Ammonium nitrate: Fertilizer behind many industrial accidents

first_imgIt was also a component in the bomb behind the 1995 Oklahoma City attack.In agriculture, ammonium nitrate fertilizer is applied in granule form and quickly dissolves under moisture, allowing nitrogen — which is key to plant growth — to be released into the soil.Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab said 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate that had been stored for years in a Beirut portside warehouse had blown up, killing dozens of people and causing unprecedented damage to the Lebanese capital.However, under normal storage conditions and without very high heat, it is difficult to ignite ammonium nitrate, Jimmie Oxley, a chemistry professor at the University of Rhode Island, told AFP. Ammonium nitrate, which Lebanese authorities have said was the cause of the Beirut blast, is an odorless crystalline substance commonly used as a fertilizer that has been the cause of numerous industrial explosions over the decades. These include notably at a Texas fertilizer plant in 2013 that killed 15 and was ruled deliberate, and another at a chemical plant in Toulouse, France in 2001 that killed 31 people but was accidental.When combined with fuel oils, ammonium nitrate creates a potent explosive widely used by the construction industry, but also by insurgent groups like the Taliban for improvised explosives. “If you look at the video [of the Beirut explosion], you saw the black smoke, you saw the red smoke, that was an incomplete reaction,” she said. “I am assuming that there was a small explosion that instigated the reaction of the ammonium nitrate — whether that small explosion was an accident or something on purpose I haven’t heard yet.”That’s because ammonium nitrate is an oxidizer — it intensifies combustion and allows other substances to ignite more readily, but is not itself very combustible.For these reasons, there are generally very strict rules about where it can be stored: for example, it must be kept away from fuels and sources of heat.In fact, many countries in the European Union require that calcium carbonate to be added to ammonium nitrate to create calcium ammonium nitrate, which is safer.In the United States, regulations were tightened significantly after the Oklahoma City attack. Under the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards, for example, facilities that store more than 2,000 pounds (900 kilograms) of ammonium nitrate are subject to inspections.Despite its dangers, Oxley said legitimate uses of ammonium nitrate in agriculture and construction has made it indispensable.”We wouldn’t have this modern world without explosives, and we wouldn’t feed the population we have today without ammonium nitrate fertilizer,” she said.”We need ammonium nitrate, we just need to pay good attention to what we’re doing with it.”Topics :last_img read more

Governor Wolf Nominates Patrick McDonnell to Serve Permanently as Secretary of Environmental Protection

first_imgGovernor Wolf Nominates Patrick McDonnell to Serve Permanently as Secretary of Environmental Protection SHARE Email Facebook Twitter September 21, 2016center_img Energy,  Environment,  Press Release Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today nominated Acting Secretary of Environmental Protection Patrick McDonnell to serve permanently in that role, pending approval by the Pennsylvania Senate.“In his acting capacity and throughout his career, Patrick has been a dedicated steward of the environment and a leader in advancing Pennsylvania’s energy development in a responsible way,” Governor Wolf said. “I trust Patrick to lead the Department of Environmental Protection in a way that protects our commonwealth’s land, water and air and ensures the department continues to make progress in the areas of innovation, responsible development and working with legislators, industry and advocates in a collaborative and productive way.”Prior to his appointment as Acting Secretary, Patrick McDonnell was most recently the director of policy for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, where he oversaw the agency’s regulation and policy development processes. In addition, Mr. McDonnell ran the State Energy Office and was charged with coordination of renewable energy and energy efficiency issues.Prior to returning to DEP, Mr. McDonnell was executive policy manager for former Commissioner Pamela A. Witmer of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, focusing on electric, natural gas and water issues as well as cybersecurity and the impact of environmental regulation on energy markets.Previously, Mr. McDonnell spent 13 years with DEP in a variety of roles. As deputy secretary for administration, he managed the budget, human resources, information technology and oversaw the facilities management functions of the agency. He also previously served as policy director and as an assistant to the special deputy secretary. He began his career at DEP working in the State Energy Office on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and green building projects.Mr. McDonnell received his Master’s degree in Political Science from Lehigh University and his Bachelor’s Degree in Politics from DeSales University.Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: read more

