Searching for asteroids, extraterrestrial life a little more rocky: Budget cuts threaten to close Arecibo, world’s largest radio telescope

December 9th, 2018

Friday, July 18, 2008

For nearly half a century the world’s largest telescope, the Arecibo Observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, has been observing our solar system and the universe around it. Completed by Cornell University along with the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 1963, Arecibo’s enormous size gives it the ability to collect more light than any other telescope, allowing it to observe objects that are too faint for other radio telescopes to see. Its main purposes are radio astronomy, aeronomy and radar astronomy, but is probably most famous for its continuing use to search for and attempt to communicate with extraterrestrial life outside our solar system and beyond.

Now Arecibo is facing severe budget cuts which could ultimately close the facility. In an in depth exclusive report, Wikinews examined how much of the observatory’s budget was at risk, and what the possible outcomes could be for the programs currently relying on Arecibo as their main research tool. Wikinews spoke to several individuals closely affiliated with projects and facilities who use significant time at the observatory.

Currently, the NSF funds the operations of Arecibo with just over US$10 million every year. By 2011 they plan to drastically cut that funding to only $4 million a year, nearly 65% less than the current budget. To counter that loss, the United States House of Representatives passed a bill that would authorize NASA to spend at least 2 million dollars of their nearly $21 billion budget to fund portions of Arecibo until 2009. But that still leaves more than half of the loss to be recovered, and if something isn’t done soon the facility will be closed by 2011 — or sooner if additional cuts are made.

Arecibo is 305 meters in diameter and 300 meters tall at its highest point. It also has an on-site remote sensing LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) system to detect light and range of a given object in space. Construction began in 1960 and the observatory officially opened on November 1, 1963. Since then, several projects, programs and discoveries were made possible because of the telescope. Its platform also received a fresh coat of paint in late 2007, the first since it was built.

In 1989, the first images of an asteroid named 4769 Castalia were captured using Arecibo. In 1992 Aleksander Wolszczan, an astronomer from Poland used Arecibo to discover pulsar PSR B1257+12 which then led him to discover the first three extrasolar planets in history, and possibly a comet. Scientists with the Near Earth Object Program also use the observatory to track possible meteors and asteroids that have the potential to strike the Earth. Arecibo is also part of the Express Production Real-time e-VLBI Service (EXPReS) project which is aimed at connecting telescopes from Africa, Europe and North and South America to create a 6,000 mile wide telescope. This allows all connected telescopes to observe the exact same spot in the sky giving scientists images 100 times better than any single telescope on Earth. A successful test of this system was completed on May 22. The observatory was also featured in the movie Contact starring Jodie Foster and several James Bond films.

Perhaps the most well known use of Arecibo is its ongoing attempt to find and or communicate with extraterrestrial life. The popular distributed computing SETI@home project launched in 1999 (started by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley), uses Arecibo on a daily basis to record radio data. SETI@home users from around the world can then donate computer time to analyze the data for potential artificial signals, and maybe some day find a message from another intelligent civilization.

“If this occurs [budget cuts], all projects using Arecibo would stop, including uncompleted surveys looking for pulsars, mapping Galactic hydrogen and of course our SETI surveys (SETI@home and SERENDIP V),” stated Eric Korpela, the project scientist for SETI@home, to Wikinews. This would also include the NEO Program. Currently the NEO is mandated by Congress to keep a record of all near-Earth objects that are more than 1 kilometer in diameter.

According to Korpela, the cuts began several years ago when United States senators earmarked funds for other observatories located in West Virginia and New Mexico. He says that those actions “diverted money away from the rest of astronomy” causing the NSF to take the shortfall from the Arecibo budget.

“About two years ago, NSF decided that because of additional funding problems Arecibo wouldhave to close in 2011 with substantial budget cuts before then,” added Korpela who also said the he is sure that SETI@home and SERNDIP V could find an alternative science source, but nothing as powerful and as sensitive as Arecibo. Korpela also adds that there is not yet any planned move of SETI@home, and no agreements between them and other observatories.

