Thirty countries use ‘armies of opinion shapers’ to control democracy – report

The governments of 30 countries around the world are utilizing military of so known as opinion shapers to meddle in elections, advance anti-democratic agendas and repress their citizens, a brand new report shows.

Unlike broadly reported Russian tries to influence foreign elections, the majority of the offending countries search on the internet to control opinion domestically, states US NGO Freedom House.

“Manipulation and disinformation tactics performed a huge role in elections in a minimum of 17 other nations in the last year, damaging citizens’ capability to choose their leaders according to factual news and authentic debate,” the federal government-funded charitable organization stated. “Although some governments searched for to aid their interests and expand their influence abroad, just like Russia’s disinformation campaigns within the U . s . States and Europe, generally they used these techniques in their own borders to keep their hang on power.”

Even just in individuals countries that didn’t have elections within the this past year, social networking manipulation was still being frequent. From the 65 countries surveyed, 30, including Venezuela, the Philippines and Poultry, were discovered to be using “armies of opinion shapers” to “spread government views, drive particular agendas, and counter government critics on social media”, based on Freedom House’s new Freedom around the Internet report. In each one of the 30 countries it found “strong indications that folks are compensated to distort digital information landscape within the government’s favour, without acknowledging sponsorship”.

Time has risen each year because the first report in ’09. In 2016, just 23 countries were discovered to be utilizing the same kind of pro-government “astroturfing” (an imitation grassroots movement). Lately “the practice is becoming considerably more prevalent and technically sophisticated, with bots, propaganda producers, and pretend news outlets exploiting social networking and check algorithms to make sure high visibility and seamless integration with reliable content,” the report states.

“The results of these quickly distributing techniques on democracy and social activism are potentially devastating … By bolstering the false perception that many citizens stand together, government bodies can justify crackdowns around the political opposition and advance anti-democratic changes to laws and regulations and institutions with no proper debate.”

The report describes the assorted forms this manipulation takes. Within the Philippines, it’s manifested like a “keyboard army” compensated $10 each day to function fake social networking accounts, which supported Rodrigo Duterte within the run-as much as his election this past year, and backed his attack around the drug trade this season. Turkey’s ruling party enlisted 6,000 individuals to manipulate discussions, drive agendas and counter opponents. The federal government of Sudan’s approach is much more direct: one inside the country’s intelligence service produced fake accounts to produce support for government policies and denounce critical journalists.

“Governments are actually using social networking to suppress dissent and advance an anti-democratic agenda,” stated Sanja Kelly, director from the Freedom around the Internet project. “Not only is that this manipulation hard to identify, it’s harder to combat kinds of censorship, for example website blocking, because it’s spread and due to the sheer number of individuals and bots deployed to get it done.Inches

“The fabrication of grassroots support for government policies on social networking results in a closed loop where the regime basically endorses itself, departing independent groups and ordinary citizens around the outdoors,” Kelly stated.

Facebook: no current intends to make ‘catastrophic’ news feed change worldwide

Facebook is testing whether people prefer “personal and public content” being separated included in its test that hid all non-compensated posts, stated their mind of reports feed, Adam Mosseri.

Speaking following a Protector report revealed the unconventional change, forced on six small international locations, Mosseri stated Facebook “currently” doesn’t have intends to roll the experiment out further. But he didn’t address set up test would become general policy worldwide when the results reveal that Facebook users do like the news-free news feed.

The exam, which relegated all printed content in six different countries towards the “explore feed”, a brand new Facebook feature moving out worldwide, were built with a devastating impact on engagement for newspaper organisations in individuals countries, including Slovakia, Guatemala and Bolivia.

In Slovakia a wide range of the 60 largest Facebook pages saw a loss of engagement which is between two-thirds and 75 %. Local journalists in Guatemala expressed concern in the “catastrophic” change, reporting the new feed mixed the work they do along with “preposterous” sites, enabling multiplication of propaganda having a potentially pernicious impact on democracy in general.

Dina Fernandez, a journalist with Guatemalan site Soy502, stated that she’s “very very worried” through the change, “not only since it has decimated our figures but additionally since the feed appears with crazy sites”.

“The danger for that spread of propaganda and also the political instrumentalisation of social networking, specifically in countries with fragile democracies like ours, is acute,” she stated.

In the statement, Facebook’s Mosseri stated: “We always pay attention to our community about ways we may improve news feed. People inform us they need an simpler method to see posts from buddies and family. We’re testing getting one dedicated space for individuals to maintain their buddies and family, and the other separate space, known as explore, with posts from pages.

“The objective of this test would be to understand if people choose to have separate places for private and public content,” Mosseri added. “We will hear what individuals say concerning the experience to know if it is a concept worth going after any more. There’s no current intend to roll this out beyond these test countries in order to charge pages on Facebook to cover all of their distribution in news feed or explore. Regrettably, some have mistakenly made that interpretation — however that wasn’t our intention.”

A few of the confusion comes from the truth that Facebook produced a really different form of the explore feed throughout the planet. Outdoors from the six affected countries, that also includes Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Serbia, the explore feed is made to introduce Facebook users to pages they don’t already follow.

Within the test subjects, the explore feed still shows posts from pages unknown towards the user – which could include low-quality meme groups, in addition to very skewed or untrustworthy news sites – however it mixes in posts from individuals sites the customer has really selected to determine.

