first_imgSteam adds frictionless playtesting featureThe new tool will make playtests accessible directly from a title’s store pageMarie DealessandriAcademy WriterMonday 9th November 2020Share this article Recommend Tweet ShareSteam launched a new feature that lets developers set playtests for their games without having to send keys to players. Simply called Steam Playtest, the tool will make playtests accessible directly from a title’s store page, with developers setting it up via Steamworks.Developers can set the number of players allowed to join the test, and when it starts and finishes. From the player’s perspective, requesting access to a playtest will let them join a queue, with studios being able to give access later down the line should they wish to. Developers can also manually invite specific players.Deleting the playtest for a game will automatically remove it from players’ libraries. Related JobsSenior QA Engineer Gaming Studio Baltic Region UK & Europe Big PlanetLead Game Programmer – Quebec Province Quebec Big PlanetSenior Build Engineer – AAA Studio – Yorkshire UK & Europe Big PlanetDiscover more jobs in games “Behind the scenes, the actual download-and-play experience is happening on a secondary, supplemental appID, similar to how we handle Demos on Steam — so a player’s ownership and playtime in the Playtest is separate from the real game,” Valve explained in a blog post. “This means Steam Playtest won’t cancel out or compete with Wishlists on your real game, and Steam Playtest owners cannot write user reviews.”Steam Playtest is currently in beta, with developers invited to send feedback as they use the feature. Valve pointed out that the new tool does not replace Steam Early Access, and does not support monetisation.You can find more information about the feature on Steamworks. Celebrating employer excellence in the video games industry8th July 2021Submit your company Sign up for The Daily Update and get the best of GamesIndustry.biz in your inbox. Enter your email addressMore storiesDeveloper wins against Grand Theft Auto DMCA takedownTake-Two loses claim to reversed-engineered source made by fansBy Danielle Partis 3 hours agoFirst-party Ubisoft titles will now be branded as ”Ubisoft Originals”Change was made alongside the announcement of new Tom Clancy titleBy Danielle Partis YesterdayLatest comments Sign in to contributeEmail addressPasswordSign in Need an account? Register now.last_img read more

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first_img Horse Sport Enews Subscribe to the Horse Sport newsletter and get an exclusive bonus digital edition! More from Horse Sport:Christilot Boylen Retires From Team SportAfter an exemplary career as one of Canada’s top Dressage riders, seven-time Olympian Christilot Boylen has announced her retirement from team competition.2020 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair CancelledFor only the second time in its history, The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair has been cancelled but plans are being made for some virtual competitions.Royal Agricultural Winter Fair Statement on 2020 EventAs the Province of Ontario starts to reopen, The Royal’s Board and staff will adhere to all recommendations put forward by government and health officials.Government Financial Assistance for Ontario FarmersOntario Equestrian has recently released this update of several financial assistance packages available, including those for farm business. We’ll send you our regular newsletter and include you in our monthly giveaways. PLUS, you’ll receive our exclusive Rider Fitness digital edition with 15 exercises for more effective riding. Canada’s Diane Creech and Chrevis Christo, an 11-year-old Danish Warmblood gelding (Lavallo-Chrevi’s LaVi, Matador) owned by Doug and Louise Leatherdale, won the FEI Advanced Level High Point Award at the Kentucky Dressage Association Spring Warm-Up and 28th Annual Show.They received high marks from the judges in the FEI Grand Prix, Intermediate A and Intermediaire II at the May 22-25 show in Lexington, KY.“Mr. and Mrs. Leatherdale and I are very happy with Chrevis Christo,” Creech said. “He is such an exciting horse and already shows so much promise and potential. This is the first year we are competing at this level and he is stepping right up to the challenge.”The May 24 FEI Intermediaire II class was the highlight of their results where they earned a 73.68 percent from Judge Fran Dearing Kehr. Other results included a 70.857 percent in the Intermediaire A and a 65.5 percent in the FEI Grand Prix.The partnership of Creech and Christo has steadily improved in the Intermediaire II. At the Adequan Global Dressage Festival series in Wellington, FL, they began the season in early January with a 66.316 percent and by early February, they had increased their scores to 72.105 percent.“He’s very talented boy and if I may say, he’s a total lovebug, who can’t get enough of smooching his people,” Creech said. Tags: Chrevis Christo, Kentucky Dressage Association Spring Warm-Up, Email* SIGN UP last_img read more

