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Showing posts with label World News. Show all posts

All in the Mideast: IDF Destroys Tower Hosting Hamas, Al-Jazeera and AP; Violent Arab Riots in Judea, Samaria; IDF Pounds Hamas Commander’s Home; Rocket Kills Israeli Man

All in the Mideast: IDF Destroys Tower Hosting Hamas, Al-Jazeera and AP; Violent Arab Riots in Judea, Samaria; IDF Pounds Hamas Commander’s Home; Rocket Kills Israeli Man

More than 2000 Rockets Fired into Israel by Hamas



The
 fighter jets of Israeli Defense Forces razed on Saturday afternoon a high-rise building in the Gaza Strip hosting the Hamas military intelligence units.

According to reports by 24news and many other sources, the Jala Tower complex in the Gaza Strip is also where the Gaza offices of several international news media outlets are based, including the Associated Press and al-Jazeera.

Reports suggested that the tower’s owner had received a warning from the IDF ahead of the airstrikes, allowing the civilians inside to evacuate.

The Israeli military accused the terrorist groups of using the journalists working in the building as human shields.


“The terrorist organization Hamas deliberately places its military assets in the heart of the civilian population in the Gaza Strip,” the army said.


In a statement issued shortly after the attack, Hamas threatened another major rocket salvo into central Israel in retaliation for the strike.


Red alert sirens went off earlier in the day in the area, with one Israeli killed in the Saturday afternoon barrage fired into the area.


According to reports by World Israel News and AP, turmoil from the battle between Israel and Hamas spilled over into Judea and Samaria on Friday, sparking the most widespread Palestinian rioting in years as hundreds of young Arabs in multiple towns clashed with Israeli troops.


On the outskirts of Ramallah, Nablus and other towns and cities, Arab rioters waved Palestinian flags and trucked in tires to burn in order to create smoke screens from which they could attack Israelis.


At least 10 violent rioters were killed by IDF soldiers. An 11th Palestinian was killed when he tried to stab a soldier at a military position.


Hamas has fired some 2,000 rockets toward Israel since Monday, according to the Israeli military.


 

Most have been intercepted by anti-missile defenses, but they have brought life to a standstill in southern Israeli cities, caused disruptions at airports and have set off air raid sirens in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.


Palestinian rocket attacks have killed nine Israelis, including a 5-year-old boy.


On Israel’s northern border, a group of Lebanese and Palestinian rioters on the other side cut through the border fence and briefly crossed. One Lebanese was killed. Three rockets were fired toward Israel from neighboring Syria, but they either landed in Syrian territory or in empty areas, Israeli media said. It was not immediately known who fired them.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Hamas would “pay a very heavy price” for its rocket attacks. Israel called up 9,000 reservists Thursday to join its troops massed at the Gaza border.


On Friday, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Israel-Palestinian affairs, Hady Amr, arrived in Israel as part of an attempt by Washington to de-escalate the conflict.


U.S. President Joe Biden gave a show of support to Netanyahu in a call a day earlier, saying “there has not been a significant overreaction” in Israel’s response to Hamas rockets. He said the aim is to get a “significant reduction in attacks, particularly rocket attacks.”


On Saturday, an Israeli man a was killed by a Palestinian rocket that hit a residential building in Ramat Gan, a suburb of Tel Aviv.


That strike was the latest attack in an onslaught of Palestinian rockets that began on Tuesday, which as claimed the lives of nine Israelis to date.


The Gaza rocket attacks were accompanied by an outburst of Palestinian violence started in Jerusalem that has spread into mixed Jewish-Arab cities in Israel.


Arabs have launched pogrom-like violent riots, viciously attacking Israelis, torching synagogues, destroying ritual, and damaging property.


 

There were also widespread violent Palestinian riots on Friday in Judea and Samaria.


The spiraling violence has raised fears of a new Palestinian “intifada,” an Arabic term that is used as a euphemism for a wave of premeditated violent terror attacks on Israeli civilians.


The office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday that he spoke with U.S. President Joe Biden.


Netanyahu thanked him for the “unreserved support of the United States for our right to defend ourselves.”


A furious Israeli barrage early Friday destroyed a vast tunnel network used by the Hamas terror group.


Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman, said the military aims to minimize collateral damage in striking military targets.


Israeli media said the military believed dozens of militants were killed inside the tunnels. The Hamas and Islamic Jihad militant groups have confirmed 20 deaths in their ranks, but the military said the real number is far higher.


Also, an Israeli airstrike on Saturday targeted the home of Khalil al-Hayeh, a top leader of Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror group.

Al-Hayeh’s home served as part of the Islamist group’s “terrorist infrastructure,” said the IDF.

Al-Hayeh is a senior Hamas figure in Gaza, and the attack signaled that Israel will continue to go after Hamas’ top leadership.

His fate after the strike was not immediately known.


More than 2000 Rockets Fired into Israel by Hamas



The
 fighter jets of Israeli Defense Forces razed on Saturday afternoon a high-rise building in the Gaza Strip hosting the Hamas military intelligence units.

According to reports by 24news and many other sources, the Jala Tower complex in the Gaza Strip is also where the Gaza offices of several international news media outlets are based, including the Associated Press and al-Jazeera.

Reports suggested that the tower’s owner had received a warning from the IDF ahead of the airstrikes, allowing the civilians inside to evacuate.

The Israeli military accused the terrorist groups of using the journalists working in the building as human shields.


“The terrorist organization Hamas deliberately places its military assets in the heart of the civilian population in the Gaza Strip,” the army said.


In a statement issued shortly after the attack, Hamas threatened another major rocket salvo into central Israel in retaliation for the strike.


Red alert sirens went off earlier in the day in the area, with one Israeli killed in the Saturday afternoon barrage fired into the area.


According to reports by World Israel News and AP, turmoil from the battle between Israel and Hamas spilled over into Judea and Samaria on Friday, sparking the most widespread Palestinian rioting in years as hundreds of young Arabs in multiple towns clashed with Israeli troops.


On the outskirts of Ramallah, Nablus and other towns and cities, Arab rioters waved Palestinian flags and trucked in tires to burn in order to create smoke screens from which they could attack Israelis.


At least 10 violent rioters were killed by IDF soldiers. An 11th Palestinian was killed when he tried to stab a soldier at a military position.


Hamas has fired some 2,000 rockets toward Israel since Monday, according to the Israeli military.


 

Most have been intercepted by anti-missile defenses, but they have brought life to a standstill in southern Israeli cities, caused disruptions at airports and have set off air raid sirens in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.


Palestinian rocket attacks have killed nine Israelis, including a 5-year-old boy.


On Israel’s northern border, a group of Lebanese and Palestinian rioters on the other side cut through the border fence and briefly crossed. One Lebanese was killed. Three rockets were fired toward Israel from neighboring Syria, but they either landed in Syrian territory or in empty areas, Israeli media said. It was not immediately known who fired them.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Hamas would “pay a very heavy price” for its rocket attacks. Israel called up 9,000 reservists Thursday to join its troops massed at the Gaza border.


On Friday, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Israel-Palestinian affairs, Hady Amr, arrived in Israel as part of an attempt by Washington to de-escalate the conflict.


U.S. President Joe Biden gave a show of support to Netanyahu in a call a day earlier, saying “there has not been a significant overreaction” in Israel’s response to Hamas rockets. He said the aim is to get a “significant reduction in attacks, particularly rocket attacks.”


On Saturday, an Israeli man a was killed by a Palestinian rocket that hit a residential building in Ramat Gan, a suburb of Tel Aviv.


That strike was the latest attack in an onslaught of Palestinian rockets that began on Tuesday, which as claimed the lives of nine Israelis to date.


The Gaza rocket attacks were accompanied by an outburst of Palestinian violence started in Jerusalem that has spread into mixed Jewish-Arab cities in Israel.


Arabs have launched pogrom-like violent riots, viciously attacking Israelis, torching synagogues, destroying ritual, and damaging property.


 

There were also widespread violent Palestinian riots on Friday in Judea and Samaria.


The spiraling violence has raised fears of a new Palestinian “intifada,” an Arabic term that is used as a euphemism for a wave of premeditated violent terror attacks on Israeli civilians.


The office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday that he spoke with U.S. President Joe Biden.


Netanyahu thanked him for the “unreserved support of the United States for our right to defend ourselves.”


A furious Israeli barrage early Friday destroyed a vast tunnel network used by the Hamas terror group.


Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, a military spokesman, said the military aims to minimize collateral damage in striking military targets.


Israeli media said the military believed dozens of militants were killed inside the tunnels. The Hamas and Islamic Jihad militant groups have confirmed 20 deaths in their ranks, but the military said the real number is far higher.


Also, an Israeli airstrike on Saturday targeted the home of Khalil al-Hayeh, a top leader of Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror group.

Al-Hayeh’s home served as part of the Islamist group’s “terrorist infrastructure,” said the IDF.

Al-Hayeh is a senior Hamas figure in Gaza, and the attack signaled that Israel will continue to go after Hamas’ top leadership.

His fate after the strike was not immediately known.


COVID-19: Cuban made Vaccine 'Abdala' in circulation (+Photos)

COVID-19: Cuban made Vaccine 'Abdala' in circulation (+Photos)

 


The anti-COVID candidate vaccine (CIGB-66) made by the Cuban  scientists is being distributed in the country’s provinces where intervention trials began this week, according to various reports.


According to a report, Workers at Emcomed, Cuba’s state enterprise medical supplier, are responsible for distributing the Abdala candidate vaccine (CIGB-66) to several of the country’s provinces, where intervention trials began yesterday.

As reported on Twitter by the Cuban Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Industry Enterprise Group (BioCubaFarma), doses of the vaccine developed by the Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Center in Havana, have been delivered to pharmaceutical distributors in Sancti Spiritus, Ciego de Avila, Camagüey, Las Tunas and Holguín.