Despite Mosseri’s declare that the exam is to find out if users should you prefer a separation between personal and public posts, there’s one of the ways publishers are able to place their content back in the news feed: by having to pay to do this. Promoted posts still come in the actual news feed, because they also have done.

While media organisations reacted with concern towards the news from the test, some Facebook users weren’t quite as upset. “I type of miss the Facebook which was JUST my buddies on my small feed,” stated one.

$20bn of research cash in danger if United kingdom turns its back on foreign workers, PwC warns 

Britain’s valuable position like a major development and research center might be put in danger when the Government slams the brakes on immigration, a PwC study of major investors finds.

Big worldwide companies depend on open borders to employ researchers from around the globe – and to stock United kingdom universities using the brightest minds.

Britain’s open position helps it attract almost $20bn (£15bn) of “imported corporate R&D” spending each year from global companies. This will make up greater than 80pc of corporate R&D in the united states.

But when it might be tougher to obtain top groups of analysts over the border, then a lot of that may be in danger.

“To deliver innovation, a lot of world’s largest companies depend on shifting talent, money, and concepts across borders. If policies within the major global economic forces begin to focus more inwardly, however, this could cast uncertainty over companies’ innovation plans as well as their current models will have to evolve,” stated PwC’s John Potter.

“Uncertainty only serves to slow innovation. Considering that R&D activities ultimately assistance to produce the jobs, growth and insightful our communities, we have to ensure clearness over policy to help keep innovation centres all over the world working effectively.”

The USA, that has probably the most foreign business-funded R&D, is easily the most vulnerable to “economic nationalism”, based on the study from the greatest 1,000 listed companies on the planet along with a survey of 562 R&D executives.

Britain may be the next most in danger, while China may be the third-most susceptible, the research found.

“With the Brexit negotiations arrived, it’s still not obvious just how much the pending withdrawal in the Eu will hinder the recruiting ability of British companies and universities,” the report stated, noting that sectors for example engineering have lengthy cautioned of lack of skilled workers.

“British college officials have cautioned that applications from EU students is going to be lower in 2017, after getting risen continuously in the past years.”

This is another serious risk towards the condition of innovation within the wider continent, as Britain is really a leader within this work – and there’s no guarantee any fall in spending within the United kingdom would proceed to neighbouring countries.

“Weaker R&D programs within the United kingdom could in addition have a ripple effect over the region,” the report stated.

“Although the finish consequence of Brexit within the United kingdom is unclear, the ecu executive quoted above expressed concern when the United kingdom gets to be more isolated, ‘the economic power and talent from the United kingdom might deteriorate, and Europe in general – not always the EU – will become less strong in contrast to Asia and also the Americas.’”

From 2007 to 2015, Europe fell lower the rankings when it comes to attracting global R&D investment, shedding in the top continent towards the third-most widely used.

However you will find signs this risk might not materialise.

Theresa May stated Brexit negotiations are within “touching distance” of reaching an offer around the legal rights of EU citizens presently within the United kingdom, and British citizens in other EU countries.

May 'ambitious and positive' following Brexit talks at EU SummitMay ‘ambitious and positive’ following Brexit talks at EU Summit 00:21

In the situation of america, the report discovered that immigrants are particularly focused in high-tech and innovative jobs – migrants constitute 16.9pc from the whole workforce but 32pc of workers in computing and maths jobs and 24pc of individuals in science and engineering, the report stated.

Most postgraduate students during these areas will also be from overseas.

Policies to slash immigration could put this in danger and applications from foreign students to universities are falling.

“Other countries have taken care of immediately such developments within the US by courting worldwide students for his or her own universities, publicising their more welcoming and transparent immigration policies,” the report stated.

“Both Canada and Australia have revamped their policies for worldwide students, offering streamlined application processes, simpler visa and work-study rules, and much more certain pathways to citizenship for college students who wish to remain after graduation.”

Airbus takes majority stake in Bombardier jet project

European aircraft giant Airbus takes a big part stake in Bombardier’s questionable C-Series jet programme, potentially safeguarding 1,000 jobs in Belfast.

In France They-based plane maker is obtaining 50.1% from the programme, the way forward for that was left doubtful after Canadian company Bombardier was hit with a 300% import levy through the U . s . States. The large tariff adopted a complaint from Boeing that the organization had dumped its C-Series jets at “absurdly low” prices.

Unite, britain’s largest union, welcomed the brand new partnership and stated the output of wings for that C-Series would stay in Belfast where 1,000 individuals are employed around the programme.

“We have obtained assurances that this means that employment connected using the output of C-Series wings will stay in Belfast,” stated Davy Thompson, regional officer of Unite.

“Unite continues our efforts to guarantee the withdrawal of america tariffs around the C-Series but this can be a welcome development Body that provides ‘breathing space’ towards the C-Series itself and which we anticipate should safeguard the way forward for C Series production jobs in Belfast for that near future.Inches

In an indication of the level from the challenges facing Bombardier, Airbus didn’t pay anything for most stake. The Ecu aircraft manufacturer uses its global firepower and offer chain to supply procurement, marketing and advertising, and customer care towards the jet programme.

The company secretary, Greg Clark, stated their bond was “a huge step forward”.

“Not has only Airbus dedicated to Belfast being the house of the wing manufacturer for that C-series, but they’re pointing to the potential of expanding the output and also the order book,” he stated.

The offer leaves Bombardier about 31% from the C-Series programme, while financier Investissement Québec will own about 19%.

