One of the ways the military services are improving their installations’ energy resilience is by leveraging private sector investment through energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs) and utility energy service contracts (UESCs). In its report accompanying the fiscal 2019 defense authorization bill, the Senate Armed Services Committee says it supports the approach and “strongly encourages” DOD to leverage its facilities sustainment, restoration and modernization accounts, in combination with third-party funding sources, “to maximize energy infrastructure investments.” That tactic could help the department reduce its massive infrastructure maintenance backlog as well as enhance installation resilience, the panel states.The panel remains concerned, however, that DOD has failed to streamline the procurement processes used to enter ESPCs, UESCs and power purchase agreements. In turn, the committee directs the Pentagon to set “a department performance contracting goal along with a tracking system to identify and address project phase bottlenecks, with a timeline goal of 18 months from notice of opportunity to notice of intent to award.” The lawmakers also request DOD to brief the committee on its progress by March 1, 2019.Photo courtesy of Army Corps of Engineers Huntsville Center Dan Cohen AUTHOR
Mohammed NasimHealth minister Mohammed Nasim said on Sunday that the government would recruit about 10,000 more physicians before the next election slated to be held in the yearend.The minister came up with the disclosure while speaking at a meet-the-press programme jointly organised by the Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA) and Bangladesh Health Reporters’ Forum (BHRF) at the BMA office in the capital Sunday evening.The minister also said that the recruitment of 5,000 doctors would be completed by the next three months in the first phase.The health minister also said that shortage of human resources is the major obstacle towards ensuring smooth health-care services for the people.“The present government has been trying to overcome this problem. As part of this, 5,000 doctors will be recruited in the next two or three months and the other 5,000 doctors will be recruited afterwards but before the next general elections,” said Nasim.The minister also said these newly recruited doctors would be posted to the rural areas.“We’re also working to formulate a provision making it mandatory that the newly recruited doctors stay at least two years in the rural areas at the beginning of their services,” he added.Among others, BMA president Mostafa Jalal Mohiuddin, Bangladesh Health Reporters’ Forum president Tawfiq Maruf and doctor leaders were present at the programme.
Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton looks at a USA Today newspaper carrying an article about US vice president Mike Pence that he used personal email while in office, during her flight on American Airlines to Laguardia airport in New York City, New York, US on Friday. Reuters photo A photo of former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton glancing at a newspaper headline about US vice president Mike Pence using private email has gone viral on social media, with thousands of people commenting on it.Pence and others involved in the Republican presidential campaign last year criticized Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time as US Secretary of State.Clinton was on an airplane traveling from Boston to New York on Friday when a fellow passenger snapped a photo of her glancing down at Friday’s USA Today newspaper front page headline “Pence used personal email in office”.Pence’s use of an AOL email account was first reported by the Indianapolis Star on Thursday. It said Pence used the account, which was hacked last summer, at times to discuss sensitive matters and homeland security issues while he was governor of Indiana.Pence said on Friday he had complied with Indiana laws in his use of the email account, and he had an outside attorney review his private email records and archive those related to state business.During the campaign, US President Donald Trump and Pence said Clinton’s use of a private server broke the law and endangered national security – complaints that led their supporters to chant “Lock her up!” at rallies.The State Department’s internal watchdog said Clinton’s use of a private server broke department rules. The FBI reviewed her emails for classified material, but it found that no criminal charges were warranted.
In this file photo taken on 7 March 2019, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau speaks to the media at the national press gallery in Ottawa, Ontario. Photo: AFPCanada’s ethics watchdog rapped prime minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday, concluding in the lead-up to October elections that he broke rules by arm-twisting his attorney general to settle a criminal case against engineering giant SNC-Lavalin.The scandal, revealed earlier this year, tarnished the prime minister’s golden boy image, and cost two ministers and two senior officials their jobs, while support plunged for his Liberals before they clawed back some ground. New polls show the party in a dead heat with the opposition Conservatives.Independent parliamentary ethics commissioner Mario Dion said Trudeau and his officials had wrongly sought to “exert influence over the attorney general in her decision whether to intervene in a matter relating to a criminal prosecution.”It marks the second time that Trudeau has been found in breach of Canada’s ethics laws, after being rebuked in 2017 for accepting a paid family vacation on the private island in the Bahamas of the Aga Khan, a business magnate and spiritual leader of Ismaili Muslims.Trudeau must pay a small fine of up to Can$500 (US$375) for contravening Canada’s conflict of interest act, but with only two months before national elections the political costs could be much steeper.SNC-Lavalin, one of the world’s major engineering firms, was charged in 2015 with allegedly paying Can$47 million in bribes between 2001 and 2011 to secure contracts in Libya during the rule of former strongman Moamer Kadhafi, and of defrauding the Libyan government of Can$130 million.The charges relate to the world’s largest irrigation scheme — the Great Man Made River Project — to provide fresh water to the cities of Tripoli, Benghazi and Sirte.- ‘Assault’ on judicial independence -An opposition party leader, Jagmeet Singh, called the ethics breach “outrageous,” while Conservative Party chief Andrew Scheer said it was “an unforgivable assault on the independence of our justice system.””Canadians understand we have to be vigilant against those who want to abuse the power of their office and engage in this type of corrupt behavior and I do believe this will be top of mind in this election,” Scheer added.Trudeau has steadfastly denied accusations that his inner circle sought to shield SNC-Lavalin from a corruption trial.On Wednesday, he offered a nuanced mea culpa.”I disagree with some of (the commissioner’s) conclusions but I fully accept this report and take responsibility for everything that happened,” he said.”But at the same time, I can’t apologize for standing up for Canadian jobs, because that’s part of what Canadians expect me to do.”Earlier his office released an independent review of the joint roles of Canada’s attorney general and justice minister, rejecting calls to split the two jobs.Attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould refused to ask prosecutors to settle the case, and the trial is set to proceed.But after resigning, Canada’s first indigenous attorney general testified to lawmakers that she had experienced “consistent and sustained” political pressure to interfere in the case, including “veiled threats.”Dion concluded: “The authority of the prime minister and his office was used to circumvent, undermine and ultimately attempt to discredit the decision of the director of public prosecutions as well as the authority of Ms Wilson-Raybould as the Crown’s chief law officer.”He said Trudeau “directed his staff to find a solution that would safeguard SNC-Lavalin’s business interests in Canada.”He also found that “partisan political interests were improperly put to the attorney general for consideration in the matter.”A conviction at trial would result in SNC-Lavalin being deprived of lucrative government contracts resulting in up to 9,000 jobs lost, according to the company.The Montreal-based firm openly lobbied the government for an out-of-court settlement that would result in a fine and agreeing to compliance measures.Wilson-Raybould’s replacement as attorney general, David Lametti, has so far only said he is considering the issue.In April, Trudeau kicked Wilson-Raybould and budget minister Jane Philpott out of the Liberal Party. Philpott had resigned her cabinet post in solidarity with Wilson-Raybould and criticized Trudeau’s handling of the case.