Archive for July 17th, 2011

Natural shields being weaken against climate change

| 17/07/2011 | 0 Comments

(Independent):The soil and ocean are being weakened as buffers against global warming, in a vicious circle with long-term implications for the climate system, say two new studies. If the seas and the land are less able to soak up or store greenhouse gases, more of these carbon emissions will enter the atmosphere, holding in even more heat from the sun. A study published in Nature said a gradual increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) over the last half-century has accelerated the release of methane and nitrous oxide in the soil. These gases are respectively 25 and 300 times more effective at trapping radiation than CO2, the principal greenhouse gas by volume.

"This feedback to our changing atmosphere means that nature is not as efficient in slowing global warming as we previously thought," said Kees Jan van Groenigen, a professor at Trinity College Dublin and the paper's lead author.

Earlier studies examining how additional CO2 affects the capacity of different soils – in forests, grasslands, wetlands and agricultural fields – to either absorb or release these two gases yielded conflicting results. When van Groenigen and colleagues reviewed 49 such studies, however, two patterns emerged. More CO2 increased nitrous oxide in all soils, but soils in rice paddies and wetlands released more methane in particular.

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Cayman hosting review forum on transparency

| 17/07/2011 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Government will be hosting the seventh meeting of the Global Forum Peer Review Group next week at the Westin Casuarina Resort. The event is expected to have more than 150 attendees from more than 40 jurisdictions. At the meeting delegates will discuss peer review reports, and other matters involving the process of improving international financial transparency, by member and non-member countries and the exchange of information for tax purposes. The Minister of Finance, McKeeva Bush, will host the meeting.

“Throughour longstanding relationship with the OECD, and having signed bilateral agreements with 23 countries, the Cayman Islands has maintained high standards in tax transparency during the last 11 years,” Bush said in a release.

“As members of the Peer Review Group and the Global Forum Steering Group, we are committed to participating in international cooperation matters relating to tax and policy matters of the OECD. We look forward to sharing our Caymanian hospitality with the delegates, and I also thank the staff of the Financial Services Secretariat for organising this meeting on behalf of the Ministry,” he added.

The Cayman Islands has participated in tax transparency initiatives since2000 and government said it has played an integral role in the restructured Global Forum, Steering Group and the Peer Review Group. To date the Cayman Islands has provided assessors for five peer review evaluations. The Cayman Islands had a favourable assessment during Phase 1 of the Peer Review Process and is expected to undergo its Phase 2 in the second half of 2012.

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UK anti-corruption drive has US companies sweating

| 17/07/2011 | 0 Comments

(Reuters): U.S. companies, already sweating under heightened enforcement of anti-corruption laws at home, are nervously reviewing their policies on how they wine and dine business contacts abroad in the wake of tough new regulations imposed in Britain. The new law, which took effect July 1, bans all so-called facilitating payments and does not expressly allow entertainment of government officials and others. The jury is still out on how rigorously British authorities will choose to enforce the law. Companies in the defense, pharmaceuticals, energyand telecommunications sectors are seen as particularly vulnerable.

At the same time, U.S. companies are grappling with tighter rules at home too. New whistleblower rules approved by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission have also spurred companies to scrutinize their existing compliance programs, according to legal experts in the United States and Washington.

"We have definitely seen an uptick in our business in the anti-corruption and anti-bribery area," said Ed Rubinoff, a Washington-based expert on export controls and foreign corruption with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld.

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Third robbery in four days

| 17/07/2011 | 34 Comments

(CNS): Robbers struck again on Saturday night, this time stealing $225 from a 63-year-old man from outside a George Town bar. In what was the third robbery in three days, police said that the suspects hit the man over the head while he was sitting in his car counting money after leaving Archie’s Bar, where he had been playing dominos. The robbery took place around 8:50pm when the man was parked in an unlit area. As the man counted out some money in the car he was approached by two people, who were dressed in dark clothing. They both appeared to have their faces covered. One of the suspects demanded cash before striking the man's head with an unknown object.

The suspects then grabbed the cash — around $225 — and ran from the scene. The man suffered minor injuries in the incident and did not require medical attention. One of the suspects is described as being around 5'7" in height and of stocky build.

Uniformed, CID and armed officers as well as the RCIPS K-9 and Air Operations units were quickly on the scene. Enquiries into the incident are ongoing and anyone who was in the area and witnessed the robbery or the suspects running away should contact George Town CID on 949-4222 or Crime Stoppers 800-8477 (TIPS).

This latest crime comes in the wake of an armed robbery at a George Town gas station early on Friday morning, where the suspects shot out the door before stealing the cash draw, and after a women was shot twice by robbers who stole her bag as she left her job at a gas staiton in Bodden Town on Wednesday night.

On Thursday the police commisioner vowed to catch the perpetrators of the increasingly violent robbers and said that police presence across the island would be increased.

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