Boeing complained to all of us government bodies in April that aid received by Bombardier in the Canadian and United kingdom governments amounted to illegal subsidies, letting it sell its C-Series jets towards the US air travel Delta for below cost cost. Delta has placed a $5.6bn (£4.2bn) order for approximately 125 from the new jets, with delivery because of begin the coming year.

Northern Ireland not employed around the jet project.

“While we welcome this announcement regarding the C Series, you will find ongoing challenges connected with employment on other Bombardier contracts in Belfast,” stated Unite’s Thompson. “We is going to be engaging with management and our membership to guard all workers’ interests within the coming period.”

The suggested tariffs have put huge pressure on Bombardier, departing workers in Northern Ireland fearful for his or her jobs. Both United kingdom and Canadian governments have formerly threatened hitting back at Boeing by denying the organization defence work.

Airbus’s leader, Tom Enders, stated inside a statement: “This is really a win-win for everyone. The C Series, using its condition-of-the-art design and great financial aspects, is a superb match our existing single-aisle aircraft family and quickly extends our product offering right into a fast growing market sector.

“I probably have our partnership with Bombardier will boost sales and the need for this programme tremendously. It will not only partnership secure the C Series and it is industrial operations in Canada, the United kingdom and China, but we bring new jobs towards the US. Airbus may benefit from strengthening its product portfolio within the high-volume single-aisle market, offering superior value to the air travel customers worldwide.”

Quebec and Canada,” he stated. “This partnership should greater than double the need for the C Series programme and ensures our outstanding game-altering aircraft realises its full potential.”

The move seemed to be welcomed by Dominique Anglade, Quebec’s deputy pm, who stated: “The arrival of Airbus like a proper partner today will make sure the sustainability and development of the C Series programme, in addition to consolidating the whole Quebec aerospace cluster.”

How Trump is going to result in the ‘worst deal ever’ a whole lot worse

President Trump has known as its northern border American Free Trade Agreement “the worst deal ever,” only one factor might really be worse: no deal whatsoever.

The 4th round of negotiations to revise the agreement concludes March. 17, however, many people near to the talks have expressed doubts that they’ll succeed.

If NAFTA crumbles, trade among Mexico, Canada and also the U . s . States would come under World Trade Organization rules with modest average tariff rates as well as an established, if unwieldy, process for resolving disputes.

However the tariff rates, although relatively low, could be greater on U.S. exports than you are on U.S. imports. Many trade professionals state that would hurt U.S. exporters of all things from corn to auto parts which the U . s . States could finish track of less jobs while having to pay greater prices for goods of computer does.

Meanwhile, Canada and Mexico could select from free-trade contracts they’ve forged with Europe lately, supplying zero tariffs.

President Trump stated March. 11 he and Canadian President Justin Trudeau would discuss potential changes towards the United States Free Trade Agreement. (The Washington Publish)

Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray told a Mexican Senate committee now the finish from the United States Free Trade Agreement “won’t function as the finish around the globe.Inches

And somewhat Videgaray is appropriate. The field of global trade has far less walls and hurdles of computer did 23 years back, when NAFTA entered ­effect.

Nevertheless, even small tariff variations might have substantial effects, many trade experts say, and may upend established supply chains.

“If NAFTA ends, the tariffs the U . s . States imposes on imports from Mexico would revert (from presently zero) for their WTO levels. For that U . s . States, these tariffs average 3.5 percent” across all goods, Chad Bown, a senior fellow in the Peterson Institute for Worldwide Financial aspects, stated within an email.

“Mexico’s WTO tariffs really are a bit greater — typically 7.1 %,Inches he authored. “So U.S. exporters would move from facing zero tariffs presently for his or her sales towards the Mexican market under NAFTA to 7.1 % typically without NAFTA.”

For automobiles, the space could add 100’s of dollars towards the cost of the vehicle. Or carmakers in Mexico might drop U.S. suppliers susceptible to WTO rates to check out European auto parts manufacturers, who will not have to pay for any tariff under their free-trade pact.

NAFTA’s rules of origin for automobiles would also disappear. Individuals rules specified for to avoid countries outdoors The United States by using the agreement like a mystery in to the U.S. market. Under NAFTA, 62.five percent of the need for an imported vehicle must originate in Canada, Mexico or even the U . s . States for your vehicle to obtain duty-free accessibility region.

Without NAFTA, supply chains could reorient themselves. Cars offered within the U . s . States might contain more foreign parts, and Mexican cars offered to Europe or South America would use less U.S. components.

“U.S. producers would face less market access in Mexico without NAFTA than Mexico would face within the U . s . States,” stated Caroline Freund, a senior fellow in the Peterson Institute for Worldwide Financial aspects and former economist in the World Bank.

Eliminating NAFTA may also hurt the agriculture industry, that is strong in the usa Trump transported in the presidential campaign. Since NAFTA was enacted, U.S. food and farming exports to Canada and Mexico convey more than quadrupled, to $38 billion in 2016, based on the Fresh Produce Association from the Americas. And Mexican farming exports have provided consumers year-round use of vegetables and fruit that were available only during certain seasons.

A collapse of NAFTA may also boomerang on a few of the accord’s harshest critics, especially labor and ecological groups that are looking to toughen up the things they see as ineffective side contracts towards the original agreement. Without NAFTA, however, individuals contracts would simply vanish.

Leo Gerard, president from the U . s . Steelworkers union, states NAFTA was offered towards the American public with “a bag filled with lies.” He states it’s done little to create good wages to Mexico and it has therefore siphoned jobs to Mexico from the U . s . States and Canada. He singles out auto factory jobs half his people make auto parts.