BioCubaFarma CEO, Eduardo Martínez Díaz, tweeted a message reporting that more than 29,000 doses of the Cuban candidate vaccine Abdala are in storage in Pinar del Río, ready for distribution to 26 vaccination centers there, while in Artemisa, preparations are underway to deliver needed doses to vaccination sites in neighborhood participating in the intervention.

The newspaper Victoria on the Isle of Youth, also reported the arrival of the immunogen, and according to Dr. Victor Doeste Hernandez, coordinator of the municipal commission for the intervention in which a total of 48,664 individuals will participate.

In the capital, this candidate vaccine will be administered in the municipalities of San Miguel del Padrón, La Habana del Este, Guanabacoa and Regla.

While, more than 19,000 at risk subjects, including medical and paramedical personnel and medical students who have been on the front lines battling the pandemic for more than a year, will be vaccinated in Ciego de Avila with Abdala, a process which began yesterday in that province.

In Holguin, where the intervention will include more 49,660 residents, administration of Abdala has begun among health workers.

Paraphrasing José Martí, it is clear that, in the powerful, robust arms of the homeland’s children, Abdala is being brandished like a mighty sword, because in Cuba, as we defend ourselves and advance, there is nothing more important than life.


 


The anti-COVID candidate vaccine (CIGB-66) made by the Cuban  scientists is being distributed in the country’s provinces where intervention trials began this week, according to various reports.


According to a report, Workers at Emcomed, Cuba’s state enterprise medical supplier, are responsible for distributing the Abdala candidate vaccine (CIGB-66) to several of the country’s provinces, where intervention trials began yesterday.

As reported on Twitter by the Cuban Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Industry Enterprise Group (BioCubaFarma), doses of the vaccine developed by the Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Center in Havana, have been delivered to pharmaceutical distributors in Sancti Spiritus, Ciego de Avila, Camagüey, Las Tunas and Holguín.


BioCubaFarma CEO, Eduardo Martínez Díaz, tweeted a message reporting that more than 29,000 doses of the Cuban candidate vaccine Abdala are in storage in Pinar del Río, ready for distribution to 26 vaccination centers there, while in Artemisa, preparations are underway to deliver needed doses to vaccination sites in neighborhood participating in the intervention.

The newspaper Victoria on the Isle of Youth, also reported the arrival of the immunogen, and according to Dr. Victor Doeste Hernandez, coordinator of the municipal commission for the intervention in which a total of 48,664 individuals will participate.

In the capital, this candidate vaccine will be administered in the municipalities of San Miguel del Padrón, La Habana del Este, Guanabacoa and Regla.

While, more than 19,000 at risk subjects, including medical and paramedical personnel and medical students who have been on the front lines battling the pandemic for more than a year, will be vaccinated in Ciego de Avila with Abdala, a process which began yesterday in that province.

In Holguin, where the intervention will include more 49,660 residents, administration of Abdala has begun among health workers.

Paraphrasing José Martí, it is clear that, in the powerful, robust arms of the homeland’s children, Abdala is being brandished like a mighty sword, because in Cuba, as we defend ourselves and advance, there is nothing more important than life.


Air and Sea Power: Why US deploys more warplanes to Afghanistan to protect troop pullout

Air and Sea Power: Why US deploys more warplanes to Afghanistan to protect troop pullout

 


WASHINGTON — The United States has deployed a dozen additional warplanes to bolster protection of American and coalition troops making a final withdrawal from Afghanistan as Taliban insurgents step up pressure on Afghan government forces, top Pentagon officials said Thursday.


Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said F-18 attack planes have been added to a previously announced package of air and sea power — including the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier in the North Arabian Sea and six Air Force B-52 bombers based in Qatar — that can be called upon as protection for withdrawing troops. Also part of that previously announced package are several hundred Army Rangers.


U.S. officials said before the withdrawal began that they expected the Taliban to attempt to interfere, even as the insurgents continue pressuring government forces, especially in Helmand and Kandahar provinces in southern Afghanistan.


“There continue to be sustained levels of violent attacks” by the Taliban against Afghan security forces, Milley said, speaking alongside Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at a Pentagon news conference. He said there have been no attacks against U.S. or coalition forces since they began pulling out of the country on about May 1, and he described the Afghan forces as “cohesive,” even as speculation swirls around Kabul’s ability to hold off the Taliban in the months ahead.

Both Milley and Austin, a retired Army general, are veterans of the war in Afghanistan.

“They’re fighting for their own country now, so it’s not a foregone conclusion, in my professional military estimate, that the Taliban automatically win and Kabul falls, or any of those kinds of dire predictions,” Milley said. “That’s not a foregone conclusion. There’s a significant military capability in the Afghan government. We have to see how this plays out.”


Considering options for continued support of Afghan government forces after the troop withdrawal is complete, including possibly training Afghan security forces in another country. That would be in addition to urging the Congress to authorize continued financial assistance to the Afghan forces, which has been in the range of $4 billion a year for many years, and possibly providing aircraft maintenance support remotely from another country.


“We haven’t figured that out 100% yet,” Milley said.


Milley said Afghanistan’s air force is central to the strategy for holding off the Taliban, but the durability of those planes is in some doubt. The U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said in an April 30 report that without continued foreign contractor support, none of the Afghan air force’s airframes can be sustained as combat effective for more than a few months.


Austin acknowledged that holding off the Taliban without American support on the ground “will be a challenge” for the Afghans.


“We’re hopeful that the Afghan security forces will play a major role in stopping the Taliban,” Austin said. “What we’re seeing unfold is what we expected to unfold — increased pressure” on the Afghan forces. He asserted that government forces launched a counterattack this week against the Taliban in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, and that they were “performing fairly well.”


Milley declined to say whether Afghanistan's security forces are fully ready to stand up to the Taliban without direct international backing during a potential Taliban offensive.


President Joe Biden announced last month that all American troops will withdraw from Afghanistan by Sept. 11. NATO allies have said they will do the same, and troops have already begun leaving. Austin said the “drawdown is going according to plan.”


The Pentagon has said there were about 2,500 U.S. troops there in recent months, and Milley said in an interview last weekend that the total rises to 3,300 if special operations forces are counted. Military commanders have said that additional forces will flow in temporarily to help with security and logistics for the drawdown.


Pentagon officials have said they will do all they can to monitor terror threats and help the Afghans from other locations in the region, described as “over the horizon.” But officials have not detailed where those would be.


Gen. Frank McKenzie, the top U.S. commander for the Middle East, has warned that Afghanistan’s military “will certainly collapse” without some continued American support once all U.S. troops are withdrawn. He has expressed concerns that Afghan forces may be unable to prevent the Taliban from taking more ground, and said the Afghans will need help and funding to maintain and fly their aircraft.

Milley said last week that Afghan government forces face an uncertain future and, in a worst-case scenario, some “bad possible outcomes” against Taliban insurgents as the withdrawal of American and coalition troops accelerates in the coming weeks.

On Thursday, Milley took a hopeful tone in speaking about the government forces avoiding a collapse.

“There is 300-plus thousand (in the) Afghan army, Afghan police,” he said. “It’s their country. They’ve been leading the fight for several years now. We’ve been supporting them, for sure. But they’ve been leading the fight. And I’m a personal witness ... that the Afghan forces can fight.”


Source

 


WASHINGTON — The United States has deployed a dozen additional warplanes to bolster protection of American and coalition troops making a final withdrawal from Afghanistan as Taliban insurgents step up pressure on Afghan government forces, top Pentagon officials said Thursday.


Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said F-18 attack planes have been added to a previously announced package of air and sea power — including the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier in the North Arabian Sea and six Air Force B-52 bombers based in Qatar — that can be called upon as protection for withdrawing troops. Also part of that previously announced package are several hundred Army Rangers.


U.S. officials said before the withdrawal began that they expected the Taliban to attempt to interfere, even as the insurgents continue pressuring government forces, especially in Helmand and Kandahar provinces in southern Afghanistan.


“There continue to be sustained levels of violent attacks” by the Taliban against Afghan security forces, Milley said, speaking alongside Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at a Pentagon news conference. He said there have been no attacks against U.S. or coalition forces since they began pulling out of the country on about May 1, and he described the Afghan forces as “cohesive,” even as speculation swirls around Kabul’s ability to hold off the Taliban in the months ahead.

Both Milley and Austin, a retired Army general, are veterans of the war in Afghanistan.

“They’re fighting for their own country now, so it’s not a foregone conclusion, in my professional military estimate, that the Taliban automatically win and Kabul falls, or any of those kinds of dire predictions,” Milley said. “That’s not a foregone conclusion. There’s a significant military capability in the Afghan government. We have to see how this plays out.”


Considering options for continued support of Afghan government forces after the troop withdrawal is complete, including possibly training Afghan security forces in another country. That would be in addition to urging the Congress to authorize continued financial assistance to the Afghan forces, which has been in the range of $4 billion a year for many years, and possibly providing aircraft maintenance support remotely from another country.


“We haven’t figured that out 100% yet,” Milley said.


Milley said Afghanistan’s air force is central to the strategy for holding off the Taliban, but the durability of those planes is in some doubt. The U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said in an April 30 report that without continued foreign contractor support, none of the Afghan air force’s airframes can be sustained as combat effective for more than a few months.


Austin acknowledged that holding off the Taliban without American support on the ground “will be a challenge” for the Afghans.


“We’re hopeful that the Afghan security forces will play a major role in stopping the Taliban,” Austin said. “What we’re seeing unfold is what we expected to unfold — increased pressure” on the Afghan forces. He asserted that government forces launched a counterattack this week against the Taliban in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, and that they were “performing fairly well.”


Milley declined to say whether Afghanistan's security forces are fully ready to stand up to the Taliban without direct international backing during a potential Taliban offensive.


