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No oil spillage after platform explodes in the Gulf of Mexico

Thursday, September 2, 2010

An oil platform owned by Mariner Energy has exploded in the Gulf of Mexico throwing thirteen people into the water, reports indicate. All thirteen men who fell into the water have been accounted for, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. No injuries were reported. Smoke was billowing from the oil rig named Vermilion 380, which is reported to still be on fire.

The blast occurred at around 9:19 a.m., approximately 80 miles south of Vermilion Bay off the coast of Louisiana. The Coast Guard confirms the platform was producing oil and gas at the time it exploded. They earlier reported a one mile long and 100 foot wide oil sheen which was spotted at the site of the explosion shortly after authorities responded to the scene, but later backtracked saying they could not confirm the presence of a sheen. Coast Guard chief petty officer John Edwards of the US Coast Guard earlier said that the platform, “was not actively producing any product.” Mariner Energy also released a statement earlier saying no oil sheen was spotted.

“In an initial flyover, no hydrocarbon spill was reported,” said Mariner Energy in a press release following the explosion. “The cause is not known, and an investigation will be undertaken. During the last week of August 2010, production from this facility averaged approximately 9.2 million cubic feet of natural gas per day and 1,400 barrels of oil and condensate.” According to Bureau of Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement spokesperson Melissa Schwartz, the platform was authorized to produce natural gas and oil at those depths, but “there were ongoing maintenance activities underway” which caused it to stop producing. The platform sits in about 2,500 feet of water, though some reports put the platform in 340 feet of water.

As a result of the explosion and fire, Bobby Jindal, the governor for the state of Louisiana said that the Vermillion 380 platform had been “shut” and that oil flowing from the bottom of the Gulf has been stopped. At least 6 other platforms are said to be connected to the well that Vermilion 380 was part of. Jindal also said the fire was burning due to flammable materials on the platform.

Apache Corporation, which has agreed to, but has not yet completed a merger with Mariner Energy, did not comment on whether the explosion would have any effect on the deal. The vice-president Bob Dye told Wikinews that “Apache and Mariner agreed to merge in April, 2010, however, the transaction has not yet closed so Mariner remains the operator of this platform”.

All 13 people have been rescued by an oil support vessel and have been transported to a nearby platform. Edwards earlier told MSNBC that all those who were in the water were “wearing some sort of an immersion suit that protects them from the water. Right now we’re focused on search and rescue and then, ultimately, as this thing progresses we’re going to be looking into the cause.”

The explosion comes only four months after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig run by BP exploded in April, resulting in a massive oil spill. The platform is located about 200 miles west of the Deepwater incident.

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Marketing In Phoenix: Fourth Generation Websites Are The Real Deal

Submitted by: Allan Starr

It seems apparent to us here at Marketing Partners of Arizona that we now have seen three generations of websites, and now have entered a fourth generation. Come with me now as we revisit the progression of this phenomenon:

First Generation It was, just get a website up, and you are among the elite marketers. Content was immaterial, just having one legitimized your business and told others you definitely were with it. The early examples, even those handled by marketing agencies or advertising firms were little more than flash pages. These online flyers contained little more than basic, bare bones information, but they offered the perpetrator great credibility. This was especially strong when accompanied by a URL on business cards, brochures and stationery. Company operatives would eagerly ask anyone within earshot, Have you looked at our website? Can you estimate how long it s been since you were asked, Do you have a website? Why, today, that would be an insult!

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Second Generation These were more comprehensive, and actually ushered in the requirement for some navigation acumen on the part of the webmaster team, whether that be led by an internal staff member, business owner or outside public relations or Web design firm. Little more than electronic, print-oriented brochures, they, nonetheless, were characterized by a certain degree of sophistication, particularly in how the material was organized and presented. Now, entities who heretofore were price prohibited from producing four-color printed pieces for themselves and clients, could include colorful displays amidst the copy blocks.

Third Generation Indeed, in this phase websites had come of age with flash, blog windows, videos, sound, e-commerce capabilities, imbedded forms and no small amount of dazzle. Unfortunately, in the craze to be state-of-the-art it also signaled the birth of the website on steroids, particularly in the area of a feverish urge for information overload and to a regrettable degree unintended redundancy and irrelevance.

Fourth Generation The trend in today s websites, at least those we are asked by Marketing Partners clients to produce are far more basic. As the bloom has come off the overkill rose, website developers have been told, Keep it short, simple, but clear and strong. This, to my mind, is a stunning example of Back to the Future simplicity a new age of directness and meaningful content. Today s best practices websites seem to be trending in the direction that amounts to a refreshing backlash against the monstrosities that arose in the previous generation of website excess.

How is it around your business? I know our diverse web clients are now demanding clarity of message, super-clean layouts and calls to action. This is combined with a perceived need to include Contact Us response devices that are designed to provide a brief but adequate enough amount of information in order to help clearly determine respondents needs and wishes.

Shakespeare said, Brevity is the soul of wit, and marketers have finally come to realize that their online visitors don t want to devote much time to getting the drift of what is offered in terms of their own best interests.

About the Author: Allan Starr, founder of Marketing Partners of AZ, is former president of the Phoenix Advertising Club, governor of the Southwest District of the American Advertising Federation, and served six terms on the board of directors of The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.