“I’m certain the both SETI@home and SERENDIP V would find another telescope to use. But no other telescope comes close to the sensitivity of Arecibo, with the next largest telescopes having afactor of 10 less collecting area and therefore a factor of 10 less sensitivity. The same is true for the pulsar searches. For the hydrogen mapping Arecibo has 3 times the angular resolution of thenearest competitors,” added Korpela but also stated that “there currently aren’t any plans” to move SETI@home and that they don’t “have any agreements from any of the telescopes” to host SETI@home; there are several possible telescopes SETI@home could use adds Korpela.

“Of course we’d like the largest telescopes available if we could get them. Parkes (a 64m telescope in Australia) would be a good candidate. Effelsberg (a 100m dish in Germany) or the 100m Green Bank Telescope in the U.S. would also be good candidates, but as I said much discussion would need to take place before a change could happen,” said Korpela.

In June, former U.S. President Bill Clinton and his daughter Chelsea visited the observatory in an effort to bring awareness to the importance of Arecibo; he called the funding for the facility “gravely inadequate.” He also stated that his wife, and former 2008 U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, supports the need for “basic science”, and notes Hillary’s continued support for a defeated congressional bill that would have given Arecibo the funding it needed.

The bill, named H.R. 2862 ‘Departments of Commerce and Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill’, was rejected by the House of Representatives because “it exceed[ed] the President’s request by $1.4 billion.” The House stated that the need for more funding for the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was more important.

“The Administration shares the priority the Senate Committee affords basic research and fundamental science and education at NSF, but is concerned that the bill does not fully support the President’s request,” stated the bill which also added that “the Committee has identified areas, such as facilities oversight, that need increased investment to maintain NSF’s efficient operations” and that the NSF didn’t “provide [a] full request for salaries and expenses that would allow NSF to continue to perform to high standards.”

A new bill was then resubmitted and reintroduced as H.R. 3737 on October 3, 2007. It is specifically aimed at providing the “National Science Foundation and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) utilization of the Arecibo Observatory.”

“[This bill will] ensure that the Arecibo Observatory is fully funded to continue its research on Earth’s ionosphere, continue its research in radio astronomy, and continue research on the solar system; and coordinate with the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to ensure that the capabilities of the Arecibo Observatory continue to be available for National Aeronautics and Space Administration research in characterizing and mitigating Near Earth Objects, and other research as needed,” states the Bill.

If Arecibo were to close, Korpela states that it would take only a short time for SETI@home to move its project elsewhere, but that any agreements made with other observatories will take a much longer time to work out. “Setting up the equipment at a new telescope would be a matter of days, arranging an agreement to do so would take much longer. If we can’t find an alternative telescope after an Arecibo shutdown, the project would end once the existing data was analyzed. We’re still hoping that Arecibo will be spared,” added Korpela. He calls for more support of bill H.R. 3737 to continue Arecibo’s science, and SETI@home urges individuals to write to Congress to show support for the bill.

As for the NEO Program, packing up and moving to another location is not possible. There are no other observatories sensitive or large enough to perform the task of tracking near-Earth objects, especially ones at great distances. If Arecibo were to close, the NEO Program, despite a U.S. Congressional mandate and recognition from the Astronomical Science Senior Review Committee, would come to a screeching halt. Wikinews contacted the NSF for a statement, but a Dan MacMillan directed us to the Committee’s report.

“The SR endorses its future discovery potential and archival value. The SR recognizes the significant and unique scientific contributions that the Arecibo Observatory has made to astronomy and astrophysics and it congratulates NAIC and Cornell on operating the facility so effectively,” said the Committee in a 94 page report on the NSF’s budget.

“However, the committee was not persuaded of the primacy of the science program beyond the end of the decade and found that the case for long term support at the present level was not as strong as that for other facilities. The SR recommends that NAIC plan either to close Arecibo or to operate it with a much smaller AST budget. The SR recommends closure after 2011 if the necessary support is not forthcoming. It recommends that operation of the Angel Ramos Visitor Center continue,” added the Committee which also said that “that there were no reliable de-commissioning estimates and recommends that AST engage an independent study to advise on the viability and cost of decommissioning the telescope.”

In an attempt to cover the budget shortfall Arecibo faces, Don Campbell, Professor of Astronomy at Cornell’s Department of Astronomy, who specializes in radio and radar astronomy, tells Wikinews that the university is looking at all possible sources of funding to keep Arecibo open.

“Cornell/NAIC is looking at all possibilities for raising the funds needed to keep the Observatory operating as a forefront institution for research in astronomy and atmospheric sciences. This includes funding from federal agencies, from within Puerto Rico, via international agreements and from private sources,” said Campbell who added that “the NSF’s Division of the Senior Review (SR) panel recommended that NAIC’s budget – NAIC is head quartered at Cornell University and manages the Arecibo – from NSF/AST be reduced from about $10.5M to $8M in FY 2010. It also recommended that there be a further 50% reduction in FY 2011 and that Cornell must find the additional funds needed to operate Arecibo from other sources.”

Campbell also adds that Arecibo is so unique and sensitive, closing it makes no sense.

“Closing Arecibo would be closing the world’s largest and most sensitive single dish radio telescope. It is 4 to 5 times more sensitive, and has a higher resolving power at the same frequencies, than the next largest single dish radio telescope, the 100 m Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope,” said Campbell.

“Arecibo is also, of course, the source of the data that is processed by all the volunteers working with the SETI@home project. Given its relatively small operating budget, closing Arecibo makes no sense,” added Campbell.

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Colleges offering admission to displaced New Orleans graduate students

December 9th, 2018

See the discussion page for instructions on adding schools to this list.Tuesday, September 13, 2005

NAICU has created a list of colleges and universities accepting and/or offering assistance to displace faculty members. [1]Wednesday, September 7, 2005

This list is taken from Colleges offering admission to displaced New Orleans students, and is intended to make searching easier for faculty, graduate, and professional students.

In addition to the list below, the Association of American Law Schools has compiled a list of law schools offering assistance to displaced students. [2] As conditions vary by college, interested parties should contact the Office of Admissions at the school in question for specific requirements and up-to-date details.

The Association of American Medical Colleges is coordinating alternatives for medical students and residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina. [3]

ResCross.net is acting as a central interactive hub for establishing research support in times of emergency. With so many scientists affected by Hurricane Katrina, ResCross is currently focused on providing information to identify sources of emergency support as quickly as possible. [4]

With so many scientists affected by Hurricane Katrina, ResCross is currently focused on providing information to identify sources of emergency support as quickly as possible.

Physics undergraduates, grad students, faculty and high school teachers can be matched up with housing and jobs at universities, schools and industry. [5] From the American Association of Physics Teachers, the Society of Physics Students, the American Institute of Physics and the American Physical Society.

If you are seeking or providing assistance, please use this site to find information on research support, available lab space/supplies, resources, guidelines and most importantly to communicate with fellow researchers.

The following is a partial list, sorted by location.

Alabama |Alaska |Arizona |Arkansas |California |Colorado |Connecticut |Delaware |District of Columbia |Florida |Georgia |Hawaii |Idaho |Illinois |Indiana |Iowa |Kansas |Kentucky |Louisiana |Maine |Maryland |Massachusetts |Michigan |Minnesota |Mississippi |Missouri |Montana |Nebraska |Nevada |New Hampshire |New Jersey |New Mexico |New York |North Carolina |North Dakota |Ohio |Oklahoma |Oregon |Pennsylvania |Rhode Island |South Carolina |South Dakota |Tennessee |Texas |Utah |Vermont |Virginia |Washington |West Virginia |Wisconsin |Wyoming |Canada

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The Benefits Of Residential Alarm Monitoring

December 8th, 2018

byAlma Abell

A home is where many people spend a majority of their time. This is also where numerous people keep their most expensive and prized assets. To protect a person’s financial interest, it’s prudent to have residential alarm monitoring. This allows a home-owner to have his security system monitored by a trained professional. There are many benefits to using a security provider to safeguard against dangerous situations.

Having residential alarm monitoring can give a home-owner peace of mind. An emergency or crisis can occur at any time. A fire can break out. An intruder can enter your home. By having a security system observed by an expert at a central station, a person won’t simply have to rely upon a system that can detect fire or an intruder. When a sensor is set off in a home, an alert monitoring expert can call a home-owner to verify the emergency. This is typically done by giving a password. When a home-owner does not answer, an alert monitoring expert will typically call the appropriate emergency services.

Many elderly or incapacitated people use alarm monitoring systems because they are unable to get around as well. When such a person falls or is seriously hurt, she can use the monitoring system to get the right help. Many elderly or incapacitated people have a necklace with a button that enables them alert the monitoring personnel. This is beneficial since a person may not be able to get up from a fall. An intruder can break into a home and point a gun at a person. In this situation, a person would not be able to call the alert monitoring personnel. However, she may be able to push the button on a necklace around her neck. The police would arrive and the situation would be handled accordingly.

Having a person look after the safety of a home allows a home-owner to relax and sleep well. For more information on this type of defence, a person can talk to an expert at Atechels.com. This company can effectively handle many types of security systems for enhanced client protection and satisfaction.

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Wikinews interviews Frank Moore, independent candidate for US President

December 8th, 2018

Saturday, March 1, 2008

While nearly all coverage of the 2008 Presidential election has focused on the Democratic and Republican candidates, the race for the White House also includes independents and third party candidates. These parties represent a variety of views that may not be acknowledged by the major party platforms.

Wikinews has impartially reached out to these candidates, throughout the campaign. We now interview independent Presidential candidate Frank Moore, a performance artist.

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Moscow celebrates Victory Day with military parade

December 8th, 2018

Monday, May 11, 2009

On May 9, Moscow heralded its celebrations of Victory Day with one of the largest military parades seen since the fall of the Soviet Union through the Red Square and the streets of Moscow. Signifying the defeat over Nazi Germany in 1945 in World War 2, Victory Day continues to be one of the most poignant and emotional celebrations and national holidays in Russia. Estimates of more than 27 million lost lives during the war continues to leave a vein of sadness in Russia.

Victory day began early in Moscow with inner city streets being closed from 6am and the major entrance of Tverskaya Ulitsa completely locked down with all access to non-military blocked until the end of the parade. Tens of thousands of people lined the upper parts of Tverskaya to see the exit of the military as well as the air force fly-over on their entrance to Red Square. In total more than 9,000 troops, 69 planes and a huge collection of armored vehicles, tanks, and massive anti-aircraft missile defense systems ensured that Moscovites and the rest of Russia will remember Victory Day 2009.

In scenes reminiscent of the end of the war military bands played around the city until all hours of the night. At Leningradsky station departing veterans and widows danced and celebrated with younger generations whilst loudly singing the national anthem. As trains departed, staff handed out flowers in recognition of the contributions made and loud cheers were heard across the many platforms. In a touching event it seemed to bond the generations of yesterday and today.

Preparations for the military parade began months ago with regular rehearsals in Alabino including the erection of a mock Red Square and Kremlin to ensure authenticity. Final dress rehearsals took place in Moscow on May 7 including a full practice of the air show. On display for the first time was the S-400 air defense system which is capable of intercepting airborne targets at ranges up to 400 kilometers (249 mi).

Following the official parades and ceremonies, Red Square and the the inner city was opened to the public, albeit under extreme security and an ever watching eye from Interior Ministry troops. During the afternoon there was an estimated crowed of over 100,000 which entered Red Square to admire the parade ground and decorations, including the official stand for the dignitaries.

Closing the festivities was a series of fireworks in fourteen different locations throughout Moscow including the grand display over the Kremlin and Red Square.

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Blues musician B.B. King dies aged 89

December 6th, 2018

Friday, May 15, 2015

B.B. King, legendary blues guitarist well known for tracks such as “Rock Me Baby”, “My Lucille”, and “The Thrill Is Gone”, died in his Las Vegas home yesterday at the age of 89.