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first_imgRELATED: Playoff standingsElliott Sadler clinched the regular-season championship last weekend, but the XFINITY Series playoff field is not yet set.The Chicagoland 300 (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) will lock in the last three drivers to compete for this season’s championship. William Byron currently leads the way with a series-leading three victories while two of his other three JR Motorsports teammates are also postseason bound. But two drivers who were in last year’s title hunt go into this weekend feeling the pressure.Let’s break it down.WHO’S INRookie sensation William Byron sits atop the playoff standings on the strength of three wins and 17 playoff points. He’s followed by teammate Justin Allgaier, who has a win and the second-most playoff points going into Chicago with eight. Also locked in through wins are Ryan Reed and Jeremy Clements.The best of the non-winners is Elliott Sadler, the series points leader. However, Sadler’s position will greatly improve following the race as he will be awarded 15 playoff points (to go with the five he currently has) for being the regular-season champion. Behind Sadler comes Brennan Poole, as well as three more rookies in Daniel Hemric, Cole Custer and Matt Tifft.The final three spots are still up for grabs. After just narrowly missing the final four last year, Blake Koch sits 10th in the playoff standings with a healthy 51-point advantage. Michael Annett, who will look to ensure all four JRM cars make the playoffs, is 11th. And veteran Brendan Gaughan holds down the final playoff spot at 12th place.BUBBLE WATCHThe good news for Dakoda Armstrong is he does not have to win Saturday’s race to earn a playoff spot. Armstrong is just 25 points behind Gaughan and 26 behind Annett. A mistake or bad day for either of those two drivers puts Armstrong and JGL Racing in a position to strike.It’s a different story for JJ Yeley on back. Yeley sits 14th in the standings for TriStar Motorsports, but he’s 65 points below the cut line. JD Motorsports driver Ross Chastain sits 15th while Ryan Sieg from the single-car entry of RSS Racing is 16th. Making the playoffs would be a huge accomplishment for any of these teams while rookie Brandon Jones in 17th hopes to join his Richard Childress Racing teammates at the front of the pack.OUTLOOKWith a good point advantage on those sitting on the outside, Koch looks all but assured of again making the playoffs. Annett and Gaughan, however, will be sweating it out for 300 miles. With both drivers having outrun Armstrong through much of the season, that should not be a problem one more time.What none of the three drivers on the bubble can be sure about, though, is a new winner. If Armstrong or anyone else currently without a playoff spot wins — and is also in the top 20 in points — that driver automatically takes a postseason position. A tall task yes, but not impossible. Especially when considering this race is off limits to Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competitors with more than five years of experience, such as the drivers who have won the last two XFINITY Series races: Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin.Plus, the series will be in Chicago and if the Cubs can win the World Series after 108 years, an XFINITY Series regular can also pull off a much-needed victory.last_img read more

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first_img(USFA) A new fact sheet from the Technical Research, Assistance Center, Information Exchange (TRACIE) provides a quick reference to help you protect your staff with safe, approved PPE and instructions on how to report sellers of counterfeit products. Respirators for Healthcare during COVID-19: Authorized Use and Avoiding Fraudulent Products recommends the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Certified Equipment List and the Food and Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Authorization list. Review this guidance and keep it on-hand as a reference to help ensure the safety of people in your department. Sales and production of fraudulent PPE, especially N95 and KN95 masks, have increased since December 2019 as people took advantage of the pandemic to make money. Many agencies and departments are having problems getting PPE and must source from unknown sellers. Keep this guidance on-hand These lists provide information on what types of masks or respirators to use under various circumstances, use of imported products, and indicators of counterfeit products and vendors. United States Fire Administrationlast_img read more

