French investors launch Europe’s first project bonds for digital infrastructure

first_imgA group of French investors has launched the country’s first project bonds in a deal to finance superfast broadband infrastructure in France.The European Investment Bank (EIB) group comprises FIDEPPP (Fonds d’investissement des Caisses d’Epargne), Caisse des Dépôts, Bouygues Energies & Services and Axione — all shareholders of Axione Infrastructures.The investors have been working with the EIB and the European Commission to launch the bond issue. The deal will give Axione Infrastructures €189.1m in bond finance, enabling it to continue and extend the rollout of fast and superfast digital infrastructure in several departments in France, the EIB said. Natixis Asset Management, whose subsidiary MIROVA manages FIDEPPP, has managed the issue, which will finance broadband access in sparsely populated areas.Anne-Christine Champion, global head of infrastructure and projects at Natixis, said: “This public bond issue is innovative in several respects.”She said it was the first project bond in France, and the first in Europe within the telecommunications infrastructure sector to benefit from the EIB project bond credit enhancement programme. “Thanks to the EIB credit enhancement, the bond received a Baa2 rating from Moody’s,” she said.“This structure allows Axione Infrastructures to gain attractive long-term amortising financing by institutional investors.”Project bonds were established as a new form of finance by the EIB and the European Commission two years ago.The bonds were launched with the aim of speeding up the mobilisation of private capital for European infrastructure projects – in particular the rollout of fibre optics in sparsely populated areas, the EIB said.It said its involvement had made the bonds possible because of a 20% senior debt enhancement, which it said made the placement particularly attractive to investors.The EIB said this was the third project bond financed by the EIB in Europe under the project bonds initiative.Axione Infrastructures is 55% owned by FIDEPPP, 30% by Caisse des Dépôts and 15% by Axione.Bouygues Energies & Services and Axione are both subsidiaries of Bouygues Construction.last_img read more

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Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline hits 1,000-kilometer mark

first_imgPioneering Spirit, vessel installing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline; Image courtesy of Nord Stream 2 AGA total of 1,000 kilometers of the contentious Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline has now been laid in Finnish, Swedish, and German waters.Nord Stream 2 AG, a subsidiary of Russian giant Gazprom, said on Thursday that two Allseas-owned pipelay vessels, the Solitaire and the Pioneering Spirit, were currently installing the pipeline in the Swedish Exclusive Economic Zone.The pipeline operator added that some twenty vessels were being engaged in the project in the Baltic Sea, with nearly 1,300 people working on board the pipelay, pipe supply, and survey vessels.The company reached another project milestone last week when the project’s coating and logistics contractor Wasco completed concrete weight coating of its share of the steel pipes in its plant in Kotka, Finland, where approximately 101,000 steel pipes had been coated. This corresponds to half of the pipes needed for the twin pipelines.The pipeline system consists of two approximately 1,230-kilometers-long pipelines, each made up of some 100,000 pipe joints.Nord Stream 2 was designed as two parallel 48-inch lines, roughly 1,200 kilometers long, each starting from south-west of St. Petersburg and ending at German coast, Greifswald.Nord Stream 2’s natural gas pipelines will have the capacity to transport 55 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Russian gas a year to the EU, for at least 50 years.In related news to the project, U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland criticized the European Commission for not putting more effort into killing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in the Politico journal while Reuters reported that Nord Stream 2’s gas link to Germany will miss its end-2019 start-up target and may not be fully operational for several years.According to EC’s deputy director-general for energy Klaus-Dieter Borchardt, such a delay means that Gazprom will need to transit gas via Ukraine to meet its supply obligations to EU customers after 2019 and negotiate terms for gas transfer before the end of the year.last_img read more

