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  Scientists identify men who died at Virginia's Jamestown 400 years ago
Posted by: IceWizard - 07-30-2015, 11:41 AM - Forum: World News - No Replies

Wed Jul 29, 2015 4:29am EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -
U.S. scientists have used high-tech detective work to identify the remains of four leaders of Jamestown, the New World's first successful English colony, more than 400 years after they died, the Smithsonian Institution said on Tuesday.

The research also provided new insight into life and death and the importance of religion in the Jamestown settlement in Virginia, about 80 miles (130 km) south of Washington, the Smithsonian said.

The men were identified as the Reverend
Robert Hunt, Captain Gabriel Archer, Sir
Ferdinando Wainman and Captain William West.All of them helped guide the colony during its difficult years after its founding in 1607.

“This is an extraordinary discovery,” said James Horn, president of the Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation, which teamed with scientists from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History to identify the bodies.

The four were found buried within Jamestown’s
1608 church, which fell into disrepair in 1617.

The burials were investigated in November 2013, according to the Smithsonian. Researchers used archaeology, skeletal
analyses, chemical testing, 3-D technology and
genealogical research to identify the men who
lived and died when the settlement was on the
brink of failure due to famine, disease and war.
About 30 percent of each skeleton was
recovered, and the scientific team was able to
determine the men's rough ages at death, the
Smithsonian said.

Researchers also conducted chemical analyses to examine diet, the presence of heavy metals and the men's origins. The style of coffins and artifacts also led scientists to identify the remains.

Hunt, who died at about age 39 in 1608, was the first Anglican minister at Jamestown, the
Smithsonian said.

Archer died in late 1609 or 1610 at 34 during the "starving time," a period when about 250 settlers died from disease, starvation and Indian attacks, the Smithsonian said. He led some of the earliest expeditions in the
Jamestown colony.

Researchers also found a small silver box on top of his coffin that is likely a Catholic reliquary, the Smithsonian said.

Wainman died at about 34 and was the cousin
of the Virginia governor, Sir Thomas West, the
Smithsonian said. Wainman was the first English knight to be buried in America.

William West died at about 24 in 1610 during a
skirmish with Powhatan Native Americans, the
Smithsonian said. Scientists found scraps of a military leader's sash near his body.


(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Will
Dunham)

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  Exclusive: GSK faces new corruption allegations, this time in Romania
Posted by: IceWizard - 07-30-2015, 11:27 AM - Forum: World News - No Replies

Wed Jul 29, 2015 1:56pm EDT
By Ben Hirschler

LONDON (Reuters) -
Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline, which was fined a record 3 billion yuan ($483 million) for corruption in China last year and is examining possible staff misconduct elsewhere, faces new allegations of bribery in Romania.

GSK confirmed it was looking into the latest
claims of improper payments set out in a
whistleblower's email sent to its top
management on Monday. A copy of the email
was seen by Reuters.

The company is already probing alleged bribery in Poland, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Iraq.

The latest allegations say GSK paid Romanian
doctors hundreds, and in one cases thousands, of euros between 2009 and 2012 for prescribing its medicines, including prostate treatments Avodart and Duodart and Parkinson's disease drug Requip.

According to the email, the doctors were
notionally paid for speaking engagements, but in three out of six cases, including the most highly paid one, they did not give any speech. The other three medics gave only one speech each, despite receiving multiple payments.

GSK also provided doctors with many
international trips and made payments to them
under the guise of participation in advisory
boards, the email said.

The company said it would look "very thoroughly" into the claims, which cover a period before its pledge in December 2013 to stop paying doctors to speak on its behalf or to attend international conferences.

“We do receive letters of this sort from time to
time. We welcome and support the opportunity
for people to speak up if they have any
concerns," GSK said in a statement. "Sometimes we do find things and we act on it; sometimes our findings do not substantiate the matters being raised."

The China scandal, which involved alleged
bribes totaling hundreds of millions of dollars, hit GSK's sales in the country, although Chief
Executive Andrew Witty, reporting quarterly
results on Wednesday, said its Chinese
business was stabilizing.

