Jazz Store – Jazz Fin http://jazzfin.com/ Thu, 21 Oct 2021 12:34:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8 https://jazzfin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/icon-14-150x150.png Jazz Store – Jazz Fin http://jazzfin.com/ 32 32 Resistance against the policies imposed by the World Bank, the IMF and other creditors between 2007 and 2011 https://jazzfin.com/resistance-against-the-policies-imposed-by-the-world-bank-the-imf-and-other-creditors-between-2007-and-2011/ https://jazzfin.com/resistance-against-the-policies-imposed-by-the-world-bank-the-imf-and-other-creditors-between-2007-and-2011/#respond Mon, 16 Aug 2021 09:52:27 +0000 https://jazzfin.com/?p=114  World Bank loans violate fundamental human rights The loans made by the World Bank World Bank WB The World Bank was founded as part of the new international monetary system set up at Bretton Woods in 1944. Its capital is provided by member states’ contributions and loans on the international money markets. It financed public […]]]>

 World Bank loans violate fundamental human rights

The loans made by the World Bank
World Bank
WB

The World Bank was founded as part of the new international monetary system set up at Bretton Woods in 1944. Its capital is provided by member states’ contributions and loans on the international money markets. It financed public and private projects in Third World and East European countries.

It consists of several closely associated institutions, among which :

1. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, 189 members in 2017), which provides loans in productive sectors such as farming or energy ;

2. The International Development Association (IDA, 159 members in 1997), which provides less advanced countries with long-term loans (35-40 years) at very low interest (1%) ;

3. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), which provides both loan and equity finance for business ventures in developing countries.

As Third World Debt gets worse, the World Bank (along with the IMF) tends to adopt a macro-economic perspective. For instance, it enforces adjustment policies that are intended to balance heavily indebted countries’ payments. The World Bank advises those countries that have to undergo the IMF’s therapy on such matters as how to reduce budget deficits, round up savings, enduce foreign investors to settle within their borders, or free prices and exchange rates.

, far from being disinterested gestures, are in fact clearly a means of submitting the country, politically and economically, to the international order of the most powerful, “modelling” it to suit their needs and the needs of the local dominant class – in other words to extract maximum profits. This community of interest
Interest
An amount paid in remuneration of an investment or received by a lender. Interest is calculated on the amount of the capital invested or borrowed, the duration of the operation and the rate that has been set.
between local oligarchies and creditors explains why the country’s leaders have so often given in so easily to the Bank’s diktats, if necessary at the cost of the rights of Ecuador’s citizens.

The Bank’s imposition of policies through the programmes it has financed and conditionalities on loans constitute a denial of sovereignty and flagrant interference in the political affairs of the State, and as such are in violation of Article 2, Paragraph 1 of the UN Charter of 1945, which establishes the principle of sovereign equality among States and the right to freely decide economic, social and political regimes. The Bank has also violated the right to development of peoples, set down in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, whose Article 1 states that “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development,” as does the Declaration on the Right to Development of 1986.

The permanent representative of the World Bank in Ecuador was declared persona non grata in 2007 and expelled

Unsurprisingly, these policies dictated by the Bank with total contempt for the will of the people have resulted in serious breaches of fundamental human rights such as the right to a sufficient standard of living, to health, to education and to work. That has been met by strong resistance movements, and the World Bank faced setbacks between 2007 and 2011. Its permanent representative in Ecuador, who was declared persona non grata, was expelled from the country. President Rafael Correa and several of his ministers called out the Bank’s actions in no uncertain terms and threatened legal proceedings. With other Latin American countries, Ecuador’s government worked to promote a Bank of the South as an alternative to the World Bank. Ecuador has announced that it will withdraw from ICSID
ICSID
The International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) is a World Bank arbitration mechanism for resolving disputes that may arise between States and foreign investors. It was established in 1965 when the Washington Convention of that year entered into force.

Contrary to some opinions defending the fact that ICSID mechanism has been widely accepted in the American hemisphere, many States in the region continue to keep their distance: Canada, Cuba, Mexico and Dominican Republic are not party to the Convention. In the case of Mexico, this attitude is rated by specialists as “wise and rebellious”. We must also recall that the following Caribbean States remain outside the ICSID jurisdiction: Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica (Commonwealth of) and Suriname. In South America, Brazil has not ratified (or even signed) the ICSID convention and the 6th most powerful world economy seems to show no special interest in doing so.

In the case of Costa Rica, access to ICSID system is extremely interesting: Costa Rica signed the ICSID Convention in September, 1981 but didn’t ratify it until 12 years later, in 1993. We read in a memorandum of GCAB (Global Committee of Argentina Bondholders) that Costa Rica`s decision resulted from direct United States pressure due to the Santa Elena expropriation case, which was decided in 2000 :
“In the 1990s, following the expropriation of property owned allegedly by an American investor, Costa Rica refused to submit the dispute to ICSID arbitration. The American investor invoked the Helms Amendment and delayed a $ 175 million loan from the Inter-American Development Bank to Costa Rica. Costa Rica consented to the ICSID proceedings, and the American investor ultimately recovered U.S. $ 16 million”.

https://icsid.worldbank.org/apps/ICSIDWEB/Pages/default.aspx
, the World Bank tribunal.

 Ecuador: Resistance against the policies imposed by the World Bank, the IMF and other creditors between 2007 and 2011

The author has closely followed the major social struggles that have shaken this country of the Andes. I went to Ecuador for the first time in 1989. I made a second visit in 2000 at the invitation of the Center for Economic and Social Rights (CDES) and at that time I took part in the publication there of a collective work on the issue of illegitimate debt settlement In the years that followed, I contributed to a campaign aimed at showing that the debt claimed against Ecuador by various creditors was illegitimate. Among other areas we focused on the affair of the fishing boats sold to Ecuador by Norway, which was just one example among others, but it had the advantage of being particularly eloquent. What happened was that whereas the country continued to repay the purchase price of these fishing boats, they had in fact been bought for peanuts by an Ecuadorian capitalist oligarch who was using them to export bananas. That campaign was effective, since in 2006 the Norwegian government decided to waive repayment of the debts related to the purchase of the fishing boats. [1] Starting in 2003, CADTM International, in contact with the staff of Ecuador’s campaign for the cancellation of illegitimate debts (principally the organization called Jubileo 2000 Red Guayaquil), campaigned for recognition of the need to identify those debts that the country needed to repudiate unilaterally by means of a citizen audit. That approach was an alternative to the priority other movements were giving to the creation of an international debt tribunal. [2]

Four commitments made by Correa in 2006: end repayment of illegitimate debt; call a referendum for a constituent assembly; close the USA’s military base and refuse to sign a free trade agreement with them

Ecuador was the place where the approach proposed by the CADTM gained acceptance. Rafael Correa, elected president of Ecuador in November 2006, had campaigned on the basis of four major commitments: to end repayment of illegitimate debt; to call a referendum for a constituent assembly; to close the USA’s Manta military base in Ecuador and to refuse to sign a free trade agreement with the superpower. He made good on all four commitments.

Rafael Correa had gained popularity in 2005 when, as Finance Minister, he came into conflict with the World Bank after he convinced the government that windfall oil revenue should be used for social expenditures rather than for repaying creditors. In July 2005 the government decided to reform the use of petroleum resources. Instead of being used in their entirety for debt repayment, a share
Share
A unit of ownership interest in a corporation or financial asset, representing one part of the total capital stock. Its owner (a shareholder) is entitled to receive an equal distribution of any profits distributed (a dividend) and to attend shareholder meetings.
was set aside for social spending, and in particular to aid the indigenous peoples, who are often given short shrift. The enraged World Bank took revenge by blocking a 100-million-dollar loan it had promised Ecuador. Rafael Correa chose to resign as Minister rather than give in to the World Bank’s demands. A little more than a year after his resignation he was elected to serve as the country’s president.

Four months after the start of his term of office, in April 2007, Ecuador, at the initiative of Rafael Correa, expelled the World Bank’s permanent representative in Quito from the country. Shortly after, the government informed the permanent representation of the IMF
IMF
International Monetary Fund

Along with the World Bank, the IMF was founded on the day the Bretton Woods Agreements were signed. Its first mission was to support the new system of standard exchange rates.

When the Bretton Wood fixed rates system came to an end in 1971, the main function of the IMF became that of being both policeman and fireman for global capital: it acts as policeman when it enforces its Structural Adjustment Policies and as fireman when it steps in to help out governments in risk of defaulting on debt repayments.

As for the World Bank, a weighted voting system operates: depending on the amount paid as contribution by each member state. 85% of the votes is required to modify the IMF Charter (which means that the USA with 17,68% % of the votes has a de facto veto on any change).

The institution is dominated by five countries: the United States (16,74%), Japan (6,23%), Germany (5,81%), France (4,29%) and the UK (4,29%).
The other 183 member countries are divided into groups led by one country. The most important one (6,57% of the votes) is led by Belgium. The least important group of countries (1,55% of the votes) is led by Gabon and brings together African countries.

http://imf.org
that it would have to leave the facilities it occupied in the central bank
Central Bank
The establishment which in a given State is in charge of issuing bank notes and controlling the volume of currency and credit. In France, it is the Banque de France which assumes this role under the auspices of the European Central Bank (see ECB) while in the UK it is the Bank of England.

ECB : http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/Pages/home.aspx
’s buildings and find offices elsewhere. Rafael Correa was also very active in the campaign to create a Bank of the South as an alternative to the World Bank, the IMF and the Inter-American Development Bank. Two leaders of the movement for the cancellation of illegitimate debt held key posts within the government. Ricardo Patiño was Minister of the Economy and Finance [3] and Alberto Acosta was Minister for Energy and Mines before becoming President of the Constituent Assembly in 2008. [4]

Ecuador also announced in July 2009 that it was withdrawing from ICSID, the World Bank tribunal for investment disputes, following the example given by Bolivia in May 2007. Three months later, the government decided to end a series of bilateral investment protection treaties. [5]

Ecuador announced in July 2009 that it was withdrawing from the ICSID, the World Bank tribunal

To deal with the question of public debt, in July 2007 Rafael Correa created the Comisión para la Auditoria Integral de la Deuda Pública (CAIC – Comprehensive Public Credit Audit Commission). From March 2007, Ecuadorian activists of the movement for cancellation of illegitimate debt were associated with the authoring of the draft presidential decree setting up the Commission and in April 2007 I was invited to Quito by the Finance Minister and the anti-illegitimate-debt activists of Red Jubileo 2000 Guayaquil to take part in the preliminary discussions of its content. The Commission, created in July 2007, was made up of twelve members representative of Ecuador’s social movements (leaders of the indigenous movement, feminist militants, and activists with the movement for the cancellation of illegitimate debts), six members of international campaigns for cancellation of illegitimate debts and four delegates of the State (representing the Ministry of Finance, the Comptroller’s Office, the Anti-Corruption Commission and the Public Prosecutors’ office).

