first_imgCaofeidian 11-1/11-6 oilfield comprehensive adjustment project comprises two central processing platforms Image: The Caofeidian 11-1/11-6 oilfield comprehensive adjustment project comprises two central processing platforms. Photo courtesy of QR9iudjz0/ China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) has commenced production from Caofeidian 11-1/11-6 oilfield comprehensive adjustment project located in the Bohai Sea, offshore China.Located in an average water depth of 20m to 25m, the Caofeidian 11-1/11-6 oilfield comprehensive adjustment project comprises two central processing platforms.The project utilises the existing facilities in Caofeidian oilfield, which includes six wellhead platforms and one floating production storage and offloading (FPSO).In 2021, the project will have a peak production capacity of approximately 28,700 barrels of crude oil per day. Of the total 89 wells planned for production, 12 wells are currently in production phase.CNOOC operates the Caofeidian 11-1/ 11-6 oilfields with majority stakeCNOOC operates Caofeidian 11-1 oilfield and Caofeidian 11-6 oilfield with 51% stake and 60% interest respectively.Brightoil Petroleum owns 40.09% interest and 29.18% stakes in Caofeidian 11-1 and Caofeidian 11-6 oilfields respectively while SPC E&P (China) owns the remaining interest in the fields.Earlier this year, CNOOC has announced plans to spend between CNY70bn to CNY80bn ($10.3bn to $11.8bn) on exploration and production, as part of its business strategy and development plan for this year.For this year, the company is targeting net production of 480 million to 490 million barrels of oil equivalent (Mboe), and expects net production to be 505Mboe to 515Mboe in 2020.Commenting on the move, CNOOC CFO Xie Weizhi earlier said: “The company will maintain its prudent financial policy and investment decision-making, and ensure the effective implementation of the capital expenditure plan to improve the overall performance of the company.”Recently, CNOOC has signed an agreement to acquire a 10% stake in Arctic LNG 2, the holding company of the $25.5bn (£20.09bn) Arctic LNG 2 project in Russia, from Novatek for an undisclosed price.The share purchase agreement has been signed by CNOOC and its subsidiary CEPR with Novatek and its subsidiary Ekropromstroy.last_img read more

3 May / 2021

Bilawal steps up

first_imgBilawal Bhutto Zardari, the Christ Church undergraduate who has been made leader of the Pakistani opposition, returned to Oxford on Wednesday nignt.Following the assassination of his mother Benazir last month, the 19 year-old history student must transform from a normal, down-to-earth student into a world politial figure.Bilawal has assumed the position of Chairman of the Pakistani People’s Party, whilse his father Asif Ali Zardari will run the party on a day-to-day basis.As the profile of Bilawal increases, police and University staff have been drawing up new plans to ensure his safety. Thames Valley Police are known to be conducting meetings with MI5, and there are reports that they may assign Zardari a personal security officer from Chequers, the Prime Minister’s second home.Bilawal has been moved to new accommodation in Christ Church, and students have been warned not to talk to journalists, several of whom were evicted from college premises last weekend.Speaking for the Thames Valley Police, Toby Shergold said, “We have had suitable security plans in place since Bilawal Zardari began his studies at Oxford University. A threat level is decided, and can change, according to the environment in which the protected person is at any time and also the capability of any group to carry out an attack. Therefore, in light of developments in recent days, the force is liaising with national security services in order to review the arrangements if and where necessary.”The University refused to discuss whether they or the Government would be funding the security of Bhutto Zardari. A spokesperson said, “We take the safety of all our students, including high-profile or high-risk students, extremely seriously. We cannot discuss individual students or arrangements but we keep security under review.”Speaking in London at a press conference on Tuesday, Bhutto Zardari appealed to the media to respect his privacy as he completes his degree, after which he will take up full-time leadership of the party, saying that he feared for his privacy more than his life. He said, “My immediate priority is to return to Oxford to continue my studies. Unless I can finish my education and develop enough maturity I recognise that I will never be in a position to have sufficient wisdom to enter the political arena. When I am at Oxford I hope I can be left alone.”Last term, Bhutto Zardari had been using the pseudonym ‘Bilawal Lawalib’ on his Facebook profile (Lawalib is Bilawal spelt backwards) but revealed his identity if asked. He uses his real name in college, and his parents came to help him unpack at the start of last term like any other student.One Christ Church student said that his background was unknown to many. “I didn’t even know that he was Benazir Bhutto’s son,” said Flo Graham-Dixon. “I had no idea who he was. A down to earth nice guy.”Unlike his mother, who was a social butterfly during her time at Oxford, Bilawal is said to be relatively uninterested in the world of university politics. However, before coming up to Oxford he interned with Alan Duncan, Shadow Business Secretary and friend of his mother.Duncan said of him, “He seemed to me quite reserved, dutiful and steeped in the cause of the family. There are moving echoes of what happened to Benazir when she was at Oxford, when her father was deposed and hanged. She rose to events and I have no doubt that Bilawal will do so too.”last_img read more