President Joe Biden announced last month that all American troops will withdraw from Afghanistan by Sept. 11. NATO allies have said they will do the same, and troops have already begun leaving. Austin said the “drawdown is going according to plan.”


The Pentagon has said there were about 2,500 U.S. troops there in recent months, and Milley said in an interview last weekend that the total rises to 3,300 if special operations forces are counted. Military commanders have said that additional forces will flow in temporarily to help with security and logistics for the drawdown.


Pentagon officials have said they will do all they can to monitor terror threats and help the Afghans from other locations in the region, described as “over the horizon.” But officials have not detailed where those would be.


Gen. Frank McKenzie, the top U.S. commander for the Middle East, has warned that Afghanistan’s military “will certainly collapse” without some continued American support once all U.S. troops are withdrawn. He has expressed concerns that Afghan forces may be unable to prevent the Taliban from taking more ground, and said the Afghans will need help and funding to maintain and fly their aircraft.

Milley said last week that Afghan government forces face an uncertain future and, in a worst-case scenario, some “bad possible outcomes” against Taliban insurgents as the withdrawal of American and coalition troops accelerates in the coming weeks.

On Thursday, Milley took a hopeful tone in speaking about the government forces avoiding a collapse.

“There is 300-plus thousand (in the) Afghan army, Afghan police,” he said. “It’s their country. They’ve been leading the fight for several years now. We’ve been supporting them, for sure. But they’ve been leading the fight. And I’m a personal witness ... that the Afghan forces can fight.”


Source

US military says Afghanistan withdrawal process 2 to 6 percent complete

US military says Afghanistan withdrawal process 2 to 6 percent complete

New Antonik base in southern Helmand province handed to the Afghan National Army

Taliban Begins Attacks



The American military has completed about 2 percent to 6 percent of the process of entirely withdrawing from Afghanistan, U.S. Central Command (Centcom) said Tuesday as reported by the Hill.


According to the report, the progress on the withdrawal includes moving about 60 C-17 cargo planes worth of material out of Afghanistan, Centcom said in a news release.


 Also about 1,300 pieces of equipment have been given to the Defense Logistics Agency for destruction, the release said. 

  

The U.S. military also officially gave control of its New Antonik base in southern Helmand province to the Afghan National Army, the release said.


Centcom, which said it plans to release weekly updates on the progress of the withdrawal, “will only be providing an approximate range of the percentage of the exit process that is complete” because of concerns about operational security, according to the release.


U. S. President Joe Biden last month ordered all American troops to be out of Afghanistan by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that sparked America’s longest war, with the withdrawal officially kicking off last week.

Amid the pullout, the Taliban has threatened to resume attacks on U.S. and coalition troops that it largely refrained from after signing a deal with the Trump administration last year that set a withdrawal deadline of this past Saturday.


On Monday, the Pentagon said there were some “small harassing attacks” over the weekend that had no effect on the withdrawal.


On Tuesday, Afghan officials said the Taliban launched a major offensive in Helmand. The Ministry of Defense also reported Afghan forces fighting off Taliban attacks in six other provinces over the past 24 hours.


The Hill

New Antonik base in southern Helmand province handed to the Afghan National Army

Taliban Begins Attacks



The American military has completed about 2 percent to 6 percent of the process of entirely withdrawing from Afghanistan, U.S. Central Command (Centcom) said Tuesday as reported by the Hill.


According to the report, the progress on the withdrawal includes moving about 60 C-17 cargo planes worth of material out of Afghanistan, Centcom said in a news release.


 Also about 1,300 pieces of equipment have been given to the Defense Logistics Agency for destruction, the release said. 

  

The U.S. military also officially gave control of its New Antonik base in southern Helmand province to the Afghan National Army, the release said.


Centcom, which said it plans to release weekly updates on the progress of the withdrawal, “will only be providing an approximate range of the percentage of the exit process that is complete” because of concerns about operational security, according to the release.


U. S. President Joe Biden last month ordered all American troops to be out of Afghanistan by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that sparked America’s longest war, with the withdrawal officially kicking off last week.

Amid the pullout, the Taliban has threatened to resume attacks on U.S. and coalition troops that it largely refrained from after signing a deal with the Trump administration last year that set a withdrawal deadline of this past Saturday.


On Monday, the Pentagon said there were some “small harassing attacks” over the weekend that had no effect on the withdrawal.


On Tuesday, Afghan officials said the Taliban launched a major offensive in Helmand. The Ministry of Defense also reported Afghan forces fighting off Taliban attacks in six other provinces over the past 24 hours.


The Hill

Why and How Crude Oil Prices Hit 7-Week High On Demand Optimism?

Why and How Crude Oil Prices Hit 7-Week High On Demand Optimism?


The crude oil price is higher in the Asian session as lower inventories and renewed demand optimism offset a stronger US Dollar.


Front-month WTi futures trading on Nymex, are higher by $0.76 to $66.46. The oil market is looking past an upcoming production increase at OPEC, choosing to instead focus on economic re-openings in Europe,for trading cues.


Given the stronger US Dollar, after a hawkish statement from Fed Chair turned Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the pressure was on for the American Petroleum Institute to deliver on the weekly Crude oil inventory data to save steep losses in the crude oil price. And deliver it did, reporting a much larger-than-expected drawdown in inventories of 7.688 million barrels.


Yellen sent shockwaves through risk assets earlier in the day, stating:

“It may be that interest rates will have to rise somewhat to make sure that our economy doesn’t overheat,”.


Whilst the Treasury head was quick to walk back that statement later in the day. It did little to improve the risk-off sentiment that rattled the broader market.

Charts by Yahoo Finance



The crude oil price is now trading at levels not seen since March 15th and technically may have more room to go. A move above the March 9th high of $67.98 clears the path for the crude oil price to re-visit pre covid levels.


Crude Oil Price Technical Outlook

Whilst the recent extension is looking a little stretched on the short-dated charts. The daily chart points to a growing likelihood of a run at the October 2020 high of $76.90 and an increase of +15.50% from here.


However, traders should keep a close eye on signs of a reversal in the US Dollar Index. The heavily shorted Greenback has been on a one-way ticket lower for the last 6 weeks as the world embraces the reflation trade. Any sharp snap-back for the Dollar may be enough to put a lid on Crude prices.


Failing that, we expect momentum buying through $68.00 to push the Crude oil Price to fresh 2021 highs.


An ascending trend line at $6240 (in place from the November $33.32 low) offers support. Closely followed by the 50-Day Moving average at $62.40. A break of these support levels would negate the immediately bullish outlook.


Crude Oil Daily Chart




Source




The crude oil price is higher in the Asian session as lower inventories and renewed demand optimism offset a stronger US Dollar.


Front-month WTi futures trading on Nymex, are higher by $0.76 to $66.46. The oil market is looking past an upcoming production increase at OPEC, choosing to instead focus on economic re-openings in Europe,for trading cues.


Given the stronger US Dollar, after a hawkish statement from Fed Chair turned Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the pressure was on for the American Petroleum Institute to deliver on the weekly Crude oil inventory data to save steep losses in the crude oil price. And deliver it did, reporting a much larger-than-expected drawdown in inventories of 7.688 million barrels.


Yellen sent shockwaves through risk assets earlier in the day, stating:

“It may be that interest rates will have to rise somewhat to make sure that our economy doesn’t overheat,”.


Whilst the Treasury head was quick to walk back that statement later in the day. It did little to improve the risk-off sentiment that rattled the broader market.

Charts by Yahoo Finance



The crude oil price is now trading at levels not seen since March 15th and technically may have more room to go. A move above the March 9th high of $67.98 clears the path for the crude oil price to re-visit pre covid levels.


Crude Oil Price Technical Outlook

Whilst the recent extension is looking a little stretched on the short-dated charts. The daily chart points to a growing likelihood of a run at the October 2020 high of $76.90 and an increase of +15.50% from here.


However, traders should keep a close eye on signs of a reversal in the US Dollar Index. The heavily shorted Greenback has been on a one-way ticket lower for the last 6 weeks as the world embraces the reflation trade. Any sharp snap-back for the Dollar may be enough to put a lid on Crude prices.


Failing that, we expect momentum buying through $68.00 to push the Crude oil Price to fresh 2021 highs.


An ascending trend line at $6240 (in place from the November $33.32 low) offers support. Closely followed by the 50-Day Moving average at $62.40. A break of these support levels would negate the immediately bullish outlook.


Crude Oil Daily Chart




Source



#MAYDAY: THE PEOPLE UNITED CAN NEVER BE DEFEATED! - ACIS-Movement

#MAYDAY: THE PEOPLE UNITED CAN NEVER BE DEFEATED! - ACIS-Movement

 

E-mail: [email protected],www.thepeopleng.com

*ACIS-M Message on 2021 MAY DAY!*

*- As the Working People of the World Celebrates the 135th Anniversary of MAY DAY for the 2nd Year Running in the Midst of COVID-19 Pandemic!*



The Amilcar Cabral Ideological School (ACIS-M) Movement, committed to the total liberation of Nigeria and the Pan-African world on the basis of socialist transformation, salutes the Nigerian workers, African workers and workers of all countries on the occasion of the 135th Anniversary of MAY DAY, which was a product of the working class struggle in 1886 that achieved the 8-hours a day and 40-hours a week work standards.


In celebrating MAY DAY in 2021, we are concerned about the state of the political and economic realities of Nigeria and the countries across the Pan-African World. We are equally concerned about the fate of the working people in a global context dominated by US imperialism, in which sovereign nations and peoples such as Socialist Cuba, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicaragua and other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, struggling to assert their rights of  sovereignty and independence in their choices of political and socio-economic directions, but which are being variously undermined, sabotaged and threatened by the US establishment!


