazing things can happen.

Build a sense of ownership in the organization: Involve your team in the decision making process, delegate authority to them and give them the encouragement and confidence they need to succeed. This is the real goal of team building in the workplace: creating new leaders in the company and developing teams which can manage themselves.

Quick Tips for Team Building in the Workplace:

1. Always encourage your team!

2. Make keeping their morale and energy up a daily goal!

3. Be there for them when they need you!

4. Communicate openly and honestly with your team, always!

About the Author: Majlinda Priku is an experienced manager, a leader and an expert coach in capacity building,business management and personal development. She is a strong believer and implementer of participatory methodology and is well-known for using capacity building techniques through active stakeholder engagement in decision-making processes, context analysis, SWOT Analysis, visual methods as flow diagrams, fishbone technique etc. She is the owner of

managementskillsadvisor.com

Free tool – Free Team Building Exercises

Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

isnare.com/?aid=711927&ca=Sports}

Eric Bogosian on writing and the creative urge

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Eric Bogosian is one of America’s great multi-dimensional talents. “There’s sort of three different careers, and any one of them could exist by itself, on its own two feet. There was that solo stuff, and then I started writing plays in the late seventies.” Although his work has spanned genres, most readers will recognize Bogosian for his acting, which has included a memorable performance in Woody Allen‘s Deconstructing Harry to co-writing and starring in the Oliver Stone movie Talk Radio (based upon his Pulitzer Prize-nominated play) to playing the bad guy in Under Siege 2 to his current role in Law & Order: Criminal Intent as Captain Danny Ross. They may not know, however, that he had collaborated with Frank Zappa on a album, worked with Sonic Youth, and was a voice on Mike Judge‘s Beavis & Butthead Do America. He started one of New York City’s largest dance companies, The Kitchen, which is still in existence. He starred alongside Val Kilmer in Wonderland and his play Talk Radio was recently revived on Broadway with Liev Schreiber in the role Bogosian wrote and made famous.

Currently at work on his third novel, tentatively titled The Artist, Bogosian spoke with David Shankbone about the craft of writing and his life as a creative.

Contents

  • 1 Bogosian’s view of his work
  • 2 How Bogosian approaches his writing
  • 3 How Bogosian works himself into his writing
  • 4 The future of the narrative
  • 5 Collaborations with Steven Spielberg and Frank Zappa
  • 6 Source

Global markets plunge

Friday, October 10, 2008

Stock markets across the world have fallen sharply with several seeing the biggest drop in their history.

Asian markets saw the biggest sell-off. The Nikkei dropped 9.62% to reach a 20 year low. Japan also saw a collapse of a mid-size insurance company, Yamato Life Insurance Company, which declared bankruptcy. The Hang Seng, which was one of the few markets that was positive yesterday, fell 7.19%. Australia dropped by 8.4% and South Korea saw a 9% fall.

In Europe, markets dropped at the open with the FTSE losing 11%. They have recovered only sightly with all European markets losing more than 5%. The European sell off was more about the Asian lows then any specific news. European banks and financial institutes saw the most selling. Also, oil related companies saw large drops as an result of an expected decrease in oil consumption.

The U.S. markets opened lower with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling below 8,000, before recovering slightly. President George W. Bush made an address on the economy and said markets were being “driven by uncertainty and fear.”

Oil has seen losses of more than US$6 in trading with the current price of a barrel of oil less than $80. This is a year low for oil. News also came out that OPEC will hold an emergency meeting on November 18 to discuss the falling price of oil.

Charities, such as Cats Protection, today said that they have lost much of their funds in collapsing banks. Cats Protection had a total of £11.2 million saved in the now-collapsed Kaupthing bank.

The British National Council for Voluntary Organisations said that 60 of its 6,500 have lost money due to the collapse of banks.

