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Quick jump to below stories:
Zilkha Acquired by Goldman Sachs
Army Expects Recruiting to Slump Further
US, Canada and Mexico pledge to build new alliance
Super-rich hide trillions offshore
Chirac Ignores US, Assures Arms Support for China

Zilkha Acquired by Goldman Sachs

New York, New York [RenewableEnergyAccess.com]
March 22, 2005
http://renewableenergyaccess.com/rea/news/story?id=24014

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Construction at the Blue Canyon Wind project began in 2003, and phase II of the 150 MW development will continue under the leadership of Goldman Sachs.

New York, New York [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] Wind energy developer Zilkha Renewable Energy of Texas has finished negotiating with the Goldman Sachs Group of New York on an acquisition agreement. Goldman Sachs plans to purchase a controlling interest in Zilkha, and the transaction is expected to close during the second financial quarter of 2005 after regulatory approvals.

"We've always been excited about building high-quality wind power projects, and we're happy to add momentum to the process through this new situation."

- Zilkha Renewable Energy Company Statement

Zilkha is owned by the father-and-son team of Selim and Michael Zilkha, and has an energy portfolio of nearly 4,000 MW in various stages of development in a dozen states. Goldman Sachs will acquire 100 percent of the company's interests in the 200 MW Flat Rock Wind Power Project in Lewis County, New York, as well as 100 percent of Zilkha's interest in the 150 MW Blue Canyon Phase II Project in Oklahoma, both of which are expected to be completed by the end of 2005.

"This acquisition will allow us to leverage Zilkha's strength in wind energy development with Goldman's expertise and market leadership in energy finance and power marketing," Henry M. Paulson, Jr., Goldman Sachs' Chairman and Chief Executive Officer said. "Zilkha has established a reputation for excellence in wind energy development. We intend to build upon that reputation and Zilkha's development pipeline to deliver high-quality projects that meet the needs of customers, partners, landowners, and communities."

Goldman Sachs is a global investment banking, securities, and investment management firm that provides a wide range of services worldwide.

The Zilkha team has taken measures to ensure that investors and employees are informed about the purchase by posting some questions and answers on their Web site.

"We plan to proceed with projects, but with greater resources to devote to them. We've always been excited about building high-quality wind power projects, and we're happy to add momentum to the process through this new situation," the company stated.

The Goldman Sachs acquisition should offer Zilkha an opportunity to increase project development. Selim and Michael will retain a financial interest in the company and will serve on the board of directors. They don't expect any staff changes at the company, they stated, and said that Goldman Sachs is entering into the agreement as a long-term investment.

Michael Zilkha, co-owner and director of Zilkha Renewable Energy, said, "Goldman Sachs' acquisition of Zilkha is a clear sign of wind's emergence as a competitive, efficient, and mainstream energy resource. Because ours is a family-owned company, relationships have always been very important to my father and me. We are maintaining an interest in the new company, and we look forward to a smooth transition to a larger, more integrated enterprise."

Financial details of the acquisition were not released by either company.

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Army Expects Recruiting to Slump Further

- By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
(03-23) 11:15 PST WASHINGTON, (AP) -
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2005/03/23/national/w111557S06.DTL

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

The Army expects to miss its recruiting goals this month and next and is working on a revised sales pitch appealing to the patriotism of parents, Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey said Wednesday.

Whether that boosts enlistment numbers or not, Harvey said he sees no chance of a military draft.

"The `D' word is the farthest thing from my mind," the former defense company executive told a Pentagon news conference, his first since becoming the Army's top civilian official last November.

Because of the military manpower strains caused by simultaneous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, some in Congress have raised the possibility of re-instituting the draft, although there is a strong consensus against it among Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and the military chiefs.

This is the first time the United States has been in a sustained period of combat since the all-volunteer force was introduced in 1973. The Air Force and Navy, which have relatively smaller roles in Iraq and Afghanistan, have no recruiting problems, but the Army and Marines are hard pressed.

The Army missed its recruiting goal for February by 27 percent, and that was the first time it had missed a monthly goal since May 2000. The last time it missed its full-year goal was 1999.

As of Feb. 28, the regular Army was 6 percent below the number of recruits it had expected to sign up at that point in the recruiting year, the Army Reserve was 10 percent off and the Army National Guard was 25 percent off.

The Army is forecasting that all three elements - active, Guard and Reserve - will fall short of their targets for March and April. That means they will have to make up the lost ground this summer - traditionally the best recruiting season - in order to meet their full-year goals.

"I'm clearly not going to give up," Harvey said. "At this stage we still have six months to go" before the recruiting year ends Sept. 30. "I've challenged our human resource people to get as innovative as they can. And even as we speak we've got a number of new ideas."