But Gerard isn’t prepared to simply shred the NAFTA agreement. He really wants to repair it with enforceable labor standards and wages.

“If you simply rip up, it’s worse,” he stated. “If you bail using this, you’re going to need to have new rules.”

Mexico, however, wouldn’t escape damage from the collapse of NAFTA. NAFTA helps generate confidence in most three nations, that has been especially useful in attracting investment to Mexico. A collapse from the accord could choke off a number of that investment.

Furthermore, the WTO tariff figures are averages as well as in some areas — particularly in agriculture, athletic shoes and textiles — the U . s . States could impose much greater responsibilities. It might impose a 25 % tariff on pickups, 48 percent on sports athletic shoes, and between 5 and 20 % for textiles, Freund stated.

Despite the disposable-trade contracts Mexico has with Europe yet others, it will likely be hard- pressed to divert goods in the U . s . States, where Mexico transmits 80 % of their exports.

Ultimately, the collapse of NAFTA may help Mexico sell individuals goods. The finish from the agreement most likely would undermine confidence in Mexico’s currency, the peso, that has declined nearly 6.five percent in the last month among squabbling over trade. That may further lower costs of producing in Mexico, which makes it even tougher for the U . s . States to contend with its southern neighbor.

The outcome a NAFTA collapse might have on U.S.-Canada trade is less obvious. Before NAFTA, the 2 nations were built with a bilateral free-trade agreement that may return into pressure after ­NAFTA. If that’s the case, each country might have zero tariffs alternatively. In the event that agreement weren’t introduced back to effect, then Canada could impose a typical tariff of four.2 percent on U.S. goods underneath the WTO rules.

What’s Up in Coal Country: Alternative-Energy Jobs

From the mountain hollows of Appalachia to the vast open plains of Wyoming, the coal industry long offered the promise of a six-figure income without a four-year college degree, transforming sleepy farm towns into thriving commercial centers.

But today, as King Coal is being dethroned — by cheap natural gas, declining demand for electricity, and even green energy — what’s a former miner to do?

Nowhere has that question had more urgency than in Wyoming and West Virginia, two very different states whose economies lean heavily on fuel extraction. With energy prices falling or stagnant, both have lost population and had middling economic growth in recent years. In national rankings of economic vitality, you can find them near the bottom of the pile.

Their fortunes have declined as coal has fallen from providing more than half of the nation’s electricity in 2000 to about one-third last year. Thousands of workers have lost their jobs and moved on — leaving idled mines, abandoned homes and shuttered stores downtown.

Now, though, new businesses are emerging. They are as varied as the layers of rock that surround a coal seam, but in a twist, a considerable number involve renewable energy. And past jobs in fossil fuels are proving to make for good training.

In Wyoming, home to the nation’s most productive coal region by far, the American subsidiary of a Chinese maker of wind turbines is putting together a training program for technicians in anticipation of a large power plant it expects to supply. And in West Virginia, a nonprofit outfit called Solar Holler — “Mine the Sun,” reads the tagline on its website — is working with another group, Coalfield Development, to train solar panel installers and seed an entire industry.

Taken together, along with programs aimed at teaching computer coding or beekeeping, they show ways to ease the transition from fossil fuels to a more diverse energy mix — as well as the challenges.

‘Absolutely No Catch’

GILLETTE, Wyo. — John Davila, 61, worked for 20 years at Arch Coal’s Black Thunder Mine in Eastern Wyoming, a battered titan from an industry whose importance to the region is easy to see — whether in the sign in the visitors’ center window proclaiming, “Wyoming Coal: Proud to Provide America’s Energy,” or in the brimming train cars that rumble out of the Eagle Butte mine on the outskirts of town.

But in April last year, at a regular crew meeting in the break room, he was among those whose envelope held a termination notice rather than a work assignment. “They called it a ‘work force reduction,’” said Mr. Davila, whose straight, dark ponytail hangs down his back. “Nice way to put it, but it still means you’re out of a job.”

So a summertime Thursday morning found him, along with a couple of dozen other men and women, in a nondescript lecture room at a community college, learning how a different source of energy, wind, might make them proud, too.

The seminar was the last of three that week organized by Goldwind Americas, which is ready to provide as many as 850 giant wind turbines for a power plant planned in the state. The company was looking for candidates, particularly unemployed coal miners like Mr. Davila, to become technicians to maintain and operate the turbines.

The program, which is to teach the basics of wind farm operation, maintenance and safety over two weeks in October, would cost the participants nothing but their time, organizers said. Those who wanted to test their potential would have a chance to climb a 250-foot tower that Saturday at a farm Goldwind owns in Montana. And if they completed the full program, they would have certifications that could open the door with any employer they chose.

“There’s absolutely no catch – you don’t like me, you don’t like Goldwind, that’s O.K.,” David Halligan, the company’s chief executive, told an even larger crowd in Casper the day before. “There’s going to be opportunity across the country.”

It is a message of hope that has been in short supply, especially after the loss of more than 1,000 jobs in the region and the bankruptcies last year of three major producers. But while coal’s prospects have been dying down, wind development is poised to explode in the state, which has some of the world’s strongest and most consistent winds. And while coal mining jobs have fallen to historic lows nationally in recent years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that wind-energy technician will be the fastest-growing occupation, more than doubling over the next seven years.