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first_imgVermont Business Magazine The Chamber is pleased to announce that Kurt Gruendling, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom, will serve as Chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors for the next year and Lisa Kingsbury, Interim Co-Director/Planning Relations Manager for Campus Planning Services, University of Vermont will serve as Vice Chair.Kurt Gruendling, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, Waitsfield and Champlain Valley TelecomKurt joined Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom (WCVT) in 1996. At WCVT, he is responsible for all facets of marketing, customer service, public relations, strategic planning, and new product and business development. Kurt holds an MBA from Monmouth University and a Bachelor of Science from S.U.N.Y. Plattsburgh. He is a past Board member of the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce as well as past president of the Chamber’s Valley Economic Development Committee. Kurt currently serves on the Marketing and Public Relations Committee of NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association where he served as committee chairman and is past chairman of the Marketing Committee for the Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies (OPASTCO).  This past year, Kurt testified on behalf of NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association, before the US House of Representatives Subcommittee On Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection as part of their “Disrupter Series: Smart Communities.” Kurt resides in Shelburne with his wife Suzanne and their 16-year-old twins.Lisa Kingsbury, Interim Co-Director/Planning Relations Manager for Campus Planning Services, University of VermontLisa Kingsbury is the Interim Co-Director/Planning Relations Manager for Campus Planning Services at the University of Vermont. In this role, Lisa oversees the land use planning and regulatory functions for UVM as well as serving as UVM’s liaison with community and institutional groups and municipalities specific to land use. Prior to joining the staff at UVM, Lisa was the Director/Public Relations at Paul Kaza Associates in South Burlington and Director of Marketing for Forest City Development in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is the immediate past chair of the Leadership Champlain Board and has served on the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce Board and the Executive Committee of the Board for the past two years. She is also a member of the Burlington Business Association, the Vermont Planners Association and the Society for College and University Planning. She has enjoyed volunteering her time for the past two years as the Head Coach of the Girls on the Run program at Shelburne Community School. Lisa lives in Shelburne with her husband and two daughters.The Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce is also pleased to announce that the following individuals have joined the Chamber’s Board of Directors.Michelle Buswell, Vice President, Relationship Manager, People’s United BankMichelle Buswell works in Wealth Management as a Vice President, Relationship Manager at People’s United Bank in Burlington, Vermont. There she manages all aspects of her client relationships utilizing her broad knowledge of investments, financial planning, operations, fiduciary advisement and private banking to consult with clients and develop long term wealth management plans. In Michelle’s prior role as Vice President, Portfolio Manager, she managed investment accounts across the bank’s footprint. She also was a member of the firm’s Solutions committee which is responsible for the firm’s investment products, research and selection. Michelle started at People’s United as a Wealth Management Associate in March of 2016.  Prior to working at People’s, she taught college students at New England Culinary Institute, was a chocolatier in the Napa Valley and worked in finance at Columbia Management as a Senior Performance Analyst. Michelle is a graduate of Leadership Champlain Class of 2018. She is a Programs Committee member with the Burlington Business Association and serves on the Leadership Team for the Burlington/Williston chapter of People’s Women in Leadership. Michelle loves gardening, podcasts, Middle Eastern food, live music and taking classes. She lives in Burlington’s New North End with her husband, two young children and Jack Russell, Masoni. Peter Engard, General Manager, Hilton Burlington Lake ChamplainPeter “Pete” Engard is the General Manager of the Hilton Burlington Lake Champlain. In addition to serving on the Vermont Business Roundtable, Pete also serves on the Hello Burlington board as Chairperson and formerly on the board of the Equinox Preservation Trust while he resided in Manchester at the Equinox Resort. Pete’s 25+ year hospitality career began when he joined Hilton while studying for his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree at Fort Lewis College in Colorado. The industry brought him to Seattle, White Plains, Manhattan, Manchester and now Burlington. Pete resides in Essex with his wife and two children.Alex Halpern AIA, NCARB, Vice President, Freeman French Freeman, Inc. – ArchitectsAlex is an experienced architect, designer, project manager, and small business