$75M loan tied to Gramercy Park Hotel sells to anonymous buyer
The Gramercy Park Hotel at 2 Lexington Avenue and RFR Realty’s Aby Rosen (Google Maps; Getty)A $75 million loan tied to the Gramercy Park Hotel sold to an anonymous buyer.JPMorgan Chase sold the debt, which has a maximum principal amount of $75 million, to RDAC 8 LLC, according to PincusCo. The loan is secured by the Gramercy Park Hotel.Just last month, Artnet reported that the hotel’s owner, Aby Rosen’s RFR Holding, owes $900,000 in ground lease payments on the property. A notice on the hotel’s door at the time stated that if Rosen does not pay by Dec. 28, his hotel could face eviction. So far, no foreclosure actions have been filed, according to PincusCo.RFR owns the hotel itself, but Solil Management, the firm that manages the estate of Sol Goldman, owns the land underneath. Rosen’s firm pays $5.3 million per year to lease the land.Rosen bought the hotel with hotelier Ian Schrager in 2003. The two redeveloped the property, and Rosen took full ownership in 2010.The hotel had closed its doors to guests at the onset of the pandemic, but Rosen recently said he offered rooms to his employees who live in the suburbs to avoid commuting to the office.“I told everybody, ‘Guys, you want to stay Tuesday night or Wednesday? Be my guest. Breakfast is at 9. Then show up at the office when you feel like it,’ ” Rosen told Bloomberg News.The Gramercy Park Hotel was built on the site where novelist Edith Wharton was born, played host to Humphrey Bogart’s wedding and was home to the young John F. Kennedy and his family. At one time, Babe Ruth was a regular at the hotel’s bar.[PincusCo] — Keith Larsen Share via Shortlink Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink TagsGramercy Park HotelJPMorganRFR Holdings
Lukoil and Russian Ministry of Energy conclude agreement on measures to support construction of deep oil refining units
LUKOIL will build a Petroleum Residue Recycling Facility at its Nizhny Novgorod refinery. (Credit: LUKOIL) LUKOIL and the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation concluded an agreement that provides for LUKOIL receiving an investment increment to reverse excise tax on oil till January 1, 2031 in order to construct new deep oil refining units at the LUKOIL-Nizhegorodnefteorgsintez LLC, which is a PJSC LUKOIL wholly owned subsidiary.According to the agreement, LUKOIL will build a Petroleum Residue Recycling Facility at its Nizhny Novgorod refinery. The facility will include the following units:a delayed coker with production capacity of 2110 thousand tonnes per year;a combined diesel fuel and gasoline hydrotreater with production capacity of 1500 thousand tonnes per year;a hydrogen production unit with production capacity of 50 thousand normal cubic meters per hour;a gas fractionator with production capacity of 425 thousand tonnes per year;an elemental sulphur and sulphuric acid production unit with production capacity of 81 thousand tonnes in terms of sulphur per year;infrastructure facilities.Construction of the facility is already underway: core long lead equipment is installed; in-site pipelining and piping of equipment are in progress. The facility is set for commissioning in the fourth quarter of 2021.The launch of the facility should allow to decrease annual fuel oil output at the Nizhny Novgorod refinery by 2.6 million tonnes and increase annual Euro-5 diesel fuel output by 0.7 million tonnes. The refinery yield will thus increase to 97%, with light products yield reaching 74%. Implementation of the project will lower LUKOIL Group’s total fuel oil output to less than 4% and increase light products yield to 75%.”LUKOIL has fully honoured its commitments to modernize refining facilities under its previous agreements with the government. Realization of this new project at the Nizhny Novgorod refinery is a long-term investment aimed at supplying Russian market with high-quality fuel. The facility will reach synergy with the fluid catalytic cracking units already in operation, thus enhancing the output mix of our Nizhny Novgorod refinery,” said Vadim Vorobyov, First Executive Vice President of LUKOIL. Source: Company Press Release
Threat of T’Storms Possible for Night In Venice
