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Top Oceans Court Says Nations Must Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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The world’s highest court dealing with the oceans issued a groundbreaking opinion on Tuesday that said excessive greenhouse gases were pollutants that could cause irreversible harm to the marine environment and must be cut back.

The advisory opinion by the court, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, is not binding, but it stated that, legally, nations must take all necessary measures to reduce, control and prevent marine pollution caused by human-made greenhouse gas emissions.

The 21 judges on the tribunal were unanimous in their opinion, and experts say it could lead to more wide-ranging claims for damages against polluting nations.

The stance taken by the tribunal, which is sometimes called the Oceans Court, is also likely to affect how other international and national courts address the growing dangers posed by climate change.

The seas are vulnerable because the burning of fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, warming the world and contributing to a rise in sea levels by melting glaciers and ice sheets. Climate change also contributes to the heating and acidification of ocean waters, which affects marine life and the food chain, among other dangers.

The request for an advisory opinion was made by a group of small island nations that are already affected by rising sea levels as their coasts erode or become inhabitable and fresh water for drinking and planting crops turns saline. The court’s opinion applies to the more than 165 countries that ratified the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which includes large polluters such as China, Russia and India, but not the United States. (The Senate would not ratify the pact.)

The convention is the legal framework that covers the uses of the oceans and their resources, including the obligation to to protect the marine environment.

The opinion issued on Tuesday effectively expanded the definition of marine pollution to include greenhouse gases. The convention, which was negotiated in the 1970s, does not mention these emissions and their adverse effects on the world’s oceans, which are based on more recent science.

“We did not know how serious these emissions were in the 1970s,” said David Freestone, the co-author of a World Bank report last year on the legal dimension of sea-level rise who has followed the hearings and debates at the court. “At that time, people were concerned about acid rain.”

Scientists say that protecting the ocean’s role on the planet is overdue. Seas cover 70 percent of the earth’s surface and provide half of the world’s oxygen. They also absorb almost all of the excess heat generated by greenhouse gases and are warming faster than predicted, bringing more climatic changes.

Key questions addressed by the court included whether excessive greenhouse gases constitute “pollution of the marine environment” and, if so, whether countries can be held to account for that pollution. The judges said yes to both.

Leaders of the island nations that brought the case argue that existing climate accords have not made enough progress to prevent lasting damage to the oceans. They say that while they contribute only a small fraction of global emissions, they are already bearing the brunt of catastrophic effects of the changing climate.

“We got everything we asked for; we now have an authoritative definition of the obligations of states to avert irreversible harm,” said Payam Akhavan, the lead lawyer for the group of island nations, adding that the court “cited the best available science.”

The judges also appeared to side with the island nations that had long sought help in vain, saying that larger polluting nations had a greater responsibility than small and vulnerable states and should provide financial help and technical assistance to them.

Activists present in the court, which is in Hamburg, Germany, sent a volley of messages applauding the decision. “For the first time, an international court has recognized that the fate of two global commons — the oceans and the atmosphere — are intertwined and imperiled by the climate crisis,” Joie Chowdhury of the Center for International Environmental Law wrote.

Activists are increasingly taking on governments and energy companies for climate damages and have recently achieved rulings in their favor. In April, Europe’s highest human rights court unexpectedly sided with about 2,000 Swiss women over 64 years old who sued their government for not doing enough to prevent climate change. They said that their health was at risk during heat waves related to global warming.

Two other institutions, the International Court of Justice and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, have also been asked for advisory opinions on the legal implications of climate change. Their opinions are due later.

Source website: www.nytimes.com

Mega music fest UNTOLD Dubai to return in 2025

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Supplied

Following the massive success of its debut edition in 2024, UNTOLD Dubai will be returning in 2025, once again featuring some of the best international artists in the world.

The festival, which captivated over 185,000 fans over four days, from February 15-18, at Expo City Dubai, was an unparalleled celebration of music and culture, featuring a star-studded lineup that included icons such as Tïesto, Hardwell, Armin Van Buuren, PSY, G-Eazy, Ellie Goulding, Sebastian Ingrosso, and Timmy Trumpet.

Building on this tremendous success, UNTOLD Dubai 2025 promises to be even bigger and better, bringing together an even more impressive roster of international artists and DJs.

Fans can also look forward to new stage designs and immersive visual and sensory experiences.

Ticket registration begins on May 21 and those who sign up will be the first to know about the festival’s location and date announcements, while also enjoying exclusive access to the best ticket prices.

