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Messer wins contracts

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Messer market launch a success

first_imgGet instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270. Subscribelast_img


Thought for tomorrow: Building in factories

first_imgThe abject and consistent failure of the UK to meet housing demand is demonstrated by the crisis we now face. While our manufacturing industry has seen productivity rise 230% over the last 50 years, construction productivity has declined by 19%. The methods of procurement and construction we use now are pretty much the same as they were 100 years ago. Modern materials and processes have been introduced, but they are absorbed into the same disconnected process.   We are just now starting to build homes in factories on an industrial scale. This is a construction revolution which promises to completely transform the way we deliver housing.In 25 years we will look back on the current way in which we build houses and find it archaic. Building in factories is not just about improvements in quality, program and cost, although all these are promised. We can also build safer, cleaner and leaner. A unified design process including architects, engineers, services engineers, as well as manufacturers and materials developers will lead to an integrated product where efficiencies and delight mean that every part of the home works well and together. The kind of integrated systems we take for granted in cars will start to become commonplace in our homes. Further to that, when cars were made by hand their interiors looked like the rooms of the time. As we develop building in factories, the constraints that have historically dictated our interior design fall away. Along with a revolution in housing delivery we can look forward to a  transformation in architecture. Do you have a Thought for Tomorrow? Just send your name, job title and company, and 250 words to building@building.co.uk, with the heading “Building Your Future”, answering these questions: What would you like the construction industry to look like in 25 years’ time?And what needs to change to make that happen?last_img read more


Sleep aids popular, but dangerous side effects loom

first_imgSleep aids popular, but dangerous side effects loom Published: November 14, 2016 10:22 PM EST Reporter:Lindsey Sablan SHAREcenter_img Do you see a typo or an error? Let us know. FORT MYERS, Fla. — One in five people have taken an over-the-counter sleep aid in the past year, according to Consumer Reports. Still, it’s important to follow basic precautions.last_img


Insight: Debt-laden McMillan had been loss-making for years

first_imgCollapsed top-100 firm McMillan Williams accrued over £20m in debts as it pursued an ambitious growth policy, accounts have revealed.By April 2019, the firm owed £10.5m to creditors within a year and £9.8m in longer-term debt. A year ago the firm’s net assets had halved in the space of 12 months to £1.6m.The firm was this week bought as part of a pre-pack administration deal by Taylor Rose TTKW, with the future of McMillan Williams’ 420 staff set to be reviewed in the coming months.Administrators said McMillan had been particularly vulnerable to the economic effects of the current coronavirus pandemic, due to a high fixed-cost base and highly leveraged model carrying historic debt.But accounts for the year ended 30 April 2019 showed that while turnover remained steady at around £31m, the business had been losing money for years. McMillan racked up annual pre-tax losses of £1.7m in 2019, £2.3m in 2018 and £2m in 2017.The financial records show 16 loans had been taken out in the last six years with various rates of interest, some of which have since been paid off. These included a £1.2m facility provided by Barclays Bank payable at a rate of £30,000 per month. A £400,000 overdraft facility was supported by a personal guarantee by founding partner John McMillan. He also lent the business around £2m in two separate loans in 2015 and 2018.Seven-figure loans were provided by investment vehicle BGF, with law firm lender Doorway Capital providing a facility up to £2.5m with a security over certain rights to future revenues from litigation cases. Lombard North Central lent the firm more than £1.1m for the acquisition and development of IT, with interest rates of 5.5% to 20%, while Close Brothers Premium Finance provided a £122,000 loan for practice certificates at a 14.5% interest rate.The accounts show recent and ongoing attempts to defer loan repayments. In January 2020, loan notes worth £1.75m and held by BGF and John McMillan were converted to equity in the business. At the same time, certain other loan notes held by the same parties were restricted with revised repayment dates in 2021.The firm had already started to make spending cuts in 2018/19, reducing its staff costs by more than £2m through shedding around 10% of its headcount in the previous 12 months. Remuneration of the highest paid director also fell, from £350,000 to £250,000.But despite apparent financial pressures, the firm continued to expand. By last year, it had grown to 26 offices across London and the south east as it focused on the model of a multi-branch firm with a presence on the high street. As of April 2019, the business owed £6.2m in non-cancellable lease repayments over the next five years. In January, director Dominic Harrison wrote in the annual accounts of plans to grow the business through the strategic opening of new offices in its existing heartland staffed by existing and externally recruited fee-earners. Comments on this article have been temporarily disabled. Dominic HarrisonAs recently as September last year, the firm qualified 23 trainee solicitors, claiming to be one of the largest providers of training contracts in England. More than half of these newly-qualified solicitors accepted full-time, permanent roles with McMillan Williams. The firm said it operated a training program of around 100 people at any one time, offering training for solicitors, legal executives and conveyancers.The firm was also proud of its commitment to diversity, with 72% of its staff female and 34% from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background. It was one of the largest conveyancing practices in the country and a specialist in crminal defence.last_img read more