Though most of the coal jobs lost last year have since returned as companies have emerged from bankruptcy, the insecurity surrounding the industry remains. “It’s been a little scary when you’ve got people all around you getting laid off,” Brandon Sims, 37, an Air Force veteran who works for an explosives company that serves the mines, said outside the lecture room. “You never really know when your day to get the pink slip is.”

Hands-On Practice

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Coal mining was already dead in Crum, a town of less than 200 just this side of the Kentucky border, by the time Ethan Spaulding, 26, graduated from high school, he said. That dashed his hopes of becoming a roof bolter, helping stabilize the ceilings of mine tunnels. “You don’t even have to have a high school diploma to go to the coal industry,” he said, “and you can start making $150,000 a year.” Or perhaps you once could.

Mr. Spaulding was standing near the railroad tracks at the edge of town where trains move coal out of the region, behind a dilapidated brick building that once housed a high-end suit factory. It is becoming a hub for the family of social enterprises that Coalfield Development leads, which include rehabilitating buildings, installing solar panels, and an agriculture program that grows produce and is turning an old mine site into a solar-powered fish farm.

Wanting to stay in Crum, Mr. Spaulding went through the solar program Coalfield runs with Solar Holler, which offers its participants a two-and-a-half-year apprenticeship. He is now a crew chief at the training center, overseeing the renovation of a larger classroom inside the building. Though he is optimistic that he can eventually reach his target income in the solar industry, the installation jobs for which the trainees will ultimately qualify generally pay far less — $26 an hour, on average, nationally.

And yet there is keen interest. For David Ward, 40, managing installations at Solar Holler helps repay the student loans he ran up pursuing a degree in counseling — a growth industry in a state reeling from opioid addiction. An electrician, he said he was “interested in the idea of making your own power and the environmental impact.”

The program is the brainchild of Brandon Dennison and Dan Conant, two West Virginians who wanted to help develop a sustainable economy in the state. Mr. Dennison, 31, started Coalfield Development in 2010; it grew out of a volunteer effort to build low-income green housing. Mr. Conant, 32, had worked on political campaigns, including Barack Obama’s first presidential contest. After becoming involved in the solar industry, he concluded that rooftop solar development, with its individual, decentralized nature, could combine the door-to-door approach of political campaigning with a technology to fight climate change.

He completed the first Solar Holler project — putting panels on the Presbyterian church in his hometown, Shepherdstown, on the Potomac River — and, quickly overwhelmed with demand for similar installations, realized the state didn’t have a work force to handle it. So he formed a partnership with Mr. Dennison’s organization to develop one. At Coalfield’s facility here, participants learn how the arrays create electricity and connect to the power system, but they also get practice installing panels on a shed behind the main building. That helps them clear one of the basic industry hurdles: becoming comfortable working on a roof.

A View Most Never See

SHAWMUT, Mont. — If a big worry for would-be solar installers is staying balanced while ferrying heavy glass-sheathed panels around a roof, for potential wind energy technicians it is whether they can climb more than 200 feet in broiling heat or icy cold and emerge into the gusts to fix machinery. Still, the Goldwind technicians say working so high up is one of the job’s best features.

“You get a view that most people will never see,” as Lukas Nelson, 27, a site manager in Ohio, put it in one of the company’s promotional videos. Only a few towers have elevators, and at Goldwind’s power plant here, the access is by a series of 90-degree aluminum ladders and steel mesh platforms, straight to the top.

It was Saturday morning after the three seminars, and Goldwind safety managers had delivered a brief lecture in a trailer that served as the farm office, warning of perils like rattlesnakes in the tall grasses outside and electrocution from throwing switches in the towers.

The organizers separated the crowd of about 20 into two groups. One would take a tour of the wind farm and substation while the other climbed towers whose blades sat idle. After lunch, they would switch.

In front of the trailer, Chancey Coffelt, 33, Goldwind’s regional safety manager, was showing the climbing group how to put on harnesses — a network of heavy metal clips and rings attached to straps that thread over the shoulders, across the chest and around each thigh. They would latch onto a rope pulley system as they climbed each of four ladders and then hook into a bracket as they reached each platform before freeing themselves from the pulley.

Mr. Davila, the 20-year mine veteran, was standing with members of the second group, chatting about Wyoming’s wobbly energy economy and how wind might — and might not — steady it. “A lot of coal miners don’t like wind or solar, but you need them all,” Mr. Davila said. “It’s like a puzzle you have to solve: just think about how many things we plug in.”

Still, many of the men expressed concern over what the jobs would pay, saying the salaries paled in comparison to what they could earn on an oil rig, for instance.

“It’s so easy to get a six-figure job in the oil industry,” Jesse Morgan, a baby-faced 31-year-old city councilman and back-office worker at a drilling services company, had said over beers at a bar in Casper where he was asked to show ID. “You get addicted to that money.”

But it could be worth taking a pay cut to get out from under the stress of constantly planning for the next layoff, and being able to return home at night rather than working 30- to 40-day stints offshore. The oil field never stops, Mr. Morgan said of his time on the rigs. “It’s 24/7 — you miss birthdays, every holiday.”

As with the other men, Mr. Morgan’s work experience made him an attractive candidate for Goldwind. Accustomed to the industrial behemoths of fossil fuel production, he is familiar with the environment, equipment and procedures of working safely while surrounded by danger — like remembering to fasten the chin strap on a hard hat so it won’t slip off and injure a colleague laboring hundreds of feet below.