The sender of the Romania email said its
contents would be passed on to the U.S.
Department of Justice and the Securities and
Exchange Commission (SEC), which are
investigating GSK for possible breaches of the
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

An SEC program provides cash incentives for
whistleblowers to report corporate malpractice.

(Editing by Jane Barrett and David Holmes)

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  Ohio man must spend two days in jail for petting zoo cougars
Posted by: IceWizard - 07-30-2015, 11:20 AM - Forum: World News - No Replies

Wed Jul 29, 2015 1:19pm EDT
By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) -
An Ohio man who posted a video of himself petting cougars at a Columbus zoo appealed no contest to a trespassing charge on Wednesday and has to spend two days in jail and pay more than $200 in fines, court documents said.

Joshua Newell, 35, jumped an outer fence to
gain access to another fenced-in enclosure and called the cougars to him in order to pet them, the documents said. Newell then posted a nearly two-minute video of the encounter on YouTube where he enticed the animals by calling "Here, kitty, kitty" and "That's a good kitty."

Newell was charged last week with criminal
trespassing, a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to four days in jail, with two days suspended.

A representative for the Columbus Zoo and
Aquarium was not immediately available for
comment.

This is the second time this year that a zoo
patron in the state was charged with
trespassing.

In June, Michelle Schwab was sentenced to a year of probation for a similar charge after dropping her two-year-old son into a cheetah exhibit at the Cleveland zoo in April.


(Reporting by Kim Palmer in Cleveland; Editing
by Mary Wisniewski and Andrew Hay)


**Opinion**

This is a prime example of I consider to be a complete and utter idiot! What part of "wild animal" do they fail to understand! Hey an ordinary house cat can make you real miserable in a flash, with this in mind add a few hundred pounds and "voila" you have youself a real serious problem.... Possibly even death! I just don't know the thinking (if there even was any) behind something as stupid as this.

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  Climate pressures lead to rise in 'new-age orphans' in India's delta
Posted by: IceWizard - 07-30-2015, 10:55 AM - Forum: World News - No Replies

Thu Jul 30, 2015 6:23am EDT
By Aditya Ghosh

SANDESHKHALI, India (Thomson Reuters
Foundation)
-
Eleven-year old Srijita Bhangi sits in the waiting room of the jetty boat that connects her island home in Khulna to the mainland Sundarbans, near India's border with
Bangladesh.

After spending a few days with her elderly
grandparents – an effort to lift her most recent
spell of depression – she is traveling back to the school hostel where she has lived since her parents left two years ago to find work in a garment factory 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) away, in Tamil Nadu.

Since then she has seen them only once, and
the school lodging has effectively become her
new home.

"My granddaughter is sad going back to the
hostel," admits her frail 72-year-old grandfather, Nripen, who will accompany her on the journey. "Her education has suffered since her parents left. She was in fifth grade in the village school but was demoted (to second grade) in the new school."

As climate change brings sea level rise, growing salinity in water and more dangerous storm surges to the low-lying and already economically depressed Sundarbans region, a rising number of parents are migrating elsewhere in search of work, with mothers increasingly joining fathers away from home, experts say.

Most migrants hope to one day to bring their
children with them. But poor accommodation
near new jobs, language barriers and a lack of
childcare mean few children can make the move right away.

That has led to a staggering surge in children
left behind in school hostels or with elderly
grandparents – and a rising epidemic of
childhood depression, malnutrition and
vulnerability to child trafficking, local doctors and aid workers say.

They term the left-behind children “new-age
orphans". "The number of children suffering from depression has increased dramatically. We have to treat them for various mental disorders now that were unthinkable even five years ago," said Dr. Amitava Choudhury, a medical doctor who has worked in the Sundarbans for 18 years.

DEPRESSION AND MALNUTRITION

Depression has long been common among
adults in the region, which has one of the
country’s highest rates of deliberate self-harm. Two studies, conducted by researchers from
Institute of Psychiatry in Kolkata, published in
2008 and 2013 respectively, found poor "quality of life" - including low incomes and conflicts over forest management - to be the main stressor among adults.


"However, children were never depressive. We
hardly found a case. This sudden rise in child
depression is alarming,” said Dr. Pradip Saha,
the director of the institute.