Train delay refund process to be improved

first_imgUK: The Office of Rail & Road made recommendations for improving the process for claiming refunds for train delays on March 18. ORR was responding to a ‘super-complaint’ made by consumer organisation Which? in December, which claimed the current process is neither clear nor straightforward.Following the super-complaint ORR undertook research which found that around 80% of passengers do not claim for delays, awareness of refund rights is not high enough and information needs to be improved. As a result, ORR has recommended: a co-ordinated national promotional campaign by train operators to increase passenger awareness of the compensation available;clearer, plain English forms, website information and other written communication to make the process simpler;better training to support staff in providing information on compensation;a review of consistency between franchise agreements to ensure compensation is promoted more prominently and more often at the time of delay;a clearer licence condition for train operators so that explaining compensation can be enforced as a key element of passenger information. ORR said it would ‘actively engage and closely monitor train companies to make sure improvements are delivering for passengers’. It is working with passenger watchdog Transport Focus on a survey of 8 000 passengers, and will measure the ‘claims gap’ between what passengers are entitled to and how much is actually paid out.Industry body the Rail Delivery Group said a new National Rail Enquiries website ‘one stop shop’ would give passengers full information about compensation and links to claim forms for every train operator; there would be more social media alerts by NRE during disruption informing passengers of what they are entitled to and how to claim; more announcements and claim forms would be handed out on trains, with more information and forms on social media, e-mails and websites, and barcodes on posters that let customers download compensation forms on smartphones.‘The regulator’s plans for action in the short-term are a step in the right direction’, said Which? Executive Director Richard Lloyd. ‘The pressure is now on the train companies to show they can bring about urgently needed basic improvements for their customers.’Transport Focus CEO Anthony Smith, said ‘we know that too many passengers are put off claiming due to lack of awareness or knowledge of how to claim’. He said ‘passengers expect the process to become smarter and automatic, taking the onus off them to have to claim in the first place’. In the longer term, he believes ‘automatic delay repay is the way forward.’last_img read more


Network Rail unveils CP6 business plan

first_imgUK: A strong focus on safety, reliability and performance underpins Network Rail’s objectives for the five-year Control Period 6, which starts on April 1 2019. Publishing its strategic business plan on February 13 for regulatory approval, the infrastructure manager explained how it expects to spend the £47bn allocated for CP6 by the UK and Scottish governments in their Statements of Funds Available, in order to meet the objectives set out in the earlier High-Level Output Specifications.The Office of Rail & Road has started consulting on the plan, and NR’s efficiency targets before making a draft determination of funding needs and the level of track access charges for train operators. ORR is due to issue its draft determination in June for industry consultation, with a final determination to be published before the end of this year. Reflecting the devolution of responsibility within NR, there will be separate regulatory settlements for each of the geographical Routes as well as the System Operator and the headquarters functions.According to NR Chief Executive Mark Carne, the development of the strategy has been very different from that for Control Period 5, where ambitious investment plans were derailed by the reclassification of the infrastructure manager as a public sector body, which limited its access to commercial financing. The CP6 plan has been developed ‘from the bottom up’, and is primarily focused on improving day to day operations, maintenance and renewals.Within the overall budget, £18·5bn has been allocated for operations and maintenance, a 25% increase on CP5, and a similar sum for renewals. Another £10bn has been allocated for enhancements, mostly to cover the cost of completing committed schemes that have been carried over from CP5. Investment in digital railway initiatives such as traffic management and ETCS as well as other capacity improvements is expected to allow the network to accommodate an additional 1 000 trains per day from 2021.Around £1bn has been allocated to support the planning and development of future enhancement projects which would be authorised and funded on a case by case basis once they are sufficiently mature. NR is looking at ways to identify new sources of funding that do not rely on central government support.Describing the plan as ‘ambitious but realistic’, Carne said NR expected to work closely with train operators and other parties to ‘deliver the better railway that a better Britain needs’.In terms of improved reliability, Carne said NR would ‘focus relentlessly on making our railway more reliable’. The plan anticipates a 15% reduction in the number of delayed trains. Rather than the current Public Performance Measure, which counts trains as ‘on time’ if they arrive at their final destination within 5 or 10 min of schedule, the industry will be moving to a ‘right time’ measurement of performance, including key intermediate stops; this will require a revision to timetable planning in order to ensure that the timings reflect actual performance including longer station dwell times as services get busier. Total passenger numbers are forecast to increase by around 40% by 2040.Safety remains a key priority, and NR is looking for a further 10% reduction in the risk of train accidents, and reducing the risk at level crossings. There will be a continuing focus on improving workforce safety, and reducing the lost-time injury rates.last_img read more