 

Source website: www.dubai92.com

Scarlett Johansson Said No, but OpenAI’s Virtual Assistant Sounds Just Like Her

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Days before OpenAI demonstrated its new, flirty voice assistant last week, the actress Scarlett Johansson said, Sam Altman, the company’s chief executive, called her agent and asked that she consider licensing her voice for a virtual assistant.

It was his second request to the actress in the past year, Ms. Johansson said in a statement on Monday, adding that the reply both times was no.

Despite those refusals, Ms. Johansson said, OpenAI used a voice that sounded “eerily similar to mine.” She has hired a lawyer and asked OpenAI to stop using a voice it called “Sky.”

OpenAI suspended its release of “Sky” over the weekend. The company said in a blog post on Sunday that “AI voices should not deliberately mimic a celebrity’s distinctive voice — Sky’s voice is not an imitation of Scarlett Johansson but belongs to a different professional actress using her own natural speaking voice.”

For Ms. Johansson, the episode has been a surreal case of life-imitating art. In 2013, she provided the voice for an A.I. system in the Spike Jonze movie “Her.” The film told the story of a lonely introvert seduced by a virtual assistant named Samantha, a tragic commentary on the potential pitfalls of technology as it becomes more realistic.

Last week, Mr. Altman appeared to nod to the similarity between OpenAI’s virtual assistant and the film in a post on X with the single word “her.”

OpenAI said it couldn’t share the names of its voice professionals for privacy reasons. It said it had worked with unidentified directors and producers to develop five voices for its product: Breeze, Cove, Ember, Juniper and Sky. The voices were recorded last summer in San Francisco.

OpenAI is at an important juncture as it prepares to make its voice assistants available to customers with support from its latest technology, known as GPT-4o. On Monday night, Mr. Altman said in a statement that “the voice of Sky is not Scarlett Johansson’s, and it was never intended to resemble hers.”

“We cast the voice actor behind Sky’s voice before any outreach to Ms. Johansson,” he continued. “Out of respect for Ms. Johansson, we have paused using Sky’s voice in our products. We are sorry to Ms. Johansson that we didn’t communicate better.”

Ms. Johansson’s statement was reported earlier by NPR’s Bobby Allyn.

She is the latest high-profile person to accuse OpenAI of using creative work without permission. Over the past year, OpenAI has been sued for copyright violations by authors, actors and newspapers, including the Authors Guild of America and The New York Times, which sued OpenAI and its partner, Microsoft.

It is the second time in recent years that Ms. Johansson has taken a public stand against a prominent company. In 2021, she sued the Walt Disney Company, accusing it of breaching her contract because it released the film “Black Widow” simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+. Ms. Johansson, who has played the Marvel character Black Widow in eight blockbuster films, reached a settlement with the company.

Before becoming a Marvel superhero, Ms. Johansson made a name for herself in the 2003 film “Lost in Translation” as a young woman who formed an unlikely bond in Tokyo with a movie star played by Bill Murray. She has consistently bounced between more artful fare from directors such as Wes Anderson and Hollywood blockbusters like “The Avengers.” In 2020, she was nominated for two Academy Awards for “Marriage Story” and “Jojo Rabbit.”

In September, Ms. Johansson said, Mr. Altman first reached out to her about providing her voice for OpenAI’s future assistant.

“He told me that he felt that by my voicing the system, I could bridge the gap between tech companies and creatives and help consumers to feel comfortable with the seismic shift concerning humans and A.I,” she said in her statement. “He said he felt that my voice would be comforting to people.”

Last week, OpenAI unveiled that assistant during a polished product event in San Francisco. Mark Chen, a company research lead, told the assistant that he was nervous to be doing a live demo. With the peppiness of a cheerleader, the assistant said: “Oh, you’re doing a live demo right now? That’s awesome!”

Mr. Chen then went through a lengthy demonstration, showing how OpenAI had combined the conversational skills of its ChatGPT chatbot with the sound of a voice assistant like the iPhone’s Siri. OpenAI’s assistant could simultaneously juggle audio, images and video so it could answer a written math question and respond to questions.

Afterward, Mr. Altman wrote about the event on his personal blog, saying: “It feels like A.I. from the movies; and it’s still a bit surprising to me that it’s real.”

Ms. Johansson said she had heard from friends, family and the public that the voice speaking to Mr. Chen sounded just like hers. Alissa Wilkinson, a movie critic for The Times, wrote that the assistant’s voice betrayed “a bit of Johansson’s clear, low tone and a hint of vocal fry.”