owner of Freeman French Freeman Architects in Burlington. His portfolio includes work in both public and private sectors with a focus on education, technology, and recreation/community projects. As a team leader and vice president for over 20 years, Alex is passionate about helping clients throughout Vermont and New England realize their architectural goals. In addition to Alex’s areas of focus, the firm’s design services also include interiors, commercial, healthcare, hospitality, and historic preservation. Halpern’s recent work includes Burlington’s new YMCA, the UVM STEM science facility, UVM Rescue, the Dion Student Center & Quad Commons at Saint Michael’s College, the Moran FRAME project, and plans for a new South Burlington Recreation Center. Other notable works include UVM’s James Jeffords Hall, the Dartmouth College Burnham Field Soccer Facility, and multiple expansions at the Burlington International Airport. Alex is a 1998 graduate of Leadership Champlain, a former board member for the South End Arts & Business Association (SEABA), and a member of the Burlington Business Association. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from UVM and a Master of Architecture from SUNY Buffalo. Alex is a Burlington resident who loves Vermont and the great outdoors, spending as much time as possible enjoying it with his family and friends.Michael Posternak, Assistant Vice President, NBT BankMichael grew up in Brattleboro and graduated from the University of Vermont in 1999. He began his career in banking as a summer intern at Vermont National Bank, and then went on to work for Chittenden Bank as the manager of its offices in St. Albans from 2001-2003, and Wilmington from 2003-2006. In 2009, Michael moved to Canada and spent nine years working in the banking industry, where he managed retail branch offices in Lancaster, ON and Ottawa, ON. He returned home last summer to manage the 150 Bank Street office of NBT Bank in Burlington. Over the past twenty years he has had the privilege of working in diverse communities on both sides of the border, and has been actively involved with numerous non-profit and community service organizations. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Franklin County Regional Chamber of Commerce in St. Albans from 2001-2003, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Mt. Snow Region Chamber of Commerce in Wilmington from 2003-2006. In Ottawa, he was vice-chair of the West Ottawa Board of Trade from 2016-2018 and a Career Mentor for the Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization. In his spare time Michael enjoys spending time with his family, and helping to make a positive impact in the community.Heather Ross, Principal, Sheehey, Furlong & BehmHeather Ross is a director and shareholder at Sheehey Furlong & Behm P.C., where she practices commercial litigation with a focus on labor and employment law. For over twenty years, Ms. Ross has been advising clients on compliance issues, conducting investigations, and representing clients in all phases of litigation. Prior to joining the firm in December 2016, Ms. Ross spent more than a decade at the U.S Attorney’s Office in Vermont, where, as a federal prosecutor, she tried multiple cases, including financial crimes and labor and sex trafficking cases.  Ms. Ross came to Vermont in 1995 to serve as a federal judicial clerk to the Honorable William K. Sessions III, U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Vermont. Thereafter, she enjoyed private practice at a regional law firm before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office. She currently serves as the Treasurer of the Federal Bar Association and is on the Board of Directors for KidSafe Collaborative and Give Way to Freedom. Heather lives in Shelburne, Vermont with her husband and two children.Tinotenda (Tino) Charles Rutanhira, Product Manager, Dealer.comTino was born in Harare, but spent most of his childhood in Mutare, the jewel of Zimbabwe. He attended university in South Africa, and lived in Johannesburg afterward before immigrating to the United States where, this time, another jewel found him … Vermont! Tino is currently employed at Dealer.com as a Product Manager, and was previously employed at MyWebGrocer and People’s Bank. In his spare time, Tino is a producer and host of his own podcast called “On The Shoulders of Giants”, which aims to learn how inspirational Vermont luminaries have achieved success in their field and in their communities. He also owns and operates Best In VT Tours & Charters, a party bus for corporate events, brewery tours, weddings, private parties, etc. Most importantly, he is a single parent of a beautiful, amazing, (insert glowing adjective here …) 14-year-old girl. Tino is honored to be seated on one of Vermont’s most influential & respected Boards and representing the Leadership Champlain Class of 2019. His goal is to grow and learn from the Board Members, but also as a young professional, a person of color, and an immigrant, he hopes to provide a