It’s that time of year again for the annual Night in Venice and we will be crossing our fingers hoping the weather will cooperate the parade and fireworks. The good news is that temperatures on Saturday will not be as hot, but high humidity remains. The bad news is that we run the risk of the potential of severe t’storms Saturday night.NOAA: Risk for severe storms are possible for Saturday.It will be a great beach day, however, as we are looking dry with light southeast winds. Temperatures will be topping off in the mid 80s. UV Index will be very high again, so use the sunblock. Surf will be around 3 feet with water temperatures in the mid to upper 70s.A disturbance will be sliding into our region later in the day which will bring the chance of scattered showers and t’storms. T’storms could produce very heavy rain, frequent lightning and strong wind gusts.Computer models show scattered showers/t’storms across parts of New Jersey after 7pm. (Courtesy:tropicaltidbits.com)For Sunday, we continue the risk of scattered showers and t’storms as a frontal boundary hangs across the Northeastern U.S. Any clouds and showers during the morning or early afternoon could keep temperatures down a bit. Highs should reach the low 80s.Computer models show a batch of showers/t’storm possible during the morning/early afternoon on Sunday. (Courtesy:tropicaltidbits.com)
Organic winnersGloucestershire’s Hobbs House bakery has won the Baked Goods category for its Wild White loaf in the Soil Association’s Organic Food Awards. The Cakes, Puddings, Biscuits and Confectionery category was won by Judges Bakery in Hastings, East Sussex, for its macaroons.Fosters’ awardA director of Fosters Bakery has been awarded Yorkshire’s Young Director of the Year. Michael Taylor from Fosters in Barnsley received the accolade at a gala evening at the Queens Hotel, Leeds on 4 September, held by the Yorkshire and Humber Institute of Directors (IoD).Pie revampPremier Foods’ canned pie brand Fray Bentos is being revamped with new packaging and recipes and the introduction of a new pie – ’Tender’ Just Steak. The packaging is now said to be more modern, in an attempt to raise the brand’s on-shelf presence.Disposables growthA report commissioned by packaging company Huhtamaki, has shown that the market for disposable products is growing and that the foodservice market considers them an integral part of their business. The Foodservice Disposables Report suggests there are many opportunities for growth in the sector, due to changing lifestyles, healthier options and increased interest in bio alternatives.Scottish careersPromoting the Scottish food and drink manufacturing industry as a career destination of choice was among the issues raised at a Scottish Food and Drink Federation (SFDF) and Hudson event in Scottish Parliament. Hosted by Lewis Macdonald MSP, the debate sought to address ways to overcome these issues.
Caught in the web
While the Yeo Valley rappers are a viral marketing sensation in the UK, cake toppings brand Duncan Hines had to pull its ad featuring ’blackface’ hip hop cupcakes… aol.it/hfpOqY (A)Nerd cake of the week: an Android phone cake… bit.ly/f0bLhT (B)The ’Lazy Cakes’ brand is launched in the US, with a secret ingredient melatonin offering consumers an affect similar to hash cakes (not that Stop the Week knows what they are…) bit.ly/h2OhKC (C)A particularly lame use of a Christmas biscuit tin lid… bit.ly/h9B2eh (D)
Oh, the humanity
Researchers have created a powerful new approach to scholarship, using approximately 4 percent of all books ever published as a digital “fossil record” of human culture. By tracking the frequency with which words appear in books over time, scholars can now precisely quantify a wide variety of cultural and historical trends.The four-year effort, led by Harvard University’s Jean-Baptiste Michel and Erez Lieberman Aiden, is described this week in the journal Science.The team, made up of researchers from Harvard, Google, Encyclopaedia Britannica, and the American Heritage Dictionary, has already used its approach — dubbed “culturomics,” by analogy with genomics — to gain insight into topics as diverse as humanity’s collective memory, the adoption of technology, the dynamics of fame, and the effects of censorship and propaganda.“Interest in computational approaches to the humanities and social sciences dates to the 1950s,” says Michel, a postdoctoral researcher in Harvard’s Department of Psychology and Program for Evolutionary Dynamics. “But attempts to introduce quantitative methods into the study of culture have been hampered by the lack of suitable data. We now have a massive dataset, available through an interface that is user-friendly and freely available to anyone.”Google will release a new online tool to accompany the paper: a simple interface that enables users to type in a word or phrase and immediately see how its usage frequency has changed over the past few centuries.