Malnutrition among children also has increased substantially because rising temperatures are lowering the number of fish in creeks and ponds, and because worsening floods and hurricanes have reduced cattle herds and left less milk for children to drink, Chowdhury said.

Aging grandparents also struggle to feed and
care for the children, charity workers and other officials said. "Now protein deficiency is rampant,” Chowdhury said. A World Bank survey in 2014 in the region found more than half of children undernourished.

With parents away, child hostels are in huge
demand in the region, local people say. Most –
both charity-run and private – offer residential
schooling. But affordability is a major concern among poor villagers.

As a result, many hostels, to keep costs down, provide only basic education and safe shelter.
"We cannot charge high fees for lodging of
these children as parents cannot afford it. They often request us to admit the children with a promise of paying the fees later in the year, which never happens," said Anshumas Das, whose Sabuj Sangha charity runs a hostel for 50 left-behind children in Pathar Pratima, a group of Sundarbans islands.

"We just cannot drive the children away, on
humanitarian grounds," he said.

In Pathar Pratima, scores of parents have
migrated to cities such as Bangalore and New
Delhi. "My mother works as a domestic maid and my father washes cars. I stay here with my aunt," said 13-year old Sudipto Senapati, in Kedarpur village. "My parents have promised me that I will also shift to Delhi soon. I have been there a few times and I hate living here alone."

Often, however, such hopes remain unfulfilled,
Das said. "Parents generally live in shanties, schools are more expensive and cultural alienation is very high. In Delhi schools, children speak Hindi, for example, an alien tongue,” he said.

TRAFFICKING THREAT

Another hazard facing children left behind is
child trafficking.

"With parents away, young girls and boys are
soft targets to lure into trafficking. We could only rescue a tiny fraction of the total number of children trafficked over the past five years,” said Dinabandhu Das, secretary of the Joygopalpur Youth Development Centre, a Sandeshkhali non-governmental organization that rescues trafficked children with the help of the police.

The state of West Bengal, where the
Sundarbans is located, had the country’s highest rate of child trafficking in 2013, with 669 registered cases – a figure considered a gross underestimate as the crime is underreported, Das said.

Young mothers who migrate in search of work
also sometimes fall victim to trafficking and fail
to return to their children, he added.

The pressures of migrant work also lead to the
breakdown of marriages in some cases, which
means one or both parents may fail to return, or single parents fail to earn enough to bring their children to join them, families said.

With the number of children living without
parents rising, having more state-run residential schools would be a huge help, said Subhas Acharya, for two decades a joint director of the Department of Sundarban Affairs and a resident of Pathar Pratima.

"You cannot castigate people for having
aspirations and ambitions. Now that the social
arrangements have changed and extended
families have disintegrated, we have to find a
viable solution for these children,” he said.

He fears the problem will continue to grow as
Sundarbans families struggle not only with
climate change but with growing population
levels and eroding resources.

"The land resource is finite and a population of
4.4 million cannot be sustained within it. Fish
stocks have diminished and forest dwelling
involves high risks. On top, climatic changes here are already evident and well-documented," he said.

But hostels and shelters can never replace the
love and care of parents, warned Anshumas
Das. "Even if the children live with their
grandparents, they feel neglected and
depressed. These are the new-age orphans,"
he said.

Nripen, 11-year-old Srijita's grandfather, agrees. Since his daughter and son-in-law left for work in the garment factory, Srijita has suffered bouts of depression and been held back in school, he said. "If we die early, she will be entirely left to her own devices, a thought that scares me," he said, walking wearily to the boat that had just arrived.It was time to ferry Srijita to the other side.

(Reporting by Aditya Ghosh; editing by Laurie
Goering :; Please credit the Thomson Reuters
Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson
Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, climate change, women's rights, trafficking and corruption. Visit http://www.trust.org/climate)

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  Taliban disavows Afghan peace talks after leader declared dead
Posted by: IceWizard - 07-30-2015, 09:20 AM - Forum: World News - No Replies

Thu Jul 30, 2015 4:45am EDT
By Kay Johnson

KABUL (Reuters) -
The Taliban's official spokesman disavowed peace talks with the Afghan government on Thursday, throwing fledgling efforts to negotiate an end to 14 years of war into disarray.