German investors attaching greater importance to separating admin from management

first_imgGerman institutional investors are placing greater importance on separating Master KAG services from asset management, according to a recent Telos study.Telos said 80% of respondents to its survey preferred ‘pure’ Master KAGs as service providers, rather than ones offering asset management services as well.By comparison, 60% of respondents highlighted the importance of this separation in 2012, while only 50% did the same in 2011.  Telos did note that the survey did not take into account the fact some investors might not object to using Master KAGs for passive mandates. It also stressed that all service providers strictly separated administrative and management services.“Recent tenders confirm the trend for a clean separation of the two businesses,” Telos said.The survey’s findings echo a recent comment by a board member at the annual press conference of Austrian asset manager Spängler IQAM.Markus Ploner, one of three managing directors at the quant manager, which also has a KAG license, said “the more complex the mandate, the less likely all the services will be provided by one KAG”.He added that risk management might be provided by one KAG and hedging overlays by another. “Investors are selecting their service providers carefully,” he added.In its survey, Telos predicted there would be “two types of provider” in Germany – full-service providers and those focusing on reporting and administration.It also found that institutional investors wanted their Master KAGs to be able to report on and administer all asset classes.Meanwhile, Master KAGs have topped up their staff resources and will continue to do so as reporting requirements grow more complex, Telos said.This is happening despite lower margins from equity and alternative mandates.“The very conservative-orientated investment policy of institutional investors is increasingly difficult to handle for Master KAGs,” Telos said.The researcher said Master KAGs were increasingly providing consultancy services to institutional investors, moving into territory formerly occupied by traditional advisers.last_img read more

REIQ report shows Cairns delivered steady growth of 2.5%

first_imgKeir Constructions have completed work on the Whitehaven unit complex on Wattle Street, Yorkeys Knob. The low set block of two bedroom units will be marketed and sold by Belle Property. Picture: BRENDAN RADKEBUYERS have been warned to get informed and prepare accordingly because the affordability of Cairns property may not last much longer.The Real Estate Institute of Queensland’s statewide Market Monitor (QMM) report released this week showed Cairns delivered a steady growth of 2.5 per cent over the past 12 months. This makes it the second top regional performer over the past five years.Annual median house prices came in at $410,000 in March 2018, but units fell 1.7 per cent, from $236,000 in March 2017 to $232,000 in March 2018.On a positive note, the unit median price still performed positively over the past five years as unit prices increased 12.3 per cent, from $206,625 in March 2013.“Medium to high density dwellings comprise about 31 per cent of residential dwellings in the region, which has made the Cairns unit market a very affordable living option for owner-occupiers or an attractive investment for landlords,” the report read.“The busiest sale price is for unit sales below $250,000, which represent about 55 per cent of the unit sales.“Local property managers have noted a lack of rental stock below $270 a week and longer vacancies for higher-end rental properties.“The weekly median rents for three-bedroom houses also held steady at $380 for the past quarter. Rents for two-bedroom units increased by $10 a week for the past quarter, to $310 in March 2018.More from newsCairns home ticks popular internet search terms3 days agoTen auction results from ‘active’ weekend in Cairns3 days ago“Three-bedroom townhouses got much dearer than three-bedroom houses this quarter, as the weekly rent increased by $43 to $393.“The Cairns unit market is the most attractive market of all areas featured in the QMM as investor yields are about 6.9 per cent, sitting in the top end of the range. House yields increased slightly to 4.9 per cent over the March quarter.”An easing of 0.2 per cent in Cairns’ very tight rental vacancy rate is not a concern, according to REIQ Far North zone chairman Tom Quaid.“The rental market remains tight and we have yet to see any significant influx of supply to change the status quo,” Mr Quaid said.“I’m sure many of us would have liked to have seen greater growth but in fairness (the 2.5 per cent growth rate represents) a continuation of the steady improvement we have seen across the market as a whole for some time now. “We are, however, continuing to see patches of stronger growth come through and look forward to seeing what affect the next state budget has on confidence moving forward.“We’re still looking ahead with a lot of positivity, there are cranes in the sky, projects underway and upcoming and on the ground we are feeling like there is a lot of head room in the current market to move. “In the meantime agents still need to work with their vendors to make sure properties are well presented, well marketed and priced appropriately. For buyers, the current affordability might not last so make sure you are doing your homework.”last_img read more