first_imgA study has found that footfall has fallen -1.7% in July, but has increased by 1.7% in out-of-town locations.The research, carried out by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), revealed that footfall in July was 0.6% lower overall than a year ago, but up on the 0.7% fall in June.Despite the disappointing numbers for the high street, the national town centre vacancy rate in the UK was 10.1%, a decrease from April’s rate of 10.6%.Helen Dickinson, BRC director general, said: “These results are a mixed bag, with footfall easing downwards in July, but with the shop vacancy rate recording its best performance since our records began in July 2011.“Footfall dipped 0.6% in July compared to the same period last year, albeit less pronounced than in June. Out-of-town destinations performed well, off the back of strong sales of furniture, home accessories and outdoor and garden items, while high streets and shopping malls dipped, reflecting weaker sales of goods such as beauty products.“The reduction in the shop vacancy rate for the third successive quarter is heartening, with the vacancy rate at its lowest level since our records began in July 2011. However it is still the case that every tenth shop remains unoccupied. This reinforces the need for a fundamental overhaul of commercial property taxes, which would increase retailers’ confidence about investing in new or existing retail premises and thus help rejuvenate our high streets.”Three regions in England reported footfall above the UK average: the South West (0.2%), North & Yorkshire (-0.1%) and the East Midlands (-0.3%).Northern Ireland reported the largest decline in its footfall rate, down 5.2% in July, and Scotland reported the highest level of regional footfall, up 4.4%.Wales experienced a decline in footfall of 1.2% on the previous year.last_img read more

first_imgOn May 6th, the jamtronica act Papadosio took over the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado, for their second headlining performance at the legendary venue. For the Re:Creation event, the group was joined by Colorado’s own SunSquabi in addition to Supersillyus, Eliot Lipp, and Desert Dwellers. An aspect of what made the show so special was the attention brought to event as a whole, with the group also tapping visionary painters Alex and Allyson Grey to make art alongside them throughout the night while their works were projected on the screen behind them and altered Jonathan Singer.Papadosio And Sunsquabi Take Over Red Rocks For Re:Creation [Photos/Pro-Shot Video]Once Papadosio hit the stage, they put on a stellar performance for the packed crowd. One highlight of the night was their final song of the evening, “The Bionic Man Meets His Past.” Their choice of encore was off T.E.T.I.O.S., Papadosio’s two-disc 2012 release, which similarly sought to combine art and music and explore the depth of art that the two intertwining can create. You can watch the full video of Papadosio’s Red Rocks encore, which is the work of Zac Fabian and his crew, below.Photo: Brittany Teuber]last_img read more