The Comprehensive Public Credit Audit Commission (CAIC) included twelve members representing Ecuador’s social movements

I represented the CADTM on the Commission, which worked intensively for 14 months, between July 2007 and September 2008. [6] The other international movements represented were Latindadd, Eurodad, Citizen Debt Audit (Brazil) and Jubilee Germany. Rafael Correa’s idea was to take action to end repayment of a portion of the debt identified as fraudulent and illegitimate. [7] The CAIC’s mandate was to conduct a comprehensive audit of the debts accumulated by Ecuador between 1976 and 2006. The term “comprehensive” is very important because the audit needed to avoid being limited to an accounting analysis of the country’s indebtedness. It was fundamental to measure the human and environmental impact of the policy of indebtedness. For a rapid overview of the evolution of Ecuador’s debt, see the Box on the evolution of public debt in Ecuador between 1970 and 2008.

Box: The evolution of Ecuador’s public debt between 1970 and 2008

Ecuador is one of the many countries that have reimbursed, several times over, debts that were not contracted in the interest of the Nation and its citizens. The loans contracted by Ecuador in fact benefited creditors in the North, multinationals, financial speculators and the local ruling classes.

The different stages of the evolution of indebtedness show the illegitimate nature of the debts claimed against Ecuador. All the following constitute illegitimate debt: debts contracted by military dictatorships during the 1970s and which have continued to bloat under the governments that succeeded them; debts to finance projects that in no way benefit ordinary citizens or for projects that have proven destructive to humans and/or the environment; debts contracted through the corruption of public officials; debts contracted at usurious interest rates
Interest rates
When A lends money to B, B repays the amount lent by A (the capital) as well as a supplementary sum known as interest, so that A has an interest in agreeing to this financial operation. The interest is determined by the interest rate, which may be high or low. To take a very simple example: if A borrows 100 million dollars for 10 years at a fixed interest rate of 5%, the first year he will repay a tenth of the capital initially borrowed (10 million dollars) plus 5% of the capital owed, i.e. 5 million dollars, that is a total of 15 million dollars. In the second year, he will again repay 10% of the capital borrowed, but the 5% now only applies to the remaining 90 million dollars still due, i.e. 4.5 million dollars, or a total of 14.5 million dollars. And so on, until the tenth year when he will repay the last 10 million dollars, plus 5% of that remaining 10 million dollars, i.e. 0.5 million dollars, giving a total of 10.5 million dollars. Over 10 years, the total amount repaid will come to 127.5 million dollars. The repayment of the capital is not usually made in equal instalments. In the initial years, the repayment concerns mainly the interest, and the proportion of capital repaid increases over the years. In this case, if repayments are stopped, the capital still due is higher…

The nominal interest rate is the rate at which the loan is contracted. The real interest rate is the nominal rate reduced by the rate of inflation.
; private debt converted into public debt; debts stemming from conditionalities imposed by the IMF and the World Bank in violation of Ecuador’s sovereignty and the right to self-determination, of the right of peoples to define their own policies governing commercial development, taxation, spending, energy, and labour legislation, and force drastic reductions in social expenditures and the privatization of strategic sectors; etc.

During the period 1970-2007, despite the fact that State of Ecuador reimbursed 172 times the amount of external public debt as it stood in 1970, [8] the volume of that external public debt was multiplied by a factor of 53.

Between 1970 and 2007, Ecuador reimbursed 172 times the amount of external public debt as it stood in 1970

During that period of 38 years, the balance
Balance
End of year statement of a company’s assets (what the company possesses) and liabilities (what it owes). In other words, the assets provide information about how the funds collected by the company have been used; and the liabilities, about the origins of those funds.
between the loans and repayments of external public debt is clearly negative. The accumulated net negative transfer at Ecuador’s expense is 9 billion dollars.

Between 1982 and 2007, the net transfer to external public debt was negative for 22 years and positive only four years.



Major public-debt creditors

Total public debt as of 30 August 2008 stood at approximately 13 billion dollars (10 billion for external public debt and three billion for internal public debt). Approximately 40% of external public debt is due to banks and financial markets in the form of securities, called Bonos Global (Global bonds); approximately 44% is due to multilateral financial institutions (the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, etc.); approximately 16% consist of country-to-country loans (or bilateral debt), the main creditor countries being Spain, Brazil and Italy.

95% of internal public debt, amounting to approximately 3 billion, consists of securities (bonos AGD).

 Ecuador’s partial victory against creditors of illegitimate debts

Starting in November 2008, Ecuador suspended repayment of a large part of its debt. Concretely, the country ended payment of interest due on the Ecuadorian securities traded on Wall Street that would have come to 3.2 billion dollars. [9] The international financial press raised an enormous stink since Ecuador had dared to refuse to pay when it had the means to do so. Still, in June 2009, the holders of 91% of the bonds in question accepted a proposal to buy them back at 35% of face value.

Starting in November 2008, Ecuador suspended repayment of a large part of its debt

In broad figures, Ecuador repurchased 3.2 billion dollars’ worth of debt while disbursing 900 million dollars, which represents a saving of 2 billion on the capital due, to which are added the savings on the interest that will no longer have to be paid. Rafael Correa declared in his inaugural speech on 10 August 2009 that this “means a gain of more than 300 million dollars annually over the next twenty years – amounts that will go not into the creditors’ portfolios but will go to national development. ” [10] The total amount saved is a little over 7 billion dollars. [11]

The government’s energetic action in the area of debt had two consequences:

  1. It should be emphasized that the debt reduction enabled the government to greatly increase social expenditures over the years 2009–2010–2011, in particular in the areas of health and education, since the State’s resources were able to be sharply refocused on those parts of the budget instead of going up in smoke in the form of debt repayment. The living conditions of the population were significantly improved. In parallel, the legal minimum wage was gradually increased by nearly 100%.
  2. The unilateral suspension of repayment of the debt of course made the creditors extremely unhappy. But despite predictions of chaotic and painful days ahead by the international financial press and the Right, nothing bad happened. Ecuador’s victory over its private foreign creditors was total. What’s more, when the country decided a few years later to issue new debt securities on the financial markets, the investors crowded in to buy them. That is proof that suspension of payment and debt reduction, far from causing catastrophe, in no way prevent holders of big capital from again lending to the country. That is because they are convinced that the country’s situation has improved. [12] It is important keep this phenomenon well in mind in order to counter the narratives predicting catastrophe that are used to convince public authorities and the population of indebted countries that they must continue repaying debt at any cost. It is also important to assert the fact that alternatives to a return to the financial markets do exist. A policy of fiscal justice must enable to finance the State by forcing the wealthiest individuals and the major corporations to pay much higher taxes, which limits recourse to indebtedness on the backs of the public. Unfortunately that is not what the Correa government did. There were no such major tax reforms; the increases in tax collection were achieved mainly through the fight against tax evasion and thanks to growth of the economy.

Even if the government’s actions in the area of debt were beneficial, as we have just seen, it is important to stress the fact that the debt audit commission (CAIC) wanted to go beyond the measures that in fact were taken, and it is regrettable that the government and Rafael Correa did not take that path.

 The debt audit commission (CAIC) wanted to go beyond the measures that were taken

CAIC report available in english and castilian

In its recommendations, [13] the CAIC proposed to end repayment of other very large amounts of debt that correspond to debt claimed by the World Bank, by other multilateral institutions and by bilateral creditors such as Brazil, Japan and European countries. It was also recommended that legal action be brought against the parties, both national and foreign, responsible for illegitimate debt. At that level, based on the work of the CAIC, Ecuador’s Public Prosecutors’ office began examining the responsibility of high civil servants who allegedly committed various crimes when entering into or re-negotiating debt contracts during the 1990s and early the 2000s. However, no strong sentences were handed down and none of the parties guilty of contracting fraudulent debt were jailed since neither the judicial authorities nor the government chose to pursue matters. See the Annex at the end of the article for details of the CAIC’s recommendations of September 2008.

In the end the government followed only one of the Commission’s recommendations. It nevertheless went farther than all the other so-called “progressive” governments of that period. Rafael Correa and also Ricardo Patiño, who successively held several functions in the government and who chaired the CAIC, tried to persuade other heads of state such as Evo Morales, Hugo Chávez and Fernando Lugo to create comprehensive debt audit commissions in their countries. But to no effect. Ecuador remained isolated where the issue of debt was concerned; the other governments of the region (including Venezuela’s and Bolivia’s) continued repayments and did not conduct debt audits.

Only Paraguay, and then only temporarily, tried to launch an audit of its debt with citizen participation at the end of 2008 and early in 2009. It was in that context that I was invited by President Fernando Lugo to participate in the creation of an audit commission on the Ecuadorian model. [14] In Paraguay’s case, the initiative for an international audit with citizen participation was abortive due to pressure from the Brazilian government during Lula’s presidency. It should be noted that major Brazilian corporations are creditors of Paraguay, which they exploit. At a point where he was to sign the presidential decree creating the audit commission, Fernando Lugo finally caved into pressure from Lula and his government, who were protecting the Brazilian creditor companies. Lula, to convince the Paraguayan government to drop the idea of conducting an international audit and challenging the debt claimed by Brazilian companies, made a few marginal concessions and increased the amount paid annually to Paraguay by Brazil for the electricity supplied by the Itaipu dam. [15] Having said that, despite the pressure from Brazil, an audit was nonetheless conducted by the Comptroller’s Office in 2010 and 2011, [16] and I returned to Paraguay at that time at the invitation of President Lugo. But no suspension of payment of the debts identified as illegitimate and odious came about. In June 2012, President Lugo was finally ousted by a “parliamentary coup,” to use the formula that had been used in 2009 in Honduras and was applied to Brazil in 2016 to oust Dilma Rousseff, who succeeded Lula as Brazil’s president in 2010. [17]

 The negative role played by the Brazilian government under Lula

The negative role played by the Brazilian government under Lula’s presidency was not limited to the sabotage of the audit in Paraguay. It also manifested itself in the context of Ecuador’s debt. The Lula government protected the interests of Odebrecht, a very large private Brazilian public-works company.

In September 2008, Rafael Correa and his government decided to expel Odebrecht because the firm was responsible for very serious construction defects in a hydroelectric power plant (the one at San Francisco), with the result that it remained shut down for a long time. Odebrecht, who build public-works projects all over the Latin American continent, are notorious for their policies of bribery, over-billing, non-fulfillment of contracts and environmental deterioration. The firm had the systematic support of the Brazilian State, which lent public monies to governments in the region in exchange for their entrusting large contracts to Odebrecht. Between 2001 and 2016 the company allegedly paid nearly 788 million dollars in bribes in exchange for public-works contracts in ten Latin American countries – Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Venezuela –and two African countries, Angola and Mozambique.

In Ecuador’s case, the cost of the San Francisco hydroelectric plant exceeded 600 million dollars. In 2007–2008 the CAIC audited the debts related to the power plant and had concluded that they should be cancelled. Rafael Correa announced he was suspending repayment of the debt to Brazil connected with the project.

