Vermont Business Magazine Governor Peter Shumlin today urged the Vermont Pension Investment Committee to reevaluate their opposition to divesting Vermont of coal and ExxonMobil stocks. The governor called for Vermont to divest from those assets in his State of the State Address. State Treasurer Beth Pearce has opposed the plan in order to keep the pension funds financially sound. The governor believes strongly that divestment is a tool that should be used to address climate change, especially after California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill last year to divest the state’s nearly $500 billion in pension assets from coal and study divestment from oil. Acknowledging VPIC’s past opposition to arguments about the moral imperative of using divestment to combat climate change, Shumlin focused his remarks on the bad economic investment that coal and ExxonMobil represent. Shumlin said, “Let’s put aside the fact that as a matter of moral responsibility, Vermont should not be invested in coal when our state is the tailpipe to the dirty energy choices made by states to our West. Let’s put aside the fact that coal is responsible for acid rain which has harmed our forests, and mercury pollution that puts poison into our fish such that pregnant women and children have to limit their consumption. Let’s put aside the fact that coal burning is a leading contributor to global warming that threatens the future of our planet. Let’s put aside the fact that Vermont is a leader in combating climate change and together with California we can lead the country in making the right choices for our planet. Clearly those arguments have not persuaded this committee to-date to take action.”The governor instead argued (SEE FULL ANNOTATED REMARKS BELOW) that Vermont should not be invested in coal or ExxonMobil for the following economic reasons.Financial Institutions Agree, Coal is a Bad Investment – Large financial institutions such as Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Bank of America, and Goldman Sachs have pledged to “stop or scale back support for coal projects,” according to Bloomberg Business(link is external). A new report from Citigroup(link is external) shows that moves to combat climate change could lead to $100 trillion in stranded assets, with coal companies accounting for more than half of that potential loss in value. That’s “not the type of industry I would want my money invested in, or Vermont’s money invested in,” Gov. Shumlin said. Coal Use and Mining is on the Decline – In the mid-2000’s coal represented 50 percent of America’s power supply. Today it accounts for only 35 percent according to the Energy Information Administration(link is external), a trend that is likely to continue because few coal plants are being built – in 2015(link is external), only one new coal plant came online. “The market has spoken and it’s divesting itself of coal,” Gov. Shumlin said. Coal Companies are Failing – The second-largest coal company, Arch Coal(link is external), filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, following bankruptcy filings by other major coal companies such as Walter Energy, Alpha Natural Resources, and Patriot Coal.Founding Family of ExxonMobil Has Lost Faith in Exxon’s Value – Neva Rockefeller Goodwin, the great grand-daughter of ExxonMobil’s founder, has divested from the company. After 15 years of failed shareholder engagement and meetings between the Rockefeller family and ExxonMobil to encourage diversification, she declared that “I lost faith in ExxonMobil’s future value.” She has also said that as “the enormity of the effects of [ExxonMobil’s] lies becomes more evident, ExxonMobil is positioned to supplant Big Tobacco as global Public Enemy No. 1…[t]his is not good for a company’s bottom line.” ExxonMobil Stock is Underperforming – In testimony before the House and Senate Government Operations Committees last week, Vermont Law School Professor and former Public Service Board Chair Michael Dworkin discussed how ExxonMobil has significantly underperformed the S&P 500 over the last five years. Earlier this month several investment advisors indicated they were downgrading ExxonMobil to a sell or an underperform rating. Raymond James senior energy analyst Pavel Molchanov(link is external) said even as the oil sector hopes for a recovery of value, “Exxon is probably the last oil stock you want.” The committee is comprised of 7 members, and 4 alternates as follows: MEMBERS:Tom Golonka, ChairElizabeth Pearce, State TreasurerVaughn Altemus, Governor’s Appointee, term expiring 6/30/2018TBD, VMERS Representative, term expiring 6/30/2016Robert Hooper, VSERS Representative, term expiring 6/30/2016Joe Mackey, VSTRS Representative, term expiring 06/30/2018 Karen Paul, Governor’s Appointee, term expiring 6/30/2018ALTERNATES:Linda Deliduka, Alternate VSTRS Representative, term expiring 6/30/2017Jeff Briggs, Alternate VSERS Representative, term expiring 6/30/2016Mel Hawley, Alternate VMERS Representative, term expiring 6/30/2016David Starr, Alternate Governor’s Delegate, term expiring 6/30/2016Shumlin concluded his remarks by recounting Vermont’s proud history(link is external) of using divestment to tackle big challenges and encouraging VPIC to follow that tradition and do the right thing.“It does not matter if the legislature passes a bill, or if VPIC decides to make the right decision,” Gov. Shumlin said. “The process is not ultimately what this is about. It is about Vermont using our power as an investor to put pressure on coal companies economically, and to protect our pensioners from holding securities that have a bleak future. As the coal industry continues to suffer economically and harm our environment and our health, and as ExxonMobil continues to oppose changing its business model even at the urging of our own Treasurer, this committee can continue to delay and to study. Or this committee can take action. I believe the time has come to act on our values, and divest.”The governor’s full testimony, as prepared for delivery, are below.