Sports: An exciting month of cricket ahead for South Florida

first_imgSome of the biggest names in West Indies cricket will play in South Florida next August in what promises to be a month of sizzling action at Central Broward Regional Stadium in Lauderhill.West Indies vs Bangladesh The resurging West Indies play Bangladesh in the second and third of a three-match series in Lauderhill on August 4-5. Then, from August 18-22, three matches in the Caribbean Premier League takes place at the facility, the only ground in North America sanctioned by the International Cricket Council.Hub for international cricketDale Holness, a long-serving member of the Broward County Commission, hails South Florida’s growing reputation as a hub for international cricket. New Zealand and India have played ODIs at Central Broward Regional Stadium, which also hosted Caribbean Premier League matches in 2016 and 2017.“These games are extremely important for South Florida. It has tremendous economic impact because you have visitors coming in from around the world,” he said.The West Indies defeated Bangladesh 2-0 in their recent two-Test home series. They are also favorites for the three One Day Internationals and T20s, based on the firepower in their ranks.Among their big guns are captain and allrounder Jason Holder, explosive opening batsman Chris Gayle and recently recalled Jamaican allrounder Andre Russell.First visit for BangladeshIt is the first time Bangladesh will be playing in South Florida, which is welcome news for diehard cricket fans like Abm Mustafa who follows the ‘Tigers’ progress feverishly on the Internet.He expects many of the over 25,000 Bangladeshis living in South Florida to attend the matches.“It’s very exciting for us to have our national team in South Florida…It is a great pride for us. Cricket is a massive thing in Bangladesh,” said Mustafa, who is vice-president of the Bangladesh Association of Florida.Bangladesh’s team is captained by classy allrounder ‎Shakib Al Hasan. Their bowling coach is former Jamaica and West Indies fast-bowler Courtney Walsh.The matches complete Bangladesh’s tour of the Caribbean and North America. The first T20 match takes place on July 31 in Basseterre, St. Kitts.WI returning to respectable form After a sustained period of poor performances, the West Indies have rounded into respectable form in recent months, winning Test series against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh and drawing 1-1 with Sri Lanka.This improved form puts them in good stead for next year’s cricket World Cup tournament in the United Kingdom.Russell, one of T20’s marquee players, returned to competitive cricket in April after serving a one-year ban for a doping violation. He had solid returns playing in the inaugural Global T20 Canada tournament and the Indian Premier League.CPL series next month alsoThe CPL returns to South Florida for a third straight year. This season’s teams are defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders, 2014 winners Barbados Tridents and 2013 and 2016 champions Jamaica Tallawahs.Each team is strongly represented by the elite of international cricket including Dwayne Bravo, Sunil Narine, Brendon McCullum, Shannon Gabriel and Colin Munro for the Trinbago Knight Riders; Russell, Shahid Afridi, Ross Taylor and David Miller of the Tallawahs and Holder, Martin Guptill and Hashim Amla who will represent Barbados Tridents.last_img read more