The statement came a day after the Afghan
government said that Mullah Omar, the elusive
supreme leader of the Islamist militant
movement, had died two years ago in
neighboring Pakistan.

News of Omar's demise is likely to intensify a
struggle within the deeply divided group to
succeed him, clouding chances of a peace
process that had already run into trouble. In a reminder of the threat posed by insurgents
stepping up their campaign to overthrow the
Western-backed government, the Taliban
captured a district in the southern province of
Helmand that foreign troops struggled to secure for years.

The Taliban has taken control of pockets of
territory across the country since NATO
withdrew most of its forces at the end of 2014,
leaving the Afghan army and police to quell the violence.

Thousands of people are killed each year. "We have heard from the news media that the
second round of talks between the Islamic
Emirate and the Kabul administration will start
soon in Pakistan or China," said Taliban
spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid. "The Islamic Emirate has handed all authorization to its political office and they are not aware of this process," he added in a statement that did not refer to Omar.

The Taliban has yet to comment officially on his death.

Afghan and Pakistani officials had said that a
second round of meetings would be held
between Taliban representatives and the Kabul government this week. The two sides met for inaugural negotiations earlier this month in Pakistan.

POWER STRUGGLE

So far, neither the Taliban nor Pakistani officials have confirmed Afghanistan's declaration on Wednesday that Mullah Omar died two years ago in a hospital in the Pakistani city of Karachi.

"We are aware of the reports and trying to
ascertain the details," Pakistani foreign ministry spokesman Qazi Khalilullah said.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is keen to
pursue the peace process, and has the backing of Pakistan and China, but the Taliban
leadership is divided over whether to take part.

After the initial round of talks, a statement made in Mullah Omar's name appeared to endorse the negotiations as legal under Islamic law. Opposing views on the peace process are tied in closely with a power struggle over who will be the new leader of the hardline Islamist movement that Omar founded.

A senior Afghan Taliban commander based in
neighboring Pakistan said the leadership of the movement was "at a crossroads", and resolving the succession issue may take time. He added that a faction within the Taliban
wanted Omar's son Yaqoob to take over, while
another favored the promotion of political leader Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, who has been among those who support peace talks.

On the battlefield, Helmand officials said the
Taliban had wrested control of the Now Zad
district on Wednesday after two days of fighting.

"Right now our security forces are still on the
outskirts of the district and fighting with the
Taliban," said provincial police chief spokesman Obaidullah Obaid. Obaid declined to comment on casualties, but residents of the area, speaking to Reuters by telephone, said bodies of security personnel and Taliban fighters were lying in the streets after the battle.

The Taliban confirmed the capture of the district center, saying weapons and ammunition had been seized.

Helmand has been a Taliban stronghold and
center of opium production for years. British and U.S. troops began a concerted effort to secure the province in 2006, and some of the
heaviest fighting of the war took place over
subsequent years in small towns like Now Zad,
most of them in the fertile Helmand river valley.

(Additional reporting by Abdul Malik in Lashkar
Gah and Mirwais Harooni and Jessica Donati in Kabul; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

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  healthdrugsforu.com
Posted by: IceWizard - 07-29-2015, 07:02 PM - Forum: Blacklist - Replies (3)

Here's one ... I went here and was just checking it out ... Got little pkgs of stuff there .. So I went through the motions to see what and where it was coming from .. Well ... I never did find out how much the shipping was BUT it was saying stuff about "Hong Kong" ... Then this guy with a mexican sounding name calls me ...

He tell me to use W/U and send it to a guy named "Santa" ... Yeah Santa in the Dominican Republic!! ... I checked the number he used to contact me and it was from a Verizon carrier out of Virginia USA ....

Now I didn't even go through with any transaction and my resources for "scopeing" out someone is limited at best .. I did look up a couple of reviews and there were two contrasting ones... From the same guy! Days apart ...

Now I wasn't about to sink big monies into it ... The "party pack" I was checkin out was $45 ... But the shipping might have been who knows ..
Anywho just wanted a few more eyes on this ... It just felt funny ...

What's the general concensus say...