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US unemployment rate down to ten percent

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday that unemployment in the country edged down from 10.2% to 10% in November, with fewer jobs lost in the previous two months than anticipated. The latest monthly figure was discussed at a congressional hearing yesterday as president Barack Obama welcomed the news but said he is still not satisfied.

At a hearing of the bipartisan Joint Economic Committee at the Senate, lawmakers from both major US political parties cited the November unemployment figure as welcome progress. However, they also noted the economic pain many of their constituents are still feeling in an economy struggling with deep recession.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, said Americans at all levels, but notably the middle class, continue to struggle. “While parts of our economy are clearly stabilizing, with the Dow Jones over 10,000 again, it is clear that other parts of the economy are still struggling. We need to make sure that all Americans, not just the folks who happen to work on Wall Street, feel that we are digging ourselves out of the hole,” she commented.

Despite a generally upward trend in recent months on Wall Street, Obama, administration officials, and economists continue to caution that employment will lag behind other indicators of economic recovery.

Keith Hall, Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, said the November figure, which still represents 15.4 million Americans out of work, is the lowest monthly job loss since the official beginning of the US recession in December 2007, and follows moderating figures in three previous months.

But in an economy that has lost jobs for 23 consecutive months, Hall noted that long-term unemployed continued to grow, rising by 293,000 to 5.9 million, with little change in the number of Americans employed part-time but seeking full-time work.

Democrat Carolyn Maloney asked him about economist’s predictions that it would take 10.7 million jobs created to return the country to full employment. “Well, without offering an opinion on that 10.7 million jobs, at that rate though, it would be about three years,” said Mr. Hall.

Opposition Republicans responded to the latest figures by focusing on specific sectors that continue to lag and renewing their assertions that steps President Obama has taken since he came to office, such as the $787 billion stimulus, have had little impact on the economy.

Kevin Brady is the Republican co-chair of the committee. He said while the November figures are good news, there is not much more to celebrate.”We can’t celebrate a 10 percent unemployment rate, especially when the long-term unemployment continues to grow in very troubling numbers.”

But Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings noted what he called a major improvement with job losses going from 700,000 per month at the start of the recession to 11,000 in November. “The report we received this morning is a clear indicator that the economy is slowly returning to growth,” he said.

In an appearance in Allentown, Pennsylvania on Friday, Obama called the jobs figure “modestly encouraging”, but noted that he will not be satisfied until there is sustained significant improvement. “We have still got a long way to go. I consider one job loss one job too many and as I said yesterday at a jobs conference in Washington. Good trends don’t pay the rent. We have got to actually grow jobs and get America back to work as quickly as we can,” he said.

The president had held a so-called jobs summit at the White House this week seeking support from business and union leaders for his economic recovery efforts.

Republicans responded with their own event on Capitol Hill, where economists such as Douglas Holtz Eakin, the former adviser to Senator John McCain who lost the 2008 election to Obama, questioned his approach to recovery. “Job creation in the United States is something that small businesses, entrepreneurs and the private sector will do but they cannot do it if they are burdened by a legacy of debt and the prospect of higher taxes to pay off that debt and that is the most troubling aspect of the policies this administration is pursuing,” he said.

In testimony to Congress this week, US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke agreed with economists who caution that despite hopeful predictions of moderately strong economic growth unemployment is likely to remain high well into 2010.

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Heavy snow fall disrupts UK transportation and communications

Monday, February 2, 2009

The heaviest snow to fall for 6 years has caused transport problems in some parts of the United Kingdom, especially in London, where it was the heaviest snow for 18 years. It was caused by cold air travelling westwards towards the British Isles from Poland and Russia. As showers moved across the North Sea towards the east coast of Britain, it fell as snow. Throughout Monday, weather fronts pushed in from the south east in Belgium and France towards the South East of Britain. The weather fronts pushed their way further north and westwards.

Almost a foot (30cm) of snow has fallen in the south-east of England, halting train and bus services and making driving treacherous. Flights to and from London’s Heathrow and City airports and the outer London Gatwick and Stansted airports are suffering delays and cancellations. In some affected areas, the majority of schools have been closed.

The centre of London, which usually sees no snow at all most years, has around 4″ (10cm) of laying snow, whilst Kent, Sussex and Surrey have up to 10″ (25cm). The snow reduces further north but has still disrupted travel, with England’s Highways Agency advising against car journeys unless essential. The agency had 500 gritters clearing main roads during the night and 600 motorway patrols out in the morning. Stretches of motorway and main road have been blocked by jack-knifed lorries or closed as a pre-emptive measure.

The snow caused disruption to British transport websites, with National Rail Enquiries, Transport for London and South West Trains websites all brought down by heavy traffic. The Highways Agency’s site was also unavailable and returned with interactive features turned off. People calling and texting during the abortive rush hour jammed the mobile telephone networks. Mobile network ‘3‘ said it had seen “a very steep jump in the number of picture message sent across the network” whilst T-Mobile UK reported 73% more calls, 21% more texts and 20% more broadband bandwidth being used than usual.

The Met Office has a severe weather warning in place for England, Wales and parts of Scotland, with further snow expected across the country later in the week.

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