first_imgFollowing the solid first night of music, Widespread Panic returned to Oxon Hill, Maryland—within spitting distance of the nation’s capital—to play their second show of the weekend at MGM National Harbor. The sextet performed a classic show with mostly old school heaters.  Boy, were they on one last night, as evident by the face-splitting grins of the band members.For the second consecutive night, Widespread Panic opened with an instrumental that has been played since the band’s earliest days.   “The Take Out” led an opening cluster of songs off their debut album Space Wrangler.  For the 1125th (or 1126th depending who you ask) time, the band performed in moon-time for another cut from their debut album with the lunar “Porch Song.” A truly one-of-a-kind cover of Bloodkin’s “Can’t Get High” followed, a tune that dates back to ’93.   For the third time in four songs, another take from Space Wrangler arrived in the electric form of a warm, farmer’s soul in “Holden Oversoul.”   The bouncing cover of David Bromberg’s “Old Neighborhood” was welcomed warmly by the hungry crowd.  The cover has been a staple of the band’s catalog since its legendary debut at the 2001 NOLAWEEN run with the help from Col. Bruce Hampton and Karl Denson. After a slight pause, the band lifted off into a soaring “Airplane” complete with lightning maelstroms from Jimmy Herring levitating through “The Take Off Jam”.  Keeping the pedal to the floor, Widespread steamrolled into “Rebirtha”, which featured a spirited JoJo Hermann on keys dueling with Herring’s relentless guitar.Dave Schools stepped into the spotlight for a furious rendition of Vic Chesnutt’s “Sleeping Man”, which the band first debuted in ’95. To close the first set, Widespread performed a bad-ass reminder that “Ain’t Life Grand” with John Bell playing his “tiny guitar”. All songs of the first set predate ’95—with exception to “Old Neighborhood” (2001)—and foreshadowed the epic music still ahead.Following a brief setbreak, Widespread Panic came out swinging with a rockin’ “Proving Ground > Impossible > Proving Ground” sandwich.  The old classics rolled out one by one with “Picking Up the Pieces”, “Junior”, “Diner”, as each song was given a refined examination.  Under the microscope, the music was outstanding, as beat for beat the band built up intensity and was in peak form throughout the entire evening. A majestic “Surprise Valley” was played straight through in all of its glory.  The “Drums” was particularly noteworthy with Duane Trucks and Sunny Ortiz exchanging blows to their respective kits.  Sunny went on an absolute rampage with Duane matching his fervor.  Duane continued at the helm into a whirlwind “Cease Fire”, which marked only the third song to have debuted after ‘95. Returning to their self-titled second album, the boys wrapped up the set with an uplifting performance of “I’m Not Alone” before finding the fuel to close with a scorching-hot “Love Tractor”.The band left the stage, but the audience remained transfixed, eager for the ensuing encores.  Widespread Panic did not disappoint.  An energetic romp through Jerry Joseph’s “North” mellowed out gracefully into Van Morrison’s “And It Stoned Me”, bringing the second night to a mythical conclusion.The band was on point the first night, but on night two, a rough outline of a setlist with only the coordinates of point A and point B were roughly estimated.  The path between was yet to be determined.  The artful and synchronous chemistry between the band members was painstakingly obvious as they wove tight but meandering jams into the spaces and transitions from a loosely, built song structure.  The setlist kicked it back to the band’s roots.  No bells and whistles, just badass rock and roll.  The graphic backdrop was abandoned as the band got back to the basics.  Their wickedly, delighted faces betrayed their usual stoic professionalism.  The enjoyment was reflected from the band to the audience in mutual respect.   Tonight, Widespread Panic returns to the MGM National Harbor to wrap their St. Panic’s Day run. Another round, goodpeople?Check out a few photos from Saturday night’s show below courtesy of photographer AJ Genovesi.Head to the band’s website for a full list of upcoming tour dates and ticketing information.Setlist: Widespread Panic | MGM National Harbor | Oxon Hill, MD | 3/16/2019Set One: The Take Out > Porch Song, Can’t Get High, Holden Oversoul, Old Neighborhood, Airplane, Rebirtha > Sleeping Man, Ain’t Life Grand*Set Two: Proving Ground > Impossible > Proving Ground, Pickin’ Up The Pieces, Diner > Junior, Surprise Valley > Drums > Cease Fire > I’m Not Alone, Love TractorEncore: North, And It Stoned MeNotes * w/ JB on tiny guitar“And It Stoned Me” LTP 1/27/18 Playa Seite (40 shows)Widespread Panic | MGM National Harbor | Washington, D.C. | 3/16/2019 | Photos: AJ Genovesi Load remaining imageslast_img read more