different perspective that may be missing from how the board and the Chamber operates.Rick Vincent, Senior Vice President and CFO, University of Vermont Medical CenterRick Vincent is the Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the University of Vermont Medical Center. He started his career with the organization in 1994 as a staff accountant, and in the 25 years since has held several finance and operational roles, such as administrative director positions in Orthopedics, Cancer, Pathology, Radiology, Anesthesiology, Director of Finance, and Vice President of Finance for the UVM Medical Group. Rick earned his bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Vermont, and his master’s degree in administration and management from St. Michael’s College. He lives with his wife Danielle and three children in Charlotte, Vermont.Brad Worthen, Commercial and Business Broker, Pomerleau Real EstateBrad Worthen is a 4th generation Vermonter. He was raised in South Burlington by two loving parents and picked up just enough education to be confident. He set out to conquer the world but didn’t quite make it that far but just far enough. Today Brad resides in Richmond, VT with his partner Chris. Brad is a Commercial Realtor with Pomerleau Real Estate. His favorite pastime is piloting his Mooney around the Northeast. He enjoys the summer days at his family cottage off the coast of Maine and traveling around the globe.Janine (Jan) Wright, Deputy Chief of Administration, Burlington Police DepartmentJannine (Jan) Wright is currently the Deputy Chief of Administration for the Burlington Police Department. She was promoted to this role in January 2014 by former Chief Michael Schirling. Jan has served the City as Acting Police Chief three times since 2014. She supervises a number of divisions including the Burlington Police Detective Bureau(s) which includes the Chittenden Unit for Special Investigations (CUSI), General and Major Crimes and the Narcotics Unit. She also supervises Communications, Records Division, Parking Enforcement, Training and Recruitment and Facilities.Jan graduated from the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce Leadership Champlain program class of 2010. She joined the Leadership Champlain Board of Directors in 2014 and currently serves as the Chair. She is also the co-chair of Hope Works, an organization dedicated to ending sexual violence through healing, outreach, prevention and Empowerment and serves on the CUSI Policy Board. Prior to moving to Vermont in 2001, Jan was a Deputy Sheriff and Detective with the Benton County Sheriff’s Office in Iowa for fifteen years. She has an Associate’s Degree in Police Science from the Hawkeye Institute of Technology where she also served as an Advisory Board Member and as a member of Student Senate. In her spare time, she served on a number of Boards that address conservation issues locally and nationally and worked ten years with the United States Marshal Service transporting and guarding federal inmates.  The Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce is the largest business advocacy organization in the state. The Chamber puts everything into place to help our members grow their businesses: providing innovative member services and programs, promoting our region and making it an even better place to do business. To learn more about the Chamber, visit www.vermont.org(link is external)/chamber. Source: Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce. Burlington 10.15.2019last_img read more

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first_imgCambodian man survived H5N1 coinfectionCambodian health officials have identified another H5N1 avian influenza case, in a 58-year-old man who tested positive for flu in January but whose samples revealed co-infection with H5N1 in routine retrospective tests.The man’s infection was announced yesterday in a joint statement from Cambodia and the World Health Organization (WHO). It included news of the recent death of a 6-year-old girl from H5N1 and another retrospective H5N1 case, that of a 5-year-old girl, that was confirmed in early May.The man is from Phnom Penh and was first tested for flu on Jan 9. He had been hospitalized in Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital and has since recovered. The statement didn’t say what other strain the man had along with H5N1.The man’s illness was counted as Cambodia’s 12th H5N1 case so far this year, and his infection and the 6-year-old girl’s death raise the country’s cumulative total to 34 cases, of which 28 were fatal. The two new Cambodian cases raise the global H5N1 count to 632 cases and 376 deaths, according to the WHO.Jul 2 WHO/Cambodia joint statementJul 2 CIDRAP News story “Cambodian girl dies from H5N1 infection” Study: Other factors may explain GI illness in kids after flu shotsThe association that has been observed in some studies between inactivated trivalent influenza vaccination (TIV) and subsequent gastrointestinal (GI) illness in young children may actually be due to factors related to the medical visit itself rather than to the vaccination, according to a case-control study published online yesterday in Vaccine.The authors used electronic health record (EHR) data from six managed-care organizations to find children aged 24 to 59 months who received medical care for a GI illness during the 2002 through 2006 flu seasons. Each of the 2,062 children identified was matched with four controls (total 8,248).The researchers then looked to see whether in the 14 days before the GI visit the children had had a medical encounter for something other than GI problems or TIV. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated using conditional logistic regression.Increased odds of GI illness within the 14 days after a medical encounter were observed in children both without and with chronic conditions (OR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.7-2.2; and OR, 3.9; CI, 2.5-6.2, respectively).These findings, say the authors, may indicate that previously identified associations between TIV and GI illness may actually be due to such factors as exposure to GI pathogens at medical visits; a reaction to treatment for an unrelated condition, such as antibiotics; or overlapping seasonal patterns for TIV and GI illnesses.The authors also comment that their findings demonstrate the importance of considering confounding factors in interpreting results of vaccine safety studies that use EHR data.Jul 2 Vaccine abstractlast_img read more

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first_imgWith more than 20 years of experience across multiple industries and functional areas, deMoulpied has particular expertise in organizations with complex technical products. Combined, his prior positions have required a spectrum of skills in corporate strategy, operations improvement, product quality, and revenue cycle management. He has an impressive history of utilizing data driven problem solving (Lean Six Sigma) and project management (PMP and CSM) to achieve strategic goals surrounding customer satisfaction, operational efficiency and improved profit.  CHICAGO – LKQ Corp.’s board of directors has elected Joseph Holsten, the company’s acting chairman of the board and co-CEO, as the chairman of the board. His appointment was made on Nov. 7.   Holsten, a director of the company since 1998, succeeds Donald Flynn, who passed away on Oct. 10, 2011.   In addition, on Nov. 7, the board elected LKQ President and Co-CEO Robert Wagman as a member of the board of directors.     AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisement,Lubrication Specialties Inc. (LSI), manufacturer of Hot Shot’s Secret brand of performance additives and oils, recently announced the expansion of senior leadership. Steve deMoulpied joins LSI as the company’s chief operating officer (COO). AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisement DeMoulpied has a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Management from the United States Air Force Academy and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Dayton in Marketing and International Business. He served six years with the USAF overseeing the development of technology used on fighter aircraft and the E-3 Surveillance aircraft, finishing his career honorably as Captain. DeMoulpied comes to LSI from the Private Client Services practice of Ernst & Young where he managed strategy & operations improvement engagements for privately held client businesses. Some of his prior roles include VP of strategic development, director of strategic initiatives, and Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt at OptumHealth, UnitedHealth Group’s health services business, as well as Lean Six Sigma Black Belt at General Electric, where he applied operations improvement principles to customer service, supply chain and product development. A successful entrepreneur, deMoulpied is also the founder of PrestoFresh, a Cleveland-based e-commerce food/grocery business.  LSI President Brett Tennar says, “Steve’s success in developing operational strategies that improves the bottom line, builds teamwork, reduces waste and ensures quality product development and distribution checks many of the boxes of what we were looking for in a COO. This, coupled with his career in the Air Force working with highly technical systems and his in-depth understanding of Lean Six Sigma and Business Process Management sealed our offer. As our tagline states, our products are Powered by Science. This data driven approach is one reason why our company has grown exponentially as we employ the most advanced technology to product development. I am confident that Steve is the right person to drive operational strategy for our diverse and growing brands.” Advertisementlast_img read more

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first_imgGet instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270. Subscribelast_img