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Home brothel where ‘up to eight prostitutes work’ upsets Northcote neighbours

first_imgNZ Herald 12 August 2018Neighbours in a Northcote suburb are up in arms about a residential brothel operating at the top of their cul-de-sac, which they say is breaching council rules.But a council investigator allegedly said it was impossible to identify how many prostitutes were working at the establishment because they were all Asian and “all looked the same”.An anonymous letter delivered to homes on the street claimed up to eight sex workers were working in the house.Auckland Council confirmed that it had received multiple complaints about the property being used as a brothel.Current rules allowed for small owner-operated “home occupation” brothels – but no more than four people could work in the business, which could include two who didn’t live there.“We are not happy at all about having a brothel in our street,” said one neighbour, who did not want to be named.He claimed a council officer he spoke to told him it was “impossible to say” whether there were one or 10 people working there because “all the Asian sex workers looked the same”.READ MORE: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm?objectid=12104510&ref=twitterlast_img read more

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Grabouski, Larson get Stock Car qualifying feature wins

first_imgLarson was even more dominant in pacing the second qualifier from start to finis. He won in front of Thornton, from Adel, 14th starting Johnny Spaw of Cedar Rapids and Jason Rogers of Selden, Kan. Grabouski, the current national point leader in both IMCA Modified and IMCA Sunoco Stock Car divisions, led the last 19 of 25 laps in topping the first qualifier ahead of Jeff Mueller of Albion, Shaw, from Hennessey, Okla., and 16th starting Cayden Carter of Oskaloosa.  Ricky Thornton Jr. and Hesston Shaw put their names in the history book with second and third-place finishes, respectively, on night four of America’s Racin’ Vacation at Boone Speedway.  Jeffrey Larson led every lap of Thursday night’s second Stock Car qualifier at Boone Speedway. (Photo by Bill Keech) BOONE, Iowa (Sept. 5) – Jordan Grabouski and Jeffrey Larson wrote their names in the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s record book with Stock Car qualifying feature wins Thursday night. All eight move on to the middle row of the main event grid Saturday night. Shaw became the first Sooner State driver to make the main event since Stock Cars were added to the Super Nationals program in 1988. Thornton, who won Monday’s Deery Brothers Summer Series feature for Late Models and his Modified qualifier on Wednesday, became just the second driver to qualify for main events in three different divisions at the same Super Nationals. Carter had done so, in the same three divisions, in 2017. 1st qualifier – 1. Jordan Grabouski, Beatrice, Neb.; 2. Jeff Mueller, Albion; 3. Hesston Shaw, Hennessey, Okla.; 4. Cayden Carter, Oskaloosa; 5. Kyle Brown, Madrid; 6. Randy Brands, Boyden; 7. David Brandies, Wilton; 8. Jeff Whiting, Gothenberg, Neb.; 9. Angel Munoz, Lamar, Colo.; 10. Brock Badger, Bagley; 11. Brandon Czarapata, Pulaski, Wis.; 12. Derrick Agee, Huntsville, Mo.; 13. Barrett Wagoner, Colby, Kan.; 14. Kyle Clough, Wallace, Neb.; 15. Rod Staats, Columbus Junction; 16. William Wade, San Angelo, Texas; 17. Calvin Lange, Humboldt; 18. Ryan Harris, Homer, Neb.; 19. Chris Luloff, Independence; 20. Austin Bouzek, Trenton, Mo.; 21. Aaron Cain, Sioux City; 22. Dustin Vis, Cedar Rapids; 23. Austin Evens, Independence; 24. Dustin Larson, Rushmore, Minn.; 25. Reid Keller, Webster City; 26. Brandon Pruitt, Stuart; 27. Mike Coel, Pulaski, Wis.; 28. Elijah Zevenbergen, Ocheyedan; 29. Todd Reitzler, Grinnell; 30. Cole Mather, Oelwein. center_img Feature Results  Larson was pulling away by the time lap seven was scored in the nightcap. Back-to-back cautions flew on lap 10, Thornton was up to second by lap 20 and the final yellow came out when fourth running Mike Albertsen’s engine expired with three laps left.  Jordan Grabouski’s latest Stock Car victory came in the first qualifying feature Thursday night at the IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s. (Photo by Bruce Badgley, Motorsports Photography) Grabouski slipped past Mueller for the point on the seventh circuit, held the front spot through three midway cautions and stayed in control to the checkers.  2nd qualifier – 1. Jeffrey Larson, Lakefield, Minn.; 2. Ricky Thornton Jr., Adel; 3. Johnny Spaw, Cedar Rapids; 4. Jason Rogers, Selden, Kan.; 5. Matt Speckman, Sleepy Eye, Minn.; 6. Jay Schmidt, Tama; 7. Troy Jerovetz, Iowa Falls; 8. Kyle Everts, Holland; 9. Aaron Stolp, Suamico, Wis.; 10. John Oliver Jr., Danville; 11. Damon Murty, Chelsea; 12. Heath Tulp, Britt; 13. Mike Nichols, Harlan; 14. Derek Green, Granada, Minn.; 15. Travis Van Straten, Hortonville, Wis.; 16. Tim Pessek, Hutchinson, Minn.; 17. Kyle Pfeifer, Hill City, Kan.; 18. Austin Jahnz, Lewisville, Minn.; 19. Buck Schafroth, Orient; 20. Justin Nehring, Storm Lake; 21. Dusty Van Horn, Atlantic; 22. Chad LeGere, Ankeny; 23. Mike Albertsen, Audubon; 24. Brian Blessington, Breda; 25. Jimmy Gustin, Marshalltown; 26. Les Lundquist, Sioux City; 27. Chad Krogmeier, Burlington; 28. Westin Abbey, Comanche, Texas; 29. Jeremy Christians, Horicon, Wis.; 30. Curt Lund, Redwood Falls, Minn. Mueller will make his sixth Saturday night start at Boone, Larson his fifth, Carter his third and Thornton and Spaw both their second, while Grabouski and Rogers join Shaw as first-time qualifiers. last_img read more