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Star In rise of U.S. vape shops, owners eye new marijuana market
Posted by: IceWizard - 07-29-2015, 04:31 PM - Forum: World News - No Replies

Wed Jul 29, 2015 1:05am EDT
By Jilian Mincer

NEW YORK (Reuters) -
When Matt and Jen Osmun opened their vape shop in Bethel, Connecticut, last December, they didn't expect to get a boost from the local medical marijuana outlet.

"Sales are going really well, and getting better
every month," said Jen Osmun, who started the business with her husband, a former plumber, after he was injured in an accident.

Most customers at Grassy Plain Vape


Read Full Story Here

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  Afghanistan investigates reports of Taliban leader's death
Posted by: IceWizard - 07-29-2015, 03:51 PM - Forum: World News - No Replies

Wed Jul 29, 2015 11:31am EDT
By Mirwais Harooni and Jessica Donati

KABUL (Reuters) -
Afghanistan said on Wednesday it was investigating reports of the death of Mullah Omar, leader of the Taliban movement behind an escalating insurgency against the government in Kabul.

The announcement came a day or so before a
second round of peace talks had been
tentatively scheduled, and uncertainty over the
fate of the elusive Omar could deepen Taliban
divisions over whether to pursue negotiations
and who should replace him.

Omar, who would be in his mid-50s, has not
been seen in public since fleeing when the
Taliban was toppled from power by a U.S.-led
coalition in 2001, and there has been
speculation for years among militant circles that he was either incapacitated or had died.

"We are aware of the reports of the passing of
Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader," Sayed Zafar
Hashemi, a spokesman for President Ashraf
Ghani, told reporters. "We are still in the process of verifying those reports, and as soon as we get any more accurate information or identification ... we will let the media and the people of Afghanistan know about it."
The Taliban's regular spokesman could not be
reached for comment through normal channels. Omar has been rumored to have died several times in the past, but none of the reports has been confirmed.

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby
said the United States was looking into the
reliability of the latest reports.

The comments came as preparations were
under way for the next round of talks between
the Afghan government and the Taliban,
provisionally planned for Thursday or Friday in a location yet to be confirmed.

Ghani is keen to broker a settlement with
insurgents, who have been gaining territory in
pockets of the country and intensifying attacks
on military and political targets.

Thousands of civilians and security personnel
are killed each year in the violence, which has
worsened since NATO withdrew most of its
forces from the country at the end of 2014.

A defense official with the remaining coalition
forces in Afghanistan questioned the timing of
the Omar announcement. "Why are they publicizing the news now, before the Afghan Taliban peace talks? Is it to weaken the Taliban's position? It's a big question."

SUCCESSION MOVES

Renewed uncertainty over Omar's fate is likely
to intensify the internal tussle to replace him. The Taliban is already split between senior
figures who support talks with Kabul to end the
13-year war and others who want to continue to fight for power.

A senior Afghan Taliban commander based in
neighboring Pakistan said Omar had died of
natural causes, although he did not specify
when.

"We are at a crossroads, and it will take some time to resolve this (leadership) issue," the
militant said. He added that a faction within the Taliban wanted one of Omar's sons to take over, while another favored the promotion of political leader Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, who has been among those who support peace talks.

Michael Kugelman, a senior associate for South and Southeast Asia at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, said he believed Omar was dead, explaining his silence when NATO troops withdrew and when Ghani's government took power.

"These death confirmations and rejections are
all part of a big pitch for power within an
increasingly fractured and rudderless
organization," he said of the Taliban.

A senior official from the Pakistani military, which historically has close ties to the Afghan Taliban and other Islamist militant groups in the region, could not confirm Omar's death, but added: "It's worth asking why this news has come out now, when we are two days away from the second round of peace talks."

"Especially in light of reports that he died two
years ago ... why is this news being released
now? It raises questions about the intentions of people who don't want talks to go forward."
Nicholas Haysom, the UN Secretary-General's
Special Representative for Afghanistan, noted
that alleged confirmation of Omar's death had
emanated from Pakistan. "It ... provides an opportunity for Afghans to turn the page on the past and focus on the conditions and arrangements by which Afghans can live together in peace," he said.