In Nigeria, where the ACIS-M operational base is domiciled, the realities are: a general state of insecurity in  all the states across the country, unprecedented rise in unemployment with over 40-million youth jobless, daily job losses, collapse of basic industries aggravated by the neoliberal policies of privatization and deregulation, non-implementation of collective agreements reached with trade unions, indecent work conditions and below the poverty line wages, casualisation of the workforce, lack of social security for the aged and unemployed, default by both public and private employers in the payment of severance allowances, gratuities and pensions, denial of rights and victimization of workers to unionise in most private establishments, etc. And in the stead of all previous exploitative regimes in Nigeria since the 1999 civilian dispensation, the current Buhari-regime, which assumed power in May, 2015 and raised the hope of workers with its slogan of “Change”, has equally proven to be a disaster.


*We can recall that in our 2015 MAY DAY Message, we stated that: "Nigerian workers  should be cautious about a “Change” that is anchored on the  policies of neo-liberal global order of International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and the puppeteers’ structural adjustment policies. The working environment foisted by these neo-liberal exploitative policies wherever they operate across the world, have never been favourable to the working people.


Nigeria workers should be ready to STRUGGLE TO DEFEAT the impending Austerity Measures, which the Buhari-APC regime would be required to impose on Nigeria by the puppeteer IMF and World Bank. ACIS-M urges Nigerian workers to challenge the Buhari-APC “Change” and Private employers with Workers’ friendly policies and demands, which should include: living wage; rights to unionise and favourable conditions of employment; job security and secured work environment; implementation of all outstanding collective agreements; training and retraining of workers with every advancement in science and technology to improve their skills and increase their earning capacity; living pensions and its prompt payment; protection on health and safety from hazardous elements; just compensation for work injuries; and Old age care, social security and social welfare for other categories of the working people.*


 *The above message is as germane today as it was six years ago because nothing fundamentally has changed in terms of the living conditions of the working people and the general political and socio-economic situations in the country. Rather, what we have is the worsening of the situations and an environment of hopelessness now enveloping the country, with implications for impending anarchy and disorder!*


*It should be clear from the above highlighted prevalence that workers in Nigeria and by extension, working people across the world would have to go beyond trade union struggles for improvement in work conditions and respect for trade unions’ rights!* The Nigerian and African workers must be prepared for the task of building working people’s alternative political platforms, with which to struggle for political power in order to DEFEAT the unjust capitalist exploitative system and set a new AGENDA of reconstructing the society on the basis of a Socialist socio-economic system globally!


ACIS-M calls on Nigerian and African workers specifically, to demonstrate practical solidarity with the revolutionary peoples of Cuba, Venezuela, the Palestine, the Sahrawi and other sovereign nations and peoples being politically and socio-economically aggressed, sanctioned, destablised and terrorised by the unjust and inhuman policies of the US establishment!


*Working People of the World Join Forces Now to:


*- END THE US BLOCKADE AGAINST CUBA!*

*- END US AGRESSIONS IN VENEZUELA & ACROSS THE WORLD!*

*- END CAPITALISM & ITS INHUMAN & UNJUST POLICIES ACROSS ALL COUNTRIES!*

*- FREE THE PALESTINE & THE SAHARAWI!*

EVER ONWARD TO WORKERS OF ALL COUNTRIES!

FORWARD TO SOCIALISM!!

*ISSUED BY THE ACIS-M CENTRAL COORDINATING LEADERSHIP*

 

E-mail: [email protected],www.thepeopleng.com

*ACIS-M Message on 2021 MAY DAY!*

*- As the Working People of the World Celebrates the 135th Anniversary of MAY DAY for the 2nd Year Running in the Midst of COVID-19 Pandemic!*



The Amilcar Cabral Ideological School (ACIS-M) Movement, committed to the total liberation of Nigeria and the Pan-African world on the basis of socialist transformation, salutes the Nigerian workers, African workers and workers of all countries on the occasion of the 135th Anniversary of MAY DAY, which was a product of the working class struggle in 1886 that achieved the 8-hours a day and 40-hours a week work standards.


In celebrating MAY DAY in 2021, we are concerned about the state of the political and economic realities of Nigeria and the countries across the Pan-African World. We are equally concerned about the fate of the working people in a global context dominated by US imperialism, in which sovereign nations and peoples such as Socialist Cuba, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicaragua and other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, struggling to assert their rights of  sovereignty and independence in their choices of political and socio-economic directions, but which are being variously undermined, sabotaged and threatened by the US establishment!


In Nigeria, where the ACIS-M operational base is domiciled, the realities are: a general state of insecurity in  all the states across the country, unprecedented rise in unemployment with over 40-million youth jobless, daily job losses, collapse of basic industries aggravated by the neoliberal policies of privatization and deregulation, non-implementation of collective agreements reached with trade unions, indecent work conditions and below the poverty line wages, casualisation of the workforce, lack of social security for the aged and unemployed, default by both public and private employers in the payment of severance allowances, gratuities and pensions, denial of rights and victimization of workers to unionise in most private establishments, etc. And in the stead of all previous exploitative regimes in Nigeria since the 1999 civilian dispensation, the current Buhari-regime, which assumed power in May, 2015 and raised the hope of workers with its slogan of “Change”, has equally proven to be a disaster.


*We can recall that in our 2015 MAY DAY Message, we stated that: "Nigerian workers  should be cautious about a “Change” that is anchored on the  policies of neo-liberal global order of International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and the puppeteers’ structural adjustment policies. The working environment foisted by these neo-liberal exploitative policies wherever they operate across the world, have never been favourable to the working people.


Nigeria workers should be ready to STRUGGLE TO DEFEAT the impending Austerity Measures, which the Buhari-APC regime would be required to impose on Nigeria by the puppeteer IMF and World Bank. ACIS-M urges Nigerian workers to challenge the Buhari-APC “Change” and Private employers with Workers’ friendly policies and demands, which should include: living wage; rights to unionise and favourable conditions of employment; job security and secured work environment; implementation of all outstanding collective agreements; training and retraining of workers with every advancement in science and technology to improve their skills and increase their earning capacity; living pensions and its prompt payment; protection on health and safety from hazardous elements; just compensation for work injuries; and Old age care, social security and social welfare for other categories of the working people.*


 *The above message is as germane today as it was six years ago because nothing fundamentally has changed in terms of the living conditions of the working people and the general political and socio-economic situations in the country. Rather, what we have is the worsening of the situations and an environment of hopelessness now enveloping the country, with implications for impending anarchy and disorder!*


*It should be clear from the above highlighted prevalence that workers in Nigeria and by extension, working people across the world would have to go beyond trade union struggles for improvement in work conditions and respect for trade unions’ rights!* The Nigerian and African workers must be prepared for the task of building working people’s alternative political platforms, with which to struggle for political power in order to DEFEAT the unjust capitalist exploitative system and set a new AGENDA of reconstructing the society on the basis of a Socialist socio-economic system globally!


ACIS-M calls on Nigerian and African workers specifically, to demonstrate practical solidarity with the revolutionary peoples of Cuba, Venezuela, the Palestine, the Sahrawi and other sovereign nations and peoples being politically and socio-economically aggressed, sanctioned, destablised and terrorised by the unjust and inhuman policies of the US establishment!


*Working People of the World Join Forces Now to:


*- END THE US BLOCKADE AGAINST CUBA!*

*- END US AGRESSIONS IN VENEZUELA & ACROSS THE WORLD!*

*- END CAPITALISM & ITS INHUMAN & UNJUST POLICIES ACROSS ALL COUNTRIES!*

*- FREE THE PALESTINE & THE SAHARAWI!*

EVER ONWARD TO WORKERS OF ALL COUNTRIES!

FORWARD TO SOCIALISM!!

*ISSUED BY THE ACIS-M CENTRAL COORDINATING LEADERSHIP*

Festival Turns to Horrific Tragedy, 45 Trampled to Death in Northern Israel

Festival Turns to Horrific Tragedy, 45 Trampled to Death in Northern Israel

Chaos as Rescue Workers Struggle to Save Lives; Netanyahu Proclaims National Day of Mourning

Over 100 others injured in stampede in annual pilgrimage to revered rabbi’s grave


Authorities are investigating the cause, but it appears it was the result of a slippery staircase.



By Paul Shindman, World Israel News


At least 45 people died and over one hundred were injured, many of the critically, when people stampeded at the annual Lag B’Omer pilgrimage in northern Israel.

The largest mass event in Israel since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic suddenly turned into one of the country’s greatest disasters. An estimated 100,000-200,000 people were crowded at Mt. Meron in the northern Galilee area when some may have slipped backwards, starting a domino effect and causing people to flee in panic.

“Magen David Adom EMTs and paramedics are treating 103 injured of which 38 in critical condition in the field, 6 in critical condition who were evacuated to the hospitals, 18 in serious condition, 2 in moderate condition and 39 in mild condition,” said Nadav Matzner, a spokesman for the national emergency ambulance service.

 

The IDF said it brought in Israel Air Force helicopters and its air rescue unit to evacuate the wounded to hospitals around the country, with soldiers from the Homefront Command and medical teams from the north of the country responding to the scene.


“I was on duty when I saw dozens of people fall on top of one another during the collapse,” said Yehuda Gottleib, a volunteer EMT with the United Hatzalah rescue organization, who was one of the first responders at the scene. “A large number of them were crushed and lost consciousness.


“I immediately requested backup from the on-site dispatchers and told them to send as many additional volunteers and medical personnel as they could to the scene and that we had dozens of injuries,” Gottleib said.


“This is one of the worst tragedies that I have ever experienced. I have not seen anything like this since I entered into the field of emergency medicine back in 2000,” said United Hatzalah vice president Lazar Hyman.


A United Hatzalah official said dozens of medical teams performed CPR on the victims who were crushed, while others treated more than 100 people who were injured with varying degrees of severity.