Eni calls Nigeria bribery case ‘completely groundless’ as prosecutors seek jail sentence

first_imgAccording to Eni, this narrative ignores both the witnesses and the files presented within the two years long and more than 40 hearings proceeding, that have decisively denied the prosecutorial hypothesis. Namely, the U.S. Department of Justice had closed its investigation of Eni with respect to Algeria and OPL 245 matters without taking any action in October 2019. Eni recalled the decision of the Department of Justice and the US SEC, which decided to close its own investigations without taking any action against the company. Furthermore, Eni emphasized it neither knew nor should have been aware of the possible destination of the money subsequently paid by the Nigerian government to Malabu. Eni said that together with Shell it had paid a reasonable price for the licence directly to the Nigerian Government, as contractually agreed and through transparent and linear means. The prosecutors alleged that Eni and Shell knew that the money paid to the Nigerian government for the licence offshore Nigeria would go to politicians, businessmen, and middlemen in bribes, particularly Dan Etete, Nigeria’s former oil minister, who owned the block and the company Malabu. Italian oil and gas company Eni considers that the Public Prosecutor’s requests for conviction of the company its former and current CEOs and the managers involved in the Nigerian bribery case related to the OPL 245 license are completely groundless. Moreover, the payment was made after an inquiry carried on by the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), Eni emphasized. According to Reuters, the prosecutors asked for eight years in prison for Descalzi and seven years and four months for Shell’s former head of upstream Malcolm Brinded. center_img As reported by Reuters on Tuesday, the Italian prosecutor has asked for Eni and Shell to be fined and some of their former and current executives, including Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi, to be jailed in a long-running trial over an alleged corruption scheme related to licence OPL 245 in Nigeria. “So there can, therefore, be no bribes from Eni in Nigeria, no existence of an Eni scandal”, Eni underlined. Defence lawyers are going to show to the court that both Eni and its management’s conducts were correct in the OPL 245 transaction, Eni stated. Eni said that the multiple internal investigations entrusted to international third parties by the company’s supervisory bodies have long since highlighted the absence of unlawful conduct. Eni said in a statement on Tuesday that, during its indictment, in the absence of any evidence or tangible reference to the contents of the trial investigation, the Public Prosecutor has told a story based on suggestions and deductions as already developed during the investigation. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) closed its investigation into Eni related to the company’s involvement into a license located offshore Nigeria as well as its activities in Congo in April 2020. “Eni trusts that the truth can finally be re-established following the defensive arguments that will be presented at the end of September, pending the Milan Court’s forthcoming verdict”, the Italian company concluded.last_img read more

Lending collector nabbed for ‘sexual abuse’

first_imgKALIBO, Aklan – A lending collectorwas arrested for alleged sexual abuse on a 2-year-old kid here. The suspect was detained in the Kalibomunicipal police station, facing charges.(Witha report from Malbert Dalida/RadyotodoAklan/PN) The parents then brought the child toa physician who told them of the possible molestation. The suspect, who was only identified as 30-year-old Ian James, was arrested for alleged sexual abuse in Kalibo, Aklan on Friday. MALBERT DALIDA/RADYOTODOAKLAN/PN Police only identified the suspect asa certain Ian James, 30, of Dipolog, Zamboanga. He was nabbed on Friday. According to police investigators, theparents noticed that the kid was “abnormally” laid-back and recently they sawbruises on her legs. Ian James was close to the kid’sfamily as he temporarily resided at their house as a boarder, police said.last_img read more

Governor Signs Law Allowing Florida Teachers to Carry a Gun in School

first_imgGov. Ron DeSantis has signed the law allowing teachers to be armed.The measure expands a current school “guardian” program to allow any teacher to volunteer to carry a weapon, as long as their local school districts approve.  Broward county school officials say they will not approve the measure.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a controversial school safety bill that would allow teachers to be armed on campus

— CNN (@CNN) May 9, 2019

The Republican-led House had voted 65-47 on the bill last week to send the bill to DeSantis.This bill comes after 17 people were killed by a rifle-toting shooter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February 2018. read more