(Additional reporting by Mehreen Zahra-Malik in Islamabad, Jibran Ahmad in Peshawar and
David Brunnstrom in Washington; Writing by
Mike Collett-White; Editing by Ian Geoghegan)

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Star Will There Be Blood?
Posted by: IceWizard - 07-29-2015, 11:36 AM - Forum: World News - No Replies

Mexico's move to open its energy sector to foreign companies faces threats from the ruthless drug cartels already ravaging the country.

By Alan Neuhauser
July 29, 2015 | 12:01 a.m. EDT
usnews.com

On one particular pipeline being built in Mexico's desert, work stopped at 5 p.m. No exceptions.

"After 5:30, when the cartels start moving drugs, they have to leave the site. And the cartel made it very clear that if they saw them after 5:30, they would be butchered.

So they enter into an 'agreement,'" says Miriam Grunstein, a professor at the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon and attorney who advised the unnamed pipeline construction company that entered into the understanding. "It's very spooky, but that's how it works," she says.

Pick your euphemism, but oil and gas companies are certainly no strangers to working in "volatile," "dynamic" or "uncertain" settings, whether they be in Angola, Colombia, Indonesia, Nigeria or Papua New Guinea, not to mention Iraq after the U.S. invasion. Now Mexico may soon join that list:

Last year, his country faced with a potential credit downgrade and hungry for cash, President Enrique Pena Nieto announced Mexico would begin allowing foreign
companies to drill for oil and gas alongside the
state-owned company, Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, which has controlled exploration and production since 1938.

But Mexico's plan for new profits comes with
plenty of risk, as hopes for foreign investment in the country's ailing oil and gas sector hinge
largely on the government's ability to contain
powerful and often ruthless criminal
organizations like Los Zetas and the Sinaloa Cartel, or at the very least to compel them not to attack foreign oil and gas sites.

Experts say that's a faint hope, and one that
grew even dimmer recently following a massive security failure. With a single motorcycle ride through a mile-long tunnel that led from a prison cell to freedom earlier this month, one of the world's most notorious drug kingpins undercut what little confidence remained in Mexico's ability to shield even its most valued assets from criminals.

"Look what happened with El Chapo," says
Jorge Pinon, a Mexico energy expert at the
University of Texas-Austin, referring to Joaquin
Guzman, the head of the Sinaloa Cartel who
escaped from a maximum-security prison July 11.

"Mexico's political system, economy, growth – everything is at risk today because of what's
happening, and they haven't been able to
control it."

Cartels already control and charge "tolls" to
cross most if not all the bridges in northern
Mexico, which is home to huge shale deposits of oil and gas. Experts also say the gangs extort industrial facilities for rent or protection, and steal oil from pipelines – costing Pemex more than $1 billion in 2014 alone, according to the company's estimates.

The heists can prove disastrous: One theft-related pipeline explosion in 2010 killed nearly 30 people, including around a dozen children.

Workers in the oil and gas sector are hardly
immune, as two engineers from a Houston-
based surveying company were kidnapped in
2013, freed only after being rescued by Mexican police and marines, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Eight workers for a private Mexican energy company also reportedly disappeared in 2012. "In countries like Colombia, even if FARC would come and blow up a pumping station, you knew who they were, and sometimes they would give you a heads-up so you were able to remove your personnel," Pinon says. "In Mexico, these are not necessarily political organizations, these are criminal organizations: They're very violent – it's
much harder to establish some sort of
gentlemen's rules."

Antonio Garza, former U.S. ambassador to
Mexico under President George W. Bush, says
the Mexican government has a "gambler's shot" at best to provide adequate security, yet the need for some semblance of control is dire.
Though Mexico sits atop large oil and natural gas reserves, it's been hamstrung by aging
infrastructure, outdated technology, encrusted
bureaucracy and entrenched corruption.

Foreign "majors" – companies like BP,
ExxonMobil, Shell, Statoil and Total – have both the capital and know-how to potentially break through those binds. "The credit rating of Mexico depends on a reliable flow of oil exports," says analyst George Baker, who edits and publishes the Houston-based industry newsletter "Mexico Energy Intelligence."

"The cost of money – not only for Pemex and the government, but everybody in Mexico that has to rely on Mexico's risk and rating – is put in jeopardy by falling oil production."