 

Due to the nature of the incident, members of the Pychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit were dispatched as well in order to deal with those who are suffering from shock and emotional stress reactions, the rescue organization said


“A heavy disaster on Mount Meron. We all pray for the recovery of the injured,” tweeted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


Many mark Lag B’Omer by visiting Bar Yochai’s gravesite as well as by kindling bonfires that symbolize the spiritual light brought into the world by the sage through his prominent Kabbalistic work known as the Zohar, eventually compiled in Spain some 1000 years later.


In Washington, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan sent the first American response.


“Our hearts go out to the people of Israel tonight following the terrible tragedy at Mount Meron. We offer our condolences to the families and friends who lost loved ones in this disaster, and wish a full and swift recovery to those injured,” Sullivan tweeted.


“The Ministry of Health and I have been following the terrible Meron disaster since nightfall,” tweeted Health Minister Yuli Edelstein. “Hospitals and rescue organizations are doing sacred work to care for the injured. Our hearts go out to the families of those killed in this difficult time


The crowds of mostly ultra-Orthodox Jews were making the annual pilgrimage to Israel’s Mount Meron to be near the gravesite of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yocha


According to tradition, Bar Yochai’s death occurred on Lag B’Omer, translated as “the 33rd day of the Omer,” which, according to the Hebrew calendar, is on the 18th day of Iyar. The Omer comprises a period of seven complete weeks starting from the second night of Passover and ending at the Jewish Festival of Weeks, known as Shavuot.

Chaos as Rescue Workers Struggle to Save Lives; Netanyahu Proclaims National Day of Mourning

Over 100 others injured in stampede in annual pilgrimage to revered rabbi’s grave


Authorities are investigating the cause, but it appears it was the result of a slippery staircase.



By Paul Shindman, World Israel News


At least 45 people died and over one hundred were injured, many of the critically, when people stampeded at the annual Lag B’Omer pilgrimage in northern Israel.

The largest mass event in Israel since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic suddenly turned into one of the country’s greatest disasters. An estimated 100,000-200,000 people were crowded at Mt. Meron in the northern Galilee area when some may have slipped backwards, starting a domino effect and causing people to flee in panic.

“Magen David Adom EMTs and paramedics are treating 103 injured of which 38 in critical condition in the field, 6 in critical condition who were evacuated to the hospitals, 18 in serious condition, 2 in moderate condition and 39 in mild condition,” said Nadav Matzner, a spokesman for the national emergency ambulance service.

 

The IDF said it brought in Israel Air Force helicopters and its air rescue unit to evacuate the wounded to hospitals around the country, with soldiers from the Homefront Command and medical teams from the north of the country responding to the scene.


“I was on duty when I saw dozens of people fall on top of one another during the collapse,” said Yehuda Gottleib, a volunteer EMT with the United Hatzalah rescue organization, who was one of the first responders at the scene. “A large number of them were crushed and lost consciousness.


“I immediately requested backup from the on-site dispatchers and told them to send as many additional volunteers and medical personnel as they could to the scene and that we had dozens of injuries,” Gottleib said.


“This is one of the worst tragedies that I have ever experienced. I have not seen anything like this since I entered into the field of emergency medicine back in 2000,” said United Hatzalah vice president Lazar Hyman.


A United Hatzalah official said dozens of medical teams performed CPR on the victims who were crushed, while others treated more than 100 people who were injured with varying degrees of severity.

 

Due to the nature of the incident, members of the Pychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit were dispatched as well in order to deal with those who are suffering from shock and emotional stress reactions, the rescue organization said


“A heavy disaster on Mount Meron. We all pray for the recovery of the injured,” tweeted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


Many mark Lag B’Omer by visiting Bar Yochai’s gravesite as well as by kindling bonfires that symbolize the spiritual light brought into the world by the sage through his prominent Kabbalistic work known as the Zohar, eventually compiled in Spain some 1000 years later.


In Washington, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan sent the first American response.


“Our hearts go out to the people of Israel tonight following the terrible tragedy at Mount Meron. We offer our condolences to the families and friends who lost loved ones in this disaster, and wish a full and swift recovery to those injured,” Sullivan tweeted.


“The Ministry of Health and I have been following the terrible Meron disaster since nightfall,” tweeted Health Minister Yuli Edelstein. “Hospitals and rescue organizations are doing sacred work to care for the injured. Our hearts go out to the families of those killed in this difficult time


The crowds of mostly ultra-Orthodox Jews were making the annual pilgrimage to Israel’s Mount Meron to be near the gravesite of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yocha


According to tradition, Bar Yochai’s death occurred on Lag B’Omer, translated as “the 33rd day of the Omer,” which, according to the Hebrew calendar, is on the 18th day of Iyar. The Omer comprises a period of seven complete weeks starting from the second night of Passover and ending at the Jewish Festival of Weeks, known as Shavuot.

NIGERIA'S BUDGETARY BENCHMARK AS CRUDE OIL PRICE SURPASSES $65 A BARREL

NIGERIA'S BUDGETARY BENCHMARK AS CRUDE OIL PRICE SURPASSES $65 A BARREL

Oil Prices Rally Towards $70 As Demand Outlook Improves



"Oil surpassed $65 a barrel, the highest since mid-March, as signs of strengthening demand from the U.S. to China stoked optimism that key markets ARE turning a corner in their recovery from the pandemic. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) rose $1.15 to settle at $65.01 a barrel. Brent for June settlement gained $1.29 to end the session at $68.56 a barrel. Both benchmarks posted the largest daily gain in over two weeks, settling at the highest level since March 15"- Bloomberg.

***********************************************

This latest rally of crude price should give Nigeria little respite. Our budget benchmark stands at $40/barrel. Fortunately, the rise in crude oil price means our Excess Crude Account will have some inflow from now.


Agreed, OPEC production cuts affected the country badly with our daily output pegged at around 1.4 Million Barrels per day. But if our leaders can adopt a belt tightening fiscal approach and ensure transparency in their processes and every form of opacity in the system blocked, there is a silver lining in the horizon.


It looks like eyes are on global crude oil demand presently. United States a major consumer is seeing many states ease restrictions and the opportunity for summer travel, and therefore petroleum demand will increase and have a significant rebound. If United States sets the pace and reopens, the hope is other countries will surely follow and the crude oil price will keep rising.


Hopefully, we will see the end of Covid-19 anytime soon when we are all vaccinated globally against the scourge.


#justscribblingmythoughts

Femi Ogunsanwo


Oil Prices Rally Towards $70 As Demand Outlook Improves


According to report and analysis on Oilprice.com by Irina Slav, Crude oil prices got a major boost this week thanks to optimistic expectations about demand from OPEC+ and rebalancing fuel inventories in the United States.

Brent jumped to over $68 per barrel, and West Texas Intermediate neared $65 per barrel by the middle of the week and could rise even further unless headwinds appear.

Earlier in the week, OPEC+ forecast that oil demand this year would increase by 5.95 million bpd. This was an upward revision of 70,000 bpd from an earlier projection, and this fact injected optimism in traders, as did OPEC+'s decision to forego a meeting this week and keep producing at previously agreed rates.


Meanwhile, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported on Wednesday that crude oil inventories are within the five-year average for the season—for the first time in months—and that middle distillate inventories were down by a sizeable 3.3 million barrels last week.


Middle distillates, mainly diesel, have been a headache for refiners during the pandemic as inventories reached excessive levels due to the slowdown in various activities involving freight transport. Now, businesses are returning to normal operation, according to the data, and demand for diesel is picking up.


"Between planting season and online truck deliveries, you have a nice number in the diesel," Bob Yawger, energy futures director at Mizuho, said as quoted by Reuters. "Planting season is doing wonders for the distillate market."


It seems the latest fuel demand developments in the United States were enough to eclipse earlier worry about Indian fuel demand amid a resurgence of infections there.


"There's a lot of green shoots in demand," according to Matt Sallee, portfolio manager at asset manager TortoiseEcofin, as quoted by Bloomberg. According to him, the situation in India is "clearly a headwind, but looking at what's going on in the U.S., it's a completely different story."


"The market expects a major revitalization for global oil demand from this summer onwards," Rystad Energy's head of oil markets Bjornar Tonhaugen told Bloomberg. "As vaccination campaigns progress and as lockdowns are set to soon be lifted in Europe and other recovering economies, the need for road and jet fuels will increase and the result will be felt."


Indeed, optimism appears to be on the rise. Goldman Sachs, which has been particularly bullish on oil, has stuck to its forecast that Brent could hit $80 a barrel in the second half of this year. The investment bank also said in a new note that it expected global oil demand to book its strongest rebound ever over the next six months.


At 5.2 million bpd, according to Goldman, the demand jump will be the result of accelerating vaccinations in Europe, which would, in turn, lead to greater demand for travel. This will also lead to an uptick in jet fuel demand—the worst hit segment of the fuel industry—to the tune of 1.5 million bpd, according to the investment bank.


If the rally continues as forecast, it will provide a much-needed breathing space for the Persian Gulf's oil-dependent economies, most of which need Brent to trade much higher than current prices to avoid another budget deficit. A price of $70 per barrel of the most traded benchmark may be high enough for some, such as Saudi Arabia. Still, others, notably Bahrain, need oil at $100 per barrel to make their budget ends meet.


At the same time, however, it would undermine calls for a green recovery from the pandemic. The IEA has already warned that emissions are once again on the rise after last year's lull because of lockdowns. The rebound in oil demand that banks and analysts expect appears to be proof that the transition to all-electric transport might be more challenging than some hope.

