Always controversial, Tron founder Justin Sun said he thinks the proof-of-work way of operating is an "essential" component of Ethereum – just as the Ethereum community readies to transition to a different, proof-of-stake, system after a multi-year effort. Many billions of dollars are at stake.
The crypto entrepreneur still supports Ethereum’s Merge, the much anticipated event that will see Ethereum reborn as a faster and cheaper blockchain, if things go according to plan. But that might be because Sun has since vowed to back what he calls “EthereumPOW,” if the hard work succeeds.
Sun is angling to have the algorithmic stablecoin he designed, USDD, become the first stablecoin in the EthereumPOW ecosystem, he said on CoinDesk TV’s “First Mover.” The exchange he owns, Poloniex, has already said it will be the first to support EthereumPOW’s native currency.
Sun added that, at least to his knowledge, no other stablecoin issuers have come out in support of EthereumPOW, the blockchain he said will be left behind after the Merge.
“We all want to be the first solution when everybody uses Ethereum proof-of-work post-Merge,” he said on CoinDesk TV.
“I think decentralized stablecoins, like [Tron stablecoin] USDD, [a] decentralized U.S. dollar, is still essential to our industry because, as we all know, all the components of [decentralized finance] today it's all decentralized … except stablecoins,” Sun said.
Sun thinks a PoW version of Ethereum could be a viable competitor among blockchains, even after the vast majority of Ethereum applications and developers move to PoS.
“Proof-of-work actually provides a very good foundation for Ethereum infrastructure,” he said. Not only is it tried and true, he said, it’s probably “essential” for the “whole crypto industry” to have an alternative smart contract-friendly blockchain based on proof-of-work.
He noted that the field is crowded with proof-of-stake chains including Solana, Avalanche and the network he founded, Tron. Meanwhile, the majority of PoW chains – like Monero and Bitcoin – are not useful for building applications or supporting complicated economies like decentralized finance (DeFi).
Sun’s support for the Merge sidesteps criticisms that the forked ETHW chain will see the same problems that plague Ethereum, such as high gas fees and slow transaction speeds, which developers say will be adjusted once the Merge happens.
What’s more, he said ETHW would not be pre-mined, so all airdrop recipients will receive “equivalent” amounts of ETHW following the fork and no developers will be “making more ETHW than other people.”
Read more: Justin Sun Backs Ethereum Hard Fork as Merge Approaches
FAMILIES are facing a long, hard winter with rising bills.
Yet Liz’s plan to deal with that is to give a big bung to large businesses and the well-off, leaving those who most need help out in the cold.
Worse still, she has said she will not provide direct support payments to those who are feeling the pinch most.
Scrapping the health and social care levy will give the average worker around £170.
But someone on the National Living Wage will get less than £60 for the year.
Pensioners will not get a penny.
And her corporation tax cuts don’t benefit small businesses — they just put money back in the coffers of the biggest companies with the largest profits.
These tax cuts simply won’t touch the sides.
We need clear-eyed realism, not starry-eyed boosterism.
That means bolder action to protect people from the worst of the winter.
I have the right plan and experience to help people through.
Sun readers can trust me to step in as I’ve done so before to help those who need it most.
Latricia Trammell tried to settle into her bed for the night. Far from a luxurious hotel room, the Sparks assistant coach was sizing up four faux-leather airport terminal seats with cracked black upholstery and chipped piping around the edges.
“These players deserve better,” Trammell wrote on Twitter at 1:45 a.m. in Washington D.C. as half of the Sparks team spent the night in the airport when their travel plans went awry following a 79-76 win against the Washington Mystics on Saturday.
The WNBA’s struggle with commercial flights entered another round as several Sparks players slept at the airport after their cross-country flight was canceled at 1 a.m. local time and rescheduled for 9 a.m. Players were offered rooms at several different hotels because there was not enough space at one location, but because of the location, late hour and early flight, some chose to sleep in the airport Monday morning.
By Tuesday night, the Sparks were caught sleepwalking at Crypto.com Arena with their playoff hopes hanging in the balance. The team committed a season-high 21 turnovers and got outrebounded 40-23 in a 97-71 loss to the Connecticut Sun that kept the Sparks (13-21) one game out of a playoff spot with two games remaining.
The Sparks have lost seven of their last eight games, an ill-fated, late-season slump interim head coach Fred Williams credited to fatigue. Nneka Ogwumike, who finished with 16 points, noted the team’s exhaustion.
“It’s playing with team in mind, not the individual,” Ogwumike said. “When things get hard, sometimes it’s easy to focus more so on what’s going on with my situation and that’s something I think we can be better at in this next game on Thursday and also on Sunday.”
