New York Meeting Offers India, Pakistan Leaders A Fresh Shot At Distant Goal: Peace

New York Rangers sign Derek Stepan to two-year contract

Yet New Yorkers havent elected a Democrat mayor since 1989, when David Dinkins beat Giuliani. Four years later, Giuliani, a former U.S. attorney for Manhattan , won in a rematch. No Money Among challenges awaiting the next mayor, who assumes office midway through the fiscal year, is resolving negotiations on contracts that expired at least three years ago with unions representing city workers. Bloombergs final budget, enacted in June, contained no money for back pay in the event bargaining results in salary increases. The cost of retroactive raises could approach $8 billion, more than 10 percent of the citys $70 billion budget, Bloomberg has said. Future recurring labor-cost increases could tally almost $3 billion a year even without retroactive pay, Carol Kellermann, president of the non-partisan Citizens Budget Commission , a business-funded fiscal watchdog, said in a July interview. That would be my biggest worry with a new mayor who is likely to be pro-labor: If there are contracts with notable wage increases that get locked in for the next few years, that could be difficult for the budget, Wagner said. Lhota, who resigned in December as chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority , has ruled out a settlement that includes retroactive pay. Retroactive Resistance Ill say it over and over again, Im not under any circumstances in favor of retroactive pay, he said in a March interview. Hes stuck to that position. De Blasio said he was open to negotiating the issue when he was seeking labor support to secure the nomination. More recently, hes questioned whether the city could afford retroactive compensation, after winning endorsements from most city unions. We have to balance our budget; everyone in labor knows it, de Blasio said last week during a news briefing. And that $8 billion figure that assumes full retroactive pay, Ive said very publicly thats not going to happen. In another challenge, the cost of worker and retiree health insurance, now about $6 billion, will rise to $8.3 billion by 2018 unless workers start paying part of their premiums, Bloomberg has said.

Photographer take pictures as the Soyuz TMA-10M spacecraft carrying the International Space Station (ISS) crew of U.S. astronaut U.S. astronaut Michael Hopkins, Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy blasts off from the launch pad at the Baikonur cosmodrome September 26, 2013. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov  (KAZAKHSTAN - Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY)

In basic terms, capacity markets pay generators to help keep existing power plants in service and build new units in order to maintain system reliability. Demand response providers who agree to reduce power usage when needed can also participate in capacity markets. The new zone will include the current NYISO zones G, H and I in the Lower Hudson Valley and zone J in New York City. The PSC and NYPA said the state is already working on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s so-called Energy Highway initiative to expand the state’s transmission resources to bring more power from upstate New York to the Lower Hudson Valley and New York City area. The PSC and NYPA said the Energy Highway could negate the need for FERC to offer financial incentives to build more power plants downstate. “We strongly urged FERC to reconsider its decision to create a new capacity zone in New York, which it says is needed to build more power plants downstate to alleviate demand for electricity,” PSC Chairwoman Audrey Zibelman said in the release. “We are well aware of the downstate demand for electricity…However, in its decision, FERC did not take into consideration the ongoing initiatives included in the Governor’s Energy Highway,” Zibelman said. The biggest power companies in New York include units of Consolidated Edison Inc, National Grid Plc, Iberdrola SA, Entergy Corp, TransCanada Corp and NRG Energy Inc. COSTS TO RISE The PSC said if FERC’s plan goes into effect, typical residential customers in the Lower Hudson Valley could see monthly bill increases ranging from 5 percent to almost 10 percent, depending on the utility. The increases for industrial and commercial customers could be even higher, the PSC said. “Creation of a permanent new capacity zone undermines the Governor’s Energy Highway initiatives,” Gil Quiniones, NYPA president and chief executive, said in the release. “The Energy Highway pursues a long-term solution to deliver lower-cost, upstate power to the downstate area by reinforcing the transmission system, Quiniones said, noting the new capacity zone will “take money out of the pockets of ratepayers and result in a windfall of profits for existing power plant owners in the region.” The NYISO plans to implement the new zone by May 1, 2014. The PSC is asking FERC to delay implementing its decision until 2017 and consider how the Energy Highway proposals will affect long-term power prices. “Without such analysis, FERC cannot properly assess whether it is causing more harm than good, and whether consumers might end up paying hundreds of millions of dollars for unneeded power plants,” the PSC and NYPA said.

New York seeks delay of costly FERC power capacity zone decision

Its Nawaz Sharifs first chance as the new prime minister to reach across to his Indian counterpart and its maybe Manmohan Singhs last chance to do what he has repeatedly said he wants to do, which is open up a new relationship with Pakistan. Both men are familiar with the pitfalls of seeking to improve ties between India and Pakistan a relationship scarred by three wars and deep mutual suspicion. Sharif was in power when Pakistan first tested a nuclear bomb in 1998. But he also presided over one of the more upbeat episodes in recent relations with India. He hosted then-Prime Minister Atal Vajpayee for a summit in Lahore in February 1999, where they signed a landmark declaration on avoiding nuclear conflict and opened a cross-border bus service. Three months later, the impetus for peace was crushed when a Pakistani military quietly infiltrated into an area of Indian-held Kashmir called Kargil, sparking fighting that left hundreds dead on both sides and could have sparked nuclear war. Sharif, who said the army acted without his knowledge, was ousted in a coup five months later. Back in office again, Sharif is particularly keen to increase cross-border trade to jump-start Pakistans stricken economy. Pakistan and India can prosper together, and the entire region would benefit from our cooperation, Sharif told the General Assembly on Friday. But Singh has said relations can only improve once Pakistan cracks down on militants accused on staging attacks in India a perennial concern that has only intensified since the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 164 people in Indias commercial hub. On Friday, Singh said, the epicenter of terror still remains focused in Pakistan. A renewed spate of violence along the disputed Kashmir frontier this year has threatened a decade-long cease-fire. On Thursday, suspected separatist rebels killed 10 Indian security forces in the Indian-held portion of the Himalayan region an attack that the top elected official there said was aimed at derailing the meeting of Sharif and Singh in New York. Yet with time running out on his nearly decade-long premiership, Singh will be thinking about his legacy.

Scott Lev/NHLI via Getty Images NEW YORK (AP) — Derek Stepan is back in the fold with the New York Rangers, agreeing to a two-year contract that should have him back on the ice in time for the season opener. Negotiations had been tense in recent days as the sides worked on a deal to get the restricted free-agent forward signed and into training camp. A contract was finally worked out Thursday, one week before the Rangers start the regular season at Phoenix. The 23-year-old Stepan, expected to be the Rangers’ No. 1 center, led the team with 44 points last season and was second to Rick Nash with 18 goals while playing all 48 games of the lockout-shortened campaign. He had been seeking $3.5 million per season, while the Rangers were offering around $3 million. The new deal is for a total of $6.15 million – $2.3 million this season and $3.85 million in 2014-15. Signing Stepan was a critical move for the Rangers, who are starting the season under new coach Alain Vigneault without captain Ryan Callahan and speedy winger Carl Hagelin – both recovering from shoulder operations. Stepan set career highs last season with a plus-25 rating and six game-winning goals. He tied his high with four power-play goals. Stepan went over the 40-point mark for the third straight season, tying for the NHL lead with four short-handed points. In 12 playoff games, Stepan had a career-best four goals – including winners in Games 3 and 4 of New York’s first-round victory over Washington. In 212 regular-season NHL games overall, Stepan has 56 goals and 140 points.