Oil Prices Rally Towards $70 As Demand Outlook Improves



"Oil surpassed $65 a barrel, the highest since mid-March, as signs of strengthening demand from the U.S. to China stoked optimism that key markets ARE turning a corner in their recovery from the pandemic. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) rose $1.15 to settle at $65.01 a barrel. Brent for June settlement gained $1.29 to end the session at $68.56 a barrel. Both benchmarks posted the largest daily gain in over two weeks, settling at the highest level since March 15"- Bloomberg.

***********************************************

This latest rally of crude price should give Nigeria little respite. Our budget benchmark stands at $40/barrel. Fortunately, the rise in crude oil price means our Excess Crude Account will have some inflow from now.


Agreed, OPEC production cuts affected the country badly with our daily output pegged at around 1.4 Million Barrels per day. But if our leaders can adopt a belt tightening fiscal approach and ensure transparency in their processes and every form of opacity in the system blocked, there is a silver lining in the horizon.


It looks like eyes are on global crude oil demand presently. United States a major consumer is seeing many states ease restrictions and the opportunity for summer travel, and therefore petroleum demand will increase and have a significant rebound. If United States sets the pace and reopens, the hope is other countries will surely follow and the crude oil price will keep rising.


Hopefully, we will see the end of Covid-19 anytime soon when we are all vaccinated globally against the scourge.


#justscribblingmythoughts

Femi Ogunsanwo


Oil Prices Rally Towards $70 As Demand Outlook Improves


According to report and analysis on Oilprice.com by Irina Slav, Crude oil prices got a major boost this week thanks to optimistic expectations about demand from OPEC+ and rebalancing fuel inventories in the United States.

Brent jumped to over $68 per barrel, and West Texas Intermediate neared $65 per barrel by the middle of the week and could rise even further unless headwinds appear.

Earlier in the week, OPEC+ forecast that oil demand this year would increase by 5.95 million bpd. This was an upward revision of 70,000 bpd from an earlier projection, and this fact injected optimism in traders, as did OPEC+'s decision to forego a meeting this week and keep producing at previously agreed rates.


Meanwhile, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported on Wednesday that crude oil inventories are within the five-year average for the season—for the first time in months—and that middle distillate inventories were down by a sizeable 3.3 million barrels last week.


Middle distillates, mainly diesel, have been a headache for refiners during the pandemic as inventories reached excessive levels due to the slowdown in various activities involving freight transport. Now, businesses are returning to normal operation, according to the data, and demand for diesel is picking up.


"Between planting season and online truck deliveries, you have a nice number in the diesel," Bob Yawger, energy futures director at Mizuho, said as quoted by Reuters. "Planting season is doing wonders for the distillate market."


It seems the latest fuel demand developments in the United States were enough to eclipse earlier worry about Indian fuel demand amid a resurgence of infections there.


"There's a lot of green shoots in demand," according to Matt Sallee, portfolio manager at asset manager TortoiseEcofin, as quoted by Bloomberg. According to him, the situation in India is "clearly a headwind, but looking at what's going on in the U.S., it's a completely different story."


"The market expects a major revitalization for global oil demand from this summer onwards," Rystad Energy's head of oil markets Bjornar Tonhaugen told Bloomberg. "As vaccination campaigns progress and as lockdowns are set to soon be lifted in Europe and other recovering economies, the need for road and jet fuels will increase and the result will be felt."


Indeed, optimism appears to be on the rise. Goldman Sachs, which has been particularly bullish on oil, has stuck to its forecast that Brent could hit $80 a barrel in the second half of this year. The investment bank also said in a new note that it expected global oil demand to book its strongest rebound ever over the next six months.


At 5.2 million bpd, according to Goldman, the demand jump will be the result of accelerating vaccinations in Europe, which would, in turn, lead to greater demand for travel. This will also lead to an uptick in jet fuel demand—the worst hit segment of the fuel industry—to the tune of 1.5 million bpd, according to the investment bank.


If the rally continues as forecast, it will provide a much-needed breathing space for the Persian Gulf's oil-dependent economies, most of which need Brent to trade much higher than current prices to avoid another budget deficit. A price of $70 per barrel of the most traded benchmark may be high enough for some, such as Saudi Arabia. Still, others, notably Bahrain, need oil at $100 per barrel to make their budget ends meet.


At the same time, however, it would undermine calls for a green recovery from the pandemic. The IEA has already warned that emissions are once again on the rise after last year's lull because of lockdowns. The rebound in oil demand that banks and analysts expect appears to be proof that the transition to all-electric transport might be more challenging than some hope.

Pantami's Continuity: A Threat To Islam, Nigeria And The Global Community

Pantami's Continuity: A Threat To Islam, Nigeria And The Global Community

By: Dr Bolaji O. Akinyemi. 


Pantami

"Identity crisis and the name on American watch list on terrorism"; was promised to be the title of this article; but "Pantami Gate" is a milestone in global terrorism revelation. The saga has been very dynamic, articles upon articles has been written viewing the situation from various angles and analysing the contentions. 


An agitated nation is lost in confusion of an unborthered President. Muhammadu Buhari seems not disturbed and his Presidency unconcerned. If the President is hoping that this will die a natural death as the reason he chose to be quiet on it. Is the cabinet also compromised? That they had a meeting without a mention of the leading public issue. After the President's return from the UK, it was expected that the issues will be addressed. He has gone on for days and weeks without any mention on the most contending issue. He Presided over the cabinet meeting and our debt burden was made heavier without any attempt to lighten that of our hearts. If the cabinet appointees of the President are cowed by the saying; "he who pays the piper dictates the tune", and are thus forgiven. Then we should be challenged by the 'hear nothing, say nothing' attitude of our elected representatives and Senators at the National Assembly. 


APC alleged sponsorship of terrorising against the Nigerian State in a bid to win election at all cost in 2014 by APC Chieftain Alhaji Baraje seems to have experiential evidence on the floor of the house of representatives when Honourable Ndudi Elumelu representing Aniocha North and South and Oshimili North and South Federal constituency had the floor and moved to have the house reflect on the accusations against Isa Pantami. The manner in which the Speaker Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila shot him down is reminiscent of Honourable Giblah's encounter and the public experience of disappointment that greeted same with Deputy Speaker. It is now an open fact that what interests Nigerians doesn't interest or bother our representatives. 


The President gave us a proverbial response on his arrival from the UK, when he promised "continuity", finally after a long unnecessary silence, the President spoke through Garba Shehu, in a statement that renews the commitment of Muhammadu Buhari led Administration to rehabilitation and integration of 'repentant' Boko Haram. The statement based Government position on the apology of the minister, when it says it "stands behind Minister Pantami", the statement in an unethical expression described public outrage and calls for the minister's resignation as "cancel campaign". Without any known investigation on this all important issue in a country with our level of insecurity. Buhari led administration showed its impunity and insensitivity to process and protocol.


Nigerians must stand up on this for so many reasons; the facts available about Isa Pantami are damning and brutal, it should generate questions such as; why has this person never been arrested, questioned or investigated by any security agency as it also turned out now? 

Are we having on our hands a spiritual authority to which our Governmental authority deferred? 


If our Government isn't willing to engage Isa Pantami for whatever reasons, must we also be quiet?


I must appreciate the maturity of Christian Association of Nigeria for maintaining silence on this; we must not allow this to act out the script of religious war by actors who have been rehearsing daily with organized banditry and kidnapping. Our Government must be pushed further on this. Our lesson from the #EndSARS protests must be applied, our youths must again insist on words from the President directly. FG must not find it convenient to ask the Vice President to address the nation, this must be avoided so as not to send the wrong signal to millions of our out of school armies having capacity to maim and kill who may perceive the duty of the office of the VP at such moment; as a Pastor against a Sheikh. This is a very delicate moment for us as a nation and we only hope that leadership will rise twice as tall.


Though it is almost impossible for the public to have access to American watch list on terrorism due to the strict protocol involved with such information. The complication of multiple names is another challenge. For whatever reasons, Ali Ibrahim, is also Isa Pantami this identity crisis must be resolved. Intelligence regarding who between the two is our Minister can be sourced by our Government and her relevant agencies from concerned international organisations against terrorism. While this hasn't been done is left to our imagination, and if they have, not sharing it before it decided the CONTINUITY of Isa Pantami isn't spelt out. This arrogance of power is a tickling time bomb that will do nobody any good.


Our appeal must now go to the international community, knowing that pattern of terrorism mindsets is very well established in Pantami's case, with several failed reports of de-radicalization process by individual terrorists, Osama Bin Laden who was Isa Pantami's mentor is a clinical example. The world must not allow Isa Pantami to grow into a monster else, it will regret it later. The possibility of the power of access to vital information of people's data at the tips of Isa Pantami's fingers should be given global consideration.


The struggle of the state of Egypt against the terrorism activities of Muslim Brotherhood should be a lesson to the world never to allow terrorism have control of Nigeria. 


The brotherhood infiltrated the Egyptian Government and her agencies; carrying out several terror attacks on the nation and tourists. And its attempt to overthrow the Government led to the assassination of President Anwal Sadat.


If with the incontrovertible evidences tending towards establishment of facts made available online since the breaking of this news, the world is not bothered about how Pantami has come this far to have a place in Muhammadu Buhari's Presidency then the world may not be able to stop what may be Isa Pantami's plan against her in the future, that is, if he is nursing any. 


In one of such audio available online Pantami said; "and therefore we are praying to God that based on our understanding, we pray for days when images on the notes in our pockets will be removed, NO MUSLIM CLERIC HAS EVER SPOKEN AGAINST THIS IMAGES AS FORBIDDEN; may we be self sufficient enough not to need this currency. It is against religion to put even images of the companion of the Prophet on the currency. May Allah help us to see that day when the Georgian calendar, calendar of the infidel that is on the note will be removed and that day is coming when it certainly will be removed"


If we are to treat Isa Pantami as a personal brand and establish his existential purpose, it will be:

1. To remove the secularity of the Nigerian State.

2. To take images on the naira notes away.

3. To change us from Georgian calendar to Islamic calendar.


How more extreme will Isa get before we accept that it is an existential threat to Islam, the Nigerian state and the world at large. 