Vermont Business Magazine The Legal Services Corporation (LSC) announced today that Legal Services Vermont will receive a $375,970 Pro Bono Innovation Fund grant. LSC’s Pro Bono Innovation Fund is intended to encourage and expand pro bono efforts and partnerships to serve more low-income clients.Legal Services Vermont will use the grant to build a coordinated, centralized and sustainable infrastructure for statewide pro bono efforts in Vermont. It will collaborate with key stakeholders to develop and implement a robust statewide pro bono system using best practices for recruitment, flexible volunteer venues and effective data tracking to expand access to justice for low-income families in the state.“Pro bono assistance enables Legal Services Vermont to leverage its limited government-funded staff resources with privately contributed services,” said LSC President Ronald S. Flagg. “This grant will promote this leverage and help Legal Services Vermont to assist many more people in need.”Members of the Vermont congressional delegation congratulated Legal Services Vermont on the grant.“Legal Services Vermont is most deserving of this award, and it could not have come at a more critical time,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (VT). “The COVID pandemic has upended the lives of thousands of Vermonters, and those who suddenly find themselves in need of pro bono legal help should be able to get it. With this funding, LSV will work to create a more comprehensive system to meet the urgent needs of low-income Vermonters. We know that investing in these programs saves money in the long run. As Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I’m proud to support the essential work of the Legal Services Corporation and the state programs it supports.”“Proper legal representation is a part of the foundation of a just and equal society,” said Rep. Peter Welch (VT-At Large). “Quality legal representation has become harder to provide during the coronavirus pandemic, just as many Vermonters face higher medical bills, trouble with public assistance or trouble paying their mortgage. In these difficult times, it is more important than ever to make sure that Vermonters receive quality legal representation, regardless of where they live or how much money they have. I applaud the work of LSC and Legal Services Vermont to offer Vermonters the representation that they are entitled to, free of charge.”Legal Services Vermont is one of 19 recipients of Pro Bono Innovation Fund grants totaling $4,347,185. Eleven legal aid organizations are receiving new grants to significantly expand their pro bono efforts and eight current Pro Bono Innovation Fund grantees are receiving supplemental funding to continue their efforts to transform pro bono delivery in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.LSC awarded this grant from its $4.5 million Pro Bono Innovation Fund included in its FY 2020 congressional appropriation. The creation of the fund was recommended by LSC’s Pro Bono Task Force in 2012. This is the seventh year LSC has received a designated appropriation to award pro bono grants. In all, LSC has awarded 102 grants totaling more than $27.8 million.Legal Services Corporation(link is external) (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 132 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.Source: WASHINGTON – The Legal Services Corporation August 20, 2020
2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr I love to find ways to connect my personal and professional life. At the end of the day, I want to inspire kindness. I’m also very passionate about credit union principles and philosophy. I admire how we use our business model for the greater good. So, I’ve come up with a way to combine my passion for credit unions with my love for helping people. This campaign will promote the credit union philosophy of “People Helping People”, engage employees, and in the end, provide a positive return on investment.Helping PeopleHow does the act of kindness align with our core values? It’s the credit union philosophy of “People Helping People”. It can be as simple as giving a compliment, sending a thank you card, or volunteering your time and talent. The act of kindness carries an immediate benefit, not only for the recipient, but for the giver and those surrounding, as well. Kindness is contagious. During this campaign, we will share and promote stories of caring and compassion