1 Mar / 2021

Drone’s-eye view

first_imgToo often in the past, Ur said, the technology brought by foreign researchers would not stay behind, leaving local scientists unable to devote resources to projects that were important to local people.“After our last trip to Kurdistan, we left the drones there and local researchers are continuing the work,” Ur said. “They’re flying sites that I care about, but they’re also making their own decisions, and flying sites that are threatened so they can document them.”For the Kurds in the region, Ur said, that is particularly significant.“The Kurds have a shortage of history, because in previous times the government in Baghdad was … largely focused on the south of the country,” he said. “Kurds were not encouraged to develop much of their own archaeology, so now they’re very interested in filling in some local history, and they have picked up these tools to start doing their own work and by extension, compose their own history.” Though those regulations were rewritten last year and provide for a new class of license that requires only a written test, they still separate drone users into just two categories: hobbyists and commercial users. Although some U.S. universities have lobbied the FAA to carve out a research use for the technology, their efforts have not been successful, Fox said.“We don’t want to impose too many restrictions on what people are allowed to do,” said Fox, who is working to draft the new policy. “But there are regulatory requirements — the FAA says you can’t weigh more than 55 pounds including payload, you can’t go more than 100 miles an hour, you can’t go more than 400 feet up — these are all things want people to be aware of, as well as best practices. That’s why we are working to create a committee with expertise in this area.“I think this committee is going to be very important,” Ur added.“I want to be able to teach using this technology,” he said. “In my GIS class, I teach students how to use satellite images to identify archaeological sites; I want to teach them how to made 3-D models using drones as well. We want to help students be creative, but we also need to make sure no one is endangered as well.”As other scholars discover their utility, Ur predicted the use of drones will expand into any number of fields, but for now he is using it to explore key questions about the demographic impact on a regional scale of the forced deportation by Assyrian kings 3,000 years ago.“There are probably 3,000 or 4,000 sites in this region, and we’ve recovered less than 250 of them,” he said. “This technology allows us to quickly make high-resolution maps of sites in a way we weren’t able to before.”But the technology has also aided in the discovery of new sites for investigation, Ur said.Just this past September, he said, researchers were using a drone to investigate a river valley that had long been known as the entrance to a subterranean water channel built some 2,700 years ago to supply an Assyrian city more than 20 kilometers away.While reviewing images from the drone, Ur noticed an unusual grouping of stones several hundred meters from the entrance to the channel’s entrance.“When we looked at it more closely, we realized it was the remains of a dam that was about 20 meters wide,” he said. “It had likely been uncovered by floods during the rainy season the previous year, but we never would have seen it from the ground. My Iraqi colleagues have now begun to excavate it, and are talking about trying to restore it.”Using drones in the field, however, isn’t without some risks.While working in Kurdistan, Ur was surprised to find that due to its relatively low cost and ease of use, ISIS fighters in the region often employ the same model drone to survey Iraqi military units.“We were very aware of this,” Ur said. “So we go out of our way to make sure all the relevant authorities know we’re there and we have permission. We also don’t go near any sort of infrastructure or militarily sensitive areas.”In the end, Ur said, among the most powerful benefits drones offer is the democratization of science. As the technology becomes cheaper, it can be used by anyone, allowing local researchers to take control of their own history. Harvard illuminates ‘richest archaeological landscape in the Middle East’ Most people see drones as a hobby, a fun toy for photographers and videographers, or maybe even the future of package delivery.But Jason Ur sees them as an invaluable research tool.A professor of anthropology and director of the Center for Geographic Analysis, Ur in recent years has used drones to quickly create 3-D maps of ancient sites in the Kurdistan region of Iraq — something that used to take days or weeks.“This technology — both the drones and the software to stitch the images together — is now within the reach of anyone with even a small research budget,” Ur said. “That’s what really makes this revolutionary not just for archaeologists, but for any researcher who needs to capture phenomena on the ground. In terms of the potential of drones … the democratization that this technology allows is transformative.”And to share just how transformative, the Center for Geographic Analysis hosted a conference on “The Drone Revolution in Spatial Analysis.” The two-day event (April 27–28) included hands-on demonstrations and training workshops; the applications of drones in mapping practice; how to select a drone for a particular project, plan a flight path, and process data to create 3-D maps; and the ethical and legal challenges the technology presents.As the use of drones becomes more widespread across an ever-growing list of research fields, Harvard administrators are working to draft policies that would address their use on campus, and to create a committee of scholars to inform and advise other faculty on best practices for using them in research.Questions about how drones might be used on Harvard’s campus came up as early as 2012, said Matthew Fox, senior research compliance officer in the Office of the Vice Provost for Research.At that time, he said, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations required those using drones for anything other than recreation to obtain a specific exemption in advance of any flight.Bastora Dam and Canal Head Ancient Iraq revealed Related <a href=”–Bs” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”> <img src=”–Bs/0.jpg” alt=”0″ title=”How To Choose The Correct Channel Type For Your Video Content ” /> </a>last_img read more