One of those new approaches is designed to persuade more parents to steer their children to the Army.

"We're going to appeal to patriotism," he said.

That might be done through a new advertising campaign, he said. He also is encouraging more members of Congress as well as senior Army leaders and Army boosters to spend time in local communities touting the benefits of military service.

The Army also has increased the number of recruiters on the street by 33 percent and is offering bigger signup bonuses. Last week the Army announced that the National Guard and Reserve were raising the maximum age for recruits from 34 to 39 in order to expand the pool of potential enlistees. The regular Army could not raise the maximum age without congressional approval.

In a related matter, the Army said more people in the Individual Ready Reserve - those no longer in uniform and not obligated to train - are going to be hearing from the Army in the weeks ahead. The Army has revised upward the number of IRR soldiers it plans to put on active duty, from the 4,402 announced last summer to 4,653. Of those given mobilization orders so far, 370 have failed to report for duty, according to Lt. Col. Pamela Hart, an Army spokeswoman. An additional 2,229 have asked for delays in their reporting dates or for exemptions.

Harvey also disclosed that the Army is "looking at" changing its policy on having more than one sibling in a combat zone at the same time. He did not say how the policy might be altered, and he declined to say more about the subject, other than to indicate that it came up when he visited the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, where wounded U.S. troops are treated.

The current policy is that if one of two siblings in a combat zone is killed, the Army will consider removing the remaining one from the combat zone if the surviving soldier or his parents request it, according to spokeswoman Hart. She said she was not aware of any planned change.

Lt. Col. Tom Collins, spokesman for Harvey, said later that Harvey was in the early stages of thinking through the whole issue and that no proposed changes had been developed yet.

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/n/a/2005/03/23/national/w111557S06.DTL

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US, Canada and Mexico pledge to build new alliance

By John Authers in Mexico City
The Financial Times
March 24 2005 02:00
http://news.ft.com/cms/s/a19ebbc4-9c09-11d9-815d-00000e2511c8,ft_acl=,s01=1.html

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

The leaders of the US, Canada and Mexico yesterday pledged to build a new "North American Alliance for Prosperity and Security" in an effort to bolster anti-terrorism measures and improve the flow of trade between the three countries.

President George W. Bush also pledged to continue to attempt to pass his proposed guest-worker programme for migrants through Congress, an important policy for Mexico. However, all three leaders acknowledged at the end of their summit in Waco, Texas, that differences persisted - particularly over US-Mexico migration, and over Canadian beef exports to the US.

The new North American Alliance, which has been billed as an extension of the North American Free Trade Agreement launched by the three countries 11 years ago, will cover tightening border security using new technology, and sharing intelligence.

The leaders also undertook to promote collaboration on a sectoral basis in energy, transportation, financial services and technology - a list that could open the way for greater investment in the Mexican petroleum industry, which is closed to foreign investment. They also undertook to reduce disparities in income across the region.

Paul Martin, Canada's prime minister, said: "Essentially what we want to do is to make sure, given the threat that we face from rising economies elsewhere, primarily in Asia - both threats and an opportunity, by the way - that, in fact, North America is as strong, as competitive as it can possibly be."

Ministerial working groups have been appointed in each of the areas, and will report back within 90 days.

On migration, an issue on which Vicente Fox, Mexico's president, has pushed repeatedly for improvements in migrant labourers' rights, Mr Bush said that he would "continue to push for reasonable, common-sense immigration policy with the United States Congress".

Mr Bush said that "if there is a job opening which an American won't do", a Mexican ought to be able to cross the border into the US, work, and then go home. He added that he would continue to push for compassion as well as practicality in US dealings with Mexico on border issues.

The recent appearance of vigilante groups in US border states, dedicated to turning back Mexican immigrants, have caused outspoken criticism in Mexico.

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[Like their American counterparts, the British elite have situated a significant portion of their money someplace outside the taxable economy of their own nation-state. While taxation was the traditional motive for doing so, new motives are active now. Until Britain joins the EU, its fortunes are bound to the American system of international loan-sharking. That system is in crisis. And if the energy for which it ransacks the globe proves too elusive, Britain will be hard put to replace the depleted North Sea reserves that drove its economic recovery of the past twenty years. At that point, offshore assets will become useful in a whole new way: they may help investors to survive the perils of a falling dollar and its eventual impact on the pound, and they can equip the ruling class of the UK to buy up forfeited domestic assets after a crash. -JAH]

Super-rich hide trillions offshore
· Study reveals assets 10 times larger than UK GDP
· Exchequers deprived of hundreds of billions in tax

Nick Mathiason
The Observer
Sunday March 27, 2005
http://politics.guardian.co.uk/economics/story/0,11268,1446127,00.html

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

The world's richest individuals have placed $11.5 trillion of assets in offshore havens, mainly as a tax avoidance measure. The shock new figure - 10 times Britain's GDP - is contained in the most authoritative study of the wealth held in offshore accounts ever conducted.