through press releases and social media.A random act of kindness is not a new concept. It’s one we’ve shared many times within the credit union community. Credit unions have a long history of working together. We collaborate. We share. How does collaborating with other credit unions and businesses align with our principles? It’s one of our cooperative principles, “Cooperation among Cooperatives.” This becomes evident, even as I am working on this project. Credit union advocates have reached out to be a part of this campaign, share ideas and encourage–simply to help people.Empowering EmployeesIt doesn’t matter who you are, you can make a difference. Everybody can contribute by serving others. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best, “Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve…You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” This campaign would allow every credit union employee to be reimbursed for performing a random act of kindness; essentially, credit unions would be sponsoring kindness. Pretty amazing, right? continue reading »
September 15, 2007 On the Move On the Move Aleida Mielke joined McIntosh, Sawran, Peltz & Cartaya’s Ft. Lauderdale office as an associate.The law firm of Roetzel & Andress relocated to 420 S. Orange Ave., CNL Center II, 7th Floor. The phone number is (407) 896-2224 and fax number is (407) 835-3596. Alcides Avila, Wilfredo (Fred) Rodriguez, Eugenio (Gene) Hernandez, Patricia Hernandez, Daniel Mena, and Marco Ferri have joined to form the law firm of Avila Rodriguez Hernandez Mena & Ferri at 2525 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Penthouse 1225, Coral Gables 33134. Robin L. Hoyle joined Alvarez, Sambol, Winthrop & Madson. Alejandra Masso joined McIntosh, Sawran, Peltz & Cartaya as an associate in the Miami office. Juan Bendeck joined Hahn Loeser & Parks as of counsel in the firm’s Bonita Springs office. Vance E. Salter of Hunton & Williams’ Miami office was appointed to the Third District Court of Appeals by Gov. Charlie Crist. Jeffrey L. Myers joined Abel Band to develop and expand its health law and regulatory compliance practice. Charles L. Cooper, Jr., joined Bryant Miller Olive’s Tallahassee office and will focus on taxation, real property, and corporate and business divisions. Williams Schifino is offering mediation services in its labor and employment law practice area as a result of the circuit court mediation certification attained by James M. Craig. Bob Bivins and John Hemenway formed Bivins & Hemenway at 1060 Bloomingdale Avenue, Valrico 33594. Bivins & Hemenway focuses on real estate and real estate development, corporate and business law, banking and lending, estates and trusts, and environmental law. Gamba & Lombana in Coral Gables developed an of counsel relationship with Billbrough & Marks. The affiliation will provide Gamba & Lombana’s clients with access to G. Bart Billbrough and Geoffrey B. Marks in commercial litigation, insurance disputes, and appellate matters. Robert H. Peterson and Tammy B. Denbo joined Masten & Lyerly as equity partners. The firm will now be known as Masten, Lyerly, Peterson & Denbo, LLC, and represents clients in state and federal court in cases involving complex issues with an emphasis on insurance and business litigation from its Orlando and Tampa offices. Paul J. Waters joined Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney’s Tampa office as a shareholder in its labor and employment section. Waters represents employers involved in investigations, enforcement, and rule-making proceedings by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, as well as state OSHA agencies. Danielle Conn Rosenberg joined Sachs & Sax as an associate who practices in the areas of family law and criminal defense. Bettye J. King moved her law practice to 721 US Hwy. 1, Ste. 123, North Palm Beach 33408. The telephone number is (561) 844-5464 and the fax number is (561) 842-6760. Frederick R. Dudley, Mia L. McKown, and Gigi Rollini joined Holland & Knight’s Tallahassee office. Additionlly, Matthew S. Welch joined the firm’s litigation section in the Daytona Beach office. David S Carus joined Allen Dyer Doppelt Milbrath & Gilchrist’s Orlando office as an associate, and Neal J. Blaher joined the firm’s Orlando office as of counsel. White & Case promoted associates Richard B. Furey and John L. Murphy to counsel in the firm’s Miami office. Jessica L. Slatten joined Sachs & Sax’s Tallahassee office. Statten practices in the areas of civil litigation, administrative law, and family law. Dennis J. Wall opened an office in the Bank of America Bldg., 390 N. Orange Ave., 23rd Floor in Orlando. The firm’s principal office and all contact information remains P.O. Box 195220, Winter Springs 32719. The telephone number remains (407) 699-1060, the fax number remains (407) 699-1065, and the Web site is www.dennisjwall.com. Shana H. Bridgeman joined the Ft. Lauderdale office of Goren, Cherof, Doody & Ezrol, P.A., as an associate to assist in litigation-related matters. Upchurch Watson, White & Max has appointed Dye Ann Graham to the firm’s mediation panel. Esther E. Galicia joined Fowler White Burnett’s Miami office as a shareholder. She will focus her practice in the areas of civil appeals, insurance coverage disputes, and civil litigation and trial support. William S. Spencer joined Akerman Senterfitt’s litigation practice group as a shareholder. Spencer’s practice focuses on civil and commercial litigation. Stephen J. Padula opened Padula Law Firm, LLC, at 133 N.W. 16th Street, Suite A, Boca Raton 33432, telephone (561) 544-8900, fax (561) 544-8999. Robin L. Hoyle joined Alvarez, Sambol, Winthrop & Madson, P.A., to practice business law as senior counsel. Michael A. Silva joined Hunton & Williams in Miami as a partner and will continue his practice as an international and private wealth tax lawyer. Amanda Caruso joined Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, as an associate. Her practice areas include commercial leasing, real estate transactions, and development and finance. Maria DiBlasio Hale joined Rutledge Bradford, Attorneys at Law in Orlando where she will be handling criminal defense cases and matters involving personal injury. Boyd & Jenerette added Edwin W. Held, Jr., Kimberly H. Israel, and Adam N. Frisch as of counsels. With the additions the firm will continue to practice commercial litigation and admiralty and maritime law and expand into bankruptcy and creditor’s rights and estates, wills, and trusts.The Tallahassee environmental law firm Lewis, Longman & Walker moved to 2600 Centennial Place, Suite 100, Tallahassee 32308-0572, phone (850) 222-5702, fax (850) 224-9242. Its P.O. box is 16098, Tallahassee 32317-6098 Shane E. Fischer opened Shane E. Fischer, P.A., at 390 N. Orange Ave., Suite 2100, Orlando 32801, phone (407) 650-5509 and (888) 525-8238, fax (407) 422-6858, firstname.lastname@example.org, and Web site www.fischer-law.com. Joshua Wechsler has been elected to the partnership of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson’s New York office. Letisha D. Bivins has joined Carlton Fields’ Tampa office as an associate in the corporate, securities, and tax practice group. Lora L. Wilson opened the Law Offices of Lora L. Wilson, PL, located at 408 Lake St., Inverness 34450, telephone (352) 637-1960, fax (352) 637-5960, e-mail email@example.com. Wilson practices personal injury and wrongful death law. Jennifer A. Dietz has opened The Law Office of Jennifer A. Dietz, LLC, located at 3225 South MacDill Avenue, Suite 297, Tampa 33629. The firm will concentrate on all aspects of animal law. The telephone number is (813) 789-8029, the fax number is (813) 835-6801, and the firm Web site iswww.jenniferdietz.com. Melanie E. Horowitz opened the Law Offices of Melanie E. Horowitz, P.A., at 1776 N. Pine Island Rd., Ste. 308, Plantation, 33322. The office number is (954) 302-7444, the fax number is (954) 496-9042, and e-mail Melanie@fighttraffictix.com. Horowitz practices in traffic ticket defense, suspended licenses, and criminal defense. Blake Carlton opened Blake Carlton Law Offices, P.A., at 2699 Stirling Rd, Ste C-407, Ft. Lauderdale 33312, telephone (954) 364-4844, firstname.lastname@example.org. Jeremy M. Kissel joined the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C., where he will serve as an attorney-advisor in the Media Bureau’s Policy Division. September 15, 2007 On the Move
