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Jobs threat at UK defence supplier Meggitt as it agrees £6.3bn takeover

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Engineering firm, which operates in aerospace and energy markets, backs deal with Parker Hannifin

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Meggitt after it agreed a £6.3bn takeover deal from US rival Parker Hannifin, in the latest approach for a UK-listed company from an overseas buyer.

The board of Meggitt, the FTSE 250 engineering company that operates in the aerospace, defence and energy markets, has unanimously recommended that shareholders accept the 800p-a-share deal, which the UK government says it is closely monitoring.

The offer is at a 71% premium on Meggitt’s closing share price on Friday. Meggitt’s share price had soared by more than 56% to 735p by mid-afternoon on Monday as investors reacted to the news, helping lift the FTSE 250 index of medium-sized firms to a record closing high.

As part of the deal, Parker, which employs more than 2,100 staff in 18 facilities across the UK, has made a number of legally binding contractual commitments to the government to protect Meggitt’s operations.

These include keeping Meggitt’s UK headquarters in Coventry; maintaining the headcount in its research and development, product engineering and manufacturing operations; ensuring most of the company’s board are UK nationals; and increasing research and development expenditure by a fifth during the next five years. However, Parker will look to cut jobs in areas not protected by the legal guarantees. Tom Williams, the Parker chairman and chief executive, said that a significant number of Meggitt’s approximately 2,000 UK staff would be protected from the cuts.

“Any transaction of this size, or any transaction period, typically has some overlap between the two businesses,” he said. “We are going to evaluate all the talent, all the people … and our intention is to put the best of both companies [together].”

The deal documents highlight areas of overlap between the two businesses “particularly in central corporate and support functions and a reduced need for roles currently supporting Meggitt’s status as a public listed company at Meggitt’s UK headquarters”. The operational review “may result in headcount reductions or relocation of Meggitt employees”, it added.

The acquisition of Meggitt, which is a defence supplier to the UK government and provides components for US F-35 Lightning II fighter jets, will almost double Parker’s aerospace operation.

“We are committed to being a responsible steward of Meggitt and are pleased our acquisition has the full support of Meggitt’s board,” Williams said. “We fully understand these responsibilities and are making a number of strong commitments that reflect them.”

However, all of Parker’s legal commitments are binding for only one year, Williams told reporters, except for the R&D investment pledge, which has a five-year guarantee. Williams said Parker did not intend to renege on guarantees after they expire.

“I see no reason why we would ever move the UK headquarters,” he said. “These are going to be commitments that will be there for a long time. We are a strategic buyer, we are builders. If you were to benchmark this total offer – our binding commitments in addition to our financial offer – I think you would find it stands in a place of its own compared to other transactions.”

He added that the deal was structured in anticipation of the upcoming National Security and Investment Act, which gives the UK government the power to protect important national assets from foreign takeovers.

“We are very conscious of it,” Williams said. “That is why we have framed the binding commitments as we did in such a way that they would be supported by all stakeholders.”

The UK government said it was closely monitoring the deal. “Under the Enterprise Act 2002, the business secretary has powers to intervene in mergers and takeovers which raise national security concerns,” a government spokesperson said, according to Reuters.

“While commercial transactions remain primarily a matter for the parties involved, the government is closely monitoring the proposed acquisition of Meggitt by Parker-Hannifin.”

Last month, the government announced a review of the proposed purchase of Newport Wafer Fab, the UK’s largest producer of semiconductors, by a Chinese-owned manufacturer.

The government is also scrutinising the takeover of the Cambridge-headquartered chip designer Arm by the US chip company Nvidia on national security grounds.

In July, the defence group Ultra Electronics signalled it was “minded to recommend” a provisional £2.6bn takeover offer from the US private equity-backed company Cobham.

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“The UK takeover spree continues to move at pace,” said Russ Mould, the investment director at AJ Bell. “UK stocks have long been considered cheap, and this year’s merger and acquisition spree shows that overseas investors have finally got enough confidence to pounce on opportunities after years of showing little interest in the market.”

Sir Nigel Rudd, the Meggitt chairman, said that the takeover would “accelerate and de-risk” its growth plans.

“Meggitt is one of the world’s foremost aerospace, defence and energy businesses, leading the market with a strong portfolio of technology and manufacturing capabilities, and holding a significant amount of intellectual property,” Rudd said. “While Meggitt is currently pursuing a strong, standalone strategy which will deliver value to shareholders over the long term, Parker’s offer provides the opportunity to significantly accelerate and de-risk those plans while continuing to deliver for shareholders.”

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How mercury sneaks into the most vulnerable communities in US and Canada

1 Dolton-Thornton, Nathaniel. “The Elem Tribe’s Last Stand.” Earth Island Journal, 2019.

2 “National Lake Fish Tissue Study – Results and Data.” EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 7 Nov. 2018.