By unilaterally expelling Odebrecht from the country and sending the army to take control of the installations, as was done in September 2008, Rafael Correa took very strong sovereign action which led to conflict between Ecuador and Brazil, which is one of the country’s two main bilateral creditors. To signal his discontent and pressure Correa, Lula recalled his ambassador. Finally, Correa caved in to Brasilia’s pressure and agreed to have the case against Odebrecht heard by an arbitration court in Paris. The members of the CAIC were pleased at Odebrecht’s expulsion and the strong measures taken by Correa. But when he announced the decision to seek arbitration in Paris, I immediately understood that the whole affair would not end favourably for Ecuador. When I saw Rafael Correa again, in January 2011 on the occasion of the final meeting of the CAIC, I challenged him on the subject and he answered by using an image. He told me that what had happened was like a fixed football match during which one of the teams throws the match to the point of scoring a goal against its own side. He admitted that he had given in to pressure from the Brazilian government. Also, during that meeting, held at the presidential palace in January 2011, Rafael Correa proposed that, on the basis of the CAIC’s conclusions in 2008, Ecuador challenge the debts whose payment was being demanded by another major creditor. After discussion, it was decided to suspend repayment of the debts held by the World Bank. When the time came to put that decision into practice, the new Finance Minister opposed it, and payments to the Bank continued. Worse still, beginning in 2014, the government negotiated new loans from the World Bank. [18]

 Annex to Part 2: GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE COMPREHENSIVE PUBLIC DEBT AUDIT COMMISSION of ECUADOR (CAIC)

The following text is entirely based on the CAIC Report. [19].

1. Suspend debt-servicing payments of specific categories of public external debt (see below).

2. File civil and criminal actions in Ecuador’s courts against those presumed responsible for illegal acts in the indebtedness process, including illicit personal gain, from 1976 to 2006, on the basis of evidence provided by the CAIC and using the doctrine of continuous commission of a crime, which is imprescriptible. That would include representatives of foreign banks reported to have taken part in fraudulent acts.

3. Ask the United Nations General Assembly to request an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on two aspects: a) the unilateral decision to raise interest rates which began in the year 1979, and b) the legal standards which regulate international contraction of public debt.

4. Carry out a compulsory survey of present holders of the country’s external and internal public debt paper in order to determine their identities, the acquisition price and the origin of the funds invested in these purchases.

5. Continue with the audit procedure for as yet unaudited loan contracts.

6. Define new policies to finance the State and new policies for the use of the funds, which respect the principles of transparency and accountability in the Nation’s best interests.

7. Establish specific regulations regarding the process of public indebtedness which includes the creation of a centralized level of evaluation and control throughout the cycle of indebtedness. This is of particular importance for the technical and financial viability of projects, due to their high priority, and for the control of work executed.

8. Publish the results of the audit on an international level.



RECOMMENDATIONS BY CATEGORY OF DEBT

Commercial debt

1. Suspend servicing payments on Global bonds (see Box) using one of two alternative methods:

1.1. A sovereign act declaring the Global bonds null and void, accompanied by immediate suspension of payment. The decision of immediate suspension of payment may be accompanied by legal actions in Ecuador (and/or outside Ecuador) to:

a) Denounce before a court of law all the acts and contracts which regulated the Global bonds, taking into account proof of illegality and illegitimacy as established in the CAIC Report. The Report provides evidence of a series of acts that contravene Ecuadorian law, including acts of collusion and fraud in violation of the Constitution and of principles of Human Rights, having detrimental economic and moral effects on Ecuador;

b) Judge those responsible, both within and outside the country, who took part in the process of setting up and issuing Global bonds 2012, 2030 as well as the ensuing operations; […]

1.2. One member of the Legal Commission suggests the following alternative:

Denounce before the courts of the United States contracts relating to the Brady Plan (see Box in Part 1) followed by contracts relating to Global bonds issued in 2000, to expose the existence of illegal clauses which violate Ecuadorian law and order and also infringe Equity
Equity
The capital put into an enterprise by the shareholders. Not to be confused with ’hard capital’ or ’unsecured debt’.
, which regulates contracts in the United States. At the same time, suspend payment of such securities by depositing the corresponding sums in the State Bank or in a banking institution selected by the President.

This positioning gave rise to debate within the CAIC’s Sub-Commission on commercial debt. Its members considered that the amount in question would thus become an unproductive asset
Asset
Something belonging to an individual or a business that has value or the power to earn money (FT). The opposite of assets are liabilities, that is the part of the balance sheet reflecting a company’s resources (the capital contributed by the partners, provisions for contingencies and charges, as well as the outstanding debts).
and cancel out the attitude of non-payment. The resources issuing from non-payment would not then be able to serve the interests of the country, and the cost of indebtedness would remain unchanged, preventing social and productive investments.



Multilateral debt

1. Study strategies for requiring respect of Human Rights affected by indebtedness within the context of the international system of the United Nations.

2. Request that the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issue a consultative opinion on the consequences of debt on Human Rights.

3. Regarding service of the multilateral loans audited, the following alternatives are recommended:

a. Suspend servicing payment of the nine loans (6 multilateral and 3 bilateral) used for the purchase of collateral
Collateral
Transferable assets or a guarantee serving as security against the repayment of a loan, should the borrower default.
for the Brady bonds and submit them to the process of contesting the Brady Plan which the government of Ecuador could decide to adopt. Suspend servicing payment of the MOSTA and PERTAL loans, which are part of the package purchase of collateral affected by the conditionalities of all the loans contracted in a situation of emergency.

b. A sovereign act by the State of Ecuador unilaterally declaring null and void the 42 multilateral loans audited (including three bilateral ones co-financed with multilateral loans) and suspension of their repayment, with an unpaid balance of approximately 720 million dollars, not including future interest.

Push for a comprehensive audit of the other multilateral loans that were not audited and declare suspension in temporis of their repayment.

c. A sovereign act by the State of Ecuador unilaterally declaring null and void the 17 World Bank loans subject to audit (unpaid balance approximately 355 million dollars, not including future interest) and suspension of their repayment. The World Bank is the institution whose actions are most often called into question, and the one that has interfered most in the country’s internal affairs. In parallel, repayment of the World Bank loans that have not yet been audited could be suspended in temporis so that they can undergo audit.



Bilateral debt

For government-to-government loans

1. Retain legal counsel in each country in order to evaluate the possibility of filing for invalidity and reparations, on the basis of the criteria of illegitimacy and illegality. It needs to be pointed out that the possibility of counter filings exists. That is why it is necessary to have specialists to rely on, people with knowledge and experience of the creditor country’s legislation, to attempt to guarantee that the claims have maximum chances of success.

2. File for invalidity of the loan contract entered into with Italy for the Marcel Laniado de Wind hydroelectric plant, on the basis of the evidence of violations of Ecuadorian and Italian law.

3. In the case of the loan granted by Brazil’s BNDES for the San Francisco hydroelectric project, it is recommended that legal actions be taken to obtain reparations for damages and lost revenue caused by non-compliance with the contract by the construction firm during execution of the works and that the loan contract with the Brazilian bank be declared invalid due to the imposition of contractual conditions that are detrimental to the country.

4. Review the presence of various foreign companies (Odebrecht, Andrade Gutiérrez) who operate in the country as being the result and the consequence of the related aid to ensure better respect for the interests of the nation of Ecuador.



For the Paris Club
Paris Club
This group of lender States was founded in 1956 and specializes in dealing with non-payment by developing countries.

5. Cease negotiating with the Paris Club, which serves the interests of the creditor countries.

6. Begin bilateral negotiations with the member countries of the Paris Club to obtain partial or total cancellation of debt related to existing bilateral agreements.

In cases where bilateral negotiation would not be positive, another strategy must be used – among other possibilities, request an opinion from the International Court of Justice in The Hague, suspension of payment, etc.



Internal debt

1. Reduce issuances of internal-debt bonds for repayment of external debt in order to avoid high costs on the financial market
Financial market
The market for long-term capital. It comprises a primary market, where new issues are sold, and a secondary market, where existing securities are traded. Aside from the regulated markets, there are over-the-counter markets which are not required to meet minimum conditions.

2. Formulate a policy of reducing the costs of internal public indebtedness in order to avoid onerous obligations on the budget of the State, both as regards public investment and marketing of bonds.

3. Discontinuation of AGD bonds (Law 98-17) by the Central Bank of Ecuador.

End of Annex

End of Part 2

End of the series



Translated by Snake Arbusto and Vicki Briault

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A grandiose dream to carve out a giant coal mine in frozen eastern Siberia https://jazzfin.com/a-grandiose-dream-to-carve-out-a-giant-coal-mine-in-frozen-eastern-siberia/ https://jazzfin.com/a-grandiose-dream-to-carve-out-a-giant-coal-mine-in-frozen-eastern-siberia/#respond Mon, 16 Aug 2021 09:43:50 +0000 https://jazzfin.com/?p=84 ELGA, Russia – No one on the train knew what time it would arrive at its destination. For hour after hour it snaked through the snow-covered forests of far eastern Siberia without passing a single settlement. In the corridors between carriages, where some of the 100 or so men and three women on board gathered […]]]>

No one on the train knew what time it would arrive at its destination. For hour after hour it snaked through the snow-covered forests of far eastern Siberia without passing a single settlement.

In the corridors between carriages, where some of the 100 or so men and three women on board gathered to shiver and smoke, even the door handles had grown a thick coating of ice.

Some said they’d heard the train would arrive by nightfall. Others caught the last dregs of phone signal and tried to check the map.

“Are you in shock yet, about where you’re going?” 39-year-old Evgeniy Shiraev asked his neighbor, although Shiraev, like most of the people onboard, had never been before.

Uneasy, they watched the train turn off the normal route and leave the Russian railway network behind. From there it would make its way north, by a 321-kilometer private railroad. There would be no more stops.

The passengers were heading to the Elga coal deposit, where they would work to realize the grandiose dream of an investor who’d bought the site a few months before: To turn the far-flung quarry into one of the world’s biggest coal mines and, out of the permanently frozen earth, to build a new town from scratch.

It may seem perilous to pour billions into coal as many countries begin to turn away from the polluting fossil fuel — never mind taking on a project that helped plunge the previous owner so deep into debt settlement Forbes magazine once nicknamed him Russia’s “poorest oligarch.”

But the vision of Elga as a new coal behemoth epitomizes Moscow’s contrarian view of the global energy transition underway. Far from backing away from coal, Moscow is doubling down: Last summer, the Russian government approved an energy strategy that could see its coal output increase by up to 50% by 2035.

And despite its forbidding terrain, Elga is geographically lucky in one respect. The Kuzbass, Russia’s traditional coal-mining heartland in western Siberia, faces a European market that is rapidly ditching coal on climate concerns. Elga is in Russia’s Far East, close to ports that face Asia, where coal use is expected to continue to grow for some time — particularly for the high-quality coking coal, used in the metals industry, that Elga produces.

That, at least, is the bet on Elga. Soon, its operators could enlist tens of thousands of men and women to work in one of Siberia’s most isolated corners, shock troops in a mighty battle against nature.

On the train to Elga, the miners killed time over card games and sips of chifir, a drink brewed using eight tea bags per cup, its heady, nauseating kick a common replacement for alcohol in Russian prisons. And they waited to reach Elga at last.

A mine’s troubled past

Over a 38-year career, Vladimir Khripkov has helped build some of Russia’s most challenging mines. He has dug new mines from scratch and managed a project in frigid Magadan, a region first mined in the 1930s by prisoners of the gulag camps. His speech is peppered with grisly stories from the past.

Nevertheless, his new post as Elga’s quarry director seemed a step beyond. Several people advised him not to take the job.

“I can still turn around,” Khripkov said while en route to Elga for the first time. “I’ll take a look at what’s there, and I may decide not to stay.”

