UN ready to assist after major quake strikes eastern DR Congo

3 February 2008The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is preparing to assist local authorities help people in the far east of the impoverished country after a major earthquake struck the region this morning. Alan Doss, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative to the DRC and the chief of the mission, known as MONUC, has immediately asked the mission and other UN agencies operating in the region “to extend all necessary assistance” to authorities and the affected local population, according to a statement issued in Kinshasa, the capital.The mission said the initial assessments indicated that the earthquake has caused “a number of deaths and injured” but that an exact toll is yet to be determined. Buildings have been damaged in the DRC and in neighbouring Rwanda and Burundi.A daily worker at the MONUC office in Bukavu, the provincial capital of South Kivu in the eastern DRC, has been reported killed, but so far no other UN civilian or military personnel is known to have died.Media reports say a second serious quake struck several hours later in Rwanda, causing further death and destruction.Mr. Doss offered his condolences to the populations of all the areas in Africa’s Great Lakes region who have been affected by the earthquake.MONUC said the epicentre of this morning’s quake, which registered 6.0 on the Richter scale, was located in Kabaré, about 20 kilometres north of Bukavu. It struck about 9:35 local time. read more

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National Energy Board approves new tolls for TransCanadas Mainline pipeline

CALGARY — The National Energy Board approved a new toll plan for TransCanada’s (TSX:TRP) Mainline on Wednesday that will help the natural gas pipeline compete.The board set the firm transportation toll from Empress, Alta., to Dawn, Ont., at $1.42/GJ, compared with a 2013 toll of $2.58/GJ.“The board approved multi-year fixed tolls that are competitive and provide TransCanada with a reasonable opportunity to recover its Mainline costs, given the increase in Mainline throughput that is forecast,” the board said in a statement.“These fixed tolls also provide toll certainty and stability to shippers and better allow the Mainline to compete.”The tolls are expected to remain in effect through 2017.In approving the toll, the regulator also set the pipeline’s return on equity at 11.5% on a 40% equity ratio and an incentive mechanism that would increase profits if annual net revenues are higher than forecast.The NEB also approved several changes sought by TransCanada including proposed changes to the Mainline’s cost allocation, and the elimination of toll zones and the elimination of the risk alleviation mechanism.However, the regulator also denied a number of other proposals by the company, citing that they resulted in “inappropriate cost shifting.”The Canadian Press read more

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