first_img Beaches started as a 1985 novel about a 30-year friendship and is best known for the 1988 movie featuring Bette Midler, Barbara Hershey and THAT SONG: “The Wind Beneath My Wings.” The Grammy-winning ballad will not be heard in the musical, which features an all-new score by composer David Austin, with lyrics by Dart herself. The book of the musical is a collaboration between Dart and librettist Thom Thomas. Under the direction of Eric Schaeffer, performances start February 18 at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia. Davi made her Broadway debut as Maggie in the 2006 revival of A Chorus Line and later replaced Sutton Foster in The Drowsy Chaperone. She also had memorable roles in Blue Bloods and Smash. Umphress has been featured in the ensembles of both American Idiot and On a Clear Day You Can See Forever. Here’s hoping their onstage chemistry brings us to tears! Get ready to cry, Virginia! The stage adaptation of Iris Rainer Dart’s tearjerker of a novel Beaches is gearing up for a February premiere at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia, with Broadway vets Mara Davi and Alysha Umphress now set to take on the roles of two unforgettable BFFs: uptight Bertie White (better known as Hillary Whitney Essex from the film version) and wild child Cee Cee Bloom, respectively. View Commentslast_img read more

first_imgBy Gustavo Arias Retana/Diálogo May 08, 2019 In October 2016, Nicaragua inaugurated a project the Daniel Ortega regime sold the population as proof of the strong relationship between his government and Vladimir Putin: Russian vaccine plant Mechnikov. Two and a half years later the factory has yet to produce a vaccine. The project smells of bribery, Russia is losing interest, and nobody knows where the money invested ended up. “The vaccine factory project represents the logic Russian investments follow in Nicaragua in recent years. The old partnership between both countries during the Cold War motivates Moscow’s cooperation,” Víctor Hugo Tinoco, former Nicaraguan ambassador to the United Nations and former Sandinista National Liberation Front guerrilla, told Diálogo. “The investments never had a positive impact on the population. Russia only sought to expand its influence with Nicaragua and ensure access to the Caribbean Sea, while the Sandinista government only wanted to benefit through corruption.” According to the Nicaraguan government, at least $35 million were invested for construction of the Mechnikov plant. The Nicaraguan Social Security Institute (INSS, in Spanish) contributed $11 million, while Russia disbursed the remaining $24 million. INSS’ economic crisis triggered the protests against Ortega in April 2018. According to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, at least 264 people died in the demonstrations. A discretionary transaction, approved by Roberto López, INSS president and retired Army officer, made the investment in the vaccine plant possible. Change of course “In recent years, the relationship between Russia and Nicaragua moved toward a more physical scope, with constructions in some areas of Managua,” Tinoco said. “Russian investments were always done under the table, a situation that facilitated Orteguista corruption.” Ortega’s regime promised the Mechnikov plant would produce 15 million influenza vaccines, and would then make vaccines against measles, hepatitis, polio, and Zika. In early April 2019, Nicaraguan Vice President Rosario Murillo, Ortega’s wife, announced that a Russian delegation would visit the plant for further inspection. Russia seems to be losing interest in backing Ortega’s government. “It’s not that it’s not interested in Nicaragua; Russia will always take advantage of crises, and won’t abandon what it gained in Nicaragua. The thing is that [now] Ortega needs Moscow more than Moscow needs Ortega, because it’s one of the few partners that still support his dictatorship. In other words, Russia can cut down on what it gives, because Ortega needs to say that Putin is his partner,” Guillermo Barquero, a political scientist at the National University of Costa Rica, told Diálogo. “If Nicaragua falls, Russia won’t intervene. Russia is always interested in expanding, and won’t risk more than necessary for such an unprofitable regime as Ortega’s.” Renewed Russian interest in Cuba In February 2019, the Russian government approved a $42-million loan for Cuba to acquire new