Soul Food Restaurant In Kent Continues To Thrive During COVID-19

first_img“When you talk about a tail wind, what happened is all the people started focusing on supporting Black-owned businesses and that brought so much awareness to Nana’s,” says Minor. “The African American community supported Nana’s and I will tell you the support throughout COVID where people came specifically to make sure that we were good made me almost want to break down as they came [through the door].” The Minors are greatly appreciative of the blessings bestowed upon them and to have this opportunity to serve the people, as their success is a testament to their perseverance and believing in a dream. Despite having to take money out of his own pocket for his employees, Minor maintains a positive attitude and says that the support of the community, particularly the Black community, has helped him remain focused, energized and optimistic. According to Minor, campaigns throughout the area to support businesses have been a blessing for the fledging business. But support campaigns are not the only reason for Nana’s continued success. Simply put it’s the food. Coveted comfort food is hard to find, and, in Nana’s, customers like Mark and Crissea Nickell have found a place to eat that they truly enjoy. Minor wasn’t sure just how this adversity was going to affect the future of his business but he and his family pressed on. Like most businesses when March 2020 hit and the state mandated a shutdown, their future was uncertain. “We have been fortunate,” says Minor.  “We have a terrific staff and it was important to us to maintain everyone’s hours particularly when things got slow. As a business owner I had to make tough decisions and during the beginning of COVID I had to front monies from my own pocket to make sure my folks were able to keep the same hours as before COVID.” “Some many people said how difficult the restaurant business would be,” said Minor. “They said it was going to impossible to find good people, I will tell you every one of those people were wrong.” Soul food defines comfort food and family and Nana’s defines soul food. Nana’s also defines perseverance as it has defied the adversity brought on by this unfortunate time and pandemic. Nana’s has endured because the Minors were brave enough to take risks and because of those risks the community came together to support them in these uncertain times. Minor and his wife, Tanieka, migrating from the East coast, came to the Pacific Northwest like most others because of opportunity.  Microsoft offered Minor a position and he jumped at the chance. The parents of five children — Mercedes 16, McKenzie 9, twins Madison and Todd Jr. 5 and Anson 2 — the family embarked on their endeavor to become restaurant owners last December not knowing that the next year would test their resolve as a business and family unit. The COVID crisis would start the year testing all of the world and Nana’s was not immune. The Minors were nervous when, as new business owners, the country began its lockdown. In Kent there is a place that exudes just that. Nana’s Southern Kitchen. The restaurant, which opened last December, serves Southern staples like fried chicken, catfish, fried shrimp, pork chops, potato salad, mustard or collard greens, and candied yams and is drawing customers from across the region. “Nana’s provides a very friendly and family-oriented service with a very good and consistent menu,” says Mark Nickell. “At the time, my wife had been going through health issues and having trouble finding foods she could eat and enjoy and when we discovered Nana’s it was a breakthrough for her and did a lot for her health, it was a godsend.” Their growth is punctuated by their commitment to continue hiring people to meet their increasing demand. Nana’s started in December of 2019 with just 4 employees. Their success enabled them to hire up to 5 more people before COVID, and surprisingly they are now operating with a whopping 15 employees. “On the East coast there’s a million different takeout spots, even if you had dine-in you still ate out of a takeout container,” says Minor. “I had built Nana’s to have everything takeout and so when COVID hit, I was a bit nervous because you didn’t know if people were going to be eating out, but the model was already set up to take your food to go.” Shekinah Brown, who is in charge of daily operations at the restaurant, says that the support from the community, even in the middle of a pandemic, has been a key factor to the success of the business. Minor’s great grandmother, Myrtle Henderson, affectionately known as “Nana” in whom the restaurant is named after, was a well-known chef in Connecticut for more than 40 years.  Her recipes were passed down through the family and the Minor’s thought why not start a restaurant in Kent and kill two birds with one stone — uniting their family and the community through the love of food. “Honestly, I think that we have been blessed,” continued Brown. “We were a new business as we all tried to figure out how to run it. But we created a system and worked to execute it perfectly.”  Family is the most important thing to the Minors and it was important that they centralize their family and so Minor needed to find a way to get the rest of his family to the Puget Sound. As he pondered, he decided the best way to do this was through food. If you speak to many experts, they will tell you that the restaurant business is not an easy endeavor but this did not deter Minor from his vision. He did his due diligence, studied the market and the business model, but one thing he didn’t factor in to the equation was COVID-19. By Aaron Allen, The Seattle Medium Today, Nana’s is indeed a family affair. His mother, Jackey Minor, is the genius behind the flavor as she manages the kitchen along with their grandfather, Philip, who preps the greens. His grandmother exemplifies hospitality by greeting everyone who enters the restaurant. Minor’s wife, Tanieka, is in charge of all pastries and desserts, his 16-year old daughter, Mercedes, works the weekends while in school. But it is the recipes of his great grandmother “Nana” that provides the soul and spirit of the place. In the Black community there are two essentials that Black folks pride themselves on — family and food. Minor was raised by his grandmother, Dorothy Marion, and he wanted to get her to the West coast, so he began formulating his vision and plan for a restaurant ran by his family. He suggested his business plan to his family and persuaded them to relocate to Seattle. “Originally before I opened up Nana’s my original idea for the name was actually ‘Soul To Go,’” says Minor. “But as I thought about it, meditated and prayed about it, I said I wanted to do something with a legacy in mind, something that will help people and provide a place with a certain spirit about it and I couldn’t think of a better spirit than my great grandmother.” Todd Minor, center crouching, owner of Nana’s Southern Kitchen in Kent, poses with staff and family members.Despite COVID-19 restrictions, Nana’s has had to hire additional staff to keep up with the demand for their food.Photo courtesy of Todd Minor. COVID-19 has devastated the business landscape, and many restaurants have either closed their doors for good or are very close to shutting down. Despite having the deck stacked against them, especially being a start-up in their first year of business, Nana’s has defied the odds and is not only surviving but has thrived as the demand for the coveted comfort food has grown. Nana’s owner Todd Minor says that modeling his business after soul food restaurants on the East coast helped him weather the storm, as the model was in line with the operating restrictions imposed by state and local officials due to COVID-19. During this time, with all of the nuances of being a restaurant owner, Minor continued his work at Microsoft and as the pandemic evolved it became necessary for Minor to tap into his personal finances to help keep the business viable and maintain his staff. “You have to remember when COVID hit a lot places closed, we are next to Starbucks, Starbucks closed, everybody closed but Nana’s stayed open,” Minor continued. “We were one of the only places besides the McDonalds of the world that were still open, we stayed open the whole time.” With his mother in charge of the kitchen, his wife as the master baker of desserts, his daughter offering her energy, the leadership of Shekinah Brown and a committed staff, Nana’s has not only weathered this pandemic but they are a success story in how one can overcome. “I was the second person hired when they opened, and even through the pandemic, we were still able to hire and offer opportunity,” says Brown. “After we opened it was going really well, we were really busy and COVID hit and we couldn’t have anyone in the restaurant and at that point I was nervous,” says Minor. “Whatever dream that you are out there trying to realize and the naysayers are out there telling you all the reasons why it won’t work, I will tell you to persevere, go out there and dream big, put your dreams on the canvas of your imagination and take one step every day towards fulfilling that dream,” concluded Minor.last_img read more


