AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press Posted Jun 17, 2014 3:11 pm MDT 2 parties’ seemingly mismatched spending bosses team to make Washington work for a change WASHINGTON – On the face of it, one of the most powerful pairings in Washington is a hopeless mismatch — a former social worker and liberal Democrat from Baltimore’s working-class Fells Point neighbourhood and an old-school, cigar-chomping GOP conservative raised in a dry county in the mountains of southeastern Kentucky.But in a bitterly divided Congress, the odd couple of Sen. Barbara Mikulski and Rep. Harold Rogers is a rare bipartisan success story.Mikulski and Rogers are chiefly responsible for divvying up $1 trillion in federal spending as chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and chairman of the same committee in the House. While their personal backgrounds could hardly be more different, their operating styles are remarkably similar.Both are pragmatists in a Congress littered with ideologues. Neither minces words or tolerates foolishness. Both prefer deal-making to speechifying. And each understands that in order to strike a deal the other side needs to claim some wins.“Hal is a conservative but he is not a hard-headed ideologue. He’s a realist,” said former Appropriations Chairman David Obey, D-Wis. “He’s good at saying, ‘Look, I’ll level with you. This is what I can do and this is what I can’t do.’”Mikulski has a reputation for toughness though her once-fearsome temper seems to have mellowed in recent years. “Her BS quotient is very, very low. She doesn’t tolerate BS and she doesn’t dish it out,” Obey said. “She is very pragmatic, very hard-nosed.”Rogers and Mikulski face an enormously difficult task: advancing 12 spending bills setting the annual operating budgets for federal agencies and most government programs, ranging from funding the armed forces and overseas military operations to air traffic control, the national parks and forecasting the weather.House and Senate leaders used to give great deference to the committees but their standing has slipped of late. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., was a longtime Appropriations Committee insider but has usually given short shrift to the panel’s pleas for floor time to debate its bills. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, barely hid his disdain for the panel’s parochial, clubby ways during his first two decades in the House. One of his first acts as speaker was to impose a ban on popular home-district pet projects known as earmarks.The result is that many lawmakers have less reason to vote for spending bills. The appropriations process is a challenge in good years. Amid broader battles over taxes and whether to expand or shrink the government, it has been derailed in recent ones.Boehner, for example, sided with the GOP’s tea party wing in 2013 and saddled Rogers with a budget outline that pleased conservatives but shortchanged domestic programs and doomed appropriators to failure last summer. Rogers could only watch as tea party forces steamrolled House leaders into a government shutdown last fall.What eventually came out of it was a two-year budget deal that paved the way for Rogers and Mikulski to get the process back on track. In January they accomplished several months’ worth of work in a few weeks, negotiating and winning passage of a $1.1 trillion catchall spending bill for 2014.Jim Dyer, a former Republican staff director for House appropriators, said Rogers and Mikulski were under a lot of pressure to reach a deal that could pass both houses. “If they had failed, people would have thrown the last shovel of dirt on appropriations,” Dyer said. “Now, what you have is … the only show in town currently working well — and these two people deserve the credit.”With a strengthened hand and a common spending ceiling for 2015, the two appropriations chairmen are off to a promising start, handling this year’s spending bills the old-fashioned way, with open debate and amendments instead of waiting until year’s end and cobbling together one massive omnibus bill behind closed doors.Mikulski first bill was slated to hit the Senate floor Tuesday — a hybrid Mikulski cobbled together from three measures funding the departments of Commerce, Justice, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Agriculture. The Senate is likely to spend most of two weeks on it. The House is scheduled to open debate Wednesday on Rogers’ spending bill for the Pentagon.“She’s determined to get the train back on track with appropriations, as am I,” Rogers said of Mikulski. “To do that you have to understand the other side’s point of view and perspective and needs, politically to get the bills passed on the floors of both bodies.”Mikulski says her approach is “to focus with civility and courtesy. Old school values. Don’t do surprises or stunts and negotiate directly and not through the press.”Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell describes Mikulski as forceful and results oriented. “I think she’s terrific.”“She is no nonsense … and that really gives her the credibility to work with her colleagues that other people wish they had,” said former Democratic Leader Tom Daschle.Mikulski is more engaging and approachable than her predecessors as appropriations chairman, the late Sens. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., and Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii. She’s spent decades honing relationships with members of both parties, learning their needs and end goals.“She knows that if you know somebody and what they want you can help them be successful. And when you help people be successful, Republicans or Democrats, that’s how you move bills,” said Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, a Mikulski protege.