3 Liu, Guangliang, et al. Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology of Mercury. Wiley, 2012.

4 Gibson, Shelby. “’My Ears Keep Ringing All the Time’: Mercury Poisoning Among Grassy Narrows First Nation.” Pulitzer Center, 29 July 2019.

5 Kirkup, Kristy. “Ottawa Pressed to Make Good on Promise to End All Long-Term Drinking-Water Advisories for First Nations.” The Globe and Mail, 1 Mar. 2021.

6 Mercury in the Environment : Pattern and Process, edited by Michael S. Bank, University of California Press, 2012. ProQuest Ebook Central.

7 E. C. Merem, J. Wesley, P. Isokpehi, E. Nwagboso, S. Fageir, S. Nichols, M. Crisler, M. Shenge, C. Romorno, G. Hirse, The Growing Issue of Mercury Exposure and the Threats in the African American Community, Frontiers in Science, Vol. 6 No. 1, 2016, pp. 1-16. doi: 10.5923/j.fs.20160601.01.

8 United States, Congress, National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP), and Peggy Shepard. Fish Consumption and Environmental Justice A Report Developed from the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council Meeting of December 3-6, 2001, EPA, 2002, p. 185.

9 Janssen, Sarah E., et al. “Examining Historical Mercury Sources in the Saint Louis River Estuary: How Legacy Contamination Influences Biological Mercury Levels in Great Lakes Coastal Regions.” Science of The Total Environment, vol. 779, 2021, p. 146284., doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.146284.

10 Stefanovich, Olivia. “Indigenous Services Minister to Acknowledge Liberals Won’t Meet Promised Drinking Water Targets | CBC News.” CBCnews, CBC/Radio Canada, 2 Dec. 2020.

11 “Defining Waters of the United States / Clean Water Rule – Environmental & Energy Law Program.” Harvard Law School, 3 Mar. 2021.

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Key Oscars moments: from the historic to the hilarious – video

While the scaled-back Oscars in Los Angeles on Sunday made for a more subdued and intimate affair than usual, the evening was not without its moments. 

Picking up his award for best supporting actor, the British actor Daniel Kaluuya managed to embarrass his proud mother. ‘It’s incredible. My mum met my dad, they had sex. It’s amazing, you understand. I’m here, you know what I mean?’ 

Glenn Close twerked and Frances McDormand howled like a wolf. Making history as the first Korean actor to win an Oscar, Youn Yuh-jung took a moment to appreciate Brad Pitt, who handed her the award. ‘Oh, Mr Brad Pitt, finally, nice to meet you. Where were you while we were filming, in person?’ she joked, to laughter 

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Joe Biden to hold first cabinet meeting as he pitches $2tn infrastructure plan – live

Yesterday in Minneapolis, another prosecution witness, Charles MacMillian, told the court that he spoke directly to George Floyd as he lay in the street under Derek Chauvin’s knee.

“Get up and get in the (police) car. You can’t win man,” he said to Floyd.

Floyd responds that he cannot get up.

MacMillian, in highly emotional testimony, said he appealed to Floyd to cooperate with the police because he was worried about his condition as he was pleading that he could not breathe. “I was trying to help him,” he said.

MacMillian broke down and wept in court as he was shown video of his interaction with Floyd.

Chris McGreal reports:

The cashier who served George Floyd in a Minneapolis store immediately before his arrest and death last May told a court on Wednesday of the ‘disbelief and guilt’ he felt for allowing Floyd to pay with a suspected fake $20 bill when he later saw the police kneeling on him.

Testimony on the third day of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s murder trial continued in an atmosphere of tense emotions and harrowing evidence about Floyd’s death.

The cashier, Christopher Martin, 19, said Floyd appeared to be high on drugs but was not threatening and was ‘very approachable, talkative’.

https://t.co/mIpXTnLBwA

April 1, 2021

“The filibuster stands in the way of a lot of legislation and whether or not it can be either reformed and amended or eliminated is what we will find out in next weeks,” Clinton told Palmieri.

She added, “It certainly should be lifted for constitutional matters, and I would put election law matters at the top of that list.”

Many Democrats have called on Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer to eliminate the filibuster, thus allowing bills to pass the upper chamber with 51 votes, rather than the 60 required with the filibuster in place.

But currently, Schumer does not have the votes to eliminate the filibuster, as at least two of his caucus members — Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona — have signaled opposition to the idea.

@SecretaryPete tells @SRuhle he’s not giving up on earning GOP support for @POTUS’s newly-unveiled $2 trillion infrastructure package.

“Bottom line is, we’ve got to get this done.”@MSNBC pic.twitter.com/1aL4tIH7tv

April 1, 2021

The former Democratic presidential candidate said he has had many meetings with lawmakers of both parties, and he noted Joe Biden has encouraged Republicans to offer ideas on the proposal.

But Buttigieg was tight-lipped when pressed on which specific members of Congress he has been talking to about the infrastructure package.

“Bottom line is, we’ve got to get this done,” Buttigieg said. “The American people can’t wait for good infrastructure.”

The transportation secretary will be attending Biden’s cabinet meeting at the White House later today.

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US Navy: for first time in history four women of color command war ships

Four US Navy officers have made history this week – and breaking new ground in a traditionally white and male-dominated field.

For the first time in US Navy history, four women of color are now commanding war ships at the same time, NBC News has reported.

The four officers, Kimberly Jones, LaDonna Simpson, Kristel O’Cañas, and Kathryn Wijnaldum, recently said that there have been dramatic changes for women serving in the Navy over the years.

The Navy “looks different in the fact that as an ensign, I looked around and at that time, there were not many senior female officers that I could necessarily go to for gender-specific questions,” Jones, who joined the Navy more than two decades ago, remarked in an interview clip obtained by People magazine.

“I may not have felt comfortable asking my male boss,” Jones also said. “Now, to their credit, they were phenomenal leaders. However, when it came time [for] some of those more intimate conversations on how to plan your career with a family, as a mom, that did not exist.”

She added: “And I was overseas, so the population was slightly smaller. And now walking this waterfront, there are leaders, there are role models, at every rank…That is something that I hope ensigns, young sailors, gravitate towards and take advantage of.”

These four women are all based at Norfolk Naval Station, in Virginia. They are all “Nuclear Surface Warfare Officers” – a qualification which is “extremely competitive” to obtain, according to the US Navy.

All four women “have spent a considerable amount of their time serving aboard nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and in nuclear-related shore duty billets,” the Navy noted.

Simpson said that while she was never discouraged from going after her career goals, she did not have many female role models.

“The Navy has been very supportive of my journey and my professional training. There weren’t any voices in the Navy that said that I could not achieve this goal,” Simpson said. “The only limitation was the fact that women as a whole hadn’t been on board combatant vessels until, I believe, it was 1994.”

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California shooting: four killed, including child, in office building in Orange

Four people, including a child, have been killed and a fifth person injured in a shooting at a southern California office building, with the suspected shooter wounded by police.

It happened at around 5.30pm on Wednesday at a two-storey office building in Orange, south of Los Angeles.

Police Lt Jennifer Amat said shots were being fired when officers arrived and police shot the suspect, who was taken to the hospital in unknown condition.

Amat said the victims also included one person who was wounded. Other details were unclear, including a motive for the attack.

“Officers arrived as shots were being fired and located multiple victims at the scene including fatalities. An officer-involved shooting occurred,” said the Facebook post, which was filed shortly after 7 pm. “The situation has been stabilized and there is no threat to the public.”

The Fire Department handled six patients, with two taken to a hospital, dispatch supervisor Sam Ahumada told the Orange County Register.

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Georgia overhauls ‘citizen’s arrest’ law after Ahmaud Arbery killing

Georgia lawmakers have approved a bill that would overhaul the state’s citizen’s arrest law, rolling back a Civil War-era statute one year after the killing of Ahmaud Arbery.

The state’s governor, Brian Kemp, is expected to sign the bill into law, which would make Georgia the first state to move toward repealing a citizen’s arrest statute. Georgia’s citizen’s arrest law, which was enacted in 1863 to allow white citizens to capture slaves fleeing north, and was later used to justify hundreds of lynchings, was cited by a prosecutor last year who initially declined to arrest Arbery’s assailants.

Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, was jogging when he was chased and then gunned to death by three white men. His pursuers said they suspected him of robberies.

The bill approved on Wednesday would strike citizen’s arrest from state law, but would still allow security officers, private investigators, and off-duty officers to detain someone they believe has committed a crime. Kemp called the latter provisions a “critical balance”.

“I look forward to signing it into law as we continue to send a clear message that the Peach state will not tolerate sinister acts of vigilantism in our communities,” Kemp said in a statement.

Civil rights advocates have celebrated the bill’s passage, and are pushing for similar reforms in other states. All 50 states have some form of citizen’s arrest statute.

Republicans have sided with Democrats in support of the bill, but critics say state Republicans’ support for it serves to mask lawmakers’ recent moves to heavily restrict voting access and limit Black citizens’ ability to vote.

Carl Gilliard, a Democrat who had long lobbied for the 1863 law’s repeal, called it “outdated and antiquated”, saying it was steeped in racism.

The Rev James Woodall, state president of the Georgia NAACP, called the repeal of the law “a monumental moment in Georgia history.”

The father and son who pursued Arbery – Greg and Travis McMichael – were not arrested or charged until more than two months after Arbery’s death. The McMichaels have since been charged with murder. They remain jailed without bail.

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