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Officials in New York seek to make texting and walking illegal

first_imgLawmakers in New York are considering a bill that would make it a legal offense to text while walking.The bill introduced last year by Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, D-Brooklyn has now gained support by the majority in the Senate.The bill states that “No pedestrian shall cross a roadway at any point while using any portable electronic device,” and would allow authorities to issue penalties between $25 and $50 for first time offenders. The only way to avoid the ticket would be if the person can prove that they were on their phone due to an emergency situation.While it is unclear if the bill will pass, legislators in New York have been aggressive when it comes to bills against users who are distracted by texting. The state has passed a bill that will issue not only a fine but five points of the license of any individual who is caught texting while driving.New York isn’t the only state that is trying cut down on people being distracted by their phones, the mayor of Honolulu passed a similar bill in 2017 which banned texting while walking across the street.last_img read more

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Complete Sport, SportsVision, V.O.N Shine at Bet9ja/SWAN Cup

first_imgStar player, Johnny Edward after the game told the media their eyes is on the ultimate prize.“We are here to win and that is our mission at this year’s bet9ja-Lagos SWAN Cup. Our goal is simply to win our 3rd title”.Speaking about the chances of other contenders, Edward admitted Radio Nigeria, who held them to a 2-2 draw, TVC and Sports Vision look like formidable opponents.“Honestly TVC, Sports Vision and Radio Nigeria who held us to a draw look really good. Regardless, we are ready for any opposition”.Complete Sports’ last game of the preliminary rounds is against Sun Newspapers today.In other results of the opening day, former champions, Sports Vision beat Goal.com 3-0 in their opener, then trashed TVC 5-1.Sports Vision have HotSports TV and Top Radio on their plate tomorrow.However, Voice of Nigeria (VON) made a biggest impression on Day 1, scoring 11 goals in 2 games and conceding just one. They recorded a 5-1 victory over Pooja Media and went on to stroll past Sportsville 6-0.Nineteen media houses across Lagos are slugging it out at the Legacy pitch this year, with the grand finale coming up on Friday.There will be free medical screening today and an honorary reception for the newly re-elected Nigeria Football Federation Vice President, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi on Thursday at the association’s secretariat in Surulere, as part of activities for this year’s Lagos SWAN Week ceremony.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram The opening matches of the annual Sport Writers Association of Nigeria, Lagos chapter football tournament (SWAN CUP) powered by bet9ja, kicked off on Independence Day at the Legacy pitch of the National Stadium, Lagos.Defending champions, Complete Sports Communications, started their title defence with some swagger and sent a strong message to all contenders they are the team to beat.The Mumuni Alao Boys, gunning ‎for a record crown 3rd SWAN Cup title took out Inspiration FM 5-0 in their opening game, Sports Compass 3-1 but were held to a pulsating 2-2 draw by Radio Nigeria in their 3rd game in the group.last_img read more