With an estimated 2.2 billion metric tons of coal, Elga could be one of the biggest mines in the world. But the harsh climate, unforgiving terrain and sheer isolation of the area have conspired against its large-scale development so far. Winter temperatures can slip below minus 60 degrees Celsius. Snow cover holds for eight to nine months of the year.

Attempting to turn it into a large-scale mine helped bring Elga’s previous owner to the brink of bankruptcy.

Mechel, a mining firm controlled by Igor Zyuzin, bought the license to develop Elga in 2007, spending $2.3 billion to acquire it as part of a regional coal complex. It invested a further $1 billion developing Elga.

Founded in 2003, Mechel spent its early years aggressively buying up metals plants and the coking coal mines that could supply them. By the time the 2008 financial crisis hit, Mechel had taken on $5 billion in debt.

Global coal prices began to slump in 2011. By 2013, Mechel’s debt level had almost doubled.

In 2020, Zyuzin decided to sell. Enter Elga’s unlikely new owner, Albert Avdolyan, who made his money in telecommunications. His investment firm, A-Property, bought Elga for $1.9 billion.

The Chernigovsky opencast colliery, outside the town of Beryozovsky in Siberia, Russia. Last summer, the Russian government approved an energy strategy that would see coal output rise from 441 million tons per year in 2019 to between 485 million tons and 668 million tons by 2035. | REUTERS

Avdolyan, an early investor in mobile broadband in Russia, co-founded the Yota startup in 2007. Five years later, the firm struck a profitable deal for its sale to Megafon, the country’s second-biggest mobile phone operator.

Since then, Avdolyan, 50, has targeted companies in crisis — including an indebted fertilizer producer and a natural-gas company in the Yakutia region whose previous owner was arrested on embezzlement charges, which he denies.

A-Property plans to invest a further $1.7 billion on Elga’s development and sees it as part of a far eastern industrial cluster, together with the gas producer, another coal mine and a coal-loading port on the Sea of Japan.

The scale of Avdolyan’s vision is huge: Elga’s new managers have been tasked with lifting output from 4 million tons of coal in 2019 to a staggering 45 million tons by 2023.

That goal is overly ambitious, said Maxim Khudalov, an analyst and former director at the ACRA ratings agency. “There are so many restricting factors … that will get in the way of Elga’s plans,” he said.

From the need to expand the railroad connecting Elga to the world to the limits on what federal railways are able to transport and ports able to load, Khudalov said, many factors were beyond A-Property’s control. He predicted that around half the company’s coal production goal is a realistic forecast.

Although it described its plans as ambitious, the company says it is completely on track. Its output last year was record-breaking for Elga, a spokeswoman said. It produced 230% more coal in the first three months of this year than the same time last year, another record.

Khripkov, Elga’s new mining director, said he’d left retirement to take on this new job. Perhaps if his hobby of cultivating 40 types of roses had kept his attention, he’d have stayed away. As he was driven to the Siberian town of Tynda, where he would meet and board the train to Elga for the first time, he wasn’t sure when he’d be returning home.

Talking with his driver as the road to Tynda gradually turned from asphalt to a mixture of gravel and ice, Khripkov asked about the winters that awaited him in this part of the world.

“We survived where even the mammoths died out,” the driver replied.

Russia goes big on coal

Though grand, Elga’s ambitions are in line with Russia’s declared strategy to ramp up output and exports of coal. The eight years preceding the coronavirus pandemic saw its coal output grow by 30%, or about 100 million tons.

Last summer, the Russian government approved an energy strategy that would see coal output rise from 441 million tons per year in 2019 to between 485 million tons and 668 million tons by 2035.

Private and state firms are working to expand coal ports and rail transport capacity. Last year, Russia saw the launch of its biggest underground coal mine, Inaglinskiy. “There hasn’t been a construction project like this since Soviet times,” its backers said.

As the world’s largest exporter of energy resources, Russia’s stance on the global energy transition matters.

Despite its plans to increase its coal output, Russia isn’t in denial about a global shift away from the fossil fuel, analyst Khudalov said. Instead, it’s trying to maximize extraction while it still can.

“Now we understand that we have a lot of coal that, very soon, no one is going to need,” he said. “If we don’t sell it in the next 10-20 years, there won’t be any point in mining it.”

Russia’s government is confident that coal use in Asia will continue to grow for some time. “Growth prospects are primarily related to the growing market of the Asia-Pacific region,” Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said in a coal report last year.

Moreover, the coking coal that Elga produces is used primarily in the production of steel. It has no ready replacement, and so demand remains strong. According to the International Energy Agency, “substitution of steel production from iron ore at scale without coal is not expected in the near term.”

Since last year, China has also placed an effective ban on coal imports from Australia — Russia’s main competitor in coking coal. Diplomatic relations between the two soured after Australia called for an inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus, prompting trade reprisals from Beijing.

“Now they’re working with our coal,” the A-Property spokeswoman noted. The company recently announced a joint venture with a Chinese shipping firm to facilitate imports of Elga coal to China. Cited in the same statement, China’s ambassador to Moscow congratulated the two companies, describing the deal as a new model of energy cooperation between Russia and China.

Humans vs. nature

Just after 4:30 p.m., with the winter sky long dark, an explosion rocked Elga, a ball of fire rising slowly into the night.

For several seconds, the landscape — the rolling, snow-covered hills, the open-pit mine that lay across them like an open wound — turned orange.

A few workers paused to watch the blast from a lookout point. Inna Losyuk, Elga’s managing director, leaned against her car.

Almost every day, Losyuk said, drill-and-blast teams move along the outer edges of the Elga pit, boring holes and filling them with explosive emulsion. The blasts dislodge the surface of the earth, removing a 10- to 20-meter-thick layer to reveal the coal underneath.

Tuvan shepherds travel on a sledge harnessed with an Asian two-humped camel in southern Siberia. | REUTERS
Tuvan shepherds travel on a sledge harnessed with an Asian two-humped camel in southern Siberia. | REUTERS

Losyuk is from the Kuzbass coal basin in western Siberia. So is Khripkov. The two had worked together in the early days of their careers, in the region’s Lenin mine.

“We hadn’t seen each other for 20 years, until yesterday,” Losyuk said, standing in her bungalow office, desks swathed in enormous geological maps.

Losyuk’s whole family worked in coal in the Kuzbass; only her mother was a teacher rather than a miner, she said. Almost all the men on the train to Elga were also from the Kuzbass.

Historically, the region has exported coal primarily to Europe. But European demand for coal is falling fast.

On Dec. 1, Germany announced the closure of 11 coal-powered electricity plants, another blow for the Kuzbass. En route to Elga, Khripkov had joked to the German photographer accompanying us: “Maybe we should kidnap you, and tell Germany that we will only give you back if it starts buying our coal again.”

As Elga’s on-site director, Losyuk bears a hefty chunk of the responsibility for realizing the targets set for the mine.

She arrived in spring last year, when Elga first changed hands, and soon settled into her unusual new home.

Many at Elga spoke with wonder of the nature around them. Losyuk showed photos on her phone of the bear that liked to loiter by her bungalow when the forest was still green, and of the mountains of mushrooms she picked once autumn set in. She also spoke with pride about the progress the miners had made, blowing up the landscape to expand the mine. Elga’s excavated area covers 6 square kilometers so far. The territory under license, however, covers 100 square kilometers.

“We are moving the horizon,” Losyuk said of the disruptive work.

A-Property said it takes great care of the environment, including in the building of the new town. Any deforestation is carefully replaced. Protecting the integrity of local ecosystems is listed by A-Property as a key principle of its approach.

Moreover, new excavators used at the mine run on electricity produced using hydropower, the company said, and as much of the other work as possible will soon be run this way.

By October, the team had raised output from around 300,000 tons to 1 million tons of coal per month. But the megaproject’s ambitions extend well beyond coal.

On a hill above the mine stand a cluster of grey huts, dormitories, and unhooked train wagons. They’re set around an open space known at Elga as Red Square.

“There are no conditions for living here yet,” Losyuk said. “But there will be,” she added, citing the mine’s new owner.

“We will have a city here. Albert said so.”

Build it and they will come

On one of the hills at Elga, two young engineers from Moscow had placed a total station, a device used to measure and map the surface of the Earth.

The instrument’s glass eye pointed out, away from the mine. The engineers stood by, gesturing with animation at the empty, frozen wilderness below.

They were searching for the perfect spot to build an airport.

The airport will come complete with runways fit for Boeing 737s, they said. It will service the town that Elga’s new owners plan to build.

The town will be a permanent home for more than 20,000 people, according to the plan.

The Beryozovsky opencast colliery near the Siberian town of Sharypovo, Russia. Russia's government is confident that coal use in Asia will continue to grow for some time.
The Beryozovsky opencast colliery near the Siberian town of Sharypovo, Russia. Russia’s government is confident that coal use in Asia will continue to grow for some time. “Growth prospects are primarily related to the growing market of the Asia-Pacific region,” Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said in a coal report last year. | REUTERS

Work has already begun on the first new housing blocks for the growing number of workers at Elga. Set at some distance from the mine, far enough away that no debris from its regular explosions can reach, are two new blocks for 300 workers each.

The town-to-be will be no small feat to build, said Evgeny Baranov, Elga’s construction director.

He pointed to one block where workers had already moved in. Plastic bags with food hung out of some of the windows, using the freezing air for a fridge.

The large building stood awkwardly on stilts, аt least a meter off the ground. Nothing at Elga, Baranov explained, can be built on the ground itself. Anything touching the ground will freeze from the floor up.

Building materials are also absent. “You can’t make cement out of coal,” Baranov said. “Everything has to be transported from the mainland.” Elga is so isolated that many of its residents describe the rest of Russia as “the mainland” or “the continent,” as if they were living on an island off its shores.

But Elga is expanding, and workers’ housing is springing up fast. Baranov’s team had almost finished the construction of warm, clean housing for a further 1,350 people.

Around Elga’s Red Square stand a small grocery store, the dining hall, laundry and a Russian banya steam bath. A hairdresser had opened the previous week. A psychological counseling service was due to open soon.

Around 2,000 people currently work at the site. Shifts tend to be 12 hours on, 12 hours off, without weekends, for 45 to 60 days. After a stint at home, workers have the option of returning.

Life at Elga is mentally tough, several people said. “It’s a bit like jail here. … I don’t know what day of the week it is anymore,” Baranov said. He had been at Elga for six months straight.

For some, the remoteness, the wild nature, is a pull to return. Ludmila Ashotova, the site’s superintendent, who is also from the Kuzbass region, said her stint was up but she felt drawn to the place and planned to come back. “You don’t end up here by accident,” she said. “It’s a place for the strong.”

Recently, when someone at Elga suffered a stroke, it took three days for a medical evacuation helicopter to arrive, the site’s nurse, Gulfia Agisheva, said.

Normally, emergency health care works, she said, but there was a particularly bad snowstorm that week.

A private railroad

Elga’s success hangs on a single steel thread. There is no other way for the coal mined at the site to be transported out other than by the private railroad, and the project’s success depends on the line’s expansion.

Construction of the track first began as a government project in 2000 but was soon abandoned. Mechel, Elga’s previous owner, restarted work, a titanic project that involved building 76 rail bridges across difficult, mountainous terrain. More than 80% of its spending on developing Elga went on the track.