A man who could dare to teach rejection of currencies based on the pictures of Heroes that adorns them as forbidden in Islam. Insinuations he himself said no other Clerics of Islam has ever made before. Is Isa Pantami Allah subuana robikah? The danger this personality portends to Islam is grave.


His existential purpose as stated reflect the summary of the aims of Muslim brotherhood which is to remove secularity of states and western influences. To build an organised Islamic empire with self sufficient economy and currency control.


A man with a Governorship ambition of his home state; Gombe come 2023, one of the alleged supporters of Bola Ahmed Tinubu's bid from which the rice flooding the North may be coming from. Supposing his determination to see power shift to a Muslim from the South West for the next 8 years is to remain relevant in National politics as Governor of Gombe state and President in waiting after Tinubu when power will return to the North.


Can the world afford a man with Pantami's mindset as the President of over 250 million people in the next 10 years? Can we afford to have the most populous black nation fall under the control of a presumed terrorist?


Our West African sub region is replete with growing organised terrorism. With this official support of Nigerian government to a terrorist, how does the world hope to fight ISSI West Africa? This nightmare is better aborted in our imagination. 


The day of terror that Pantami threatened us with, as coming, may be closer than we can comprehend. The world should act now!


DR. BOLAJI, A PUBLIC AFFAIRS ANALYST AND CONVENER APOSTOLIC ROUND TABLE.

[email protected]

By: Dr Bolaji O. Akinyemi. 


Pantami

"Identity crisis and the name on American watch list on terrorism"; was promised to be the title of this article; but "Pantami Gate" is a milestone in global terrorism revelation. The saga has been very dynamic, articles upon articles has been written viewing the situation from various angles and analysing the contentions. 


An agitated nation is lost in confusion of an unborthered President. Muhammadu Buhari seems not disturbed and his Presidency unconcerned. If the President is hoping that this will die a natural death as the reason he chose to be quiet on it. Is the cabinet also compromised? That they had a meeting without a mention of the leading public issue. After the President's return from the UK, it was expected that the issues will be addressed. He has gone on for days and weeks without any mention on the most contending issue. He Presided over the cabinet meeting and our debt burden was made heavier without any attempt to lighten that of our hearts. If the cabinet appointees of the President are cowed by the saying; "he who pays the piper dictates the tune", and are thus forgiven. Then we should be challenged by the 'hear nothing, say nothing' attitude of our elected representatives and Senators at the National Assembly. 


APC alleged sponsorship of terrorising against the Nigerian State in a bid to win election at all cost in 2014 by APC Chieftain Alhaji Baraje seems to have experiential evidence on the floor of the house of representatives when Honourable Ndudi Elumelu representing Aniocha North and South and Oshimili North and South Federal constituency had the floor and moved to have the house reflect on the accusations against Isa Pantami. The manner in which the Speaker Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila shot him down is reminiscent of Honourable Giblah's encounter and the public experience of disappointment that greeted same with Deputy Speaker. It is now an open fact that what interests Nigerians doesn't interest or bother our representatives. 


The President gave us a proverbial response on his arrival from the UK, when he promised "continuity", finally after a long unnecessary silence, the President spoke through Garba Shehu, in a statement that renews the commitment of Muhammadu Buhari led Administration to rehabilitation and integration of 'repentant' Boko Haram. The statement based Government position on the apology of the minister, when it says it "stands behind Minister Pantami", the statement in an unethical expression described public outrage and calls for the minister's resignation as "cancel campaign". Without any known investigation on this all important issue in a country with our level of insecurity. Buhari led administration showed its impunity and insensitivity to process and protocol.


Nigerians must stand up on this for so many reasons; the facts available about Isa Pantami are damning and brutal, it should generate questions such as; why has this person never been arrested, questioned or investigated by any security agency as it also turned out now? 

Are we having on our hands a spiritual authority to which our Governmental authority deferred? 


If our Government isn't willing to engage Isa Pantami for whatever reasons, must we also be quiet?


I must appreciate the maturity of Christian Association of Nigeria for maintaining silence on this; we must not allow this to act out the script of religious war by actors who have been rehearsing daily with organized banditry and kidnapping. Our Government must be pushed further on this. Our lesson from the #EndSARS protests must be applied, our youths must again insist on words from the President directly. FG must not find it convenient to ask the Vice President to address the nation, this must be avoided so as not to send the wrong signal to millions of our out of school armies having capacity to maim and kill who may perceive the duty of the office of the VP at such moment; as a Pastor against a Sheikh. This is a very delicate moment for us as a nation and we only hope that leadership will rise twice as tall.


Though it is almost impossible for the public to have access to American watch list on terrorism due to the strict protocol involved with such information. The complication of multiple names is another challenge. For whatever reasons, Ali Ibrahim, is also Isa Pantami this identity crisis must be resolved. Intelligence regarding who between the two is our Minister can be sourced by our Government and her relevant agencies from concerned international organisations against terrorism. While this hasn't been done is left to our imagination, and if they have, not sharing it before it decided the CONTINUITY of Isa Pantami isn't spelt out. This arrogance of power is a tickling time bomb that will do nobody any good.


Our appeal must now go to the international community, knowing that pattern of terrorism mindsets is very well established in Pantami's case, with several failed reports of de-radicalization process by individual terrorists, Osama Bin Laden who was Isa Pantami's mentor is a clinical example. The world must not allow Isa Pantami to grow into a monster else, it will regret it later. The possibility of the power of access to vital information of people's data at the tips of Isa Pantami's fingers should be given global consideration.


The struggle of the state of Egypt against the terrorism activities of Muslim Brotherhood should be a lesson to the world never to allow terrorism have control of Nigeria. 


The brotherhood infiltrated the Egyptian Government and her agencies; carrying out several terror attacks on the nation and tourists. And its attempt to overthrow the Government led to the assassination of President Anwal Sadat.


If with the incontrovertible evidences tending towards establishment of facts made available online since the breaking of this news, the world is not bothered about how Pantami has come this far to have a place in Muhammadu Buhari's Presidency then the world may not be able to stop what may be Isa Pantami's plan against her in the future, that is, if he is nursing any. 


In one of such audio available online Pantami said; "and therefore we are praying to God that based on our understanding, we pray for days when images on the notes in our pockets will be removed, NO MUSLIM CLERIC HAS EVER SPOKEN AGAINST THIS IMAGES AS FORBIDDEN; may we be self sufficient enough not to need this currency. It is against religion to put even images of the companion of the Prophet on the currency. May Allah help us to see that day when the Georgian calendar, calendar of the infidel that is on the note will be removed and that day is coming when it certainly will be removed"


If we are to treat Isa Pantami as a personal brand and establish his existential purpose, it will be:

1. To remove the secularity of the Nigerian State.

2. To take images on the naira notes away.

3. To change us from Georgian calendar to Islamic calendar.


How more extreme will Isa get before we accept that it is an existential threat to Islam, the Nigerian state and the world at large. 


A man who could dare to teach rejection of currencies based on the pictures of Heroes that adorns them as forbidden in Islam. Insinuations he himself said no other Clerics of Islam has ever made before. Is Isa Pantami Allah subuana robikah? The danger this personality portends to Islam is grave.


His existential purpose as stated reflect the summary of the aims of Muslim brotherhood which is to remove secularity of states and western influences. To build an organised Islamic empire with self sufficient economy and currency control.


A man with a Governorship ambition of his home state; Gombe come 2023, one of the alleged supporters of Bola Ahmed Tinubu's bid from which the rice flooding the North may be coming from. Supposing his determination to see power shift to a Muslim from the South West for the next 8 years is to remain relevant in National politics as Governor of Gombe state and President in waiting after Tinubu when power will return to the North.


Can the world afford a man with Pantami's mindset as the President of over 250 million people in the next 10 years? Can we afford to have the most populous black nation fall under the control of a presumed terrorist?


Our West African sub region is replete with growing organised terrorism. With this official support of Nigerian government to a terrorist, how does the world hope to fight ISSI West Africa? This nightmare is better aborted in our imagination. 


The day of terror that Pantami threatened us with, as coming, may be closer than we can comprehend. The world should act now!


DR. BOLAJI, A PUBLIC AFFAIRS ANALYST AND CONVENER APOSTOLIC ROUND TABLE.

[email protected]

Joe Biden ‘admits’ to border CRISIS, says US couldn't manage migrant surge & boosting refugee flow at same time

Joe Biden ‘admits’ to border CRISIS, says US couldn't manage migrant surge & boosting refugee flow at same time

American President Joe Biden has finally referred to the record influx of illegal immigrants at the US-Mexico border as a “crisis” and acknowledged that the situation has undermined his plans to admit more refugees from around the world.


“The problem was that the refugee part was working on the crisis that ended up on the border with young people. We couldn't do two things at once,” Biden told reporters on Saturday after playing a round of golf in Wilmington, Delaware. “And now we're going to increase the numbers.”



Biden was assailed by immigration activists on Friday, when he issued an emergency declaration tweaking his administration's refugee program without fulfilling a pledge to raise the historically low cap on refugee admissions set by his predecessor, Donald Trump. He left the cap for the federal government's current fiscal year, ending on September 30, at 15,000 – about one-fifth the level of admissions allowed before Trump took office in 2017.

Biden had pledged to boost the cap to 62,500 in the current fiscal year and to 125,000 in fiscal 2022. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) called Biden's failure to raise the number on Friday “utterly unacceptable” and contrary to the promises that caused people to vote for him. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich called the move “a shameful broken promise.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki issued a statement later on Friday, following the backlash, saying that Biden would announce a higher refugee cap by May 15. Biden has been consulting with advisers on how many refugees the US can accommodate through the end of September, she said, and given the “decimated” program that he inherited from Trump and the current border “burdens” on the Office of Refugee Settlement, “his initial goal of 62,500 seems unlikely.”