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Rance’s Chicago Pizza co-owner defends position in USC lawsuit

first_imgBBCM said in the suit that the REAM executive framed the dining dollars as a selling point because it would bring a “significant boost” in revenue and used Seeds, another storefront at USC that accepts dining dollars, as an example.  “When you’re on [financial aid] and then you have to buy these meal plans, you don’t have a lot of extra spending money,” he said. “We were under the impression that we were going to have access to the USC Card. Being on campus it made perfect sense, and the students have been asking for it, too.”  Rance’s and The Butcher, the Baker and the Cappuccino Maker, another restaurant in the USC Village that shut its doors this semester, are suing the University for promissory fraud, misrepresentation and breach of contract. The store owners allege USC told tenants that students would be allowed to use dining dollars to pay for meals and claimed the University never told them there would be a dining hall in USC Village.  Aaron Tofani, co-owner of Rance’s and a 2011 Price School of Public Policy alumnus, said the restaurant, which runs two other locations in Southern California, never turned a profit at its USC Village location.  Rance’s Chicago Pizza, which closed Sept. 2, said the University falsely promised that students would be able to use dining dollars at USC Village restaurants and didn’t disclose the establishment of the USC Village Dining Hall. (Sarah Ko | Daily Trojan) “We’ve been set up in a situation where USC is acting as the banker with all these mealing plans, and they’re acting as the landlord, and they’re also the competition with the dining hall,” he said. “We just realized that there’s no way to succeed here.” “We had no choice but to close,” Tofani said. “We couldn’t afford to pay the rent because [it was] pretty high relative to the amount of sales that we were able to generate partially due to the significant amount of competition and other factors on the project.”  Rance’s and other USC Village tenants continued asking for permission to accept dining dollars in their restaurants but were denied each time, the suit read. Rance’s and BBCM also said the University promised USC Village would hold farmer’s markets, tailgates and other events to draw traffic from the local community. Instead, Tofani said that during the summer and holiday breaks, USC Village vendors made little profit.  “The University believes the allegations that Rance’s and BBCM have made in their lawsuit are inaccurate, and we will vigorously defend against them in court,” USC wrote in a statement to the Daily Trojan.  USC denied the claims made in the lawsuit regarding dining dollars and the dining hall. The tenants were afraid to come together because when they wrote draft letters on the issues in May 2018 and early 2019, a USC Real Estate and Asset Management executive allegedly threatened Rance’s and other tenants against signing the letter, Tofani said. He and his co-owner began going through past documents and said they hadn’t reached their profit projections because of the promises left unfulfilled by the University. Other tenants they talked to had similar experiences, he said.  A Rance’s Chicago Pizza co-owner is speaking out after the restaurant closed its USC Village location earlier this month amid an ongoing lawsuit against the University. The University also wrote that it had filed a separate court action against Rance’s for falling behind on its rent payments over the last several months. Tofani confirmed the restaurant had failed to pay its rent on time for two months.  “It is common for retailers and restaurants to make business-based decisions about when to leave a location,” the statement read. “Ongoing change is expected as USC Village continues to partner with retailers and restaurants to provide the best mix of services for the University and the community.” Tofani said the University didn’t disclose information about the establishment of the USC Village Dining Hall, which he said took away many of the restaurants’ potential customers.  When BBCM closed its doors last month, the University told the Daily Trojan that it expects to see retailers in USC Village change over time.  When the tenants started talking to one another, Tofani said they realized they had similar stories about the University’s promises compared with their actual profit numbers. Tofani said Rance’s worked on a new business deal with USC over the summer when the University wanted them to sign off on a clause that would exempt the school from any current and future claims the restaurant had. Tofani said Rance’s had relied on revenue from its other locations to help retain the USC Village restaurant, and he hopes the lawsuit will help pay for the seven figures in losses he said Rance’s gave up since the location opened in December 2017. He also said he hopes the University will improve conditions for other stores at USC Village by beginning to accept dining dollars and hosting community events that draw in customers during breaks in the school year.  “The [USC Village] is a ghost town when the students and the workers are all gone for the winter,” Tofani said. “That three weeks, you can have a cool experience for the community. Make the parking free, invite them in and they might discover their new favorite restaurant.”last_img read more

