City bill would force general contractors to get licensed

first_img Share via Shortlink Full Name* Message* Bill de BlasioBuilding Construction Trades Council of Greater New Yorkbuilding trades employers associationcity councilConstructionlou colettisafety inspections Building Trades Employers’ Association CEO Louis Coletti and City Planning Commissioner Chair Marisa Lago (iStock)Construction companies may soon face additional hurdles to work in the city.A new City Council bill would create a new licensing program for all general contractors, shifting away from a system that only requires them to register with the Department of Buildings.To obtain a license, contractors would need to submit the same information needed for registration — including the names of major owners of the company, and proof that the firm is financially solvent and in “good standing” — but would also be required to demonstrate safety training and industry experience.The new requirements would include 62 hours of training for applicants to receive a “Site Safety Training Supervisor Card.” Applicants would also need either a bachelor’s degree in construction management or related field; at least five years of experience in the industry; or they must be a licensed engineer or architect.Under the proposed rules, the general contracting company would need to have one designee — an officer, member or shareholder who owns at least 10 percent of the firm — who files building permits on the general contractor’s behalf. Crucially, the designee is considered responsible for all work performed by the general contractor and by the subcontractors it hires.Public Advocate Jumaane Williams is listed as the bill’s sponsor, but the de Blasio administration requested that it be introduced. It has the backing of some construction labor groups but is already facing opposition from contractors.Louis Coletti, CEO and president of the Building Trades Employers’ Association, which represents general contractors, called the measure a “shortcut” that seeks to hold one person or company responsible for an injury or fatality on a site.He said the city should take a more targeted approach by focusing on companies and types of projects that have proven hazardous over the years, which he identified as largely nonunion and small-scale buildings.“The approach they have taken is one-size-fits-all,” he said. “That proposal would limit all general contractors, irrespective of the size of the project.”If the bill passes, companies that have active general contractor and safety registrations will automatically be considered licensed, but only until their current registration expires. Such terms, as with the proposed licenses, last three years. After that, the companies would need to apply for renewal.Another provision in the measure seeks to address a perennial problem: construction companies that are disciplined or otherwise identified as bad actors only to come back under a new name or brand. The bill bars general contractors from changing a name, business structure or point of contact without first notifying the department.In a statement, Gary LaBarbera, who heads the state and city chapters of the Building and Construction Trades Council, called the measure, along with other construction safety bills introduced on Thursday, “encouraging.”Brian Sampson, president of the state’s chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors, a nonunion construction group, commended the city for continuing its commitment to “the highest standards for licensed professionals and safety practices in the construction industry.”The bill also requires general contractors to provide a plan for reducing the rate of hazardous violations on a site, upon request from the Department of Buildings.If approved, the new rules would kick in three years after the measure becomes law. It’s the latest effort by the de Blasio administration to ramp up safety on construction sites. A 2017 law mandated that construction workers undergo 40 hours of safety training. The deadline for meeting that requirement was in March.Contact Kathryn Brenzelcenter_img Email Address* Tags Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlinklast_img read more

Oil Cargo Loading Halted at Ras Lanuf amid Fresh Conflicts

first_imgThe Malta-flagged tanker Seadelta, which was due to load 781,000 barrels of crude oil from storage tanks at Libya’s port of Ras Lanuf, has been withdrawn to a‎ safe distance offshore after a fresh outbreak of fighting near the port, according to the country’s National Oil Corporation (NOC).NOC chairman Mustafa Sanalla said that the move was made as a precautionary measure and the board were in a meeting with the heads of operating companies in oil crescent area.“We‎ understand the port of Ras Lanuf itself has not been affected by the fighting so far, though the situation is in flux,” Sanalla added.The crude oil cargo, which was expected to continue today, is due to be transported aboard the 113,000 dwt tanker to Italy.Additionally, NOC said a crude oil storage‎ tank at Es Sidra oil terminal, which was previously damaged as a result of conflicts, was set on fire during fighting yesterday morning. The fire was extinguished later during the day, and Sanalla said that they “hope to resume normal operations at all oil ports in the Oil Crescent” today.Furthermore, NOC called for the immediate reopening of the pipelines in Rayayina which connect the Sharara and El Feel oil fields in southwestern Libya with the Zawia refinery and Mellitah complex in the west of Tripoli.The financial loss to the country as a result of the stoppages, which started in November 2014 and April 2015, respectively, was estimated to be over USD 27 billion.NOC said that it could increase production from the two fields by 250,000 b/d within the end of the year, and by 365,000 b/d by the middle of next year if the pipelines were opened.“We can have oil production back up to 600,000 b/d within a month, 900,000 b/d by the end of the year, and 1.2 million b/d within twelve months,” said Sanalla.World Maritime News Stafflast_img read more