“Culturomics extends the boundaries of rigorous quantitative inquiry to a wide array of new phenomena in the social sciences and humanities,” says Aiden, a junior fellow in Harvard’s Society of Fellows and principal investigator of the Laboratory-at-Large, part of Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “While browsing this cultural record is fascinating for anyone interested in what’s mattered to people over time, we hope that scholars of the humanities and social sciences will find this to be a useful and powerful tool.”This Google Books data set, which is available for download along with the Google Books Ngram Viewer, is a free quantitative tool made available to supplement humanities research worldwide. It is based on the full text of about 5.2 million books, with more than 500 billion words in total. About 72 percent of its text is in English, with smaller amounts in French, Spanish, German, Chinese, and Russian.It is the largest data release in the history of the humanities, the authors note, a sequence of letters 1,000 times longer than the human genome. If written in a straight line, it would reach to the moon and back 10 times over.“Now that a significant fraction of the world’s books have been digitized, it’s possible for computer-aided analysis to reveal undiscovered trends in history, culture, language, and thought,” says Jon Orwant, engineering manager for Google Books.The paper describes the development of this new approach and surveys a vast range of applications, focusing on the past two centuries. The team’s findings include:• Some 8,500 new words enter the English language annually, fueling a 70 percent growth of the lexicon between 1950 and 2000. But many of these million-plus words can’t be found in dictionaries.“We estimated that 52 percent of the English lexicon — the majority of words used in English books — consist of lexical ‘dark matter’ undocumented in standard references,” the researchers write in Science.• Humanity is forgetting its past faster with each passing year. The Harvard-Google team tracked the frequency with which each year from 1875 to 1975 appeared, finding that references to the past decrease much more rapidly now than in the 19th century. References to “1880” didn’t fall by half until 1912 — a lag of 32 years — but references to “1973” reached half their peak just a decade later, in 1983.• Innovations spread faster than ever. For instance, inventions from the end of the 19th century spread more than twice as fast as those from the early 1800s.• Modern celebrities are younger and more famous than their 19th century predecessors, but their fame is shorter-lived. Celebrities born in 1950 initially achieved fame at an average age of 29, compared with 43 for celebrities born in 1800. But their fame also disappears faster, with a “half-life” that is increasingly short.“People are getting more famous than ever before,” the researchers write, “but are being forgotten more rapidly than ever.”• The most famous actors tend to become famous earlier (around age 30) than the most famous writers (around age 40) and politicians (after age 50). But patience pays off: Top politicians end up much more famous than the best-known actors.• Culturomics is a powerful tool for automatically identifying censorship and propaganda. For example, Jewish artist Marc Chagall was mentioned just once in the entire German corpus from 1936 to 1944, even as his prominence in English-language books grew roughly fivefold. Evidence of similar suppression is seen in Russian with regard to Leon Trotsky; in Chinese with regard to Tiananmen Square; and in the United States with regard to the “Hollywood Ten,” a group of entertainers blacklisted in 1947.• “Freud” is more deeply ingrained in our collective subconscious than “Galileo,” “Darwin,” or “Einstein.”Michel, Aiden, and Orwant’s co-authors are Aviva Presser Aiden, Adrian Veres, Steven Pinker, and Martin A. Nowak at Harvard; Google’s Matthew K. Gray, Dan Clancy, Peter Norvig, and the Google Books Team; Yuan Kui Shen at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Joseph P. Pickett, executive editor of the American Heritage Dictionary; and Dale Hoiberg, editor-in-chief of Encyclopaedia Britannica.The work was funded by Google, a Foundational Questions in Evolutionary Biology Prize Fellowship, Harvard Medical School, the Harvard Society of Fellows, a Fannie and John Hertz Foundation Graduate Fellowship, a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship, a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, the National Space Biomedical Research Institute, the National Human Genome Research Institute, the Templeton Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Organist wins music battle
Harvard’s Associate University Organist and Choirmaster Christian Lane was recently named the winner of the prestigious 2011 triennial Canadian International Organ Competition. In October, Lane spent two weeks in Montreal as part of an elite group of the world’s finest young organists; he was pronounced the laureate after a grueling series of elimination rounds.