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Men’s tennis: Badgers prep for challenge of No. 3 TCU

first_imgWisconsin men’s tennis is 6-0 this season and off to its best start since 1990. The No. 56-ranked team has already bested quality opponents, such as No. 23 Minnesota and No. 34 Princeton, but will face an even bigger test this Friday against No. 3 TCU (6-2).The Horned Frogs have dominated opponents in recent weeks, beating five ranked foes and losing to only No. 1 Virginia and No. 24 California. The team is led by four underclassmen ranked within the top 100 singles players in the country, most notably Cameron Norrie, the No. 2 singles player in the country and a New Zealand native.Norrie was named Big 12 player of the week Feb. 17 and his 10-4 overall record includes wins over eight ranked opponents, capped by a 6-1, 6-3 victory against then-No. 3 singles player in the country, California’s Andre Goransson. The sophomore carried TCU to the semifinals of the ITA National Indoor Tournament two weeks ago and won his match against No. 27 Ryan Shane in a 4-1 loss to the No. 1 overall team Virginia.Norrie has taken the first singles position for most of TCU’s matches this spring, so look to him to face Wisconsin’s Josef Dodridge, a fellow sophomore, in the first singles match.Dodridge, though unranked, is in the midst of a productive season of his own. He is 5-1 in the first singles position this spring, a significant improvement over his 6-6 record last spring.While he hasn’t faced an opponent of Norris’s caliber, the match will help prepare him for a tough conference schedule against any of the other 10 Big Ten players currently ranked in the top 100 of collegiate players.UW head coach Danny Westerman believes Dodridge has much more room to grow, so tough matches such as this weekend’s can only help reach that potential.“Joe had a fantastic freshman year, and I think he’s really only scratching the surface,” Westerman said. “He might be the fastest guy in the Big Ten, and he’s one of our most competitive players.”Senior Alexander Kokorev is the only Badger to defeat a ranked opponent this season — No. 93 Alexander Day of Princeton — let alone face an opponent of the sort. Despite lacking experience against the nation’s top players as a whole, Wisconsin is anticipating the challenge, which will come at home this Friday night at 7 p.m. at the Nielsen Tennis Center.Win or lose, Wisconsin will take the experience as a chance to improve and build on an already promising season.last_img read more

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Cross: Alvarez’s comments bring issues of struggling hockey program to surface