In an interview after the event, Mira Murati, OpenAI’s chief technology officer, told The Verge that the similarities to Ms. Johansson’s voice were incidental, and that the voice wasn’t designed to sound like the actress.

Source website: www.nytimes.com

Kolkata cruises into IPL final

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PUNIT PARANJPE/ AFP

Two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders pummelled Sunrisers Hyderabad by eight wickets in the qualifier to waltz into the final of the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Tuesday.

Mitchell Starc produced a three-wicket burst to rattle Hyderabad, who managed a below-par 159 before they were all out with three balls left in their innings.

Kolkata romped home with 6.2 overs to spare after unbeaten half-centuries by Venkatesh Iyer (51) and skipper Shreyas Iyer (58).

Hyderabad will get another chance to make Sunday’s final when they clash with the winners of Wednesday’s eliminator between Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bengaluru.

Australian Starc entered the league as its most expensive player following his $2.98 million deal with Kolkata, but he struggled for wickets in the first half of the tournament.

The left-arm seamer was bang on the money on Tuesday though as he removed compatriot Travis Head for a duck and sent back Nitish Kumar Reddy and Shahbaz Ahmed in successive deliveries to rock Hyderabad.

Rahul Tripathi (55), Heinrich Klaasen (32) and skipper Pat Cummins (30) took Hyderabad past the 150-mark but it was not enough to test Kolkata’s formidable batting lineup.

Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Sunil Narine gave Kolkata a flying start before Venkatesh and Shreyas plundered 97 runs off 44 balls to seal an easy victory.

«Credit to the bowlers. It was a really nice wicket to bat on. To get them all out for 160-odd is something we could not imagine,» Venkatesh said.

«So credit to the bowlers for giving us the confidence to just go out there and complete the formalities.»

Hyderabad captain Cummins was confident the 2016 champions could still make the final in Chennai.

«We’ll try to put this day behind us quickly. The good thing is we have another crack at it,» he said.

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Source website: www.dubai92.com

Doctors Are Still Figuring Out Adult A.D.H.D.

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Just before Katie Marsh dropped out of college, she began to worry that she might have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

“Boredom was like a burning sensation inside of me,” said Ms. Marsh, who is now 30 and lives in Portland, Ore. “I barely went to class. And when I did, I felt like I had a lot of pent-up energy. Like I had to just move around all the time.”

So she asked for an A.D.H.D. evaluation — but the results, she was surprised to learn, were inconclusive. She never did return to school. And only after seeking help again four years later was she diagnosed by an A.D.H.D. specialist.

“It was pretty frustrating,” she said.

A.D.H.D. is one of the most common psychiatric disorders in adults. Yet many health care providers have uneven training on how to evaluate it, and there are no U.S. clinical practice guidelines for diagnosing and treating patients beyond childhood.

Without clear rules, some providers, while well-intentioned, are just “making it up as they go along,” said Dr. David W. Goodman, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

This lack of clarity leaves providers and adult patients in a bind.

“We desperately need something to help guide the field,” said Dr. Wendi Waits, a psychiatrist with Talkiatry, an online mental health company. “When everyone’s practicing somewhat differently, it makes it hard to know how best to approach it.”

A.D.H.D. is defined as a neurodevelopmental disorder that begins in childhood and is typically characterized by inattention, disorganization, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Patients are generally categorized into three types: hyperactive and impulsive, inattentive, or a combination of the two.

The latest data suggest that about 11 percent of children ages 5 to 17 in the United States have been diagnosed with A.D.H.D. And about 4 percent of adults are estimated to have the disorder. But as recently as two decades ago, most mental health providers “didn’t really believe in adult A.D.H.D.,” Dr. Goodman said.

Now, for the most part, that’s no longer the case. And during the pandemic, stimulant prescriptions, primarily used to treat A.D.H.D., “sharply increased,” particularly among young adults and women, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry in January.

When diagnosing the condition, providers rely on the D.S.M.-5., the American Psychiatric Association’s official manual of mental disorders, which contains a somewhat arbitrary requirement: In order to meet the diagnostic criteria for A.D.H.D., significant symptoms, such as continual forgetfulness and talking out of turn, should be present in at least two settings before age 12.

But sometimes, older patients either do not recall childhood symptoms or say that those symptoms were mild.

Judy Sandler, 62, who lives in Lincolnville, Maine, was not diagnosed with A.D.H.D. until her mid-50s, after retiring from her job as a teacher: It was the first time in her life she felt like she couldn’t get anything done. She wanted to write, but when she would sit down to focus, she immediately had the urge to get up and do something else: “I’ll just do the laundry,” she would think. “And then go walk the dog.”