Elga’s new owners have introduced the first heavy-freight train and made other changes to the line, so far increasing the amount of coal it can transport to 18 million tons per year. More changes will raise those volumes to meet the mine’s output targets, A-Property said.

But the journey remains fraught. En route to Elga by train, the incoming workers exchanged stories about the accidents they’d heard about on the track.

A freight train taking the same route the next day would fall off the tracks on a turn, its empty cargo cars rolling down the hillside and burying at odd angles into the snow. Nine days later, another crash; this time, one person died. A-Property said the incident related to the work of a contractor company and that it is bringing on an independent firm that will provide occupational safety training.

Workers can also make the journey by truck-bus on a very rocky road. The toughness of the route has an almost mythical status at Elga. Losyuk suggested that Ashotova, her superintendent, wear a medical corset on the journey, to protect her spine.

But in winter, if the weather has been clear and the road is a well-packed avenue of snow, the trip can take as little as eight hours.

Truck-buses with workers leaving Elga weave across mountains and rivers, the low, winter sun at times surrounded by a glowing halo — sunlight refracted in millions of ice crystals suspended in the sky.

The region surrounding Elga is a fragile and special wilderness, some parts newly protected as national parks and reserves.

Deep valleys hollowed out by ancient glaciers spill into untouched spruce and conifer forests. Small taiga lakes play home, every autumn and spring, to flocks of migrating Siberian cranes, one of dozens of at-risk species that reside in the area.

Another park could soon be created to Elga’s east. It will protect a lake that has existed since the Ice Age, a rare window into our geological past.

As the truck-bus made its way out of Elga, the ramparts of snow on either side of the road bore a blanket of coal dust. But by the time it reached a nearby mountain pass, the snowy world had turned a perfect white once more.

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Consolidation of U.S. oil producers in the Gulf of Mexico accelerates https://jazzfin.com/consolidation-of-u-s-oil-producers-in-the-gulf-of-mexico-accelerates/ https://jazzfin.com/consolidation-of-u-s-oil-producers-in-the-gulf-of-mexico-accelerates/#respond Mon, 16 Aug 2021 09:37:00 +0000 https://jazzfin.com/consolidation-of-u-s-oil-producers-in-the-gulf-of-mexico-accelerates/ HOUSTON, Aug.16 (Reuters) – U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil and gas producers have consolidated at a faster rate during the pandemic, new government data shows, as falling prices crowded out small drillers who were seen as the future of the industry. The dominance of major Gulf producers is looming as the industry’s technology showcase, the […]]]>

HOUSTON, Aug.16 (Reuters) – U.S. Gulf of Mexico oil and gas producers have consolidated at a faster rate during the pandemic, new government data shows, as falling prices crowded out small drillers who were seen as the future of the industry.

The dominance of major Gulf producers is looming as the industry’s technology showcase, the Offshore Technology Conference, officially kicks off in Houston on Monday. The event, which has drawn more than 60,000 people and thousands of exhibitors in previous years, will be smaller this year due to business cutbacks and coronavirus-induced travel restrictions. Read more

The pandemic, as well as the recurring stops of hurricanes, accelerated the disappearance of some producers in the Gulf of Mexico. Small, privately funded companies that have ventured into offshore fields over the past decade have struggled, leading many to exit while others have slipped into bankruptcy.

“We will only see one more consolidation,” said Colin White, analyst at consultant Rystad Energy. Producers backed by private capital are swallowed up by larger companies or abandon exploration for safer infrastructure investments, he said.

The top 10 producers – led by Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L), BP Plc (BP.L) and Chevron (CVX.N) – this year pumped 86% of the 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) of region, up about 11 percentage points since 2017, data from the regulator Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) shows.

Two tightly owned offshore drillers, Fieldwood Energy and Arena Energy, went bankrupt in 2020 as crude oil prices plummeted. US energy experts predict that production return to its peak 1.9 million bpd by 2022.

Arena emerged with its debt settlement extinguished and a reduced drilling program. But the US suspension of offshore auctions “has certainly cooled all potential investors,” said Michael Minarovic, managing director.

NEW PROJECTS TAKE OFF

BP expects first production early next year on a 140,000 bpd project, Shell recently approved a 100,000 bpd field that will begin production in 2024, and Chevron is preparing to operate a field at very high pressure that could pave the way for a series of new wells, said Neil Menzies, general manager of Chevron’s capital projects for its Gulf of Mexico business unit.

“We expect to grow to around 400,000 bpd by the middle of the decade,” said Starlee Sykes, BP’s senior vice president for Gulf operations, from around 350,000 bpd currently. With advanced seismic and high pressure technologies, “I am optimistic that the Gulf of Mexico will be there for a very long time,” she said.

Consolidation has reduced the number of Gulf producers to around 49 today, down from 60 five years ago. Financing for small businesses has dried up, leaving future sinks in the hands of large operators who can self-finance their operations.

“The amount of regulation and the overhead make it difficult (for small businesses),” said Ryan Smith, senior director of commodity research at energy data provider East Daley Capital. “Bigger operators are used to overhead.”

The oil majors are renewing their investments due to the low carbon intensity of the region’s production. Offshore wells are under high pressure, which means oil flows easily to the surface instead of needing carbon-emitting boosters. U.S. regulators’ ban on routine flaring has also fueled a vast network of pipelines, resulting in a lower carbon footprint than many onshore fields, executives said.

Royal Dutch Shell, among others, plans to increase its investments in offshore. U.S. project approvals were unaffected by the Biden administration’s review, executives said.

The US Gulf oil fields, with their proximity to land-based refineries and gas processing plants, are “the closest thing the energy industry has to a farm-to-table restaurant.” said Bill Langin, senior vice president of deepwater exploration at Shell.

Additional reporting by Jessica Resnick-Ault in New York; edited by David Gregorio

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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The 911 report recommends consolidating the communication centers https://jazzfin.com/the-911-report-recommends-consolidating-the-communication-centers/ https://jazzfin.com/the-911-report-recommends-consolidating-the-communication-centers/#respond Mon, 16 Aug 2021 09:07:29 +0000 https://jazzfin.com/the-911-report-recommends-consolidating-the-communication-centers/ The report on the plan to consolidate statewide public safety response points, Federal Engineering, presented to the Arkansas 911 board of directors earlier this summer, recommended that the city of Hot Springs to move its PSAP to the Garland County 911 Communications Center. The recommendation took the city by surprise, as Federal Engineering advised it […]]]>


The report on the plan to consolidate statewide public safety response points, Federal Engineering, presented to the Arkansas 911 board of directors earlier this summer, recommended that the city of Hot Springs to move its PSAP to the Garland County 911 Communications Center.

The recommendation took the city by surprise, as Federal Engineering advised it to expand the PSAP / dispatch center inside the police department as part of the communications upgrade of over 6 million people. dollars on which the city has been working since 2017. This expense included the contract for $ 415,062 the Hot Springs Board of Directors awarded Federal Engineering for its consulting services.

Federal Engineering is the company “we used to come up with our radio communications plan as well as our PSAP dispatch plan,” City Manager Bill Burrough told the board during its working session on establishing targets and budget priorities for 2022 last month. “We have invested several million dollars in our 911 communications and dispatch center.

“Their final report said the Garland County PSAPs should be merged into one, and Garland County should be that one. I have a huge problem with that, just because they drove us over the way of spending money and then making another recommendation to the state.

Burrough said the city is no longer working with the Virginia-based company.

“I feel Federal Engineering owes us money,” he told the board. “We have already notified them to cease and desist from all work for the Town of Hot Springs. I don’t want another bill from them.”

Federal Engineering recommended counties or jurisdictions with populations of less than 150,000 have only one publicly funded primary PSAP. The state has hired the company to outline a plan to reduce the number of PSAPs from more than 100 to less than 80, a reduction imposed by the Public Security Act of 2019.

Primary PSAPs, which can receive 911 calls and dispatch emergency personnel, are funded by fees that telecommunications providers collect from customers. The 2019 law doubled the monthly surcharge from 65 cents to $ 1.30 per device, an increase intended to reduce a $ 20 million shortfall in collections and 911 operations statewide.

The Public Safety Surcharge helps support major city and county PSAPs. The county has budgeted for an allocation of $ 1.6 million, according to the 2021 budget passed by the Garland County Quorum Court. The city’s population-based share of $ 1.6 million was budgeted at $ 573,000.

The supplement does not support secondary PSAPs, which do not have the dual capability of receiving 911 calls and dispatching emergency personnel.

The city and county said call volumes warranted two main PSAPs in Garland County. According to the Federal Engineering report, 911 calls received by the two sites totaled more than 74,000 last year.

County Judge Darryl Mahoney said the area’s tourism industry can increase the number of people in Garland County by up to 75% on busy weekends, creating higher call volumes than counties of similar size or larger.

The 911 Communications Center that the county built in the old detention center next to the sheriff’s department has five consoles. The facility has a capacity of twice that number, said county emergency management office director Bo Robertson.

“We have five fully functional 911 and dispatch stations on the ground,” he said. “We have the plans, the data drops, the power cuts, everything is already done in the wall for five other fully functional dispatch stations and 911.

“We could effectively double our ability to take and dispatch 911 calls on the ground now. All of this is already finished in the wall and the conduit has returned to the server room. “

Former city manager David Frasher rejected a proposal to consolidate 911 the county launched in late 2016, telling The Sentinel-Record that the city wanted to keep its own policies and procedures for responding to 911 calls and send emergency personnel.

Since then, the city has cited other obstacles, such as software incompatibility, to consolidation. Spillman Technologies is the city’s computer-aided dispatch software provider, and Southern Software powers the county’s dispatch system. The city said their incompatibility makes a merger impractical and prohibitive.

“If the city and county agree to consolidate and use a single facility to dispatch calls, we will most likely only be using one system,” said Robertson. “Whichever one is used, the other should convert (their call history data) to the one that’s left over. These conversion fees don’t come cheap.”

The city and county both use AT&T hosted solutions to route 911 calls to their PSAPs. The platform cuts down on transfers inherent in a county with two main PSAPs, but Burrough told council calls are sometimes misrouted.

“Even with the triangulation, we still have issues now where I could be in town and hit a tower in the county and talk to the county first,” he said. “These things are going to happen again.”

Burrough told City Council that if consolidation goes ahead, the city will continue to send its emergency personnel out of the police department’s dispatch center. This would require that 911 calls for municipal service be transferred to police service dispatchers, which would delay response times.

Mahoney said the county and city plan to ask the 911 board to keep their respective PSAPs.

“I think the city of Hot Springs and Garland County are both trying to put some numbers together to see what it would take to consolidate,” he said. “We don’t want to sacrifice service. We both have great dispatch centers right now. They are doing a fantastic job.