Ecuador Judges that Conditions for Normalizing Relationship with Colombia Have Been Met
Ecuador judges that its requirements for fully normalizing diplomatic relations with Colombia have been met, although the naming of ambassadors has not yet been determined, both countries’ foreign ministers announced following a meeting in Quito. “With this, we have to make it absolutely clear that the requirements that were part of the sensitive issues have been taken care of,” the Ecuadorean foreign minister, Ricardo Patiño, said at a press conference with his Colombian counterpart, María Angela Holguín. Nevertheless, the Colombian minister indicated that a date for naming ambassadors has not been determined at present. “I’m personally not going to put a date on it; we have a very positive relationship, there’s an ongoing dialogue, we’re working in cooperation with one another, and the defense ministers have been working very well on security,” Holguín indicated. Following the meeting, the Colombian defense ministry confirmed in Bogotá that a fifteen-year-old Ecuadorean girl died in an attack against the FARC guerrilla group near the border Monday. The military affirmed that a total of sixteen rebels were killed in the action. The meeting aimed to discuss the so-called sensitive issues for the complete normalization of relations and included defense ministers Javier Ponce (Ecuador) and Rodrigo Rivera (Colombia). By Dialogo November 22, 2010
U.S. Ends Anti-Drug Support Program in Bolivia and Transfers Equipment
By Dialogo July 09, 2012 The U.S. Narcotics Affairs Section (NAS) has announced the start of the transfer of infrastructure, equipment, and weapons to the Bolivian Government, as a donation, in advance of the September conclusion of its program to support the fight against drug trafficking. “At this time, the corresponding transfer to the National Council against Illicit Drug Trafficking is being made,” said Felipe Cáceres, the Bolivian official responsible for the fight against drugs. The transfer encompasses small planes, “eight helicopters, 1,500 station wagons, about 45 Caimans (vehicles), boats, armaments, and equipment” assigned to the different Military and police agencies involved in the fight against drug trafficking, and “all the infrastructure that the U.S. Government has built” over 20 years, the official added. He specified that this set of assets will become the property of either the Joint Task Force, by way of the Defense Ministry, or the Special Anti-Drug-Trafficking Strike Force, which falls under the police. Cáceres explained that the withdrawal of the NAS is due to budgetary reasons: “We understand that it’s strictly a question of a financial deficit.” Nevertheless, he said that the withdrawal of U.S. support will not have a negative effect on the Bolivian Government’s current work. The fight against drugs “is going to be sustainable, is not going to vary for any reason, any operation. On the contrary, we’re going to increase the number of operations,” the deputy minister stated. The operations will be the responsibility of the Executive Unit for the fight against drug trafficking, which falls under the Interior Ministry, “with a budget of more than 20 million dollars.”
Would blockchain have blocked Wells Fargo’s misconduct?
It’s been over a year since the Wells Fargo banking scandal came to light. Currently, Wells Fargo estimates their employees opened 3.5 million unauthorized accounts. In response, the bank’s leadership continues to be criticized by leading politicians and Wells Fargo has yet to fully recover from the scandal.There are lingering questions, too, if technology could have helped prevent the opening of fraudulent accounts at the bank. Or do financial institutions need do undergo fundamental cultural change?On one level, Christian Catalini, a professor at MIT, said blockchain technology “could have made it easier to spot that these accounts were not being opened by the consumers behind them.” continue reading » 8SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr