Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Sponsored Content Brought To You By Alure Home ImprovementsWhether it’s air-conditioning or heating season, leaks at home can cost you energy—and that adds up to money blowing in the wind. An estimated 65 percent of a homeowner’s utility bill is used to heat or cool the indoors. Don’t let it go to waste. Weatherization is the solution. That means examining your outside doors and windows for cracks around the frames and filling them in with caulk. You might also want to check your attics, basements or crawl spaces for any gaps because they too can be a problem.Thanks to this recent installment of the “60 Second Fix: How To Caulk An Exterior Door In 60 Seconds,” featuring Alure Home Improvement’s chief operating officer Doug Cornwell, you’ll learn the simple steps required to get the most of your caulking experience. Since you’re doing the exterior of your house, you want to make sure that you select the right caulk so it will withstand any kind of weather. Silicone, not acrylic, caulking is preferred, because it is permanently waterproof, flexible, and shrink- or crack-proof. Remember, caulk is not an adhesive—it won’t bond wood together, or tiles to a wall or a floor. And here’s something else to consider: If the crack is wider than half an inch, you might have to get a foam rod that you can wedge into place before you caulk.So, once you have the proper caulk, you’ll need the caulk gun to squeeze it out of the tube properly. Don’t leave the hardware store without it.Preparation is also important. You don’t just apply new caulk on top of old caulk. It won’t work effectively. Use a razor blade or a sharp knife to remove the old caulk first so you remove any mold or mildew that might have collected on the surface. Next, clean the crack with a rag dampened with a household cleaner or rubbing alcohol, or a wire brush. Then wipe the area with a clean cloth because you want to make sure that the surface is clean, dry and free of grease, dirt and dust before you begin to caulk.Okay, now you’re ready to caulk, and this is where Cornwell comes in with his expertise to improve your technique.“When you’re opening a tube of caulking,” Cornwell says, “you want to make the smallest hole possible at the end of the tip.”As Cornwell puts it: “Less is more.” How wide a hole you need depends on the width of the crack, of course. But a professional-looking bead, which is what a line of caulk is called, begins with the properly sized opening. A cut near the tip produces a thin bead, a cut further down the nozzle yields a thick bead.Next, you’ll have to break an inner seal on the silicone tube before you insert the tube into the caulk gun. Take a stiff metal wire or a similar-sized object like a nail and poke it through the tip until you feel it break the seal. Many caulk guns come with just the right sharp tool for this function. Cornwell shows how it’s normally folded along the gun when it’s not needed.And there’s a thin rod that’s part of the caulking gun about the size of a 10-penny nail [?] and insert that through the tip to free the passageway, to make sure the caulk can travel freely… from the tube to the tip…Once you’re sure the caulk will flow freely, insert the tube of caulking into the gun and squeeze the trigger a couple of times so the small metal plate attached to the rod advances into the flat bottom of the tube and begins to exert pressure.“Make sure it’s snug and ready to go,” Cornwell says. You should be able to see the caulk fill the tip and be ready to emerge.Caulking novices might want to practice on cardboard first, but not Doug Cornwell, he’s an old pro, and he goes right to work.“One thing you want to keep in mind when you’re caulking, whether you’re caulking a door, a window, or even a wine bottle, you want to keep constant, even pressure,” he advises.“As hard as you squeeze is as fast as you want to move,” Cornwell says. “If you want to squeeze very hard, you have to move very fast. It’s got to be tempo: tempo, tempo, tempo!”For a doorway or window frame, he says, “You always start at the top corner and work your way down.”Hold the caulk gun at a 45-degree angle and press the tip right into the corner. Then start squeezing the trigger as you slide the tip downward, making sure the flow produces a nice, constant bead of caulk.Steady as it goes is the key. Watch Cornwell as he keeps the pressure even, and the caulk flowing out smoothly. He follows along, bending when necessary to maintain the proper angle.Click here to learn more about Alure Home ImprovementsNext comes what the experts call “tooling,” which means smoothing the bead. This step is just as vital to the task and should not be skipped. Cornwell recommends taking a paper towel, dampening it with a little bit of water. Then moisten your fingertip, which turns out to be the perfect “tooling” device here, and run your finger very lightly over the bead.“Go over the caulk to make sure it bridges both surfaces and the crack is filled,” Cornwell says.When you’re confident the crack is “caulked,” then use the damp paper towel to wipe the excess residue off your finger.And there you have it.
A UK NGO has called on institutional investors including Aviva Investors, Standard Life Investments and the Church of England to demand that oil company Soco International abandon a project underway at a UNESCO World Heritage site.Anti-corruption activist Global Witness also asked investors to commission an independent inquiry into London-listed Soco’s activities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), after releasing a report presenting evidence that the FTSE 250 company had engaged in illegal activities as part of its oil exploration project in Virunga National Park.The report by Global Witness alleged that the company had made “illicit payments” and appeared to have “paid off” rebel forces while benefitting from the “fear and violence fostered by government security forces in eastern Congo”.Nat Dyer of Global Witness said in a statement: “Soco is threatening Africa’s oldest national park through an oil project marred by bribery, intimidation and violence. “Pension funds and other investors must demand that Soco quits Virunga for good and that it accounts for its actions,” he added.The NGO said its findings were based on “undercover recordings” gathered in the DRC “as part of an investigation by UK filmmakers, which have been reviewed by Global Witness.”Large institutional investors in Soco include Aviva Investors, Standard Life Investments and the Church of England Pension Board, who all told IPE they had been engaging with the firm.The British Airways pension schemes and several UK local authority funds – including those for the London borough of Islington, councils in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire and the West Midlands, West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire funds – also hold stakes.European investors include PDN, the Dutch pension fund for employees of life sciences firm DSM, and previously the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global.However, Global Witness reported that Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) sold its stake in Soco in 2013, “partly because of concerns about the company’s operations in Virunga”.At the end of 2012, NBIM disclosed holdings in Soco worth NOK119m (€16.1m). The company was no longer listed in its 2013 year-end portfolio breakdown.Stephanie Maier, head of responsible investment strategy & research at Aviva Investors said that her firm had been engaging with Soco over its activities in the World Heritage site and said the activities were placing it at “serious risk” of failing Soco’s stated aim of a “responsible approach to oil and gas exploration and production”.Maier added that these concerns led to Aviva Investors commissioning an independent report into the firm’s activities in DRC, which set out a number of proposals in regard to board structure, remuneration and other environmental, social and governance (ESG) changes.She highlighted the firm’s public commitment to no longer “undertake or commission” any further exploratory drilling in Virunga, or any other World Heritage-listed site.“We consider both the spirit and the letter of the commitment to be a very positive step forward,” Maier said.“However, continue to engage with Soco regarding respect for the integrity of the World Heritage site boundaries and the full set of recommendations we outlined.”Soco released the announcement that it would stop drilling in Virunga jointly with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) earlier this year. The park is is home to a quarter of the world’s 880 remaining mountain gorillas.The announcement followed a WWF complaint with the OECD about Soco’s Virunga project.A spokesperson for Standard Life Investments said that it had ongoing engagements with Soco on a number of issues, inlcuidng its activities in Virunga. “We continue to engage with the company and encourage best environmental, social and governance practices.”A spokesman for the Church of England Pensions Board meanwhile thanked Global Witness for publicising Soco’s acitivies.“Following the WWF’s complaint to the UK National Contact Point in 2013, we commenced a process of engagement with Soco about the environmental and social issues associated with their operations in the DRC,” he added. “Despite this complaint now having been abandoned, and Soco having clarified its position, we continue to engage.”However, according to Global Witness, the company’s behaviour following the announcement suggested that it remained committed to the exploration project.“Soco has also been at pains to tell investors and the Congolese authorities that its agreement with WWF did not signal the company was withdrawing from Virunga,” the NGO said.Addressing the claims contained within the NGO’s report, Maier said: “We have read with interest the Global Witness report and have raised with Soco the allegations within the report as part of our ongoing engagement.”She said that Aviva Investors was engaging over human rights and corruption risk and was anticipating a “positive response”, which it would then review.Soco maintained that Global Witness had not allowed it prior sight of the report, although the document cited exchanges between Soco and the NGO.A spokesperson for Soco told IPE: “Soco did send a letter to Global Witness on 4 June in response to allegations put to them, but [the company] was not provided a copy of the report itself until it was made publicly available.”The company had previously released a statement saying it was “aware” of the report.“As stated in our comprehensive letter to Global Witness of 4 June, we requested that Global Witness provide Soco with any evidence they had to support their allegations, since any breach of our code of business conduct and ethics would lead to immediate action by Soco,” it said at the time.“However, despite Global Witness calling on Soco to investigate these allegations, Global Witness itself has refused and continues to refuse to provide any evidence to the company to support their allegations.”
ARC confirms Belle Vue closure August 3, 2020 Share Submit HBLB gives £3.2m boost to UK racing August 13, 2020 Related Articles HBLB ups prize money commitment by 50% July 31, 2020 StumbleUpon Share Steeped in history and tradition, but it could now be the case that Manchester’s Belle Vue dog track could be at risk, after it was revealed by the Manchester Evening News that there are potential plans to build 243 homes on the site. Having first been built in 1926, the infrastructure is synonymous with the Belle Vue area and is one of the country’s oldest and most well regarded greyhound stadiums. As reported by the Manchester Evening News, a spokesman for Countryside Properties stated: “Countryside are currently preparing proposals for the development of circa. 240 new family homes at the Belle Vue Stadium site at Kirkmanshulme Lane.“Current proposals comprise green landscaping and housing across a variety of tenures.“Our planning team have notified local residents, councillors and stakeholders of the proposed development ahead of submitting a planning application to Manchester City Council.“We are committed to creating places people love and welcome discussions on all aspects of the scheme to ensure it meets local demand for high quality and affordable homes while enhancing the local area.”Last month Mark Bird the MD of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB), sent an open letter to Paul Darling, Chairman of the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) and Clive Hawkswood, leader of the Remote Gambling Association (RGA), urging the industry figureheads to support further funding measures for sustaining UK greyhound racing.Bird outlined that greyhound racing is in the midst of a funding crisis, which threatens the Greyhound Board’s ability to maintain its welfare and integrity commitments.The letter emphasised: “The BGRF’s income has declined from circa £14 million in 2008 (£17 million in today’s terms) to £7.2 million in 2017, reflecting the migration of betting turnover from retail to online and mobile platforms.“Until this year, with the notable exception of bet365, none of the major Bookmaker companies have included the turnover of their online betting operations in their voluntary contributions. In addition, some major betting companies do not pay any voluntary levy, or only pay it on part of their estate.”