“It will probably be a long term process to try to consolidate. I think we have room here to develop and accept all the sending people into our facility. This is something that we will be working with the city to do. see where we’ll have the best service. Our first option will be to go back to the 911 board and submit a proposal to try to keep two here. “



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Vivint to pay $ 20 million FTC settlement for misuse of credit reports https://jazzfin.com/vivint-to-pay-20-million-ftc-settlement-for-misuse-of-credit-reports/ https://jazzfin.com/vivint-to-pay-20-million-ftc-settlement-for-misuse-of-credit-reports/#respond Fri, 07 May 2021 04:37:13 +0000 https://jazzfin.com/vivint-to-pay-20-million-ftc-settlement-for-misuse-of-credit-reports/ Vivint has agreed to pay the FTC a $ 20 million settlement over allegations the company abused credit reports to help unqualified customers obtain financing for their products and services. (Image courtesy of bigstockphoto.com) The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced Thursday that Vivint agreed to pay a $ 20 million settlement following allegations […]]]>

Vivint has agreed to pay the FTC a $ 20 million settlement over allegations the company abused credit reports to help unqualified customers obtain financing for their products and services.

(Image courtesy of bigstockphoto.com)

The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced Thursday that Vivint agreed to pay a $ 20 million settlement following allegations that the company abused credit reports to help unqualified customers obtain financing for their products and services.

Under the settlement, $ 15 million will be levied as a civil penalty against the company while the remaining $ 5 million will be used to compensate aggrieved consumers.

According to a complaint filed by the FTC, the conduct of Vivint employees in obtaining these credit reports was a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Additionally, the FTC alleged that Vivint violated the agency’s red flag rule by failing to implement an identity theft prevention program, which is required of some businesses that regularly use or obtain reports from. credit. The $ 20 million settlement is the largest to date in an FCRA case.

Specifically, the FTC claims that some Vivint sales reps, many of whom still work door-to-door, on commission only, used a process known as “white paging,” which involves finding a consumer. with the same or similar name. on the White Pages application and using their history to qualify the potential client for funding. Some of these reps even asked customers to provide the names of relatives or other people they knew who had better credit, and then added that person as a co-signer on the account without their permission.

When clients defaulted on the loans, Vivint then allegedly referred these innocent parties to a debt buyer, potentially damaging their credit and subjecting them to debt collectors.

The FTC alleges that Vivint was aware of the problem and even fired many responsible sales representatives, but rehired some of them soon after.

In one declaration, FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra said company executives were aware of the program, but looked away because it was in the company’s best interest to increase its valuation before going public Last year.

“What happened in the interim period between the Blackstone takeover and the IPO was a disturbing pattern of pervasive fraud that Vivint’s management did little to stop, which, according to the Commission, occurred between 2016 and 2019 or so, “wrote Chopra. “As in the Wells Fargo fake account system, Vivint was aware of the alleged fraud, but did little to resolve the issue. It seems that management has turned a blind eye to the scam as the company may increase its sales numbers in order to get a higher valuation when it goes public. ”

In addition to the financial penalty, Vivint will have to implement an employee monitoring and training program, as well as an identity theft prevention program as part of the settlement. The company will also be required to set up a client task force to verify that accounts belong to the correct client before referring them to a debt settlement and must also assist consumers who have been incorrectly referred to a debt collector.

In addition, Vivint must obtain biennial evaluations by an independent third party to ensure that the company is in compliance with the FCRA.

“We are delighted to have resolved this issue related to certain historical practices,” a Vivint spokesperson told SecurityInfoWatch.com in a statement. “We had already taken steps before the FTC began its review to strengthen our compliance policies and will continue to make this a goal going forward. We are deeply committed to operating with integrity and providing exceptional service to our customers. ”

Joel Griffin is the editor of SecurityInfoWatch.com and a veteran security reporter. You can reach him at joel@securityinfowatch.com.

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Hospitals take advantage of injured car wreck victims with sky-high bills and privileges | Patrick Malone & Associés PC | DC Personal Injury Lawyers https://jazzfin.com/hospitals-take-advantage-of-injured-car-wreck-victims-with-sky-high-bills-and-privileges-patrick-malone-associes-pc-dc-personal-injury-lawyers/ https://jazzfin.com/hospitals-take-advantage-of-injured-car-wreck-victims-with-sky-high-bills-and-privileges-patrick-malone-associes-pc-dc-personal-injury-lawyers/#respond Fri, 07 May 2021 04:37:13 +0000 https://jazzfin.com/hospitals-take-advantage-of-injured-car-wreck-victims-with-sky-high-bills-and-privileges-patrick-malone-associes-pc-dc-personal-injury-lawyers/ VSviolence investigations may not come too soon revelations about predatory billing by large hospitals and hospital chains against patients for expensive care they received after being injured in wrecked vehicles. The New York Times reported that its investigations have shown that patients, especially the poor and vulnerable, have too often been scammed over treatments their […]]]>


VSviolence investigations may not come too soon revelations about predatory billing by large hospitals and hospital chains against patients for expensive care they received after being injured in wrecked vehicles.

The New York Times reported that its investigations have shown that patients, especially the poor and vulnerable, have too often been scammed over treatments their health insurance could have covered when they were involved in car crashes. Instead, hospitals and hospital chains seek to maximize profits – and supposedly protect themselves against financial loss – by making legal claims against the victims of the wreckage and their finances.

Claims, authorized by age-old practice, are called liens. This is a “legal claim on an asset, like a house or a settlement payment, to ensure that someone is paying off a debt,” The New York Times reported.

Why do this and not just take Medicare payments?

More money.

As the newspaper reports, by filing liens – which give institutions an early, priority claim on individuals’ assets – hospitals can also charge their highest rate for their care, typically sky-high prices that most patients don’t. never see because their insurers, including Medicaid and Medicare, negotiated better rates and would never pay cost.

Christopher Whaley, a health economist at the RAND Corporation that studies hospital prices, told the New York Times he couldn’t understand how institutions and chains could exploit the poor and injured in this way: price charged . It is absolutely unbelievable.

The newspaper, however, cited cases from coast to coast where patients with some form of health coverage found themselves chased by hospitals for payment for care they received after vehicle crashes – even if they repeatedly inform institutions or chains to bill insurers. first. The stress of operating the stimulus is terrible for patients recovering from injuries, and it can be catastrophic for their finances and credit records, as one elderly Virginian found out, according to the New York Times:

Mary Edmison, an 86-year-old widow, said she tried everything to get Mary Washington, a hospital in Fredericksburg, Va., To bill her insurance – Medicare and private coverage – for the treatment she received during her treatment. ‘a 2016 accident. She called; she went to the hospital billing department; she sent a handwritten letter. “Over and over, I have asked Mary Washington to send their invoices through the proper channels,” she wrote in a 2017 letter. “I don’t know what their problem is. In August 2017, the hospital sued her for over $ 6,000. Ms Edmison, who has since settled the matter with the help of a lawyer, was shocked. “I’m on a fixed income and those kinds of charges would have sunk me,” she said. Eric Fletcher, a spokesperson for Mary Washington, declined to comment on Ms Edmison’s case, but said the hospital complied with federal and state privilege laws. “We never want a patient to endure hardship with medical bills,” he said.

But the newspaper reported that a Washington state hospital, in a 2014 lawsuit, found it generated $ 10 million in revenue through liens filed against poor and injured patients who could have been protected by Medicaid. Hospitals and chains have made the legal argument, with varying degrees of success in court, that they can and should force poor patients to pay treatment fees before they strike the government, which insists that ‘it would systematically cover car accident victims’ payments if they were billed.

The New York Times explained the privilege system:

“Many states have adopted [lien laws] at the turn of the 20th century, when less than 10% of Americans had health coverage. The laws were intended to protect hospitals from the burden of caring for uninsured patients and to encourage them to treat those who could not pay upfront. A century later, hospital liens are most often used to sue the debts of victims of car accidents. The practice can be so lucrative, according to documents and interviews, that some hospitals hire outside debt collection companies to search police records for recent accidents to make sure they identify which of their patients might have been in a wreck, so they could sue them with privileges. Some laws limit the portion of patient payments a hospital can claim, and others only allow nonprofit hospitals to collect their debts in this manner. Some states require hospitals to bill accident victims’ health plans rather than using a lien. This approach is considered more user-friendly as patients benefit from the discounts that health plans negotiated on their behalf. “

The newspaper added this:

“When states have permissive hospital privilege laws, some hospitals take advantage of them in ways that harm patients. These hospitals tend to be wealthier, the New York Times found, and many of those that received hundreds of millions of dollars in federal rescue funds during the pandemic are among the most aggressive in pursuing payment by the through hospital privileges. Community Health Systems, which has 86 hospitals across the country, received approximately one quarter of a billion in federal funds during the pandemic, according to data compiled by Good Jobs First, which studies government grants to businesses. One of his Tennessee hospitals refused to bill Jeremy Greenbaum’s Medicare or veterans’ health insurance after a car crash exacerbated an old combat ankle injury. Instead, the hospital filed for liens in 2019 for the full price of its care, according to records. “I could cut my finger and the VA would cover it,” Greenbaum said, adding that “the insurance is just that good.”

“The worst thing,” Greenbaum said, “were the almost constant collection calls that made him feel like a“ real deadbeat. ”Mr. Greenbaum is now part of a lawsuit against the hospital, Tennova Healthcare Clarksville, which accuses her of abusive privilege practices. Ann Metz, spokesperson for Tennova, said that “Tennessee state law allows hospitals to file provider privileges to ensure that health care providers health can be paid for the treatment “.

Let’s see what happens if federal officials intervene. Representative Frank Pallone, Democrat of New Jersey and Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, made this comment on Twitter about the New York Times article:

“Accident victims should be able to focus on their recovery without fear of being exploited. @EnergyCommerce will get to the bottom of this – we need to protect patients from this blatant billing practice. “

In my practice, I see not only harm suffered by patients when seeking medical services, but also the damage that may be inflicted on them and their loved ones by wrecked cars, motorcycles and trucks. These incidents – which unfortunately happen too often nowadays – can be traumatic and life changing, leaving victims weakened and in need of significant care for periods of time until the rest of their lives.

A common and shocking part of what victims and their loved ones experience begins, of course, when they have the least control over their lives – perhaps when they arrive at the hospital and are in desperate need of medical services. Patients and their families at this vulnerable time, however, can be bombarded by financial staff in institutions, demanding tons of information and signatures on piles of papers. The New York Times reported that some of the documents may be consent forms, allowing hospitals to impose privileges on patients for treatment fees, rather than billing their medical insurers.

Patients have learned from the horrific practice of surprise medical billing – in which they faced huge costs from providers outside of their health insurance company’s “tight networks” of licensed caregivers – to do whatever it takes. that they could, given their state of emergency, to avoid signing papers in a hurry. Congress, unexpectedly and bipartisan, rseems to have recently banned the worst parts of these surprise medical bills.

But the warning against putting your John Hancock on anything under medical duress can always be a wise one.

Here’s another professional recommendation that may contradict misconceptions: Patients should consider whether their first calls after a vehicle accident should go beyond their loved ones, perhaps not their insurance agent alone. but also perhaps to an experienced lawyer whom they trust. This may be particularly relevant if the injuries in a case are severe.

Conventional wisdom dictates that an auto insurance agent takes care of an insured after an accident. Perhaps. It’s great if you have a solid gold pro like this.

But remember: agents work for insurance companies, you don’t. Your lawyer, as is the case with our firm, can step in to make sure your insurer is not trying to prevent you from getting the benefits you may be entitled to just to save their employer on expenses in your case. .