An auction held July 15 for 14 parcels in shallow waters off Mexico's shores resulted in the sale of just two plots – partly due to security concerns, but more the result of low oil prices and other financial issues, like Mexico's "take" of profits.

Such snags are expected to be resolved ahead of the next round of bids this fall, Baker
and other experts say, with an auction for deep-water parcels expected to prove more
productive.

But then there's the onshore auction, expected
in late 2016, for lucrative swaths of shale near
the Texas border, the kind of oil and gas
reservoirs that demand the expertise of U.S.
fracking firms already exploiting the same
formation on the Texas side of the border.

Despite the American advantage, many parcels will likely go unsold, experts say.

"The security situation is so volatile, they're not
going to see any investment," says David
Goldwyn, president of Goldwyn Global
Strategies and a senior fellow at the Atlantic
Council's Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center.
"You are going to see very few international oil
companies bidding for this concession because of the issue of security," says Pinon, of UT-Austin. "They're not going to send their
employees – especially their foreign-born
employees – in this area in northern Mexico."

Already, sustained low oil and gas prices have
discouraged much shale development, in which the break-even point can be higher compared with conventional drilling. But unconventional oil and gas sites that employ practices like hydraulic fracturing are also often more dispersed than a centralized drilling facility –making it far harder to protect workers from extortion, kidnapping and other attacks.

The Mexican federal police have reportedly
established a special unit to help protect foreign energy firms, but experts are not optimistic:

When El Chapo roared out of prison, so too
went any faith in the government's ability to
change the situation. "In the wake of what happened … they've got to push all their chips to the rule of law," Garza says. "Whatever capital they have left, we've got to place it here."

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  Belgium's Solvay to buy U.S. peer Cytec for $5.5 billion
Posted by: IceWizard - 07-29-2015, 10:58 AM - Forum: World News - No Replies

Wed Jul 29, 2015 3:39am EDT

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -
Belgian chemical group Solvay (SOLB.BR) has agreed to buy U.S. peer Cytec (CYT.N) for $5.5 billion, giving it a bigger presence in the lightweight materials business where demand from the aerospace industry is
booming.

Solvay said in a statement on Wednesday it
would pay $75.25 per share for Cytec, which
closed at $58.39 on Tuesday. The Belgian group will finance the transaction with a 1.5 billion euros ($1.66 billion) rights issue, 1.0 billion euros of hybrid debt and a senior debt
issue.

Solvay Chief Executive Jean-Pierre Clamadieu
said the acquisition was justified by Cytec's
growth potential in aerospace markets. "The composite market in the aerospace sector
is growing by about 10 percent per year," he told a conference call. "We are confident Cytec is well positioned to benefit from this growth."

The Belgian company said the enterprise value, which includes debt, was $6.4 billion,
representing a 2015 estimated core profit (EBITDA) multiple of 14.7 times and of 11.7 times when considering potential benefits. Solvay expects to make annual savings of 100
million euros.

"We consider the acquisition to be a reasonably good fit but consider the price fairly high," KBC Securities wrote in a note.

Solvay shares were 0.9 percent down at 126.85 euros by 0710 GMT, making them among the weaker performers in the FTSEurofirst 300 index (.FTEU3) of leading European stocks.

Solvay has previously said it would focus on
acquisitions in North America because of lower
energy costs. Cytec makes most of its $2 billion in annual sales there.

It makes composite and adhesive materials for
the aerospace and automotive industries and
chemicals used in the mining sector for mineral
processing and solvent extraction.

Solvay already makes chemicals for use in oil and gas extraction. Clamadieu said he believed the group would secure the necessary regulatory approval on both sides of the Atlantic to close the deal.

Solvay expects it will close in the fourth quarter. The company said that its and Cytec's boards of directors had unanimously recommended the offer and that its largest shareholder, Solvac (SOAC.BR) with a 30 percent stake, was behind the deal.

Solvay also announced its second quarter
results on Wednesday. Core profit, adjusted for one-off items rose 8.1 percent in the second quarter to 500 million euros, in line with the 499 million expected in a Reuters poll of seven analysts.

The company said its speciality materials and
chemicals businesses gained, but demand
declined substantially for chemicals used in the
oil and gas sector.

(Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; editing by
Philip Blenkinsop and Jane Merriman)

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