Windstar Cuts Steel for 2nd StarClass Ship Extension

first_imgzoomImage Courtesy: Fincantieri Italy’s shipbuilder Fincantieri held a steel cutting ceremony for a new mid-section of Windstar Cruises’ MS Star Legend on September 5 in Palermo.The unit is the second of three Star-class vessels that will undergo the transformation from a 212-passenger ship to 312 passengers by installing a new section of ship as part of the Seattle-based cruise company’s USD 250 million Star Plus Initiative.The transformation will increase capacity by 100 with the addition of 50 new suites, the majority of which are to be housed in the new mid-sections being built at Fincantieri shipyards.“This is a momentous day for Windstar as we reach another major milestone. A project of this magnitude takes time to realize and unfold,” Christopher Prelog, Vice President of Fleet Operations for Windstar Cruises, said.Under the initiative, Windstar is looking to renovate half of its fleet, namely the Star Breeze, Star Legend, and Star Pride vessels. The works will see the small ships cut in half to allow the installation of a new stepped mid-body section that will lengthen each vessel by some 26 meters. Each of the new sections will be fabricated over approximately a six month period of time.The lengthening works of the cruise ship operator’s first vessel, Star Breeze, were launched in early April. The unit is scheduled to emerge from its transformation and sail from Barcelona to Lisbon on February 20, 2020.Star Legend will complete its transformation in late June and debut in Barcelona on July 2, 2020, while the third and final ship, Star Pride, is scheduled to depart from the shipyard in fall of 2020.last_img read more

International Experts Alarmed Over Bimini Development

first_img Tropical Storm Kate now formed, almost all Bahamas on alert Musical Legend KB’s Latest Save The Bays Release ‘Das What Real Bahamians Do’ Tackles the Silent Tough One, the PSA Related Items:bimini, Save The Bays, sea turtle conservancy Recommended for you Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppA group of international conservation experts has expressed serious concern over the environmental impact of ongoing resort construction on and around the island of Bimini.The experts, hosted on a tour of Bimini by fast-growing social and environmental advocacy group Save The Bays (STB), said they fear the work may destroy some of the most significant coral reefs in the region and put the island’s traditional industries at risk (see video at SaveTheBays Bahamas youtube site:“The Bahamas are some of the most beautiful and wonderful places in the world,” said Marydele O’Donnely, director of international policy for the Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC). “I’ve traveled extensively and I have been absolutely amazed by how the habitat looks here.“But when I see developments like what is happening in North Bimini I am not only alarmed and concerned, but really saddened. Things have happened here that shouldn’t have happened.“You can have development but you need to do it properly, and it hasn’t been done properly.”Archie Carr III, also an STC director, called what he saw in Bimini “quite depressing” – particularly the impact of a massive seafloor dredging operation undertaken to make way for a 1,000 foot pier and cruise ship terminal, right at the heart of Bimini’s most valuable reefs and dive sites.Carr said the operation resulted in “enormous siltation”, which locals say continues to blanket the surrounding sea floor and suffocate struggling marine life.Many of the visitors were senior members of the global Waterkeeper Alliance, a leading NGO that coordinates more than 200 stewards of the marine environment, or Waterkeepers, who monitor and help safeguard rivers, bays, lakes and coastal areas around the world.Noting the importance of Bimini marine environment, both ecologically and in economic terms, Rachel Silverstein, the Waterkeeper for Biscayne Bay, Florida said: “The development that’s going on here is threatening the livelihood of Bahamians who have businesses here that support the tourism industry.”The developer, Resorts World Bimini, owned by Malaysian conglomerate Genting, has claimed its presence will boost the local economy, but Biminites have grown increasingly concerned that the property will end up monopolizing the tourism business.One said: “They are now advertising their ‘six restaurants and bars and world class casino’, as well as a variety of water sports, a beach club and restaurant and a craft market, all within their walls.“At what point are the day guests supposed to contribute to the local economy in the six hours they spend on the island?”Alex Matthiessen, former Hudson Bay Waterkeeper, now CEO of the Blue Marble Project, concurred with this assessment and noted that the concern runs even deeper.“No one, even we environmentalists or the Biminites here, are against development, we’re ok with development. The issue is local Biminites who have been making a healthy living off the natural resources here for many generations are being violated, when this kind of development happens.”Meanwhile, local efforts to bring preserve Bimini’s marine habitat and traditional local economy took a significant blow recently when a court ruled that STB affiliate Bimini Blue Coalition had to pay more than $300,000 before their legal challenge of the development could be heard by a judge.Despite battling tirelessly for many months, the grassroots coalition was forced to admit defeat, with attorney and STB legal director Fred Smith, QC, lamenting the fact that conservationists had been “priced out of justice”Smith said it should be very troubling to all Bahamians when citizens with no personal axe to grind, who are merely seeking to defend the public interest, are denied their day in court due to their financial stature.However, concerned citizens have vowed to continue closely monitoring developments in Bimini, particularly with an eye to blocking the plan to fill in North Bimini’s mangrove swamp and transform it into a golf course.This same area was listed as the highest-priority site in the Bahamas for a proposed Marine Protected Area in the year 2000 by the Government of The Bahamas in recognition of its ecological and economic value of its habitat.Fourteen years later, the North Bimini Marine Reserve is still not a reality.During a recent visit to Bimini, Minister Alfred Gray advised Biminites to learn more about the trade of turf maintenance, spurring concerns that Resorts World was going to pursue filling in north Bimini’s mangroves and turning what was to become a marine protected area into a golf course. “This crucial area is a nursery for an abundance of marine species which are significant for the fishing industry not just in Bimini, but many of the surrounding islands as well,” Smith said. “We cannot allow that to happen.” To learn more about the conservationists’ tour, and the ongoing efforts to protect the environment and traditional way of life in The Bahamas, visit: Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Bahamas Police makes $2.3M Drug Bust in Biminilast_img read more