Chelsae Clemons, 26, a technician at a Goldwind plant in Findlay, Ohio, said the emphasis on safety and training was part of the program’s value. Among the few staff members at the seminars with a bachelor’s degree, she had worked in a lab at a hospital and had little relevant experience when she decided to pursue a career in renewable energy. In Gillette, she told the crowd, “They’re giving certifications I had to pay for.”

‘This Is Bee Paradise’

HINTON, W.Va. — “Solar’s not going to be everything, and one of the big challenges for the state is how do we diversify and get lots of cool stuff going,” Mr. Conant, the Solar Holler founder, was saying as he drove from a solar installation at a hilltop farmhouse toward a 1940s summer camp that the local coal company provided for the children of its employees until 1984. “When you’ve been a one-industry town for a really long time, that’s an issue. The last thing we would want to do is pin our hopes on doing that again, just with some other technology.”

After winding down a road canopied by emerald-green trees, he passed the opening of the Great Bend Tunnel, during whose construction in the 1870s, as one legend tells it, the African-American folk hero John Henry beat a steam drill in opening a hole in the rock, only to die from his efforts. Minutes later, Mr. Conant came to Camp Lightfoot, which a nonprofit organization, Appalachian Headwaters, is turning into an apiary with an eye toward helping displaced coal workers and military veterans get into the honey business. Early next year, Mr. Conant plans to install solar panels on an old gymnasium, which now holds racks of wood frames for the hives.

Deborah Delaney, an assistant professor of entomology and wildlife ecology who oversees the apiary and bee program at the University of Delaware, said the area was well suited for a honey enterprise. It is largely forest, unsullied by the pesticides that threaten the insects in industrial farm areas, and it has plant species like black locust and sourwood whose honey can fetch a high price.

“This is bee paradise,” she said, sitting on the porch of the cafeteria building where a Patriot Coal banner hung askew on one wall. For now, Ms. Delaney and the program’s staff are getting the colony established on a hillside in 86 hives that buzz away behind electrified wire fencing to protect them from bears. Next spring, they plan to distribute about 150 hives to 35 beekeepers either free or through a low- or no-interest loan. Come harvest time, the beekeepers would bring their honey-laden frames to the camp for extraction and processing; organizers would pay them for their yield and then sell the honey to support the program.

“For some people it might be a side hustle, but for other people it could really turn into, over time, a true income that could sustain a family,” said Kate Asquith, program director at Appalachian Headwaters.

Economists say this kind of diversification is important, especially in a region where coal is unlikely to make a major comeback, even if Trump administration policies are able to foster a revival elsewhere. Demand is strongest for the low-sulfur coal from the Powder River Basin straddling Wyoming and Montana, rather than what Appalachia produces. The new-energy industries cannot replicate what coal once did, economists say. Long-term jobs at the Wyoming wind farm would number in the hundreds at best, while the solar program thus far trains only 10 workers each year.

Even a coal boom wouldn’t create jobs the way it used to: like the steam drill that ultimately took John Henry’s place, new equipment and technologies have replaced workers in heavy industries. Production of coal, for instance, increased over all from the 1920s until 2010, while the number of jobs dropped to 110,000 from 870,000.

So interest in the bees has been high here. “Thought it was weird at first — bugs in a box in the backyard,” said Sean Phelps, 27, who left a secure job as a school janitor to work with the bee program. Exposure to his father-in-law’s hives changed his perspective. Now he sees them as a way to help the area, as well as fun. “This is what I want to do,” he said. “Whenever you’re out in them, it reduces a lot of stress.”

Interrupted by a Storm

SHAWMUT, Mont. — It was after lunch, and Mr. Davila and Mr. Morgan were at the base of one of the wind towers, wearing heavy harnesses and waiting for the first group to finish so they could start the climb. Suddenly, Jason Willbanks, 39, who lost a job as an electrician with a coal company and now drives crews to and from their shifts on coal trains, emerged from within. Walking heavily into the blazing sunlight, he clattered onto the metal platform and stairs. Asked how he was, he shot back: “Sweating like a fat guy at an all-day dance.”

As he pulled off the harness, dropped to his knees in a patch of shade on the grass and rolled onto his back, Mr. Davila offered him a bottle of water from a cooler. “You’ve earned it,” he said.

Not long after, word came from the Goldwind crew: A thunderstorm was heading toward the farm, so the second group could not climb.

“I feel like I’m all dressed up with nowhere to go,” Mr. Davila said, disappointed, gesturing toward the harness. “ I wanted to see if I could get up.”

“You’ve just witnessed what it’s like to be a wind-turbine technician,” Mr. Coffelt, the safety manager, said, cocking an ear over one shoulder and suggesting that the group move away from the rattlesnake he had heard. “Imagine if you’re one or two stacks up when you get that alert: right back down we come.” After weighing options, the Goldwind organizers called it a day, offering repeated apologies and promises to get the men back to the site which, over the following months, they did.

Mr. Morgan, who posted a beaming selfie from atop the turbine on Facebook, did not apply for the training program. But Mr. Davila did, and was accepted.

He is torn over whether to enroll, he said. He is desperate for the work but hesitant to leave his wife and home in Gillette, where he has lived since he was 6, for one of the jobs immediately available outside the state. Still, he added with a chuckle, it might be good to move: “Maybe there’s more to the world than Gillette.”

Toys R Us files for personal bankruptcy in US and Canada

has declared personal bankruptcy protection in america and Canada after accumulating $5bn (£3.7bn) of financial obligations and battling to compete in age online shopping.