During her working years, she benefited from a “hyper-structured” schedule — up until retirement. “All of a sudden, I felt like the rug had been pulled out,” she said.

Patients like Ms. Sandler fall into a gray area. She did not recall having significant symptoms in school or at home, rather she indicated that her symptoms became most problematic later in life. Her husband of 33 years, however, had noticed symptoms for years: She was often forgetful, for example, and found it challenging to slow down.

“There’s a lot more subtlety in making this diagnosis — especially in high-functioning, bright people — than just a symptom checklist,” Dr. Goodman said.

The D.S.M. lists nine symptoms of inattention and nine symptoms of impulsivity-hyperactivity that are used to evaluate whether an adult or a child has A.D.H.D.

The D.S.M. does not formally include symptoms related to emotional dysregulation, which is when someone has difficulty managing their mood. It also does not officially mention deficits of executive functioning, or problems with planning, organization and self-regulation. But studies have found that these are some of the most common symptoms that adults with A.D.H.D. experience, said Russell Ramsay, a psychologist who treats adult A.D.H.D.

When the D.S.M.-5 was published in 2013, there was not enough high-quality research to support the addition of these symptoms, Dr. Goodman said. But experts say they are still useful to consider when assessing someone.

Dr. Goodman is working with Dr. Ramsay and other A.D.H.D. specialists from around the world to develop the first U.S. guidelines for diagnosing and treating adults with A.D.H.D., in collaboration with the American Professional Society of A.D.H.D. and Related Disorders.

There is an urgency to do so, in part because of new research that has emerged in the last decade. In addition, while adult A.D.H.D. is often undiagnosed and untreated, some people might be getting diagnosed who don’t actually have the disorder — and given medication they don’t truly need, Dr. Goodman said.

The new guidelines, which are expected to be available for public comment later this year, will aim to create a more uniform process for diagnosing adults, but the D.S.M. will continue to be the “gold standard” for providers, Dr. Ramsay said.

“It’s not wrong,” he added. “It’s just incomplete.”

For adults, a proper A.D.H.D. diagnosis typically requires several steps: an interview with the patient, a medical and developmental history, symptom questionnaires and, if possible, conversations with other people in the patient’s life, like a spouse.

“There are no shortcuts,” said Dr. Lenard A. Adler, a professor of psychiatry at the N.Y.U. Grossman School of Medicine, while speaking to hundreds of providers at the American Psychiatric Association conference in early May. “This isn’t easy.”

While everybody has some trouble paying attention or is restless from time to time, he added, it’s really how pervasive and significant the symptoms are and how consistent and impairing they’ve been throughout the patient’s life that helps doctors decide if an A.D.H.D. diagnosis is appropriate.

But several factors can make it tricky.

People who consider themselves heavy users of digital technology are more likely to report A.D.H.D. symptoms, research suggests.

There’s a “chicken or the egg” dilemma, Dr. Waits said. Are people with A.D.H.D. drawn to using digital technology more than the average person? Or did their A.D.H.D. develop because of their technology use?

People with A.D.H.D. are also likely to have another coexisting condition, like substance use disorder, depression or anxiety, which can make it challenging for both doctors and patients to understand if their symptoms are a result of A.D.H.D., particularly if the symptoms overlap.

Ms. Marsh, who had been diagnosed with depression as a teenager and took up to 10 different medications to treat it without much success, finally received an A.D.H.D. diagnosis after visiting a psychologist in her hometown. This time, the practitioner took the time to talk with her parents and her partner, and then did a fresh analysis of the test results that had been deemed inconclusive four years earlier.

After Ms. Marsh began therapy and started taking the stimulant Focalin, the difference in how she felt was “insane,” she said. Her depression improved as well.

“I could keep track of things in my brain easier,” she added. “I’ve just been able to do a lot more things because I have the motivation for it.”

Source website: www.nytimes.com

OpenAI Ready To Compete With Google With Its Own Drug Discovery AI Model — News18

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Last Updated:

Google has already come up with a similar deal for a drug discover AI model this year

Google has already set up a similar AI model and OpenAI will be relying on Sanofi for data on which the AI tech will be developed.

OpenAI is ready to give Google a tough fight with its entry into the drug discovery space. Sanofi on Tuesday announced that it has partnered with OpenAI and tech-driven pharmaceutical firm Formation Bio to build AI-powered software to boost drug development and bring new medicines to patients more efficiently.