TIME:Fear short circuits the brain, especially when it hits close to home, experts say— making coping with events like the bombings at the Boston Marathon especially tricky.“When people are terrorized, the smartest parts of our brain tend to shut down,” says Dr. Bruce Perry, Senior Fellow of the ChildTrauma Academy. (Disclosure: he and I have written books together).…Every loud sound suddenly becomes a potential threat, for example, and even mundane circumstances such as a person who avoids eye contact can take on suspicious and ominous meaning and elicit an extreme, alert-ready response. Such informational triage can be essential to surviving traumatic experience, of course. “Severe threats to well-being activate hard wired circuits in the brain and produce responses that help us survive,” explains Joseph LeDoux, professor of psychology and neuroscience at New York University, “This process is the most important thing for the organism at the moment, and brain resources are monopolized to achieve the goal of coping with the threat.”Read the whole story: TIME More of our Members in the Media >
NPR:The first of three debates between Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump will take place Monday night.The debates, sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates, have the stated mission of offering “the best possible information to viewers and listeners” in the lead-up to the general election.There’s just one problem. Decades of research suggests that voting decisions are influenced by quite a few factors beyond the “best possible information.” For instance, people’s perceptions of politicians can be influenced by their height: Taller men are, on average, perceived to be more competent. Using data from past U.S. presidential elections, one analysis found that candidates who were taller than their opponents received more popular votes and were more likely to be re-elected. (They were not, however, more likely to win initial elections.)Read the whole story: NPR More of our Members in the Media >
Pinterest Share on Twitter Memories formed in one part of the brain are replayed and transferred to a different area of the brain during rest, according to a new UCL study in rats.The finding suggests that replay of previous experiences during rest is important for memory consolidation, a process whereby the brain stabilises and preserves memories for quick recall in the future. Understanding the physiological mechanism of this is essential for tackling amnesiac conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, where memory consolidation is affected.Lead researcher, Dr Freyja Ólafsdóttir (UCL Cell & Developmental Biology), said: “We want to understand how a healthy brain stores and accesses memories as this will give us a window into how conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease disrupt the process. We know people with Alzheimer’s have difficulty recalling the recent past but can often readily remember childhood memories, which seem more resilient. The parts of the brain we studied are some of the first regions affected in Alzheimer’s and now we know they are also involved in memory consolidation.” Share Share on Facebook LinkedIn Email The study, published today in Nature Neuroscience and funded by the Wellcome Trust and Royal Society, investigated the role of sleep in memory consolidation by simultaneously studying two areas of the brain as the rats rested following activity.Six rats each ran for 30 minutes on a six metre long track before resting for 90 minutes. During rest, the team studied the responses of place cells in the hippocampus, where memories are formed, and grid cells in the entorhinal cortex, where the memories were found to transfer to.The response of the place cells showed that the rats re-ran the track in their minds as they rested but did so at speeds 10-20 times faster than they experienced in reality. The same replay happened almost simultaneously, with a 10 millisecond delay, in grid cells located in a different part of the brain, suggesting that the rats’ memories transferred from one part of the brain to another.Study supervisor, Dr Caswell Barry (UCL Cell & Developmental Biology), said: “This is the first time we’ve seen coordinated replay between two areas of the brain known to be important for memory, suggesting a filing of memories from one area to another. The hippocampus constantly absorbs information but it seems it can’t store everything so replays the important memories for long term storage and transfers them to the entorhinal cortex, and possibly on to other areas of the brain, for safe-keeping and easy access.”The scientists plan to investigate memory transfer to other areas of the brain and replay in rats with Alzheimer’s disease to better understand the memory consolidation mechanism and the link between quality of sleep and amnesiac conditions.
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Ships powered by liquefied natural gas can expect a substantial reduction in the port tariff when they call at the Port of Gothenburg. The discount will come into effect in 2015 and will continue for four years. The aim is to induce more shipping companies to switch to cleaner fuel.Magnus Kårestedt, Chief Executive at the Port of Gothenburg, says: “It has been our firm belief for a long time that LNG is the fuel of the future. This initiative is entirely in line with our ambition to reduce the environmental impact of shipping and create a sustainable Scandinavian freight hub.”LNG-powered ships receive a total tariff discount of 30 per cent when they call at the port. The discount will apply until December 2018. In one year alone this would represent a substantial saving for ships that call at the Port of Gothenburg on a regular basis.There are considerable environmental benefits to be gained from using LNG in shipping and industry. Sulphur and particle emissions are reduced to almost zero, nitrogen emissions by 85-90 per cent and carbon dioxide emissions by 25 per cent.Carl Carlsson of the Swedish Shipowners’ Association highlights the leadership demonstrated by the Port of Gothenburg and their close understanding of the situation facing the shipping companies. “It’s not technology that is the limiting factor, it’s the financial considerations. Working within the framework of the Zero Vision Tool project, we will attempt to convince other ports in the Baltic to offer the same type of support,” he says.New sulphur regulations redraw the mapFrom January 1, 2015, conditions for shipping in the Baltic and North Sea will change with the introduction of new, stricter regulations governing sulphur emissions. In response, the Port of Gothenburg will revise its port tariff.Ships that maintain a high level of environmental performance will be recompensed. Two indexes will be applied as a basis for discounting – Environmental Ship Index, which is used by many ports around the world, and Clean Shipping Index, which is an environmental index where the freight-owners’ make demands on the shipping industry.At the same time, ships that switch from oil to LNG will receive a further discount.LNG terminal underway in GothenburgPreparations are currently being made for the construction of a terminal at the Port of Gothenburg that will supply both shipping and industry with liquefied natural gas. The terminal is part of a collaborative venture between Rotterdam and Gothenburg to build an infrastructure for LNG, an initiative that is also supported by the EU.[mappress]Press Release, June 30, 2014
The rig, which will be named at a ceremony in Norway in October 2014, is a XL Enhanced (XLE) harsh environment jackup rig. It has been customised for operations in the North Sea and has been chartered by Det norske oljeselskap ASA (Det norske) for deployment in the Ivar Aasen project in Norway for five years.Mr Chow Yew Yuen, CEO of Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M), said, “This is the largest rig in the world and we are proud to have delivered it seven days ahead of schedule. It is a result of the close partnership we have developed with Maersk Drilling. We are grateful to have been chosen time and again to assist in the expansion of Maersk Drilling’s premium fleet. Just five months ago, we delivered Maersk Intrepid, the first such rig to Maersk Drilling and we look forward to completing the third rig on time or early, on budget, and safely as well.”Collaborations between Keppel and Maersk Drilling span the design, engineering, repair and construction of a variety of rigs and ships. The companies have partnered on 12 newbuilding rig projects to-date, including the three XLE rigs.Mr Claus V. Hemmingsen CEO of Maersk Drilling and member of the Executive Board in the Maersk Group, said, “The XLE-2 is part of our series of ultra-harsh environment rigs for the North Sea and enables us to further solidify our strong position in the Norwegian jackup market. These ultra-high specification rigs are preferred by our customers for the safety and efficiency gains they offer.“This early delivery is the reason Keppel FELS, with their strong track record and technological capabilities, was chosen to build three of the XLE rigs. Our combined expertise and common safety, quality and performance standards has enabled us to deliver winning solutions to international oil companies and the industry.”The XLE rig has a leg length of 206.8m (678ft) and is designed for year round operations in the North Sea, in water depths up to 150m (492ft).[mappress]Press Release, August 7, 2014 jackup rig XLE-2Keppel FELS Limited (Keppel FELS) has delivered the jackup rig XLE-2 to Maersk Drilling, a wholly owned subsidiary of A.P. Moller – Maersk A/S, on budget and seven days ahead of schedule.