Even before the sleepover saga, Williams said the punishing travel schedule has been one of the biggest frustrations in a disappointing season, along with the constant injuries. The Sparks started the season with nine of their first 12 games on the road, which Williams called “one of the toughest schedules in the history of the WNBA.” Added in were flight delays and cancellations that plagued all travelers this summer.
But the team remained focused on the goal of chasing the playoffs.
“It’s a part of being a Spark right now,” Sparks guard Brittney Sykes said before the game. “We really don’t give a damn. As long as we got back to L.A. safe and sound, then it is what it is.”
The league’s latest collective bargaining agreement offered improved travel accommodations such as solo hotel rooms and premium economy seats with extended leg room but forbids teams to charter flights because the private trips may create a competitive advantage.
In a statement she drafted at 4 a.m. at the airport, Ogwumike focused on the oft-repeated phrase as a “tired argument that has overstayed its welcome.”
“It has become a phrase that impedes transformational growth across our league,” she continued in the statement posted on social media Monday. “The numbers and the trends suggest that The W is a smart investment with a measurable return. New and emerging ownership groups have demonstrated an ability and eagerness to invest the necessary resources to grow this league in the areas that require it most.”
WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert told ESPN in March that chartering flights for the entire league during the regular season would cost $20 million, but at All-Star Weekend in June, celebrated the addition of private flights for this season’s WNBA Finals.
Ogwumike called for quicker action by allowing teams to charter flights during the entire 2022 playoffs and “continuing with a common sense” during the 2023 season. She elaborated after Tuesday’s game by suggesting an allotment of charter flights during the regular season.
The seven-time All-Star, who called upon airlines to partner with WNBA players, noted the changes since the WNBA and players association approved the latest collective bargaining agreement in 2020. The league expanded its regular-season schedule to 36 games this season, the most ever for a WNBA season. But with the extended slate is compressed into a 15-week regular season because of the FIBA Women’s World Cup beginning on Sept. 22 in Australia.
Sykes called it “2018 on steroids,” referring to the last time the WNBA compressed its season because of the World Cup. She noted there were numerous injuries across the league that season and back-to-backs in different cities that added to the difficult schedule.
Even without the timing restriction of a World Cup or Olympic Games next year, the schedule headaches likely won’t go away. The WNBA is already planning for a 40-game season in 2023.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.
The northern Front Range’s newest plan to meet federal ozone-reduction mandates comes with a rare upfront admission that it won’t work.
The Regional Air Quality Council, a nonprofit board of experts and local officials charged with writing the state’s ozone compliance plan, will decide Friday on the latest proposals for trimming the hazardous ground-level gas. Colorado’s nine northern Front Range counties now have two EPA standards to meet in the state plan: A 2008 ceiling of 75 parts per billion ozone, and, as medical science cracked down on the health impact of ozone, a tougher 70 ppb ceiling set in 2015.
The nine counties east of the Front Range, from Douglas on the south to Weld on the north, are constantly violating both limits during hot, sun-baked summers, despite years of new oil and gas drilling regulations and improved automobile technology. There were 75 Ozone Action Day Alerts issued in 2021, and environmental groups point to continuing readings above the EPA limits at monitoring stations this summer.
In briefing reporters about the proposed ozone plan RAQC will consider, RAQC staff acknowledge that even the new proposals will not make enough cuts to meet the tough 2015 standards by a 2024 EPA deadline, “just two short years” away.
“It’s not possible to get us into compliance by the next due date,” Executive Director Mike Silverstein said.
So do better, a coalition of environmental groups and local air pollution officials responded in their own briefing on the proposed implementation plan. Deadlines on past state plans have come and gone, they point out, and the EPA continues to downgrade the region’s ozone results.
The briefings came amid consecutive days of Ozone Action Alerts for the northern Front Range, advising those with asthma or other sensitivities to be cautious about outdoors work or exercise. Those alerts have continued with heat spikes during the week starting Aug. 1.
The EPA has already signaled it will lower the region from “serious” nonattainment to “severe” nonattainment. That will trigger a few mandatory measures, including requiring all regional gas retailers to use reformulated fuel releasing fewer volatile organic compounds. It will also lower the threshold for when industrial pollution emitters must get a state permit and the accompanying oversight, to 25 tons per year from 50 tons.
Still not enough, both briefings acknowledged.
The coalition for a crackdown is asking the public to rally with comments before the RAQC decision Friday, and for the subsequent review of the plan by the state’s Air Quality Control Commission. After the RAQC passes on the State Implementation Plan, or SIP, for ozone attainment, the blueprint goes to the Air Quality Control Commission and then the EPA.
Members of the coalition want:
There is some theater and wishful thinking involved in the dueling briefings. The RAQC doesn’t have the power to carry out its ozone-cutting suggestions. That power resides in rulemaking by the Air Quality Control Commission and other state agencies and local governments.
But bolstering the ozone fight has to start somewhere, the environmental coalition argues, and public hearings on a new state plan are the best opportunity.
“It does feel like there is a real moment here” with the pending improvement plan, CoPIRG’s Danny Katz said, speaking for the coalition. “We can’t really afford another few years of not being proactive.”
Local governments have been involved with RAQC’s strategy groups to develop the plan and have pushed for many of those additions, said Ean Tafoya, Colorado director of GreenLatinos. “Even though the control strategy workgroups have met regularly since September 2021, none of the measures considered by those workgroups will be included in the SIPs,” Tafoya said.
The public can follow the RAQC’s deliberation and decision here. A public comment session is scheduled for 10:25 a.m. Friday. The AQCC plans to weigh in on the plan with public hearings in the fall. Finally, the regional EPA office, which has shown a willingness to prod the state to faster action under director KC Becker, has the power to approve the plan or seek revisions.
The U.S. Forest Service is allowing Vail Resorts to continue building a new lift at Keystone after the company submitted a plan to repair tundra damaged by a temporary road that extended beyond permitting boundaries. But the monthlong delay in construction will prevent the resort from opening new terrain in Bergman Bowl by this winter.
White River National Forest supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams on Thursday said he accepted Vail Resorts’ cure for improperly grading 2.5 acres outside of approved construction boundaries, including 1.5 acres above treeline in the fragile alpine zone. The company’s construction crews also filled a wetland creek with logs and graded over it to create a road crossing and did not save topsoil and vegetation for replanting after construction, all of which the agency found “were not consistent with Forest Service expectations.”
Fitzwilliams rescinded his order of noncompliance and canceled the cease-and-desist order he issued last month after Forest Service officials discovered the construction that had not been permitted.
Vail Resorts hired an outside firm to develop the repair plan.
“Quite honestly, it’s the best restoration plan I’ve ever seen in my life. Even our staff are like ‘Oh my god,’” Fitzwilliams said. “The restoration plan submitted by Keystone is extremely detailed, thorough and includes all the necessary actions to insure the damage is restored as best as possible.”
The damage to fragile alpine terrain does require additional analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act, but Fitzwilliams said that can be done while the construction continues.
On Thursday afternoon, resort officials said the further environmental review will keep Bergman Bowl from opening for the 2022-23 season, a development Keystone general manager Chris Sorensen said is disappointing but necessary.
“Our priority is preserving and caring for our natural environment,” Sorensen said in a statement. “We take our role as stewards of the environment and of National Forest Service land extremely seriously, and we will operate with that at the heart of the work we execute for the restoration plan and the full Bergman Bowl project.”
Sorensen said the company is grateful for the Forest Service’s partnership and “we greatly respect their expertise.” Keystone will move forward with the planned expansion of the Outpost restaurant for the 2022-23 winter and he said he is optimistic the resort will complete the expansion work next summer and open the new terrain for the 2023-24 season.
The Forest Service reported the unpermitted construction in early July and Fitzwilliams forced Vail Resorts to halt construction in the bowl July 8. The two-year environmental review of the expansion plan approved earlier this year allowed construction of a 1,830-foot temporary road. That road above the Outpost restaurant was allowed to impact about a half acre of terrain so crews could build lift towers, a skier bridge and remove trees in the bowl, where Keystone planned to open 16 new trails on 555 acres for the 2022-23 season.
The road grading into the bowl actually disturbed 1.5 acres above treeline and an additional acre in the forest.
The Forest Service’s approval earlier this year required that construction crews avoid wetlands — like a creek in the bowl — to preclude the need for approval by the Army Corps of Engineers. The approval also required crews to use helicopters, not heavy ground machinery, to remove timber and to suspend ground-disturbing activities during periods of heavy rain.
Crews filled a creek with timber and used machinery instead of helicopters.
An 11-page Supplemental Information Report by White River forest officials that was approved by Fitzwilliams on Aug. 2 — part of additional review of the unauthorized construction allowed after two years of analysis of the expansion plan under the National Environmental Policy Act — noted myriad impacts of the illegal construction to the alpine environment.
Ultimately, the agency found that the impacts of the unpermitted road were largely predicted in the environmental review that led the Forest Service to approve the Bergman Bowl expansion. For example, the NEPA analysis found that construction and development in the bowl “may affect but is not likely to adversely affect” the protected Canadian lynx.
“It is not anticipated that these additional impacts to lynx habitat would change the determination beyond, ‘may affect, but is not likely to adversely affect,’” the agency’s report reads.
The analysis of the repairs will require scrutiny under NEPA, but that review and decision will be limited to the unauthorized construction and impacts, not the expansion as a whole.
“Some level of new decision will be required,” Fitzwilliams said. “We haven’t figured that out yet.”
UPDATE: This story was updated at 2:40 p.m. on Aug. 4, 2022, to include comment from Vail Resorts about how the project delay will keep new terrain at Keystone from opening for the 2022-23 ski season.
WestJet is restoring 17 sun routes to its network during the upcoming northern winter season after suspensions of more than two years.
The Calgary-based carrier also plans to launch a new route within the province of British Columbia and restart flying between Edmonton (YEG) and Nanaimo (YCD), a city on the east coast of Vancouver Island.
The resumptions include flights between Vancouver (YVR) and Orlando (MCO); Calgary (YYC) and Belize City (BZE); and Saskatoon (YXE) and Routes World 2022 host Las Vegas (LAS).
“We recognize the past three winters have been disruptive to our guests travel plans and we look forward to reconnecting Canadians to some of the warmer destinations they have missed the most,” said John Weatherill, WestJet executive VP and CCO.
WestJet said the restart of the 17 routes would help to push capacity of sun and leisure flights up by 45% during winter 2022/23, compared with a year earlier. There will also be a 60% increase in transborder flights compared with winter 2021/22.
Alongside the resumptions, a new route between Penticton (YYF) and Vancouver in British Colombia will launch on Feb. 17, 2023. Flights are scheduled to operate six times per week.
It is hoped that the new service will stimulate business and leisure travel between the cities with flights on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays and makes WestJet the only airline serving both Calgary and Vancouver direct from Penticton.
Through the airline's capacity purchase agreement with Pacific Coastal Airline, all flights will be operated by WestJet Link, using a fleet of WestJet-branded 34-seat Saab 340 aircraft. The expansion of service is the 11th destination within the WestJet Link network.
"The expansion of WestJet service is another example of the growth that Penticton is experiencing," said mayor John Vassilaki. "As more and more people recognize the advantages of living and working here, the addition of more direct flights to Vancouver will benefit everyone – from tourists to businesspeople.”
In addition, WestJet has confirmed the resumption of Edmonton-Nanaimo service from Oct. 30. Flights will be 3X-weekly operated by WestJet Encore.
By Nichola Saminather
TORONTO (Reuters) -Sun Life Financial shares jumped on Thursday after reporting a better-than-expected second-quarter profit and announcing the sale of its U.K. business as well as an asset management partnership with the buyer, Phoenix Group Holdings.
Earlier on Thursday, Canada's second-largest life insurer agreed to sell its closed business in the United Kingdom to Phoenix for 248 million pounds ($301 million), and become its strategic asset management partner, managing about C$9 billion ($7 billion) of Sun Life UK's general account.
Sun Life expects to get a "good chunk" of the $25 billion Phoenix plans to deploy in North American fixed income and alternative investments over the next five years, CEO Kevin Strain said on an analyst call on Thursday. He added it will make up for some lost revenue and support earnings.
Strain said Sun Life has no current plans to sell other closed blocks, including the payout annuity part of the U.K. business, which it retained, and an individual life business (IFM) in the United States.
"We like the dynamics of those closed blocks," Strain told Reuters, adding these businesses can generate strong earnings and cash flow and good return on equity for at least 10 more years.
Sun Life shares rose 2.8% to C$60.80 in early afternoon trading in Toronto on Thursday, on track for its highest close in nearly eight weeks. The Toronto stock benchmark rose 0.14%.
Late on Wednesday, Sun Life reported core earnings per share of C$1.52, beating analysts' estimates of C$1.39, helped by improvement in its U.S. business and a better-than-expected performance in Canada that offset underwhelming results from its asset management and Asian units.
Sun Life executives said U.S. benefits provider DentaQuest, whose acquisition it closed on June 1, would help drive its goal of 10% organic growth in its U.S. group benefits business.
"DentaQuest has been a growth engine over its history," Dan Fishbein, president of its U.S. unit, said on the analyst call. "We think there's a lot of potential in the DentaQuest business on multiple fronts to continue to win new government contracts."
He cautioned that the business is "very lumpy" with small but very large contracts that could lead to sporadic growth in earnings.
($1 = 0.8243 pounds)
($1 = 1.2862 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting By Nichola Saminather; Editing by Josie Kao)