The companies will bring together data, software and tuned models to create custom, purpose-built solutions across the drug development lifecycle.

“Next generation, first-of-its-kind AI model customisations will be an important foundation in our efforts to shape the future of drug development for pharma and for the many patients waiting for innovative treatments,” Paul Hudson, CEO, Sanofi, said in a statement.

The drug maker said that it will leverage this collaboration to provide access to proprietary data to develop AI models as it continues on its path to becoming the first biopharma company powered by AI at scale.

OpenAI will contribute access to cutting-edge AI capabilities, including the ability to fine-tune models, deep AI expertise and dedicated thought partnership and resources.

“There is massive potential for AI to accelerate drug development. We are excited to collaborate with Sanofi and Formation Bio to help patients and their families by bringing new medicines to market,” said Brad Lightcap, COO, OpenAI.

In addition, the French drug maker mentioned that Formation Bio will provide extensive engineering resources, experience operating at the intersection of pharma and AI, and its tech-driven development platform to design, develop and deploy AI technologies across all aspects of the pharma lifecycle.

“By creating and implementing customised AI agents and models designed for our industry, companies like Sanofi and Formation Bio can begin to scale with unprecedented productivity and transform the pace at which we bring new medicines to patients,” Benjamine Liu, Co-Founder & CEO, Formation Bio, said.

(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed — IANS)

Source website: www.news18.com

UAE President receives Global Humanitarian Personality Award

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WAM

The UAE’s President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Tuesday welcomed a delegation from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, which presented him with the Global Humanitarian Personality Award.

This award was granted in recognition of his significant contributions to international humanitarian efforts over decades of dedicated service.

During the meeting at Qasr Al Bahr in Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed expressed his appreciation to the delegation for selecting him, and emphasised that the UAE’s humanitarian approach has been a consistent policy since the era of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

His Highness stated that the UAE will continue to champion this humanitarian policy in collaboration with its global partners to alleviate suffering, particularly in disaster and crisis-stricken areas.

He also highlighted the UAE’s commitment to supporting development and combating diseases, thereby contributing to improving lives worldwide.

The delegation commended the humanitarian initiatives of Sheikh Mohamed, both regionally and globally, acknowledging his significant influence in this field.

They also expressed their appreciation for his recent announcement of the Zayed Humanitarian Legacy Initiative, which allocates AED 20 billion to humanitarian causes in the most vulnerable areas of the world.

 

Source website: www.dubai92.com

UK inquiry finds ‘chilling’ cover-up of infected blood scandal

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JUSTIN TALLIS/ AFP

An infected blood scandal in Britain was no accident but the fault of doctors and a succession of governments that led to 3,000 deaths and thousands more contracting hepatitis or HIV, a public inquiry has found.

Inquiry chair Brian Langstaff said more than 30,000 people received infected blood and blood products in the 1970s and 1980s from Britain’s state-funded National Health Service (NHS), destroying lives, dreams and families.

The government hid the truth to «save face and to save expense», he said, adding that the cover-up was «more subtle, more pervasive and more chilling in its implications» than any orchestrated conspiracy plot.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is expected to apologise on behalf of the state when he addresses the House of Commons later on Monday. Langstaff, a former High Court judge, received a standing ovation by campaigners as he delivered his findings.

The families of victims and survivors had sought justice for years and Langstaff, who led a near 6-year inquiry, said the scale of what happened was both horrifying and astonishing.

In some cases, blood products made from donations from US prisoners or other high-risk groups were used on children, infecting them with HIV or hepatitis C, long after the risks were known.

Other victims were used in medical trials without their knowledge or consent. Those who contracted HIV were often shunned by their communities afterwards.

«This disaster was not an accident,» Langstaff said. «The infections happened because those in authority — doctors, the blood services and successive governments — did not put patient safety first.»

He said proper compensation must now be paid.

The use of infected blood has resulted in thousands of victims in the United States, France, Canada and other countries.

The British government, which in 2015 said it was «something that never should have happened», agreed in 2022 to make an interim payment of 100,000 pounds ($126,990) to those affected.

Clive Smith, chair of the Haemophilia Society, said the scandal had rocked trust in the medical establishment. «(It) really challenges the trust that we put in people to look after us, to do their best and to protect us,» he told reporters.

The infected blood and blood products, some of which were imported from the United States, were used for transfusions, which were not always clinically needed, and as treatments for bleeding disorders like haemophilia.

Haemophiliacs received Factor 8 concentrates which carried a paticularly high risk of infection.

Some of the concentrates were infected with HIV in the 1980s, the inquiry said, but authorities failed to switch to safer alternatives, and they decided in July 1983, a year after risks were apparent, not to suspend their importation.

Systemic failures resulted in between 80 and 100 people becoming infected with HIV by transfusion, the inquiry found, and about 26,800 were infected with Hepatitis C, often from receiving blood after childbirth or an operation.

Both groups were failed by doctors’ complacency about Hepatitis C and their slowness to respond to the risks of AIDS, it said, compounded by an absence of meaningful apology or redress.

«It will be astonishing to anyone who reads this report that these events could have happened in the UK,» Langstaff said.

The British inquiry, which started in 2018, does not have the power to recommend prosecutions.

In France, former health minister Edmond Herve was convicted in 1999 for his role in the scandal, but he received no punishment. Michel Garretta, the director of France’s national blood centre, received a four-year sentence.

Source website: www.dubai92.com

Ivan F. Boesky, Rogue Trader in 1980s Wall Street Scandal, Dies at 87

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Ivan F. Boesky, the brash financier who came to symbolize Wall Street greed as a central figure of the 1980s insider trading scandals, and who went to prison for his misdeeds, died on Monday at his home in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego. He was 87.

His daughter Marianne Boesky said he died in his sleep.

An inspiration for the character Gordon Gekko in Oliver Stone’s movie “Wall Street” and its sequel, Mr. Boesky made a fortune betting on stock tips, often passed to him illegally in exchange for suitcases of cash. His guilty plea to insider trading in November 1986 and his $100 million penalty, a record at the time, sent shock waves through Wall Street and set off a cascade of events that marked the end of a decade of frenzied takeover activity and the celebration of conspicuous wealth.

As federal investigators closed in on Mr. Boesky, he agreed to cooperate, providing information that led to the downfall of the investment bank Drexel Burnham Lambert and its junk bond king, Michael Milken.

Mr. Boesky brought an aggressive style to the once-sleepy world of arbitrage, the buying and selling of stocks in companies that appear to be takeover targets. Sniffing out impending deals, he amassed stock positions at levels never seen before.

At the top of his game in the mid-1980s, he had a net worth of $280 million (about $818 million in today’s currency) and a trading portfolio valued at $3 billion (about $8.7 billion today), much of it financed with borrowed money. Home was a sprawling estate in Westchester County, N.Y., its main house adorned with a Renoir and carpets embossed with his monogram, “IFB.” (The estate was once owned by the Revson family, founders of Revlon cosmetics and, before that, the family behind Macy’s, the Strausses.)

Besides a Manhattan pied-à-terre, there was a retreat on the French Riviera, a lavish Paris apartment and a condo in Hawaii. Through his first wife, Seema Boesky, he was part owner of the celebrated Beverly Hills Hotel, a lush pink concoction favored by Hollywood stars as well as by titans of finance attending the Predators’ Ball, Drexel Burnham’s annual get-together.

Mr. Boesky claimed to sleep only two to three hours a night, rising at 4:30 a.m. to work out before taking a limousine to his New York office, where he stood command over an array of video terminals, news wires and stock tickers, as well as 160 telephone lines and a set of screens allowing him to see and hear his employees at all times. Each day he dressed the same way: in a signature three-piece black suit and starched white shirt, with a gold chain dangling from his vest pocket. He preferred to stand all day than to sit, and he barely ate, consuming vast amounts of coffee instead.

On Wall Street, it was a decade born of greed. Fueled by the easy money of junk bonds, a small group of kingmakers, including Carl Icahn, T. Boone Pickens, James Goldsmith, Saul Steinberg, Mr. Boesky and Mr. Milken, became fabulously wealthy by engaging in schemes of financial engineering and corporate raids that drove the stock market to dizzying levels before its crash in 1987.

Mr. Boesky embraced the go-go ethos of the time. “Greed is all right, by the way,” he told business school students at the University of California, Berkeley, in a commencement speech in 1986. “I think greed is healthy. You can be greedy and still feel good about yourself.” He was greeted with rousing applause.

A year later, those words were immortalized onscreen in “Wall Street,” in which the unscrupulous corporate raider Gordon Gekko (played by Michael Douglas) gives his famous “Greed is good” speech.

“All that mattered to Ivan Boesky was making money,” Jeff Madrick, the author of “Age of Greed” (2011), said in an interview for this obituary in 2019. “He found a path to that and he abused it badly.”