Dengue outbreak confirmed in Dominica

first_imgLocalNews Dengue outbreak confirmed in Dominica by: – August 3, 2013 Tweet Share Share Sharecenter_img 12 Views   no discussions Sharing is caring! To prevent the spread of dengue fever, you must first prevent the breeding of its vector, the Aedes aegypti mosquito.The Ministry of Health has confirmed an outbreak of Dengue Fever on the island.In a press release issued late Saturday evening, (August 3), the Ministry advised that there have been seven (7) confirmed cases and eighteen (18) suspected cases awaiting confirmation.However, according to the Ministry of Health, there have been no reported deaths from Dengue Fever.Dengue is an infectious disease caused by a virus transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. You can get dengue fever if you are bitten by the mosquito which is carrying the virus.Dengue fever is also called Break Bone Fever which can become a serious public health problem.The symptoms of Dengue include high fever, intense headaches, severe joint and muscle pain, vomiting and a rash.Sometimes some persons can present with the severe form of the disease known as Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever, in which there can be bleeding, under your skin, from your nose, gums, gut and damage to the liver. The bleeding can be massive causing Dengue Shock Syndrome, which can cause death.To date there has been no reported severe case of the diseases in Dominica during this outbreak. Persons presenting with signs or symptoms of dengue fever should seek immediate attention at the nearest health centre or contact their personal doctor. The Ministry of Health advises the public to take precautionary measures to prevent the breeding of the aedes aegypti mosquito which carries the vector.To prevent the spread of dengue fever, you must first prevent the breeding of its vector, the Aedes aegypti mosquito. It prefers to breed in clean, stagnant water, easily found in and around our homes. You can get rid of the Aedes mosquito by frequently checking and removing stagnant water in your premises; by keeping your environment clean; covering all containers capable of holding water – (drums, cisterns, barrels and tanks); by keeping potted plants in wet soil and sand; by getting rid of all old tires. You may use them to landscape or grow vegetables.You may protect yourself from mosquito bites by using a mosquito repellent and mosquito nets when sleeping.The release also notes that the beginning of the rainy season throughout the Caribbean Region has seen an increase in the dengue transmission in other Caribbean Islands. The Ministry of Health has stepped up its activities in controlling the outbreak of dengue fever.The general public is asked to remain calm and assist in fighting against the spread of dengue fever.Dominica Vibes Newslast_img read more