By the time Nova Scotians were sitting down to lunch on Tuesday,Sept.2, Nova Scotia’s energy team had put in a full day at theOffshore Europe Oil and Gas Exhibition and Conference inAberdeen, Scotland. Led by Energy Minister Cecil Clarke, the largest Nova Scotiandelegation in over a decade has been networking withrepresentatives of the international oil and gas market anddemonstrating their expertise in today’s offshore environment. The day began with the opening of Nova Scotia’s booth. Apartnership between the Department of Energy and theOffshore/Onshore Technologies Association of Nova Scotia (OTANS),the booth serves as headquarters for the 14 companies andorganizations participating in the event. After attending the opening roundtable, Mr. Clarke toured thefacilities at RIGTRAIN, a state-of-the-art training facilityproviding hands-on training in well control and safety proceduresthat uses simulators and on-site working drilling rigs. “There’s no substitute for the hands-on training these types ofsimulators can provide to workers in the oil and gas industry,”said Mr. Clarke. “That’s why the Department of Energy hassupported the dynamic positioning simulator and other frontlinetraining programs through our partnership with the Nova ScotiaCommunity College.” Later in the afternoon, Nova Scotia hosted a partnership forum,allowing a number of UK companies to learn about the advantagesof doing business with Nova Scotia firms. Natural ResourcesCanada Minister Herb Dhaliwal attended the event, which featuredtestimonials from two major offshore companies, AMEC and theCraig Group. In business for more than 30 years, AMEC plc is an internationalengineering services company with more than 15,000 employeesworldwide. It has partnered with Irving Shipbuilding and Blackand MacDonald. Neil Bruce, managing director, highlighted NovaScotia’s engineering capabilities and AMEC’s vision of makingHalifax a worldwide engineering centre for the company. Douglas Craig, managing director of the Craig Group, adiversified marine services company with more than 70 yearsexperience, stressed the importance of partnerships in buildinginternational opportunities. He also praised local companyWelaptega for its innovation and use of technology. Welaptega haspartnered with the Craig Group on a number of projects includingone of the world’s smallest 3-D underwater cameras. “What we’re seeing here is that Nova Scotia’s investment intraining, in promotion and in building our industry is payingoff,” said Mr. Clarke. “These international, award-winningcompanies are in a position to learn from our experience and ourlocal knowledge through partnerships that help our companies growand access new markets.” The Offshore Europe (OE) conference is among the premier offshoreoil and gas exploration and production events worldwide. OE 2001attracted more than 24,500 visitors from 72 countries.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — A European Union law enforcement agency says it helped bust a criminal network that was allegedly responsible for fraud with pay-TV subscription services, in the first case of its kind on the continent.EU judicial co-ordination agency Eurojust said one person was arrested and 22 suspects were identified during an operation on Wednesday. The agency says more than 200 servers also were taken offline in Germany, France and the Netherlands.The EU agency says the alleged criminal gang began in 2015 illegally rebroadcasting and selling services similar to those offered by companies such as Sky Italia and Netflix. It says special servers were used to disable encryption of original programming.Eurojust says the investigation started in Italy and spread to other countries as alleged activity was uncovered.The Associated Press
Since the conflict started in December 2012 following attacks from mainly Muslim Séléka rebels, thousands of people are believed to have been killed, and 2.2 million – about half the population of CAR – need humanitarian aid.With more than 650,000 people still internally displaced, and over 290,000 having fled to neighbouring countries, the conflict has taken on increasingly sectarian overtones as mainly Christian militias known as anti-Balaka (anti-machete) have taken up arms.Volker Turk, head of international protection for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told a news conference in Geneva that the situation in the capital, Bangui, has deteriorated significantly in terms of security. “What we see now is that the anti-Balaka elements are actually becoming much more militarized,” said Mr. Turk, who recently visited the country.“There is a transformation of violence that is taking place with especially the Muslim populations inside Bangui, but also in other parts of the west of Central African Republic, being increasingly threatened. The level of hatred is extremely high.” Mr. Turk travelled to Boda, a village several hours outside of Bangui, where a Muslim community is essentially “besieged,” with a no-man’s land between the Muslim quarter and the Christian community. “I was quite shocked by some of the statements that I heard from this community, saying that they don’t want any Muslims to stay in Boda,” he said, adding that there would be a massacre were it not for Sangaris – the French military mission in CAR.Mr. Turk had planned to visit sites for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Bangui but could not because it was too dangerous. “We could see the anti-Balaka elements roaming around the city, sometimes in an extremely unpredictable and dangerous manner.”He said that the amount of fear and trauma within the communities is “extremely high” and that the Government is “absolutely overwhelmed” and has no capacity. “I think we should not have any illusion that we are confronted here with any functioning State structure,” he stated. “There’s a huge burden that falls as a result on the humanitarian community. We are in a way the life-line. But the humanitarian community cannot replace what is utterly needed in terms of making sure that this situation gets the international attention that it deserves.”Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), reported that ongoing violence has reversed an otherwise positive trend of return of IDPs. On 27 February, OCHA had reported that there were 276,000 IDPs in Bangui. Two weeks later, on 12 March, the number of IDPs in the capital had decreased by 100,000. As of today, the number of IDPs in Bangui has again increased from 177,000 to approximately 200,000. “If the violence continues, the internally displaced will not be able to return home before the rainy season, which starts in earnest in mid-April,” said Mr. Laerke. “Violence will also limit humanitarian access and undermine our efforts to stabilize communities and support returns. The result may be that thousands will have to stay behind in overcrowded sites.” Humanitarian agencies in collaboration with the Office of the Mayor of Bangui are working to identify potential relocation sites to transfer people who cannot return home from the M’Poko airport site before the rainy season. Some 70,000 IDPs are still at that site living in extremely difficult conditions.Lack of funding remains a major concern, Mr. Laerke said, noting that the CAR Strategic Response Plan, which requires some $551 million, is only 22 per cent funded so far.“We are extremely worried that if we do not get the money that we need to pre-position relief, we will be looking at an even deeper humanitarian crisis in the months ahead.”