Attorney Brent Bryson said King died in his sleep.

A 15-time Grammy winner, with over 50 albums released, King played live for nearly 70 years. He had reportedly collapsed at a Chicago performance back in October, and blamed dehydration and exhaustion for the incident. King recently was under hospice care at home, after being treated for diabetes and high blood pressure in hospital. The last public statement B.B King made, according to The Sydney Morning Herald, was early this month. He said, “I am in hospice care at my residence in Las Vegas. Thanks to all for your well wishes and prayers.”

Known for playing the blues on his Gibson guitar called Lucille, B.B King was admired by many musicians, including Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Otis Rush. The Blues Foundation Hall of Fame and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame both inducted him in the 1980s; and the Songwriters Hall of Fame recognized him with a lifetime achievement award in 1990. King also collaborated with other music artists and bands. In 1989 he played with U2 on their track “When Love Comes to Town”, and in the millennium, worked with Eric Clapton on “Riding with the King”; which received a Grammy that same year.

Riley B King, who would eventually be called the King of Blues, grew up in Mississippi where he lived on a plantation as a sharecropper. He found success in the 50’s with hit track “Three O’Clock Blues”, and was well-known for not singing and playing guitar at the same time; a call and response between his vocals and his Lucille.

With the news of his death, many musicians payed their respects through Twitter. Guitarist Richie Sambora wrote, “My friend and legend BB King passed. I’m so so sad, he was so great to me. We’ve lost the King. My love and prayers to his family.” The Beatles’ Ringo Starr also wrote, “God bless BB King, peace and love to his family”.

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Dealing With Nutritional Deficiency After Weight Loss Surgery

December 6th, 2018

Dealing With Nutritional Deficiency After Weight Loss Surgery

by

Nancy1729

Most weight loss procedures operate in identically and also all have one point in general. They can modify the approach your system works with the food. Vitamin deficiencies are usually most familiar that impacts on following your bariatric surgery. However nutritional deficiencies as well as the relevant health problems may be stopped from the proper consumption of vitamin supplements.

The form, severeness and also incidence of nutritional deficiencies fluctuate according to the form of surgical procedure you\’ve been through. Weight loss procedures are generally grouped dependent on the way they perform: malabsorptive treatments reduce the vitamin ingestion through bypassing a portion of your intestinal tract, whereas prohibitive method reduce the volume of food you eat. Malabsorptive treatments could considerably influence the mineral and vitamin ingestion and ultimately contributes to nutritional deficiencies.

Listed below are the most frequently advised vitamin supplements right after bariatric surgery:

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Vitamin B12: Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure could considerably impact the ingestion of vitamin B12. One third of gastric bypass patients are experiencing the scarcity of vitamin B12 a year following your method.

Folate: After having a weight loss surgery, a lot of people go through a decline in folate ranges as the modern diet program following your procedure will not give you enough degrees of folate. vitamin B12 is necessary to change folate to its active form, and so the insufficient vitamin B12 can cause shortage of folate.

Vitamin D and calcium: Numerous reports declare that 50 % of obese bariatric patients contain a preexisting lack of vitamin D. Furthermore, the medical procedure can cause lessened ingestion and also compromised ingestion. Thus, vitamin supplements are generally necessary to maintain your amounts of vitamin D and calcium.

Thiamine: A lot of people forced to take a multivitamin supplement to have enough degrees of thiamine. Individuals who have consistent vomiting and also go through quick fat reduction following your surgical procedure are usually higher risk of thiamine deficit. Having a multivitamin supplement may help lessen thiamine deficit.

Iron: Shortage of iron will be more common in people that have been through bariatric surgery. To compensate the iron levels, a multivitamin pill with vitamin c and iron is suggested.

Magnesium and zinc: Many records demonstrate that magnesium and zinc shortage are generally most frequent in individuals who have experienced weight loss surgery. Furthermore, zinc deficit can cause hair loss.