Contents

  • 1 Stock markets
    • 1.1 Dow Jones Industrial Average
    • 1.2 FTSE 100
    • 1.3 Nikkei 225
  • 2 International reaction
    • 2.1 George W. Bush
    • 2.2 Gordon Brown
    • 2.3 Jim Flaherty
  • 3 Market data
  • 4 Sources

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell to its lowest level in five years at 8,579.19, falling 679 points in one day. This, at 7.3%, is the eleventh largest percentage fall in the history of the index. The growth then continued, with the index being up over 150 points on the start of the day at one point.

The index, did however, recover, and as of 19:30 UTC was up 17.68 points, or 0.21%, pushing the index up to almost 8600.

Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Avalon Partners, commented on these massive falls. “What we’ve seen here was one big margin call that just kept feeding on itself, so the opposite could happen. But you need a catalyst,” he said. “I’m more convinced now than ever that this market has made a bottom. The capitulation came when we breached 8,000,” he continued. “It doesn’t mean we can’t go back and revisit that level.”

The UK’s FTSE 100 index fell dramatically to close below 4000, in the index’s worst week in history. This is despite the fact that just a few days ago the index was above 5000, and the index peaked above 5500 in September.The FTSE 100 index has fallen by 41% this year.

Barclays Wealth analyst Henk Potts commented on this massive fall. “We are drowning in a sea of red numbers,” he claimed. “Investors are concerned about the exacerbation of the credit crunch and the gloomy forecasts for economic growth. The reality is that most investors have been spooked by the sheer pressure that the credit crunch is putting on the global economy.”

The Japanese Nikkei 225 has recorded it’s third biggest drop in history with a massive sell-off in the exchange that has resulted in USD 250 billion being knocked of the index’s value.

Toyota, which is the second largest carmaker in the world, fell by the largest amount in 21 years, while Elpida Memory, the world’s largest manufacturer of computer memory, dropped in value to a record low.

Masafumi Oshiden, a fund manager in Toyota commented on the drop.”It’s capitulation,” he said. “There are lots of forced sellers. If you’re a fund that’s going bust you need to close out all your positions.”

George W. Bush commented on the financial situation earlier today. “Over the past few days, we have witnessed a startling drop in the stock market — much of it driven by uncertainty and fear,” he said. “This has been a deeply unsettling period for the American people. Many of our citizens have serious concerns about their retirement accounts, their investments, and their economic well-being.”

Bush then continued by promoting the government’s plan’s to get through the crises. “Here’s what the American people need to know: that the United States government is acting; we will continue to act to resolve this crisis and restore stability to our markets. We are a prosperous nation with immense resources and a wide range of tools at our disposal. We’re using these tools aggressively.”

Gordon Brown, the UK Prime Minister, also spoke on the economy. “I think we quickly realised that we cannot solve the problems we have got as a result of the sub-prime market collapse simply by improving liquidity,” he said speaking in Birmingham to business leaders earlier today. “That would simply not be enough to deal with the bigger problem of rebuilding the banking system for the future and restoring trust is a fundamental element of that.”

Jim Flaherty, the Canadian minister for finance, also commented today on the recent incidents in the economy. “It is important to underline that Canada’s banks and other financial institutions are sound, well capitalized and less leveraged than their international peers,” he claimed. “Our mortgage system is sound. Canadian households have smaller mortgages relative both to the value of their homes and to their disposable incomes than in the U.S.”

“”However, it is becoming increasingly clear that the continuing disruption of global credit markets, which has been severe and protracted, is making it difficult for our financial institutions to raise long-term funding. This is beginning to affect the availability of mortgage loans and other types of credit in Canada,” he continued. “The Government has therefore decided to act to address the current scarcity of private sector lending to Canadian mortgage markets and lending markets overall. This is going to make loans and mortgages more available and more affordable for ordinary Canadians and businesses.”