weapons. The move shows Moscow’s political and military interest in the island. Carlos Murillo, an international relations analyst at the National University of Costa Rica, agrees with Barquero. He also points out Russia’s renewed interest in Cuba, possibly due to the political crises that affect Venezuela and Nicaragua, its closest partners in the region. “The ideal situation for Moscow is to keep the Caracas, Managua, Havana triangle, but in the current situation, the country that seems more stable for their interests is Cuba, because in case of a domino effect that would see the ousting of Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, Ortega will further wear down and might be overthrown,” Murillo told Diálogo. “But it might be difficult for the Castrist regime to fall now. Russia seeks to operate in any possible scenario and secure its presence in Latin America.” The Nicaraguan people paid with their taxes for a project that is still adrift; Russian vaccines are still unavailable to citizens, while Russia shows little interest in helping Latin American countries. The vaccine factory is one of Moscow’s many ways to attempt to expand in the region by supporting corrupt states. But when those governments collapse, Moscow will turn to its next target. The well-being of Latin American nations will always come second for Russia.last_img read more

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Take this simple quiz and find out if you are paranoid enough to qualify for membership in this exclusive, “by-invitation-only” club!Answer Yes or No:Is the United Nations secretly plotting to invade our country and occupy our best golf courses, ruining the American Way of Life?Do you think the IRS is really run by lizard people, who can instantly shift their shapes to look like the rest of us?Do you agree that any government official who promotes the sale of energy-efficient light bulbs is bent on destroying our freedom and should be removed from office?Are those airplane contrails (white vapor trails in the sky) actually “chemtrails”—clouds of toxic chemicals or biological agents being sprayed by hundreds of secret government aircraft for clandestine purposes?Do you believe that America’s enemies can telepathically communicate with goats and other animals?Have you ever, accidentally of course, drunk water containing fluoride (which as everyone knows, saps America’s strength and makes us vulnerable to a foreign takeover)?Do you think the people who control Wall Street have the best interests of investors like you at heart?Is there a secret gay and lesbian plan to break up your marriage?Does the South still have a chance to win the Civil War?Have you, or a trustworthy friend, personally seen aliens abducting attractive, scantily-clad Earth women?If you answered YES to all of the these questions, Congratulations!First of all, you’re in good company: According to recent news reports, millions of Americans actually believe that everything written above is absolutely true.Second, you are now a prime candidate for membership in the National Paranoia Association.What do you do next?Nothing!We’ll be in touch. We know who you are. We know where you live. We know how you scored on this test.As a member of the National Paranoia Association you’ll get paranoid e-mail updates like these:This just in from Portland, Oregon, future site of the NPA’s new world headquarters: Voters there rejected a plan to put fluoride in their drinking water for the fourth time. Way to go, Portland!Scientists have found more than 150 Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) on trajectories that might blast the Earth to smithereens. Is this sheer chance? Or is somebody secretly steering these killer asteroids toward our planet?You knew it in your heart—the end of the world is coming. Again. Here are two recent predictions, so you can start putting your affairs in order:2014: World War III is near, based on an ancient Nostradamus prophecy of a fire in the North at the end of the age of the fifth sun. This will occur in “a northern region of a country.” North Korea has the edge now, with London bookmakers putting the odds at 3-2.2037: Evangelist preacher Hal Lindsey, King of Bible Prophecy, says the end is coming, again, and sooner than we think. Hal previously predicted Armageddon in the 1980s, then again in the 1990s. He could be “third time lucky,” as they say.last_img read more

