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Military contractor charged with fraud on Africa contracts

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A U.S. military contractor has been indicted in California for allegedly faking quality control on construction projects in Africa that were so badly done some buildings collapsed, including an aircraft hangar, authorities said Tuesday.

Micheline Pollock was named in a 98-count indictment by a federal grand jury in San Diego, the U.S. attorney’s office for Southern California said in a statement.

Pollock was chief executive officer of Dover Vantage, which between 2011 and 2018 won contracts from the Army Corps of Engineers and Navy Facilities Engineering Command for military and humanitarian projects in Africa. They included a maternity ward and a school for the deaf in Togo.


Pollock and others in the company allegedly submitted fraudulent quality-control plans that included résumés of fictitious employees; certified quality control work that was never performed; faked concrete strength test results; and made claims for construction that was never performed or didn’t meet requirements.

“Many of the structures constructed by Dover Vantage were so poorly constructed that they collapsed, including the aircraft hangar in Niger and a training facility in Senegal,” the U.S. attorney’s office statement said. “Most of the other structures constructed by Dover Vantage are now unusable.”

The military has had to reissue contracts, repair damaged buildings and reduce operating capacity, the statement said.

Pollock was arrested on Sep. 22 in Tbilisi, Georgia and remains in custody in that country while awaiting extradition, authorities said.

It wasn’t immediately clear if she had an attorney who could speak on her behalf.

The case is the first involving the Africa Strike Force, an anti-corruption initiative based in Southern California, the U.S. attorney’s office statement said.

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Facebook Moderators Told to Return to Office Amid Pandemic

Facebook contractors tasked with sifting through some of the most heinous and traumatizing content on the internet faced a new hurdle this week when they were told to return to company offices to do their work in person as a pandemic runs rampant around them. Audio obtained by The Intercept suggests that their employer, Accenture, is downplaying the risk of indoor exposure to Covid-19.

When the United States began a patchwork national lockdown in March, Facebook contractors, paid a relatively low hourly wage with few of the generous perks afforded to the company’s full-time staffers, began to feel even more acutely dispensable to the $750 billion company. Beginning this week, as first reported by The Verge, these contractors must now resume working in the same facilities that Facebook’s full-time can safely avoid, having been told that they’ll be permitted to work from home through July 2021. “Based on guidance from health and government experts, as well as decisions drawn from our internal discussions about these matters, we are allowing employees to continue voluntarily working from home until July 2021,” a Facebook spokesperson explained to Business Insider.

Facebook has said that the contractors in question, who must wade through so-called priority zero content encompassing the worst of child sexual abuse and graphic violence, can’t safely do this work from home. Three Facebook moderators employed through Accenture who spoke to The Intercept on the condition of anonymity, because they are not permitted to speak with the press, expressed a profound worry that the company, and their ultimate bosses at Facebook HQ, are once again ignoring their safety in the name of keeping the social network running smoothly.

An October 2 virtual meeting, a recording of which was obtained by The Intercept, did little to lessen moderators’ dread over resuming indoor work at

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CMSC appoints Aggreko as power supply contractor for Colluli plant

Dual-listed Danakali has announced that Colluli Mining Share Company (CMSC) has appointed Aggreko as its preferred power supply contractor for a 12 MW heavy fuel oil (HFO) power plant at the Colluli sulphate of potash project in Eritrea.

A 12.36 MW thermal HFO solution was chosen as the most effective option for Module 1.

Aggreko will provide the funding for the power solution, which Danakali says provides certainty over the delivery of this preferred solution.

Aggreko will also provide the full scope of support services for the supply, commissioning and maintenance of the power plant and then transfer it to CMSC.

The costs of the power solution provided by Aggreko over the five-year contract period is lower than those set out in the front-end engineering design study, Danakali points out. 

The agreement with Aggreko is subject to the conclusion of ongoing negotiations to optimise the scope of works, contract pricing and execution; and board approval of the final investment decision.

“We are very pleased to announce the appointment of Aggreko as our single power provider. With 55 years of experience in delivering high-quality, reliable service to a large number of projects we are confident they have the capabilities to provide our power needs for Colluli.

“At the early stages of the project development, the HFO solution will provide us with flexibility and reliability, and as confirmed by the Solar Energy Industries Association, Colluli will have a relatively small impact on the environment.

“Going forward, once project development is in more of a steady state, we will look to diversify our energy sources towards renewables available in the Danakil region, as per our commitment to sustainable and environment-friendly solutions,” says Danakali CEO Niels Wage.

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How to Find Suitable Contractor SEO Services [Infographic]

No matter the industry, the first place most people go to look for the services they need and want are search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Consumers don’t have a clear understanding of how search results work. However, they’re most likely to click on the first results to appear in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) as they believe it to be the most relevant option.

However, there are a defined number of places at the top of the results page. As the construction market becomes more competitive, you need to rise above the crowd. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is your chance to gain potential clients who turn to the internet for the residential or commercial building and remodeling services that you offer.

SEO involves utilizing strategies, processes, and tactics that can help your business rank first in the SERP. This will attract organic traffic to your website, and ultimately, clients to your business.

In this current global scenario, general contractors have been facing new hurdles in attracting new customers. Digital marketing arenas open doors to new markets and clientele base. Unfortunately, most contracting companies don’t place SEO services at the top of their priorities.

SEO takes a lot of effort, money, and time to be something worth considering by most businesses. However, this is where it may benefit your contracting company. Suppose any competitors aren’t investing in SEO. In that case, you’ll gain the opportunity to differentiate your business and gain more customers and clients.

With this in mind, it’s imperative to work together with a reliable marketing agency that specializes in providing SEO services for contractors. This infographic by Digital Marketing Philippines touches on Contractor SEO services and how to identify a reliable agency to help you in your quest to grow your business.


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In Warwick, contractor takes on incumbent Solomon for mayoral seat – News – providencejournal.com

Frank Picozzi, known by more people for his holiday light display than his politics, takes on Mayor Joseph J. Solomon

WARWICK — The origins of this season’s political contest between incumbent Mayor Joseph J. Solomon and challenger Frank Picozzi trace back to the outset of the coronavirus pandemic.

At the time, holiday-style light displays came into vogue; Picozzi, a vinyl-siding contractor, was known throughout Warwick and beyond for his holiday light display.

Of course, people encouraged him to once again deck the halls at his house.

Instead, the former School Committee chairman decorated his truck and took his high-tech light show along city streets.

The tour lasted 34 days. Picozzi says some Warwick residents encouraged him to run for mayor. It was a bit of a joke at first, he acknowledges, but not anymore.

That’s how Solomon, a career politician, also the first Democrat in the mayor’s office in decades, came to face the lighting expert in his bid to win reelection on the heels of his first term (not including his stint as the city’s chief executive following the resignation of Mayor Scott Avedisian).

Solomon says he hopes to continue with a style of leadership that he believes has served the city, attracting new businesses (he cites Tesla and Market Basket) and enough newcomers to cause a housing shortage.

Solomon says he has the management and accounting skills to control costs and avoid tax increases, and that he supports necessary spending on roads and infrastructure, as well as $6 million in additional appropriations to the city’s school system.

Solomon has also touted the city’s standing with rating agencies during his term. Some critics, including Picozzi, say he exaggerated the extent of a cash-flow problem when he first took office

Picozzi, 61, of 75 Gristmill Rd., served on the School

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