The world’s largest toy store chain stated it’d declared Chapter 11 to restructure its financial obligations and exercise a sustainable path because of its finances that will let it purchase lengthy-term growth.

The Nj-based company, which employs 64,000, stated most its 1,600 stores all over the world were lucrative, adding that it is companies outdoors The United States, such as the United kingdom, weren’t affected.

The group’s history dates towards the 1950s in america. It showed up within the United kingdom, where it employs greater than 2,500 people, in 1985. It’s 110 stores in great britan in addition to a website launched in 1996.

The audience confirmed it had been opening further shops within the United kingdom, with four planned before Christmas in High Wycombe, Sunderland, Blackburn and Craigleith in Scotland. It’s also revamping its flagship shops in Bristol and Brent Mix shopping center in north London.

“Today marks the beginning of the new trend at , where we predict the financial restrictions which have held us back is going to be addressed inside a lasting and efficient way,” stated Dave Brandon, the chairman and leader.

“Together with this investors, our objective is to utilize our debtholders along with other creditors to restructure the $5bn of lengthy-term debt on the balance sheet, that will give to us greater financial versatility to purchase our business, still enhance the customer experience of our physical stores an internet-based, and strengthen our competitive position within an more and more challenging and quickly altering retail marketplace worldwide.”

The 60-year-old company, which faces about $400m of debt repayments in 2018, stated it’d guaranteed about $3bn of financing from various lenders, together with a JP Morgan-brought bank syndicate, to help keep its stores open as always because it approaches its key Christmas selling period.

Brandon stated: “As christmas ramps up, our physical and web stores are open for business, and we people all over the world expect to ongoing to place joy on children’s faces. We thank our vendors for his or her ongoing support through this important season and beyond.”

Analysts repeat the company’s large network of retailers are an costly burden at any given time when online giants Amazon . com and Walmart are discounting toys to steal their shoppers.

“The demise of in The United States can come very little surprise within an atmosphere where mortar and bricks retail is ongoing to have a problem with high debt levels and also the havoc being wreaked by e-commerce,” stated Jon Copestake, chief retail and consumer goods analyst in the Economist Intelligence Unit. “Toys R Us has shown to be particularly susceptible to online competition that provides greater choice and convenience, frequently in a better cost.

“There is room in physical retail for toy stores because the queues outdoors Hamleys and Lego stores will testify but success has become more prone to originate from stores that reinvent themselves as destinations offering encounters or as niche outlets for hardcore collectors. The ‘pile them high’ major approach is just no more relevant.”

stated that included in its proceedings it’d searched for approval to carry on having to pay staff wages and benefits, honor customer programmes, and pay suppliers as always.

A 29-year-old may be the new CFO of the organization behind Jell-O and Oscar Meyer weiners

brands like Velveeta cheese and Maxwell House coffee, named David Knopf, a 29-year-old v . p ., since it’s new chief financial officer effective March. 1. Knopf, who had been leading the Planters peanuts category for Kraft Heinz, has additionally been a partner with 3G Capital, the non-public-equity firm which has a status for aggressive cost-cutting and partnered with Berkshire Hathaway to produce Kraft Heinz.

Executive recruiters stated the bizarre move — the typical chronilogical age of a chief financial officer is 52 — has less related to any trend in CFOs getting more youthful compared to the specific culture of those and the firm involved. “To be selected as CFO of the company that’s this large having a global footprint along with a global brand means he’s should be a star,” stated Charley Polachi, managing partner of the eponymously named executive search firm. 

Furthermore, stated Peter Crist, chairman from the executive search firm Crist Kolder Associates, the culture of 3G Capital, a Brazilian private-equity firm whose affiliates are big shareholders in Anheuser-Busch InBev, is renowned for promoting youthful executives. “The aberration you’re seeing this is actually the cultural aberration of the private specific equity firm,” Crist stated. “Rarely will we see someone with under 10 experience being named a substantial public company’s CFO.” 

Another company supported by 3G, Restaurant Brands Worldwide, created in the merger of Hamburger King and Canadian coffee-and-donut chain Tim Hortons, operates with a 37-year-old chief executive who grew to become Chief executive officer of Hamburger King at 32 coupled with a CFO on his team in the 20s.

Fortune Magazine, inside a recent article about Kraft Heinz and 3G Capital, called 3G’s management approach “meritocracy, broadly defined. Every worker must justify his existence every single day. That’s very good news for the most effective performers they’re promoted with speed that’s unheard-of in lumbering old food companies.”

That appears to possess happened in Knopf’s situation. Based on his LinkedIn profile, Knopf finished Princeton College this year, labored being an investment banking affiliate at Goldman Sachs, after which entered private equity finance, first at Onex after which at 3G Capital. He spent annually as v . p . of finance at Kraft Heinz before getting into the positioning leading the Planters brand. He likely “had the advantage of familiarity” using the private-equity firm, stated Polachi, and “familiarity many occasions can swing your dayInch on who’s selected.

Kraft Heinz spokesman Michael Mullen said within an email that Knopf wasn’t readily available for interviews, but provided this statement about Knopf’s selection: “Since joining Kraft Heinz, David has delivered remarkable results. Within the Kraft Heinz culture of meritocracy and possession, we feel in challenging, recognizing and rewarding our top talent and supplying limitless possibilities for growth.”