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first_imgThe Ministry of Justice is still waiting for chancellor George Osborne to approve the government’s £375m investment in courts infrastructure in the forthcoming spending review, it has emerged. MoJ permanent secretary Richard Heaton (pictured) told MPs that the bid for the five-year investment, earmarked to modernise the courts system, is still ‘in play’ ahead of the chancellor’s announcement on 28 November.The funding was promised in the Conservative manifesto but the department needs to find ways to save £1bn in real terms from its annual budget.‘This is one of the many finance areas we are seeking money from the Treasury but the spending review is tight,’ said Heaton during his appearance at the House of Commons justice committee yesterday.Pressed by committee chair Bob Neill on whether this could mean the programme might collapse, Heaton said: ‘It is one of our top bids, both in terms of capital and resource funding.’Heaton said there are ‘bound’ to be reductions in staff numbers at the MoJ in the coming years as the department seeks to reduce spending.But members questioned why certain areas of spending have increased from 2014 to 2015, with consultancy spending up from £27m to £34m and temporary staff spending up from £134m to £165m. Numbers of permanent staff members have fallen from 82,000 to 79,000 in the space of a year.MoJ director general Ann Beasley said that the headcount in the court service is down from 22,000 in 2010 to around 17,000 in 2015.She said the department had ‘deliberately’ recruited agency staff in the knowledge that headcount would be reduced, saying it would be ‘dishonest’ to give permanent jobs to people knowing those jobs would not exist in future years.Heaton said he had tried to discourage staff from allowing overspend in certain areas and relying on moving funds from a different part of the MoJ, adding that it creates a ‘culture of slackness’.Heaton confirmed eight people are paid more than the £180,000 annual salary of the highest-paid director.These roles include an interim head of IT and digital, information assurance adviser at GCHQ, enterprise architect, programme manager and four programme directors.Heaton said specialists were needed in building the digital service, contract management and technology at the MoJ. ‘They are all taking a considerable drop in the salary they were earning outside as they want to do public sector work.’last_img read more

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first_imgCAPTION: TOP: Completed J-slab track on the northern section of THSRC’s main lineCENTRE: High speed BWG turnout in Tainan stationLEFT: Finishing works on the Rheda trackform in TainanRIGHT: Testing of the rolling stock fleet is underway in the main workshop north of Tsoying; all 30 trainsets should be delivered by next month Major infrastructure works and trackwork installation on Taiwan’s high speed line are nearing completion and contractors are hurrying to finish the electrical and mechanical works,WITH THE final section of track now in position on Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp’s 345 km line between Taipei and Kaohsiung, work is in hand to ready the line for the start of commercial operations at 300 km/h. Opening was originally planned for October, but reports of delays suggest that mid-2006 may be a more achievable target.The first of 30 trainsets derived from the Series 700 Shinkansen design arrived in Taiwan in May 2004, and test running on the 60 km test section at the south end of the line between Tsoying and Tainan commenced in January 2005.The main line track contracts were awarded in mid-2002, and construction commenced in March 2003. The line incorporates the longest continuous length of slab track in the world, with 342 km of double-track route. Another feature is the world’s longest continuous viaduct, 157 km long (RG 1.04 p46).The railway was designed in the early 1990s by European consultants. The initial French trackform design was ballasted throughout, but German consultants later placed the tunnel sections on slab track. After economic evaluation THSRC decided in 2001 to use slab track on the whole route. Only at Tsoying, where very poor ground conditions exist, and in the depots, is ballasted track used.The line has a unique mix of Japanese Shinkansen ‘J-slab’ and a Rheda trackform in the station areas. The original alignment was based on European turnout geometry, which determined the layout of the viaducts supporting the turnouts and the tunnel at Taoyuan station.Consequently, even though the main trackwork contractor is Japanese, all main line turnouts had to be sourced from Europe as Japan has no high speed turnout technology. This required the use of Rheda trackform adjacent to all turnouts and crossovers, as this had to be compatible with the turnout support system. In the tunnels below central Taipei, Sonneville low-vibration track has been installed to reduce ground-borne vibration; Edilon embedded rail is used in Taipei station.last_img read more

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