by Josh Boak, The Associated Press Posted Jun 29, 2017 6:31 am MDT Last Updated Jun 29, 2017 at 9:20 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email WASHINGTON – The U.S. economy got off to a lacklustre start during the first three months of 2017, though it enjoyed more momentum than earlier estimates indicated.The Commerce Department said Thursday that gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic health, grew at an annual rate of 1.4 per cent in the first quarter — better than a previous estimate of 1.2 per cent and double the initial estimate of 0.7 per cent. The upgrade reflects new-found strength in consumer spending and exports.The result is weaker than 2.1 per cent growth in the fourth quarter and matches the growth rate recorded the second quarter of 2016. It is still well below President Donald Trump’s ambitious growth targets of the economy growing at more than 3 per cent.Analysts expect growth to accelerate in the second quarter, fueled by solid hiring and an uptick in consumer spending. Estimates from the Atlanta Federal Reserve expect that the economy expanded at an annual pace of 2.9 per cent during the April-June quarter.Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Financial Services, said the slow growth at the start of 2017 “will prove temporary.” Faucher expects the economy to expand at a 2.2 per cent pace for the entire year.“The economy is expanding at a solid, if unspectacular, pace,” Faucher said.During the first quarter of the year, consumer spending grew at faster pace than earlier GDP estimates suggested. Spending on housing, health care and financial services, including insurance, rose much higher in the third estimate than the prior estimate. Consumer spending accounts for roughly 70 per cent of all economic activity.“Consumer spending still looks very soft early on this year, but the figures are not as weak as the earlier readings,” said Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan Chase.The May report on consumer spending will be released Friday morning, providing a fuller sense of how consumers are faring in the current quarter.The exports of U.S. goods also improved more than previously reported, contributing to the slightly faster growth.Not all of the report was positive. Private investment in buildings and equipment slipped in the latest first-quarter estimate. US economic growth in Q1 upgraded to 1.4 per cent In this Thursday, May 4, 2017, photo, construction workers work on site of an apartment high rise in Miami. On Thursday, June 29, 2017, the Commerce Department issues the final estimate of how the U.S. economy performed in the January-March quarter. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Ventyx, an ABB company, has signed a $2.8 million deal with Ma’aden Gold and Base Metals Co, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ma’aden, the largest mining company in Saudi Arabia. Ventyx will supply its market-leading mining operations software solutions to enhance planning and performance in Ma’aden’s gold operations. A diversified mining company, Ma’aden will implement Ventyx Intelligent Mining Solutions across the four existing mines of its Ma’aden Gold and Base Metals subsidiary. The company also has plans to significantly expand its gold production in the coming years with a number of new projects due to come online. “Ventyx has a long and successful record of helping complex, large-scale mining operations such as ours to optimize their performance,” said Yahia AlShangiti, President of Ma’aden Gold and Base Metals Company. “We have been impressed with both the company’s deep domain expertise in mining, and the power and flexibility of the software. We anticipate that Ventyx will be a strong partner for us.”Specifically, Ma’aden is deploying two core mining applications from Ventyx’s mining software portfolio: Ventyx Production Accounting, which streamlines metal accounting and provides insight into plant performance, and Ventyx MineMarket, which allows mining companies to track ore movements from the mine to the plant, manage stockpiles, track and manage logistics, and manage the complex sales and service contracts related to delivering product to customers.“The Saudi mining sector is growing and widely expected to become a ‘third pillar’ of Saudi Arabian industry,” said Craig Jones, COO, Ventyx. “This is a strategically important agreement with Ma’aden, in which we’re partnering with the region’s largest mining company to help further their mining operations. We also see excellent growth possibilities for Ventyx in this important mining region, and will be looking for opportunities to continue expanding our footprint.”Ma’aden was established as a Saudi Arabian joint stock company in March 1997 to facilitate the development of Saudi Arabia’s non-petroleum mineral resources and to diversify the Kingdom’s economy away from the petroleum and petrochemical sectors. Ma’aden is engaged in the development, advancement and improvement of all aspects of the mineral industry, mineral products and by-products, and related industries in Saudi Arabia. It currently has operations in gold, phosphate and industrial minerals, is constructing a fully integrated mine to rolled product aluminum joint venture with Alcoa, and has significant exploration activities underway in Saudi Arabia (see the Saudi article in International Mining’s August issue).
← Previous Story THREE YEARS OF RIVALRY: GONZALES – JACOBSEN 5:2 Next Story → PASTOR HAS A KEY: PICK Szeged beat FC Barcelona Lassa Two great endings have been seen this afternoon in VELUX EHF Champions League. Niklas Ekberg took revenge to Celje Pivovarna Lasko with a goal eight seconds before the end for THW Kiel win – 28:27 (15:14). Swedish right wing netted seven goals for the first away win of his team in European elite competition this season, a week after shocking defeat in Sparkassen Arena…RK Celje Pivovarna Lasko: Lesjak (1.-60., 13/1 saves), Dobaj (1 save), Panjtar; Vujovic (5), Jurecic, Malus (1/1), Razgor (4), Suholeznik (2), Marguc (5), Groselj, Kodrin (3), Makuc, Anic (1), Dujshebaev (4/1), Mackovsek, Beciri (2); THW Kiel: Landin (1.-60., 14/1 saves), Wolff (n.e.); Firnhaber, R. Toft Hansen, Dissinger (n.e.), Wiencek (6), Ekberg (7/3), Zeitz (2), Frend Öfors (n.e.), Rahmel, Dahmke (3), Zarabec (1), Vujin (2), Bilyk (4), Nilsson (3); Cyril Dumoulin is the hero of Nantes once again! The fantastic French goalkeeper saved the last shot (16 saves in total) of Tin Kontrec for important win of HBC Nantes over RK PPD Zagreb 28:27.Nantes : Dumoulin 16 saves (37,21%), Siffert – Lagarde 4/4, Saurina 1/5, Faluvegi 1/4, Claire 3/7, Buric 6/7, Klein 3/5, Pechmalbec, Tournat 1/3, Feliho, Matulic 2/2, Lazarov 5/8, Gurbindo 1/1, Balaguer 1/2, Tuzolana. Zagreb : Kastelic 6 saves (31,58%), Skok 7/20 (35%) – Z. Markovic 3/6, Mrakovcic 2/2, Bozic, Kontrec 2/3, Vori 2/3, D. Markovic 1/2, Horvat 1/2 (1/1), Susnja 1/1, J. Valcic 2/4, T. Valcic, Mandalinic 5/12, Hrstic, Vuglac 2/8, Bicanic 6/7