Your auto agent certainly can’t help you if you find yourself in a battle with a hospital over their attempt to rip you off on your medical bills, especially if they’re not under your health coverage but a slap in the face. questionable privileges against you. or an aspect of your assets.

As the congressman said, all of this is sketchy and unacceptable behavior on the part of companies that should do better and in your best interests when you need their best the most. We have a lot of work to do to ensure that a road disaster does not turn into a financial nightmare for victims of vehicle wrecks.





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Florida Hospital Overload Lawsuit Class Settlement Approved https://jazzfin.com/florida-hospital-overload-lawsuit-class-settlement-approved/ https://jazzfin.com/florida-hospital-overload-lawsuit-class-settlement-approved/#respond Fri, 07 May 2021 04:37:13 +0000 https://jazzfin.com/florida-hospital-overload-lawsuit-class-settlement-approved/ The Mayo Clinic Jacksonville and a proposed class of 371 patients it has treated for traffic accident injuries have received preliminary approval for a settlement involving claims the health care provider overcharged them, a Florida federal court said. The class was reasonably defined and met all the prerequisites for class certification, the US District Court […]]]>


The Mayo Clinic Jacksonville and a proposed class of 371 patients it has treated for traffic accident injuries have received preliminary approval for a settlement involving claims the health care provider overcharged them, a Florida federal court said.

The class was reasonably defined and met all the prerequisites for class certification, the US District Court for the Middle District of Florida noted Tuesday.

In addition, the total settlement amount of just over $ 1 million seemed sufficient, with the exception of amounts allocated for incentive fees for the named plaintiff and legal fees for class attorneys, said the court.

A recent decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit prohibited the incentive payment, he said. And the court seemed skeptical that the lawyers were entitled to the full amount of the fees they claimed.

Both issues will ultimately be decided in a fairness hearing before final approval on Jan.20, 2021, the court said.

Florida law prohibits medical providers who treat patients with personal injury protection insurance from charging insurers more than a reasonable amount for their services. Insurers can limit the amount they pay to 80% of the maximum amount defined by law, and a provider cannot bill a patient for the rest.

Natalie Kuhr sued Mayo and a collection agency, Professional Service Bureau Inc., under the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act and the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. She alleged that the defendants violated the law by charging the balance of patients whose medical care was covered by injury protection insurance.

Judge Marcia Morales Howard made the order.

Zebersky & Payne LLP represents the proposed category. Foley & Lardner LLP represents Mayo and Professional.

The case is Kuhr v. Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, MD Fla., # 3: 19-cv-453, 10/6/20.



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Lawsuit for road rage accidents https://jazzfin.com/lawsuit-for-road-rage-accidents/ https://jazzfin.com/lawsuit-for-road-rage-accidents/#respond Fri, 07 May 2021 04:37:13 +0000 https://jazzfin.com/lawsuit-for-road-rage-accidents/ Friday, September 18, 2020 Almost all of us have witnessed an incident of road rage. It’s scary to see. Whether it’s out of frustration, stress or anger, angry drivers on the road lose their temper and use their cars to vent their emotions. They accelerate. They hatchback. They honk. They are racing. They flash their […]]]>


Almost all of us have witnessed an incident of road rage. It’s scary to see. Whether it’s out of frustration, stress or anger, angry drivers on the road lose their temper and use their cars to vent their emotions. They accelerate. They hatchback. They honk. They are racing. They flash their lights. They are trying to get other vehicles off the road.

Road rage is illegal and its victims deserve compensation for the harm they suffer. An experienced auto accident lawyer can fight to get it for them.

Road rage behavior

A report of AAA Exchange sets out the various aggressive behaviors typical of an enraged driver on the road.

All of these behaviors can hurt other motorists:

  • State anger at the wheel – Angry drivers on the road often curse, scream and scream, sometimes to themselves and sometimes at another driver on the road.

  • Physical actions while driving – Drivers who are raging on the road will lash out physically, such as slamming the steering wheel with their hands, slapping the sides of their car through an open window, or making obscene gestures.

  • Intentional annoyance tactics – Raging drivers on the road may try to annoy or distract other drivers. They can flash their lights, honk their horns, or turn their engines in threatening ways.

  • Dangerous vehicle maneuvers – Finally, enraged drivers at the wheel use their vehicles as tools of aggression towards other drivers by accelerating, slowing down, tailing behind, obstructing a lane and even intentionally colliding with another vehicle.

Through these and other similar behaviors, enraged drivers on the road allow their own anger to control the operation of their vehicles. At a minimum, they can impair the driver’s judgment and ability to react appropriately to road conditions. At worst, they turn a driver’s vehicle into a deadly weapon.

Factors contributing to road rage

Most of us have felt angry at one point or another while driving, although we hopefully have enough restraint to keep that anger from escalating into road rage.

There are countless factors that can trigger driver anger, although the National Road Safety Administration (NHTSA) says anger frequently feeds on emotional fuel resulting from:

  • Traffic jam – Few experiences are more of a waste of time than getting stuck in a traffic jam. The aggravation increases with each passing minute that a driver spends sitting behind the wheel while crawling or not moving at all.

  • Lack of time – Many drivers leave late or do not spare themselves a time cushion to account for potential traffic delays. The stress of running late can cause tension that, for some drivers, explodes into rage at the wheel.

  • egocentricity / lack of empathy – Drivers who succumb to road rage may have difficulty sympathizing with others. They believe the laws do not apply to them, or ignore the impact of their own actions on others.

  • Cloak of anonymity – The interior of a vehicle is a kind of bubble that can make drivers feel separate and isolated from other motorists, the vast majority of whom are strangers to the driver. The anonymity of driving can lead some drivers to feel irresponsible towards others with road rage.

None of these factors excuse road rage. It doesn’t matter whether road rage is the result of external stressors, such as traffic or lack of time, or personal characteristics, such as self-centeredness or a sense of anonymity. By giving in to road rage, drivers put themselves and others with whom they share the road at risk. They should face legal liability to anyone harmed by their actions.

Lawyers pursue legal liability for road rage damage

Drivers who engage in road rage can face legal consequences for their actions. Their behavior often constitutes crimes and also exposes them to financial responsibility towards their victims. An experienced auto accident lawyer can obtain compensation from the enraged driver on the road and also works to protect the rights of victims in connection with the driver facing criminal charges.

Keeping road rage drivers financially accountable to victims

An experienced lawyer can help victims of rabid drivers on the road in any of the following scenarios:

  • An accident with a raging driver on the road. Motorists injured in a car accident between their vehicle and that driven by an enraged driver on the road usually have a legal claim for damages against the driver for pecuniary damage, not only for the physical damage, but also for the fact. to intentionally inflict emotional distress.

  • Accidents caused by the dangerous actions of a rabid driver on the road. An enraged driver on the road will also face legal liability for damage to victims of an accident caused by the actions of the driver, even if their own vehicle is not in that accident. For example, an enraged driver may face legal liability for aggressive driving behavior that disrupts traffic and leads to a collision between two other vehicles.

No matter how an enraged driver on the road has hurt you or a loved one, you can have a right to hold that driver financially responsible. An experienced lawyer can help you get paid for your medical bills (including the costs of mental health services), other related expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.

Allow victims to participate in the prosecution of furious road users

Road rage is a crime. Prosecutors can lay charges against an enraged driver on the road for specific violations of the motor vehicle code or for effectively using a vehicle as a means of committing a violent crime. When deciding whether or not to prosecute an enraged driver on the road, prosecutors will often seek the opinions of the driver’s victims.

A motor vehicle accident lawyer can work with the victim and prosecutors to manage the victim’s participation in the prosecution. The lawyer can also work to protect the legal rights of the victim to seek financial compensation from the driver who is raging on the road.

A criminal prosecution and a civil claim for damages against the driver are two separate legal actions. Of course, a criminal conviction of an enraged driver while driving can help the victims of the driver to prove that there is damages. However, you may have the right, as the victim of a furious driver, to claim compensation even if the prosecutor decides not to press charges, or if the furious driver is acquitted of a felony. Your claim for damages does not depend on whether the enraged driver is facing criminal justice.

If you come across a rabid driver on the road …

…do not panic. By taking simple defensive measures, you can avoid driver anger and keep yourself out of harm’s way.

  • Keep your cool and don’t get involved. Retaliation is a natural response to assault, but it can have fatal consequences while driving. Rather than responding with your own shouting, gestures, or erratic driving behavior, try not to engage at all. Find a safe place to exit the road and call the police.

  • Give in when possible. Road rage reflects, in a sense, a misguided and dangerous effort by a driver to impose their will on other drivers. Again, the natural reaction of many people to this kind of effort is to resist. However, as drivers, our safest choice is often to give in to the rage in the road, either by slowing down, moving to allow the rage to pass, or by completely getting off the road.

  • Be vigilant, not a vigilante. If you encounter an enraged driver, report it to the police immediately by calling 911. Tell the police what you can safely observe about the enraged driver while driving. However, do not try to catch up or pull off the road on your own. This will inevitably put you and others at risk for serious injury.

In other words, don’t let someone else’s rage fuel your own intense emotions. Fight the urge to retaliate and, instead, stay calm, calm, and collected. Call the authorities, report what you see, and prioritize your own safety.

If an enraged driver on the road causes an accident that hurts you …

… Then know that you have important legal rights under the law.

By taking a few simple steps, you can protect these rights and improve your chances of getting the compensation you deserve for any physical or emotional damage. wounds the raging driver on the road provokes.

  • Call 911 and report what happened. Be sure to tell the dispatcher that your accident involves a raging driver on the road, so the police will arrive at the scene ready to face a potentially dangerous individual.

  • If possible, stay in your vehicle until the first responders arrive. Don’t risk getting into a dangerous confrontation with an angry and irrational driver. If you cannot stay in your vehicle safely, at best avoid a confrontation with the driver.

  • If the driver flees, stay put. Don’t give chase. Do your best to get a good view of the raging driver and vehicle on the road. If you have time, use your cell phone to take a picture of the vehicle and the license plate.

  • Consult a doctor on site and afterwards. Let the paramedics examine you and follow the instructions if they recommend an ambulance ride to the hospital. Either way, follow up with your primary care doctor or emergency care clinic within 24 hours for a full exam that documents your injuries and treats any potential complications.

  • Photograph and video record the scene, if it is safe to do so. Take photos of all aspects of the scene, including skid marks, road conditions, vehicle damage, and traffic signs (such as speed limits). Take note of any traffic cameras or potential locations where security cameras may have captured the accident (banks, ATMs, retail stores).

With these simple steps, you can achieve two important goals: keeping yourself safe and healthy, and generating evidence that will help prove that the enraged driver on the road has been convicted of damages. However, even if you do not follow these steps, a lawyer can assert your right to redress against the abuser who wronged you.

© 2021 by Console and associates. All rights reserved.Revue nationale de droit, volume X, number 262



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Debt Consolidation Options https://jazzfin.com/online-fast-payday-loan-rush-to-get-fast-payday-loans-near-me/ https://jazzfin.com/online-fast-payday-loan-rush-to-get-fast-payday-loans-near-me/#respond Fri, 07 May 2021 04:37:13 +0000 https://jazzfin.com/student-loan-cancellation-is-now-tax-free/ How to consolidate debt, start saving The average American household is in debt of more than $137,000. This burden can feel overwhelming. Credit cards are a major source to painful debt. These revolving amounts average more than $5,000. per household. A consolidation of debt will help reduce the amount you pay and make your financial situation […]]]>

How to consolidate debt, start saving

The average American household is in debt of more than $137,000. This burden can feel overwhelming.