Epcot Employee Files Charges Against Guest Over Mask Dispute

first_imgAdditionally, deputies wrote, “The male continued cussing at (the security guard) and began threatening that he knew where he lived and was going to kill him.”Toro’s wife was able to ultimately diffuse the situation and had the family, including Enrico Toro, return to the parking lot.He was arrested when the guard decided to press charges.Several eyewitnesses corroborated the employee’s story, which Toro initially tried to deny.“We expect guests to treat our cast members with courtesy and respect, and while the vast majority of guests have adapted to our new measures, this unfortunate case required law enforcement,” Disney spokeswoman Andrea Finger later said in a statement.Meanwhile, Toro faces a misdemeanor battery charge. It seems that a visit to a Disney park wasn’t a “magical” experience for one recent guest after all.According to multiple reports, a man visiting Epcot with his family got into a heated debate with a security guard about a mask, and ended up hitting and threatening that employee.Orange County sheriff’s officials say that 35-year-old Enrico Toro refused to have one of his children wear a mask properly covering his mouth and nose while at the park on Aug. 14.When a guard noticed and asked Toro to comply with the park’s mask rules, Toro “began cussing,” according to the arrest report.He reportedly then stated, “Call the police. They will have to shoot me to leave.”Toro then hit the guard’s head with his hand, as the employee was calling a supervisor about the encounter.Hear from Disney Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro on how health and safety remain a top priority, new technologies, and a look ahead to the future of Disney Parks on the latest episode of The Dow Report. Watch the full video here:— Disney Parks News (@DisneyParksNews) August 27, 2020last_img read more

ECB terminates players’ contract for now postponed ‘The Hundred’

first_imgLONDON: The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has cancelled the contracts of the players who were due to participate in the now suspended ‘The Hundred’ competition.Last week, the ECB had postponed the inaugural edition of ‘The Hundred’ — a new 100-balls-per-side format to be played by eight teams in separate men’s and women’s tournaments — to next year. The teams had selected their squads in a draft last October, while the women’s teams were in the process of completing their squads. However, now with the delay, the board has sent players a letter to inform them of the decision about the termination of the contracts. “We can confirm that a letter terminating current player contracts has been issued today to all involved,” BBC Sport quoted ECB as saying in a statement. “This letter is necessary paperwork to legally update and inform players of the situation, which follows a notification last week around the launch of the new competition being moved to 2021. “We are working closely with PCA on a number of options for players regarding next year’s launch,” the statement added. All professional cricketing activities already remain suspended in England and Wales till July 1 due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has thus far claimed more than 2.4 lakh lives worldwide. IANS Also read: Australia cricketer Marnus Labuschagne expresses desire to play T20IsAlso Watch: Gaurav Gogoi In an exclusive chat with Oineetom Ojah only on Sentinel Assamlast_img read more

England crush West Indies women to clinch series

first_imgCMC – WEST Indies women were once again thoroughly outplayed by England as they went down in the second One Day International by 121 runs under the Duckworth Lewis system here Sunday.After winning the toss and electing to bat, the home side scored 233 for seven after rain reduced the match to a 41 over contest.The Windies’ batters never threatened after being reduced to 42 for five early on, before another shower placed the match further out of their grasp.Set a new target of 208 in 28 overs, the visitors finished on 87 for six.The result gave England an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series, following their massive 208-run victory in the first ODI on Thursday.The win also earned England two points in the International Cricket Council’s Women’s Championship and took them to the verge of qualification for the 2021 World Cup in New Zealand.Tammy Beaumont who topscored with 61, and fellow opener Amy Jones who made 18, posted their second consecutive half-century opening stand, adding 59 runs for the first wicket.Once Jones lost her wicket to Chinelle Henry, Beaumont found another capable partner in Sarah Taylor (23), adding a further 51 runs.And even when Afy Fletcher dismissed Taylor and Beaumont with consecutive deliveries to leave the score 110 for three, England still remained in control.Natalie Sciver scored 35 at better than a run-a-ball and Anya Shrubsole blasted an unbeaten 32 from just 16 balls, with two boundaries and two sixes, as part of a solid batting effort from the hosts.Fletcher was the Windies’ best bowler, taking 3-48 from her eight overs.England’s bowlers then produced a sensational performance in the field as the West Indies got off to a horrible start in their run chase, losing three wickets in quick succession.Shrubsole accounted for the wickets of openers Britney Cooper (6) and Hayley Matthews (17) before Kate Cross had Kycia Knight out for a five-ball duck to reduce the visitors to 23 for three in the eighth over.Cross then had Windies’ captain Stafanie Taylor out for six and Laura Marsha added to their woes when she clean bowled Chedean Nation for 9, as the Windies fell into further trouble at 42 for five.Another shower resulted in the match being shortened to 28 overs, but the West Indies’ batters made no attempt to chase the target.Shemaine Campbelle was the top-scorer with a pedestrian 29 from 49 balls, while Kyshona Knight was left unbeaten on 14 from 32 balls.Cross finished with the superb figures of 2-4 from four overs, while Shrubsole took 2-12 from five overs.last_img read more