20:15, 10 October, 2008 (UTC)
  • DJIA
  • 8.451,19 128,00 1,49%
  • Nasdaq
  • 1.649,51 4,39 0.27%
  • S&P 500
  • 899,22 10,70 1,18%
  • S&P TSX
  • 9.264,57 335,61 3.50%
  • IPC
  • 19.952,30 357,87 1,76%
  • Merval
  • 1.215,990 71.340 5,54%
  • Bovespa
  • 35.615,26 1,474.03 3,97%
  • FTSE 100
  • 3.932,06 381,74 8,85%
  • DAX
  • 4.544,31 342,69 7,01%
  • CAC 40
  • 3.176,49 266,21 7,73%
  • SMI
  • 5.347,22 451,62 7,79%
  • AEX
  • 258,05 23,92 8,48%
  • BEL20
  • 2.123,44 117,44 5,24%
  • MIBTel
  • 15.438,00 1,081,00 6,54%
  • IBEX 35
  • 8.997,70 905,20 9,14%
  • All Ordinaries
  • 3.939,50 351,80 8,20%
  • Nikkei
  • 8.276,43 881,06 9,62%
  • Hang Seng
  • 14.796,90 1,146,37 7,19%
  • SSE Composite
  • 2.000,57 74,01 3,57%

    RAGGS debuts on Australia’s Seven Network

    Friday, May 19, 2006

    New television stars in Australia, the RAGGS Kids Club Band started as simply a mall touring promotion.

    Airing on Australia’s Seven Network weekdays at 9:00 am, the series features new songs, animated segments, and “letters from friends”, as well as the music videos and concert scenes that the DVD releases focused on. Another noticeable change is the design of the costumed characters that star in the series, which now have larger heads, besides many other modifications.

    Characters in the series include original members RAGGS, Trilby, Fido, B. Max (B. Maxwell Oliver) and Razzles. New to the series is Dumpster, an opinionated cat. The stars live together in a home, and learn to develop positive relationships with each other.

    More concerts for the show will be filmed in September 2006. Producers are inviting fans to contact them, to be notified when the open tapings happen.

    Created by RAGGS LLC Production, the series is co-produced with Southern Star Entertainment Pty Limited. RAGGS was created by former advertising executive Toni Steedman, who now manages RAGGS LLC full-time. Beginning as a promotional company managing mall’s kids clubs, RAGGS expanded to a touring show, released CDS, a DVD, and a line of merchandise. The series’ creator plans to have the show on the air in the United States, within the next few months. Sixty-five episodes were produced.

    This certainly isn’t the first time a fictional band has had a television series. The Archies, Josie and the Pussycats, The Banana Splits, and Alvin and the Chipmunks are all notable examples.

    Object that fell through roof of New Jersey home not a meteorite

    Saturday, May 12, 2007

    An object that fell through the roof of a New Jersey home in January was not a meteorite, according to Jeremy Delaney, a geologist at Rutgers University. Instead, it appears the object was space junk or orbital debris.

    “Basically, it’s a piece of stainless steel. There’s huge amounts of material that have been left by the various space programs of the world,” said Delaney.

    The meteorite shaped object was not from a naturally occurring substance and had a silver like reflection. It weighed about the same as a small can of soup, 13 ounces (about 370 grams), but was no bigger than a golf ball.

    Earlier during the incident, scientists from Rutgers examined the object visually along with police who were at the scene, and determined it was a meteorite. But further tests by geologists confirmed that it was not a meteorite, but probably a metal piece from a rocket or satellite. They had earlier thought it was made of iron.

    “That’s the nature of science. If the conclusion from the test says it’s not a meteorite, then it’s not a meteorite. We have to move forward,” said Srinivasan Nageswaran, a member of the family that found the object.

    Author of My Billion Year Contract reflects on life in elite Scientology group

    Thursday, January 14, 2010

    Wikinews interviewed author Nancy Many about her book My Billion Year Contract, and asked her about life working in the elite Scientology group known as the “Sea Org“. Many joined Scientology in the early 1970s, and after leaving in 1996 she later testified against the organization. Published in October, Many’s book has gone on to become one of the top selling new books on Scientology at Amazon.com.