The study, by Tax Justice Network, a group of accountants and economists concerned at the escalating wealth held in offshore locations, shows that the world's high-net-worth individuals earn $860 billion each year from their assets.

But there is growing alarm among regulators and campaigners because exchequers worldwide are missing out on at least $255bn of tax each year. Governments appear unable, or unwilling, to prevent the rich employing aggressive strategies to minimise their tax liabilities.

The OECD this weekend confirmed that international tax avoidance is a growing problem that troubles governments not just of rich countries, but middle-income ones as well.

'This is one of the defining crises of our times,' said John Christensen, coordinator of the Tax Justice Network and a former economic adviser to the Jersey government. 'One of the most fundamental changes in our society in recent years is how money and the rich have become more mobile. This has resulted in the wealthy becoming less inclined to associate with normal society and feeling no obligation to pay taxes.'

James Jones, Anglican Bishop of Liverpool, said: 'In this country, we have created a culture of tax avoidance. The current debate is pandering to a culture of consumption and avoidance. We need a much better debate than the political parties are currently giving us.'

Individuals such as Rupert Murdoch, Philip Green, Lakshmi Mittal and Hans Rausing - among the world's richest men - all make extensive use of tax havens.

There is nothing illegal about placing assets and cash offshore, but campaigners are promising to attack tax avoidance by the world's richest people in much the same way that they currently target environment and trade issues.

The $11.5trn does not include the vast amount of money stashed in tax havens by multinational corporations, which are using increasingly sophisticated techniques to run rings round the authorities.

The Tax Justice Network study has drawn from data supplied by the Bank of International Settlements, Merrill Lynch and McKinsey. Richard Murphy of Tax Research, who co-authored the report, said: 'No one has tried to calculate a number like this before. To ensure the credibility of our data, we have only used information already in the public domain and produced by some of the most authoritative sources in the world.

'In addition, we tested our conclusions against three independent sources of information, and all seem to substantially agree, giving us a high degree of confidence in the conclusions.'

'Gordon Brown and the British government are ideally placed to act on offshore tax avoidance, since so many of the banks and tax havens that facilitate these processes have British links,' said Charles Abugre, Christian Aid's head of policy.

'Only last week, the Commission for Africa called for an immediate doubling of aid to Africa to help it meet the Millennium Development Goals. And yet here is a potential source of revenue that even the most responsible governments are doing little to tap into.'

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[The US-European fight over the EU's ban on arms sales to China is not over. Here, President Chirac announces continued support for the lifting of the ban - in Tokyo, immediately following a personal meeting between the French and Japanese heads of state. -FTW]

Chirac Ignores US, Assures Arms Support for China

Anadolu News Agency (aa), Zaman
Zaman Online: The First Turkish Paper on the Internet
Tokyo, Brussels 28.03.2005
http://www.zaman.com/?bl=international&alt=&hn=17906

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Despite all the warnings from the US, the European Union (EU) continues to support the removal of the arms embargo on China.

French President Jacques Chirac said the Chinese administration was right to demand the lifting of the embargo imposed by the EU.

On the other hand, human rights associations harshly criticize the EU's attitude regarding the removal of the arms embargo. About 500 Chinese human rights advocates sent a letter to the EU last week and demanded that the embargo remain in place. Suggesting that it follows the human rights violations in the world in any case, the EU's attitude was interpreted as "contradictory".

Currently visiting Tokyo, Chirac, held a press conference following a meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, said that they talked about the removal of the arms embargo on China. The French President added, "Koizumi told me about his concerns regarding the issue and demanded an explanation." The conditions at the time of their decision on arms embargo had changed Chirac defended; therefore, there was no need for the embargo to remain in place. Expressing that China was right to demand the removal of the embargo the French President reminded that the EU had promised a lifting of the embargo of before the end of the first half of 2005.

Chirac also reiterated their support for Japan's permanent member status in the United Nations (UN) Security Council. While the US, on the other hand, calls the EU not to remove the arms embargo. Meanwhile, the reactions against the German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's offer to lift the embargo on China increase. Fritz Kuhn, the foreign policy spokesperson of the Greens, the coalition partner, warned Schroeder not to create new tensions with the US. The Green Party sees the removal of the embargo in a critical manner. The Christian Unions party also made similar announcements regarding the issue during the past few days. Meanwhile, the EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana said in his speech to the German press that they were working toward the removal of the embargo; however, China's threatening attitude towards Taiwan has forced them reconsider the removal of the embargo. In 2003, Chirac had suggested the lifting of the arms embargo, which was implemented in 1989, with Germany's support.

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