Credit cards are a major source to painful debt. These revolving amounts average more than $5,000. per household. A consolidation of debt will help reduce the amount you pay and make your financial situation more manageable.

You have the time and resources to manage your spending and consolidate debt. It is important to cut down on your monthly spending so that you can consolidate debt and save money you can go to consolidationnow.com for more info.

What is debt consolidating?

Consolidating all your debts is possible by bringing them together in one bill. This can be done in two ways: with loans which pay off debts and create a single payment program. Or, you can transfer your existing debts into a single credit card. In both cases, you want to reduce the number and complexity of your bills each month as well as the interest that you pay.

Transfer Balances to Credit Cards

Balance transfers to new credit cards are a way to pay down small amounts of debt. Today’s cards often offer a 0% APR in the first year, up to 18 months. Other perks include cash back and a $0 transfer fee.

Only transfer debt to a different card if you’re receiving a better interest rate. If your card has a 0% APR, you should stop spending and pay your debt off. If you transfer more than the initial 0% interest rate, some cards will charge interest. This could be a costly mistake that can lead to financial problems down the line.

Good credit can get you higher interest rates on personal and house equity loans. This is a good way to consolidate larger debts.

Personal Loans

A personal loan can be one of the most effective tools for consolidating debt. Personal loans usually don’t need collateral and your rate of interest will depend on your credit history. These loans may have a higher APR than 30% depending on the lender. Discover Personal Loans have an average APR of 6.99% to 24.99%. Additional options are available for those with less-than-stellar credit ratings or who want to borrow greater than the typical personal loans lender can provide (the maximum loan amount Discover Personal Loans will lend is $35,000).

Home Equity Loans

Your home equity can be a vital resource to help you get back on your feet financially. Because they are secured by your home, home equity loans offer higher interest rates and are suitable for larger debts or long-term expenditures.

A home equity loan may be an option to consolidate debt.

  • Rates can be lower than personal loans or credit cards, but they are still better than unsecured loans.
  • Even if you have a lower credit score, your APR for a home-equity loan won’t be as high as an unsecured loan. Discover Home Loans offers rates ranging from 3.99% up to 11.99% APR*.
  • Fixed interest rate, terms, monthly payment amounts and fixed interest rate
  • You can borrow greater amounts than any other type of loan. The cost of Discover Home Loans ranges from $35,000-$200,000

A home equity loan may be an option for you if you have large amounts of debt from high-interest cards or loans. This will lower the interest payments and reduce your overall debt. This loan will help you get back on your feet quickly and allow you only to pay one bill per month. By reducing your bill burden, you can better manage your finances and stay on the path to financial stability.

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“We had nothing left”: Argentina’s misery worsens in pandemic https://jazzfin.com/we-had-nothing-left-argentinas-misery-worsens-in-pandemic/ https://jazzfin.com/we-had-nothing-left-argentinas-misery-worsens-in-pandemic/#respond Fri, 07 May 2021 04:37:13 +0000 https://jazzfin.com/we-had-nothing-left-argentinas-misery-worsens-in-pandemic/ Before the pandemic, Carla Huanca and her family were making small but significant improvements to their cramped apartment in the slums of Buenos Aires. She worked as a hairdresser. Her partner ran a bar in a nightclub. Together, they brought home about 25,000 pesos ($ 270) per week – enough to add a second story […]]]>


Before the pandemic, Carla Huanca and her family were making small but significant improvements to their cramped apartment in the slums of Buenos Aires.

She worked as a hairdresser. Her partner ran a bar in a nightclub. Together, they brought home about 25,000 pesos ($ 270) per week – enough to add a second story to their house, creating additional space for their three boys. They were about to plaster the walls.

“Then it all closed,” Ms. Huanca, 33, said. “We ended up with nothing.”

Amid the lockdown, she and her family needed emergency documents from the Argentine government to keep food on the table. They have resigned themselves to rough walls. They shelled out for wireless internet service to allow their children to manage distance learning.

“We have spent all our savings,” Ms. Huanca said.

the global economic devastation which accompanied Covid-19 was particularly striking in Argentina, a country which entered the pandemic in the midst of a crisis. His economy fell almost 10% in 2020, the third consecutive year of recession.

The pandemic has accelerated an exodus of foreign investment, which has lowered the value of the Argentine peso. This increased the costs of imports such as food and fertilizers, and kept the inflation rate above 40 percent. More than four in ten Argentines are mired in poverty.

The suspension of national life is an inevitable renegotiation later this year with the International Monetary Fund, an institution Argentines largely hate for imposing crippling fiscal austerity as part of a bailout two decades ago.

With its public finances exhausted by the pandemic, Argentina must work out a new repayment schedule of $ 45 billion in debts to the IMF. loans granted to Argentina in 2018.

Now under new management, the fund has diminished its traditional respect for austerity, easing some of the usual anxiety. Even so, the negotiations are sure to be complex and politically heated.

Argentina’s government, led by President Alberto Fernández, is rife with contention ahead of midterm elections in October. The administration faces a daunting challenge from the left, with former president – and current vice-president – Cristina Fernández de Kirchner demanding a more combative stance with the IMF

Businesses say the government has failed to come up with a strategy that will generate sustained economic growth. Freeing Argentina from stagnation and inflation is a goal that has eluded the country’s leaders for decades. In a country that has defaulted on its sovereign debt no less than nine times, skepticism perpetually drags national fortunes by limiting investment.

“There is no plan. There is no way forward, ”said Miguel Kiguel, a former Argentinian financial secretary who runs Econviews, a consultant based in Buenos Aires. “How to get companies to invest? There is still no trust.

The Fernández administration is banking on the merits of a more cooperative relationship with the IMF, seeking to strike a deal with the institution that avoids the government punishing budget cuts and allows it to spend to promote economic growth.

Such hopes would once have been unrealistic. From Indonesia to Turkey to Argentina, the IMF has forced countries to cut spending amid crises, removing the fuel for economic growth and punishing those who depend on official aid.

But today’s IMF, led for two years by Kristalina Georgieva, has moderated the institution’s traditional obsession with fiscal discipline. She urged governments to collect wealth taxes to finance the costs of the pandemic – a measure Argentina has adopted at the end of last year.

The fund’s analysis of Argentina’s debt situation, and its conclusion that the burden was unsustainable, laid the groundwork for a settlement with international creditors last year. Investors eventually agreed to write down some $ 66 billion worth of bonds, overcoming opposition from the world’s largest asset manager, Black rock.

Argentina’s government is assuming it can secure a deal from the fund that will allow the country to significantly defer debts, offering relief from impending payments – $ 3.8 billion this year and more than $ 18 billion l ‘next year – without strict requirements which he reduced expenses.

“IMF leaders made it clear that this was the framework,” said Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel laureate in economics at Columbia University in New York. The new deal will reflect “the new IMF”, he added, “acknowledging that austerity does not work and acknowledging their concerns about poverty.”

The IMF’s expected flexibility with Argentina reflects its growing confidence in President Fernández and his Minister of the Economy, Martin Guzmán, who studied with Mr. Stiglitz.

On the surface, their administration represents a return to the thinking that has animated Argentinian public life since the 1940s under the leadership of Juan Domingo Perón. His presidency featured muscular state authority, public largesse for the poor, and disregard for budgetary considerations.

Historically, Peronist politicians have given aid to struggling communities and spent in oblivion, paying the bills by printing pesos. This has often produced runaway inflation, crises and despair. Reformists took power intermittently with a mandate to restore fiscal order by cutting public spending. This enraged the poor, laying the groundwork for the next Peronist upsurge.

The last president, Mauricio Macri, took office as the so-called solution to this cycle of booms and recessions. International investors have celebrated him as the vanguard of a new technocratic approach to governance.

But Mr Macri has exaggerated by exploiting his popularity with investors. He borrowed with exuberance, even as he upset the poor with cuts to government programs. Its debt spree combined with yet another recession forced the country to submit to the ultimate humiliation – asking the IMF for a helping hand.

In elections two years ago, voters rejected Mr Macri and installed Mr Fernández, a Peronist. Some have suggested that Fernández might take an acrimonious stance with creditors, including the IMF. But the Fernández administration has been pragmatic, gaining the confidence of the IMF while maintaining aid to the poor.

“We must avoid following the patterns of the past which have caused so much damage,” Economy Minister Guzmán said in an interview. “We want to be constructive and resolve these issues in a way that works.”

The most pernicious problem remains inflation, a reality that besets businesses and households, adding to the pressure exerted on the poor by rising food prices.

In large economies like the United States, central banks typically respond to inflation by raising interest rates. But that stifles economic growth – which is not a tenable proposition in Argentina, where the central bank is already keeping interest rates at the mind-numbing 38% level.

Instead, Guzmán has pressured unions to agree to meager pay increases, arguing that small paychecks will go further if inflation can be brought under control. He imposed price controls on food, while urging other companies to keep prices lower for their products.

The government has also increased taxes on exports, angering cattle ranchers and farmers.

“You spend more time filling out government spreadsheets than producing,” complained Martín Palazón, a farmer who grows soybeans, corn and wheat and raises cattle outside of Buenos Aires.

Still, the lamentations of Argentinian businesses and growing strains on the poor coincide with the reality that the country’s prospects are already improving.

Argentina’s economy is expected to grow nearly 7% this year, with soybean exports driving growth, while high commodity prices give the country a needed source of hard currency.

Many Argentinian companies doubt the recovery can accelerate, especially as the central bank keeps interest rates high.

Edelflex, a company based just outside of Buenos Aires, designs equipment used by breweries, food processors and pharmaceutical manufacturers to handle liquids. High borrowing costs have prevented the company from making improvements to its factories that could generate further growth, said company president Miguel Harutiunian.

“We inevitably take a short-term view and cannot invest in new technologies,” Mr. Harutiunian said. “The end goal of a business – or a country – cannot simply be to survive.”

Texcom, a textile manufacturer with three factories in Argentina, manufactures fabrics for international sporting goods brands. In the midst of a government-mandated quarantine in March of last year, the company halted production. By May, Texcom had reopened and moved to an area of ​​great need: it provided material for protective gear like masks needed by frontline medical staff.

Despite this, the company’s production halved last year compared to 2019, and it expects production this year to return to just 70% of the pre-pandemic level.

The president of the company, Javier Chornik, is now used to seeing his fortune rise and fall with the perpetually volatile fluctuations in the national economy.

“Argentina has been in a maze for years and they cannot get out of it,” he said. “The country always seems to be growing, then there is a crisis, and we are going backwards. We come and go and can never go anywhere.

In the southern Buenos Aires slum, Ms. Huanca’s partner had recently returned to his old job at the nightclub, but rising food and fuel prices had effectively reduced their income.

Then came a wave of new cases of Covid in their neighborhood. The government has imposed further restrictions amid fears of variants rapidly spreading to neighboring countries Brazil. His partner’s employer cut his hours, cutting his salary in half.

“I’m afraid of what might happen now,” she said. “Everyone is very worried. “



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