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) resigned his leadership post Monday—one week after being arrested with his son on federal corruption charges.State Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport), who has chaired the senate education committee, replaced Skelos following a debate between GOP senators over whether Flanagan or Sen. John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) would take over the leadership role that Skelos has held since 2011.“I have decided to step down the last thing I would ever want to do is distract from the good work that Senate Republicans have done or make it more difficult to close down this legislative session in a positive and productive way,” Skelos said in a statement. “This scrutiny was more real and more eye-opening than I could have ever imagined when I asked the members of our conference to stand by me last week”Flanagan praised Skelos upon taking over the leadership while Seklos looked on beside him.“I am so extraordinarily grateful,” Flanagan, a former state Assemblyman who was elected to the Senate in 2002, said in his first remarks after being sworn in. “We have real work to do, so let’s get to the people’s business.”Skelos initially tried to hold on to the majority leadership, but his support eroded days after he and his son, Adam, pleaded not guilty to soliciting $200,000 in bribes from two companies in exchange for helping pass favorable legislation and win a $12 million Nassau County contract for storm water treatment.The arrest of the Skeloses came three months after former State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) lost the leadership post he had held for two decades after he was similarly charged and pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges.Skelos’ predecessor, ex-Sen. Joseph Bruno (R-Troy,) was also convicted of federal corruption charges, but the verdict was overturned on appeal, and he was acquitted during his second trial. Skelos, who took over for Bruno in 2008, lost the leadership post when the Democrats won the majority of the state Senate the following year. His successor, former Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Queens), was convicted of federal corruption charges in February and faces sentencing in July.Smith and Skelos both disputed who controlled the chamber during the infamous June 2009 coup that resulted in then-Sen. Pedro Espada (D-Bronx) taking the majority leadership post before he was indicted in 2010 on federal corruption charges. He was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison.Skelos had regained control of the Senate majority in 2011 until 2013, when Democrats regained a slim majority, but he formed a power-sharing agreement with Sen. Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx), who leads the Independent Democratic Caucus. Skelos and the GOP had regained full control of the chamber in January.The shakeup comes during the last five weeks of the state legislative session before they adjourn for the summer on June 17. This is when lawmakers historically push for passage of their biggest proposals.When the news was announced late Monday afternoon in Albany, State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) issued a statement congratulating his new counterpart.“I know Senator Flanagan as a friend and a colleague from his time serving in the Assembly, and I am looking forward to working with him in his new role on an agenda that will truly serve to move our state forward,” he said.Suffolk Republican chairman John Jay LaValle, who was one of the first party leaders to urge Sen. Skelos to step down from his post pending the resolution of the charges against him, was very pleased with the transition in power that kept another Long Island Republican in the leadership post.“Senator Flanagan’s elevation to Majority Leader is not just great news for Suffolk County, but for suburban taxpayers throughout New York State,” said LaValle in a statement. “John Flanagan is someone who has protected suburban taxpayers by helping to pass a property tax cap.  As chair of the senate education committee, he fought and won many battles to ensure suburban public schools received their fair share of State Education Aid. I am confident that Senator Flanagan will continue to stand up to liberals who think that suburban taxpayers are New York City’s piggy bank.”-With Spencer Rumseylast_img read more