Mr. Boesky touted his success whenever he could. In 1985 he published a book, “Merger Mania,” which promoted his deal-making skills and his uncanny ability to identify the next takeover target. But behind Mr. Boesky’s success was a story of deceit: He was paying others to provide him with insider information.

One of his biggest sources was Martin Siegel, at the time an investment banker at Kidder, Peabody & Company. The two hatched their scheme in 1982, and soon Mr. Boesky was having a courier deliver suitcases filled with $100 bills to Mr. Siegel — $150,000 one time, $200,000 another time and $400,000 a third — in exchange for inside information about forthcoming takeovers. Using the code words “red light” and “green light” for the handoff, the courier delivered the suitcases to Mr. Siegel in the lobby of the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan.

But by 1986 Mr. Boesky’s world had begun to unravel. In May, when a lower-level Drexel banker, Dennis Levine, was indicted on insider trading charges, federal prosecutors found Mr. Boesky’s name in his notes; he had been paying Mr. Levine for tips. Hot on Mr. Boesky’s trail was Rudolph W. Giuliani, the United States attorney who had been bringing down Mafia dons and crooked politicians and was now focused on Wall Street malfeasance.

In September 1986, Mr. Boesky was invited to one of the most lavish bar mitzvahs in memory. Gerald Guterman, a real estate developer, paid nearly $1 million to rent the entire Queen Elizabeth 2 to celebrate his son, taking guests on a cruise up the Hudson River and out into the Atlantic. Huge banners, clowns, musicians and a crew of 1,000 greeted the guests. But Mr. Boesky was nowhere to be seen.

Claiming he had missed the sailing, Mr. Boesky staged his arrival: A helicopter descended from the sky and landed on the ship. As its blades whirred, guests craned their necks to watch as Mr. Boesky emerged in a tuxedo and black tie, by all accounts looking like a latter-day James Bond and completely upstaging the host family.

The next day, Sept. 17, Mr. Boesky surrendered to the federal authorities and agreed to wear a wire in his conversations with Mr. Milken and others on Wall Street.

Ivan Frederick Boesky was born in Detroit on March 6, 1937, to Helen and William Boesky. His father was a Jewish immigrant from Russia. The family ran a string of restaurants under the name Brass Rail that became strip clubs as the city declined. The business eventually went bankrupt.

As a 13-year-old, and without a driver’s license, Ivan drove an ice cream truck for nickels and dimes. (In later years he named one of his investment vehicles, Farnsworth & Hastings, after the street corner location of his family’s business.)

For a year Ivan attended Cranbrook, a prestigious prep school outside Detroit, where he excelled at wrestling and in later years left many with the impression that he was an alumnus; he had actually left Cranbrook and graduated from Mumford High School, in middle-class Detroit.

He attended three colleges — Wayne State, the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan — and graduated from none of them. It took him five years, after dropping out twice, to get a degree in 1964 from the Detroit College of Law. He got a one-year clerkship with a federal judge through connections, was rejected by Detroit’s top law firms, and worked as an accountant at the local Touche Ross office.

Mr. Boesky’s marriage in 1962 to Seema Silberstein, a daughter of Ben Silberstein, a real estate developer who owned the Beverly Hills Hotel, catapulted him into a world of wealth and sophistication. He was unable to find his professional footing until, he was 27, when a former Cranbrook classmate who was working at Bear Stearns told him about arbitrage. Hooked on the idea, he moved to New York, where his father-in-law bought the young couple a Park Avenue apartment.

He cycled through jobs, working as a trainee at the investment banking firm L.F. Rothschild, an analyst at First Manhattan Company and an arbitrageur at Kalb, Voorhis, where his losing $20,000 got him fired. In 1971, Mr. Boesky went to the brokerage firm Edwards & Hanly, where he first displayed his aggressive style, betting millions into a single stock position and incurring a $10,000 fine for selling securities, which he didn’t have, short.

By 1975 the firm was bankrupt, and Mr. Boesky decided to strike out on his own. Backed by $700,000 from his wife’s family, he started Ivan F. Boesky & Company.

The arbitrage business was accustomed to small, cautious investments in publicly announced takeovers, with hopes that the stock price would rise. But Mr. Boesky bet big.

He put down multimillion-dollar wagers — $10 million, and even $100 million or more — on companies that he thought might be takeover targets, before any deals were announced. He relied heavily on borrowed money and kept the bulk of any gains for himself: His partners would get 40 percent, and he would take 60. His partners would absorb 90 percent of any losses, and he would take 10 percent.