Knopf’s appointment comes at any given time once the CFO’s job continues to be evolving, growing much more demanding and much more expansive than ever, headhunters say. While their job has traditionally visited maximize shareholder value and become the spokesperson towards the investor community, the CFOs have more strategic and now frequently fill the function a chief operating officer once held. Today, states Alyse Bodine, who leads the CFO practice within the Americas for Heidrick & Struggles, the task is becoming even more than just finance and accounting. “The CFO is completely increasingly critical — a real business partner towards the Chief executive officer,” she stated. “That’s absolutely a pattern.Inch

Companies supported by private equity finance, in particular, are getting in additional finance executives by having an analytic background, for example corporate finance, stated Keith Giarman, managing partner at DHR Worldwide, instead of individuals who increased in public accounting. “They understand how to think as an investor,” he stated.

Knopf, obviously, may have an chance to prove his prodigy status. Like many Big Food companies, Kraft Heinz — which designed a rebuffed bid for Unilever captured looking for growth — has witnessed lackluster sales as consumers more and more avoid packaged foods for fresher alternatives. 

Read also:

Amazon . com cuts Whole-foods prices in obvious signal of sweeping changes in the future

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Amazon . com seeks prime United States place for second headquarters

Amazon . com has launched a $5bn (£3.8bn) look for a site for any new headquarters, asking metropolitan areas over the US and Canada to create their pitches.

The brand new HQ would be the world’s largest e-commerce company’s second in The United States, and “will be considered a full equal” to the current headquarters in San antonio, Amazon . com founder and leader Shaun Bezos stated.

“Amazon HQ2 brings vast amounts of dollars in upfront and continuing investments, and thousands of high-having to pay jobs. We’re excited to locate a vacation home,Inches Bezos added.

The organization would like to appear past the US because of its new location, clearly opening to Canadian metropolitan areas.

The pitch to metropolitan areas from Amazon . com is straightforward: the organization brings highly trained employment worth billions towards the neighborhood. Amazon . com states the 2nd HQ includes “as many as 50,000 high-having to pay jobs”, and notes the construction and economic impact from the building “is likely to create thousands of additional jobs and many vast amounts of dollars in purchase of the nearby community”.

Amazon . com estimates that within the last six years alone, it’s introduced an additional $38bn to Seattle’s economy. “Every dollar invested by Amazon . com in San antonio generated yet another $1.40 for that city’s economy overall,” the organization states.

Eileen Burbidge, someone at investment capital firm Passion Capital and also the chair of Tech City United kingdom, stated any city may wish to lure Amazon . com to the area. “The ‘prize’ is tremendous or no city/condition has the capacity to land Amazon . com, given its dedication to 50,000 new jobs and $5bn of purchase of the HQ2,” she stated. “I believe undoubtedly that it’s advantageous for metropolitan areas to draw in large HQs for example Amazon’s.”

In return for everything economic growth, the organization includes a lengthy listing of needs for just about any city which really wants to bid because of its presence. Amazon . com lists numerous “core preferences”, together with a 45-minute drive for an worldwide airport terminal, mass transit (like a tram or subway stop) connected straight to the website, and a minimum of 500,000 square ft of work place available by 2019.

“It appears that Amazon . com is going to be searching at incentive packages to become provided by states/metropolitan areas,” Burbidge stated. “Whether individuals be tax/other financial incentives or any other support and favourable conditions because of its capital and operating expenditure forecast.”

Inside a seven-page document presented to metropolitan areas thinking about putting in a bid, Amazon . com also lists numerous “decision drivers”, including “the presence and support of the diverse population”, “a strong college system” and “an overall top quality of life”.

But merely as being a nice home rarely is in enough to win the organization over. Amazon . com also lists financial incentives to “offset [its] initial capital outlay and continuing operational costs” like a “key preference”.

“The initial cost and continuing price of conducting business are critical decision motorists,” the organization warns interested governments when requesting an in depth listing of all incentives available, including “land, site preparation, tax credits/exemptions, moving grants, workforce grants, utility incentives/grants, permitting, and fee reductions”.

The concept of offering hefty financial incentives to woo big employers to some specific location is prevalent, but originates under growing critique recently. In This summer, the condition of Wisconsin offered a reported $3bn in condition subsidies to Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn to lure the firm to construct an LCD factory. But critics noted the deal would only bring 3,000 jobs for the short term, potentially rising to 13,000 next six years.

Jennifer Shilling, a Democratic Wisconsin condition senator, stated in This summer of Foxconn: “The final point here is the corporation includes a concerning history of big bulletins with little follow-through. Given the possible lack of details, I’m skeptical relating to this announcement and we’ll have to find out if there’s a legislative appetite for any $1bn-to-$3bn corporate welfare package.”

Vehicle recalls 800,000 trucks worldwide over steering defect

Vehicle Co is recalling nearly 800,000 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups worldwide that may lose power steering, based on documents published on Friday.

The biggest US automaker stated the 2014 model year trucks could suffer a brief lack of electrical power steering, especially during low-speed turning manoeuvres, based on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The recall includes about 690,000 vehicles in america, 80,000 in Canada contributing to 25,000 in other markets. GM dealers will overwrite the vehicle’s software to deal with the defect.

GM spokesman Tom Wilkinson was without any information on whether crashes or injuries are attached to the recall.

The organization told regulators that prior to the 2015 model year it made a number of changes to deal with potential causes of temporary low current problems that disable the ability steering.

GM hasn’t stated when dealers will start repairing vehicles.