People who undertake any kind of weight loss surgery should manage with vitamins. When you neglect the nutritional supplement and also proceed with the new diet program, vitamin shortage can cause extreme difficulties just like bone loss, hair loss, vission loss, and many others.

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Article Source:

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eBay Australia to only permit payment via PayPal

December 6th, 2018

Saturday, April 12, 2008

On the back of new restrictions being imposed on eBay users in the United Kingdom requiring that sellers offer PayPal payments for all sales, eBay Australia is mandating that only PayPal payments will be acceptable as of June 17. PayPal is a wholly-owned subsidiary of eBay, and charges a 30¢ transaction fee, plus a commission between 1.1% for high volume traders, and 2.4% for low value or low volume traders. These higher costs will be passed onto buyers.

Cash payment on pick up will be the only other payment option, and it may only be offered in conjunction with PayPal.

eBay has brought in this restriction under the guise of improving customer protection, bolstering its “Paypal Buyer Protection” insurance programme to allow claims up to A$20,000 instead of the previous maximum of $3,000, however as of June 17 many of the items which would exceed $3,000 are no longer covered by the programme, such as services, vehicles, real estate and businesses.

eBay Trust and Safety director Alastair MacGibbon said this change was not in response to the once-off fund established in March to refund eBay buyers who lost their non-existent holiday accommodation packages from the Melbourne eBay seller Robert Kobis. Mr MacGibbon said “It is part of a much larger initiative”.

In addition to these measures, Paypal will be withholding funds from some sellers for 21 days

.. until the earliest of the following occurs:

  • the buyer leaves positive feedback,
  • 3 days after confirmed item delivery
  • 21 days without a dispute, claim, chargeback, or reversal filed on that transaction

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has held discussion with eBay, but declined to comment. The Australian Consumers Association spokesman Christopher Zinn said the unique use of PayPal could give rise to competition issues, however if the costs charged stayed as they were, they had no further concerns.

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Storing IP-addresses of Swedish copyright infringers deemed illegal

December 6th, 2018

Friday, June 10, 2005

The Swedish organization Antipiratbyrån (The Swedish Anti-Piracy Bureau) suffered a massive blow today when the Swedish government’s Data Inspection Board stated that the Bureau’s storage of Internet user’s IP addresses is illegal.

Antipiratbyrån is an organization representing the movie and software industry in Sweden, working to protect the intellectual property of its beneficiaries. This spring they started collecting IP-addresses of suspected copyright infringers. They used the collected information to press charges and to contact the suspect’s Internet service providers, demanding repercussions.

The Data Inspection Board’s press release established that the collection of IP-addresses is in fact a violation of the Swedish Personal Data Law, prohibiting electronic storage of information about individuals without their consent.

– If they don’t cease with the activities we might follow up with a penalty order, the supervising director Britt Marie Wester at the Data Inspection Board says to TT.

Both the Swedish organization Piratbyrån – celebrating the verdict as a great victory – and the CEO of Jens of Sweden – a Swedish manufacturer of MP3-players – have stated that they might file a class action suit against the Anti-Piracy Bureau, together with the individuals registered.

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Calpine declares bankruptcy, cites natural gas prices

December 6th, 2018

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Electrical power generator Calpine Corporation declared bankruptcy on Tuesday. The San Jose, California based company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in U.S. Federal Court, to facilitate debt restructuring and to allow for normal operations to continue. Calpine has obtained secured debtor-in-possession financing from Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse First Boston totaling $2 billion. The company announced that some of its Canadian subsidiaries would also file for creditor protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. Calpine and its subsidiaries operate natural gas and geothermal electricity generating plants in 21 U.S. states and 3 Canadian provinces.

The recent rise in natural gas prices due to Hurricanes Rita and Katrina has pushed Calpine’s cost significantly above the locked in selling price for its long-term contracts. Calpine has asked the court to void eight long term contracts, including a 20-year contract entered into with the State of California‘s Department of Water Resources and Pacific Gas and Electric Company in 2001.

The company received permission on December 21 from the Federal Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York to use $500 million of its financing to continue operating and to keep paying its employees’ salaries and benefits.

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