Platforms assuring Product authenticity

first_imgNew Delhi: E-commerce companies are taking stong actions to ensure that the fake products do not make their way to customers. So these companies are filing cases and blocking sellers who sell fake goods so the consumers shouldn’t experience a crisis of faith. Also they are implementing on strict guildines and rules, which are drafted by the consumer affairs department, is likely to make e-commerce liable as service providers, instead of being intermediaries. It may also mandate the companies to disclose seller agreements. Here are the platforms assuring product authenticity. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfDigital Mall of Asia – Digital Mall of Asia, a premier e-commerce platform reinventing the global retail market by turning it digital. The first-of-its-kind digital e-commerce platform connecting the brands to customers directly. The products are delivered by the supplier directly as every supplier has its own offline outlet in the city which ensures genuine products to be delivered to its customers. Amazon India – It is a multinational technology company focusing on e-commerce, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence. It has the largest e-commerce marketplace because of the trust of customer and that’s why they ensure that products being sold on its marketplace by sellers are genuine by the mechanisms in their FCs and even all sellers listing their products on are required to enter an agreement to list and sell only genuine products. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsive Flipkart Assured – Flipkart Pvt Ltd. is an Indian e-commerce company based in Bengaluru. It held a 39.5 % market share of India’s e-commerce industry. Flipkart’s team of data scientists has developed a unique algorithm and has unveiled an inclusive customer-focused program i.e. the Flipkart Assured which guarantee high quality and speed benchmark online. Myntra – Myntra aims at providing a hassle free and enjoyable shopping experience to shoppers across the country with the widest range of brands and products on its portal. The brand is making a conscious effort to bring the power of fashion to shoppers with an array of the latest and trendy products. Its value proposition revolves around giving consumers 100% authentic products. Jabong – is an Indian fashion and lifestyle e-commerce portal. It is a young and vibrant company that aims to provide good quality branded products and they strive to achieve the highest level of Customer Satisfaction and they have a highly experienced buying team, agile warehouse systems, and state of the art customer care center provides the customer.last_img read more

ACM honors the three Pioneers in Artificial Intelligence with 1 million Turing

first_imgThe Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) announced Yoshua Bengio, Geoffrey Hinton, and Yann LeCun, the three pioneers in Artificial Intelligence, as winners of the 2018 Turing Award. The Turing Award was presented to the researchers for their ‘conceptual and engineering breakthroughs’ that resulted in deep neural networks become a critical component of computing. The ACM Turing Award, named after the great Alan M. Turing, a British Mathematician, is often referred to as the “Nobel Prize of Computing”. The award brings along with it a $1 million prize which will be split between the winners. Financial support is being offered by Google. ACM states that Hinton, LeCun, and Bengio, worked independently and together to develop conceptual foundations for the field. These researchers worked diligently to identify surprising phenomena via various experiments and also contributed engineering advances that effectively shows the practical advantages of deep neural networks. These deep learning methods have led to many astonishing breakthroughs in the fields of computer vision, speech recognition, natural language processing, and robotics among others. LeCun, Hinton, and Bengio stayed committed to the approach of using artificial neural networks as a tool to help computers recognize patterns and simulate human intelligence. Researchers also faced much criticism initially and their ideas were often met with skepticism. But, the researchers were determined and their ideas have resulted in major technological advances. “At the heart of this progress are fundamental techniques developed starting more than 30 years ago by this year’s Turing Award winners, Yoshua Bengio, Geoffrey Hinton, and Yann LeCun”, said Jeff Dean, Google Senior Fellow, and SVP, Google AI. Dr. Hinton now works as VP and engineering fellow at Google; Dr. LeCun works as the Chief AI Scientist for Facebook, and Dr. Bengio has inked deals with IBM and Microsoft. Read Next NGI0 Consortium to award grants worth 5.6 million euro to open internet projects UC Davis students bag $500k award and the 2018 Amazon Alexa prize for creating a social conversational system Mozilla funds winners of the 2018 Creative Media Awards for highlighting unintended consequences of AI in Soceitylast_img read more