first_imgWith two losses to Michigan State, the Wisconsin men’s hockey team finalized its spot at the bottom of the Big Ten for the second straight season. The job security of head coach Mike Eaves is in question and the attendance in the Kohl Center has taken a noticeable spiral downward.While those issues would normally be seen as the focus for such a storied program, recent comments by athletic director Barry Alvarez about the team are grabbing more of the headlines.Alvarez said in a budget discussion two Fridays ago the hockey team “will not make or break us.” Several members around the Athletic Board construed the comment as an attack on the team and an indicator the men’s hockey is now taking a back seat to other sports.Alvarez quickly stemmed the tide of those rumors through a letter he immediately released to students, faculty and staff outlining what he truly meant to say.The letter, while vague, explains why Alvarez used the phrasing he did and how he was referencing only the budget for the team, not the success or goals of the program.“We are committed to reestablishing Wisconsin men’s hockey as one of the elite programs in the country,” Alvarez said in the letter. “I know and respect the great tradition that has been established by the student-athletes who have come through the program and the tremendous support we receive from a very loyal fan base.”Whether genuine or not, men’s hockey has never truly been a main focus for Alvarez at Wisconsin. In 2006, the year after he stepped down as head football coach and became the school’s full-time athletic director, men’s hockey won its sixth NCAA championship. Since that time, the team has only been to one Frozen Four and won the Big Ten twice.Last season’s total of four wins marked the worst season in school history. This year’s team has topped that feat by only two games with as few as three series left to play.Now, with the head coaching position for basketball highly contested after Bo Ryan’s retirement, Alvarez has bigger fish to fry than a hockey team that is underperforming.In a quick response to the alarming lack of success by men’s hockey, Alvarez neglected to send Eaves his annual contract extension. Rather, Alvarez sent Eaves a letter, explaining how the absence of the extension stemmed from his inability to compete over the last few years.This opens the conversation to whether he will retain the spot into next season.“It’s a shame the guys in that locker room aren’t being awarded for their effort with wins,” Eaves said. “I feel bad for our kids and I know they’re disappointed. The only adjustment I would make at this point would be to start putting the puck in the back of the net. We are still doing some really good things.”Attendance is another main concern for the team, and could very well explain the comments from Alvarez. Season ticket sales have dropped 52 percent since the Alvarez era began and 23 percent since the Kohl Center era began back in 1998.While those inside the athletic department are hesitant to admit the poor results of the team are affecting ticket sales, it’s becoming more and more apparent that they are. The series against Northern Michigan this season held two games that both ranked in the top six smallest crowds to ever gather in the Kohl Center. Annual ticket sales have plummeted from more than $1 million to less than $40,000 in only five years.Student tickets are often exchanged now for $5 or even free depending on the game, and from last year alone, season ticket sales for Friday games have dropped by almost a fourth.With the growing popularity of men’s basketball, Alvarez has really struggled to keep interest in men’s hockey high. Wisconsin still ranks second in the NCAA for highest attendance each year, but falls outside of the top 20 in percentage of space utilized.Whether Eaves remains as the coach or the team loses this season out, neither Alvarez nor anyone else can deny Eaves’ ability to recruit, and the promising young talent that is already on the team. The last series of the regular season at rival Minnesota could be a big indicator as to the future for Wisconsin men’s hockey.The Badger faithful and Alvarez are looking towards the future, but that future still remains uncertain. Alvarez’s comments are alarming, but not indicative of any action to come.last_img read more

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OAS Urges GECOM to Conclude Guyana’s Electoral Process

first_imgCMC “In response to your request for guidance on which the results of the march 2,2020 Elections can be declared, you are accordingly advised that my letter dated July 9, 2020 stands,” Singh responded, informing Lowenfield “you are therefore required to submit your report by 11.00 hrs on 11th July 2020”. Lowenfield had earlier written to Singh indicating that he needed guidance as to whether the report should be premised on Section 18 of the Election Laws or on Article 177 (2) (b) of the Constitution. “Regrettably, developments over the last two days suggest that efforts continue to avoid compliance with these obligations and to further prolong the term of the current government,” it added. WASHINGTON – The Organization of American States (OAS) has reiterated its call for the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to move forward in concluding the country’s disputed March 2 regional and general elections “based on the results of the national recount, and in accordance with the will of the majority of the electorate”. Singh, Friday informed the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, he should use revisit her letter of July 9 to prepare his report that would start the process of releasing the official results of the disputed March 2 regional and general election In reiterating its statement on the national recount, the OAS said “GECOM should exclude from the current electoral process, and indeed from all future electoral processes, those persons whose actions display clear partisan bias, and who apply this bias unreservedly in hindering the natural unfolding of the democratic process in Guyana. “A credible conclusion of the 2020 elections is essential if Guyana is to remain a democracy,” the OAS said. “The OAS will continue to support the efforts of the people of Guyana towards this end.” “The OAS notes and commends the instructions of the GECOM Chair, retired justice Claudette Singh issued on July 9 and reiterated on July 10, that the Chief Elections Officer should prepare and submit his report using the results generated by the national recount,” the statement said. The OAS said that one of the principal obstacles to completing Guyana’s current electoral process is “a person whose duty it is to defend Guyana’s democracy through ensuring respect for the results of elections.” The OAS said that the decision of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on Wednesday confirmed that GECOM has the final authority to declare these elections and that the Chief Elections Officer is required to comply with the Commission’s directives in this regard.last_img read more

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