On Wall Street, he was given two monikers: Piggy and Ivan the Terrible. He was known for going into fancy restaurants and ordering every dish on the menu, tasting them and then nibbling on one dish while ignoring the rest.

He once showed up to play tennis in a pink Rolls-Royce. And he loved to entertain at the Harvard Club in Manhattan, even though he had never attended Harvard. (He made a large donation to the university’s School of Public Health, which named him to its board of overseers, making him eligible for club membership.) He told investors that he was an adjunct professor at Columbia Business School. The school said that was not true.

Mr. Boesky made an estimated $65 million when Chevron acquired Gulf, $50 million when Texaco bought Getty, and $50 million from Philip Morris’s acquisition of General Foods. Other multimillion-dollar home runs — some helped by information that the Securities and Exchange Commission said was obtained illegally — involved deals with Nabisco Brands, Union Carbide and Boise Cascade.

Mr. Boesky’s closest ally in the world of finance was Mr. Milken, head of Drexel Burnham’s fabled junk bond desk in Los Angeles. The two spoke daily, with Mr. Milken arranging for much of the capital behind Mr. Boesky’s trades and Mr. Boesky becoming a profit center for Mr. Milken. Their fingers were on nearly every takeover deal, their every move followed in the financial press.

After turning himself in to federal investigators, Mr. Boesky, in an appeal for leniency, agreed to become a government informant, wearing a wire when meeting with Mr. Milken — who was an even bigger target of federal prosecutors.

“Milken and Boesky were deeply intertwined in what was a sweeping criminal conspiracy,” James B. Stewart wrote in his book “Den of Thieves” (1991). “Taken together, the ventures were practically a catalogue of securities crimes, starting with insider trading, and including false public disclosures, tax fraud and market manipulation, as well as a slew of more technical crimes.”

In the end, Mr. Milken, too, would end up in prison and pay an even bigger fine, $600 million. In February 2020, he received a pardon from President Donald J. Trump.

Mr. Boesky pleaded guilty to insider trading charges in November 1986 and agreed to pay $100 million — a $50 million fine and $50 million in repayment of illegal trading profits. (He was later able to deduct half of his $100 million penalty from his income taxes.)

In December 1987, Mr. Boesky was sentenced to a three-year prison term. He spent 18 months at the Lompoc federal prison camp, a minimum-security facility in Santa Barbara County, Calif., followed by four months at a Brooklyn halfway house. While in prison, he studied the Talmud and earned pocket change by working on a prison cleanup crew. He later admitted to violating prison rules by paying fellow inmates to do his laundry.

He emerged from prison in 1990. He was 53. In 1991, his wife of 30 years sued him for divorce. Pleading poverty, he asked for half of her $100 million fortune; he settled for $20 million, annual payments of $180,000 and a $2.5 million California home.

For many years, Mr. Boesky lived quietly in La Jolla, where he remarried and became a father again.

In addition to his daughter Marianne, he is survived by three sons from his first marriage, William, Theodore and Johnathan; his wife, Ana (Serrano) Boesky; their daughter, Blu Boesky; and four grandchildren.

In a 1985 interview with The Washington Post, Mr. Boesky gave a remarkably prescient view of his ultimate downfall. “I can’t predict my demise,” he said. “But I suspect it will occur abruptly.” It did; within a year he was arrested and charged with insider trading.

Alex Traub contributed reporting.

Source website: www.nytimes.com

ADNOC Drilling awarded AED6.24bn contract to unlock UAE’s unconventional energy resources

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Abu Dhabi Media Office

ADNOC Drilling Company has been awarded a AED6.24 billion contract by ADNOC to provide drilling and associated services for the recovery of unconventional energy resources.

The contract will see the delivery of 144 unconventional oil and gas wells.

To service the contract and explore future opportunities in unconventional resources, ADNOC Drilling has incorporated a new company, Turnwell Industries.

The initial phase of unconventionals development is expected to employ up to nine land rigs, of which five are already included in ADNOC Drilling’s fleet as of December 31, 2023. The contract is expected to start contributing to ADNOC Drilling’s revenue towards the second half of this year. 

Unconventional energy refers to oil and gas resources trapped in subsurface reservoirs requiring additional technology and processes to unlock them.

Abu Dhabi today holds an estimated 220 billion barrels of unconventional oil and 460 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of unconventional gas in place. The opportunity in unconventional energy presents outstanding scale with the production potential comparable to some of the most plentiful unconventional energy resources in the US.

Source website: www.dubai92.com