Biden has suffered politically on the immigration issue, with just 29% of Americans in a Quinnipiac poll saying they approve of his handling of the border. Illegal border crossings and apprehensions of unaccompanied minors have surged to record highs after Biden's policies encouraged families to send their children to the US with smugglers. 


Prior to Saturday, Psaki and other administration officials had steadfastly refused to admit there is a “crisis” on the southern border. It's not clear whether Biden has relented on use of that word or merely had a slip of the tongue in a candid moment with reporters, but his phrasing wasn't lost on Republicans.



The Biden administration has gone to great lengths not to call the border situation a crisis,” said Abigail Marone, press secretary for Senator Josh Hawley (R-Missouri). “President Biden just admitted it was a crisis.”



Source: RT
American President Joe Biden has finally referred to the record influx of illegal immigrants at the US-Mexico border as a “crisis” and acknowledged that the situation has undermined his plans to admit more refugees from around the world.


“The problem was that the refugee part was working on the crisis that ended up on the border with young people. We couldn't do two things at once,” Biden told reporters on Saturday after playing a round of golf in Wilmington, Delaware. “And now we're going to increase the numbers.”



Biden was assailed by immigration activists on Friday, when he issued an emergency declaration tweaking his administration's refugee program without fulfilling a pledge to raise the historically low cap on refugee admissions set by his predecessor, Donald Trump. He left the cap for the federal government's current fiscal year, ending on September 30, at 15,000 – about one-fifth the level of admissions allowed before Trump took office in 2017.

Biden had pledged to boost the cap to 62,500 in the current fiscal year and to 125,000 in fiscal 2022. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) called Biden's failure to raise the number on Friday “utterly unacceptable” and contrary to the promises that caused people to vote for him. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich called the move “a shameful broken promise.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki issued a statement later on Friday, following the backlash, saying that Biden would announce a higher refugee cap by May 15. Biden has been consulting with advisers on how many refugees the US can accommodate through the end of September, she said, and given the “decimated” program that he inherited from Trump and the current border “burdens” on the Office of Refugee Settlement, “his initial goal of 62,500 seems unlikely.”



Biden has suffered politically on the immigration issue, with just 29% of Americans in a Quinnipiac poll saying they approve of his handling of the border. Illegal border crossings and apprehensions of unaccompanied minors have surged to record highs after Biden's policies encouraged families to send their children to the US with smugglers. 


Prior to Saturday, Psaki and other administration officials had steadfastly refused to admit there is a “crisis” on the southern border. It's not clear whether Biden has relented on use of that word or merely had a slip of the tongue in a candid moment with reporters, but his phrasing wasn't lost on Republicans.



The Biden administration has gone to great lengths not to call the border situation a crisis,” said Abigail Marone, press secretary for Senator Josh Hawley (R-Missouri). “President Biden just admitted it was a crisis.”



Source: RT

Nuclear deal talks restart: Iran says it could enrich uranium to 90% purity if it wanted to, but is ‘not seeking weapon’ - Rouhani

Nuclear deal talks restart: Iran says it could enrich uranium to 90% purity if it wanted to, but is ‘not seeking weapon’ - Rouhani


(RT) The enrichment of weapons-grade uranium is within Iran's reach, but it chose to stick to a lower purity level because it does not want to make a bomb, President Hassan Rouhani has said as talks to revive the nuclear deal continue.


This week, Iran announced it would start enriching uranium to 60% purity after reporting an alleged Israeli sabotage attack at its Natanz nuclear facility, a move it said was intended to undermine indirect Iranian-US negotiations for a return to the 2015 agreement.

Speaking on Thursday, Rouhani dismissed US and European concerns about Iran moving toward weapons-grade uranium.

He also said Tehran would resume commitments under the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), once Western signatories uphold their side of the bargain.

“We could have done 60% [enrichment] before. Today we can do 90% enrichment if we want to, but we are not seeking a nuclear bomb,” he said during the inauguration of petrochemical projects.

Whenever you return to the JCPOA commitments, we will return to our obligations immediately and our enrichment will not be above 3.67% as allowed by the JCPOA,” he added, according to the Mehr news agency.

France, Britain and Germany have expressed “concern” at Iran's plans to achieve 60% enrichment and to install 1,000 additional nuclear centrifuges at Natanz.

The ‘E3’ trio signed the JCPOA in 2015, along with Russia, China, Iran, the EU and the US, before President Donald Trump announced America's unilateral withdrawal from the deal in 2018.

The deal's other signatories are mediating indirect talks for the agreement's revival between Iran and the US in Vienna, with discussions resuming on Thursday.

The parties have agreed to try and compile a list of US sanctions that could be lifted alongside nuclear commitments Iran could return to, according to Reuters. Washington has previously demanded Iran uphold its commitments under the nuclear deal before providing sanctions relief.

Under the JCPOA, Iran is not permitted to enrich uranium to a higher purity than 3.67%, while there are also limits on the centrifuges it can use and the amount of uranium it can stockpile.

The country began breaching its JCPOA commitments after Trump announced the US' withdrawal from the deal and imposed a “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions against Tehran.


Source

(RT) The enrichment of weapons-grade uranium is within Iran's reach, but it chose to stick to a lower purity level because it does not want to make a bomb, President Hassan Rouhani has said as talks to revive the nuclear deal continue.


This week, Iran announced it would start enriching uranium to 60% purity after reporting an alleged Israeli sabotage attack at its Natanz nuclear facility, a move it said was intended to undermine indirect Iranian-US negotiations for a return to the 2015 agreement.

Speaking on Thursday, Rouhani dismissed US and European concerns about Iran moving toward weapons-grade uranium.

He also said Tehran would resume commitments under the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), once Western signatories uphold their side of the bargain.

“We could have done 60% [enrichment] before. Today we can do 90% enrichment if we want to, but we are not seeking a nuclear bomb,” he said during the inauguration of petrochemical projects.

Whenever you return to the JCPOA commitments, we will return to our obligations immediately and our enrichment will not be above 3.67% as allowed by the JCPOA,” he added, according to the Mehr news agency.

France, Britain and Germany have expressed “concern” at Iran's plans to achieve 60% enrichment and to install 1,000 additional nuclear centrifuges at Natanz.

The ‘E3’ trio signed the JCPOA in 2015, along with Russia, China, Iran, the EU and the US, before President Donald Trump announced America's unilateral withdrawal from the deal in 2018.

The deal's other signatories are mediating indirect talks for the agreement's revival between Iran and the US in Vienna, with discussions resuming on Thursday.

The parties have agreed to try and compile a list of US sanctions that could be lifted alongside nuclear commitments Iran could return to, according to Reuters. Washington has previously demanded Iran uphold its commitments under the nuclear deal before providing sanctions relief.

Under the JCPOA, Iran is not permitted to enrich uranium to a higher purity than 3.67%, while there are also limits on the centrifuges it can use and the amount of uranium it can stockpile.

The country began breaching its JCPOA commitments after Trump announced the US' withdrawal from the deal and imposed a “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions against Tehran.


Source

Russia 'openly' threatening Ukraine with destruction says Kiev

Russia 'openly' threatening Ukraine with destruction says Kiev


(AFP) Ukraine on Thursday accused Russia of flagrantly threatening it with destruction and warned Moscow that any escalation of fighting would be met with a firm military response.

Tensions have risen once again in the long-simmering conflict in eastern Ukraine, where government forces have battled pro-Russian separatists since 2014.

Kiev and its Western allies this week have sounded the alarm over a huge build-up of Russian military personnel along Ukraine's northern and eastern borders, as well as on the Crimean peninsula annexed by Moscow in 2014.


During a press conference Thursday, Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said rhetoric in Moscow had reached a fever pitch with pundits and officials issuing "dehumanising" statements aimed at intimidating Kiev.

"They are openly threatening Ukraine with war and the destruction of Ukrainian statehood," Kuleba told reporters at a press conference with counterparts from former Soviet countries Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

"The red line of Ukraine is the state border. If Russia crosses the red line, then it will have to suffer," Kuleba added.

The visit to Ukraine from senior diplomats from the Baltic states is the latest show of support for Kiev from European countries and the United States, which has promised "unwavering" backing.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis reiterated that support Thursday telling reporters "Ukraine will never be on its own."

"We stand with you, we stand in solidarity," he said.

- 'We are not afraid' -

The display of solidarity follows US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreeing on Thursday to call on Russia to reduce its troops on the border with Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy was also expected to travel to Paris on Friday to discuss the rising tensions with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.

Kuleba's warning to Russia on Thursday comes after international observers to the conflict said late Wednesday that there had been a dramatic increase in recent violations that was hindering their work.

"The number of violations recorded over the past two weeks has reached its highest level this year and was three times higher than over the same period before," monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe said in a statement.

An uptick in fighting since the start of the year has seen Moscow and Kiev blaming each other for the rise in violence between government forces and separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine says the spate of clashes has cost the lives of at least 28 Ukrainian servicemen and left at least another 68 wounded since January.

It warned this week that 28,000 separatist fighters and more than 2,000 Russian military instructors and advisers are currently stationed in eastern Ukraine, while nearly 33,000 soldiers are deployed in Crimea.

Russia's defence ministry, however, said those troops were merely responding to "threatening" NATO actions by participating in military drills that would conclude in three weeks.

The uptick in fighting has left in tatters a ceasefire brokered last July that had brought relative calm to the conflict.

"We are not afraid. Ukraine itself is strong enough and has reliable friends to defend its statehood," Kuleba said Thursday.

"It is important to make Russia clearly understand that the consequences in the event of military adventures on its part will be very painful."

osh-jbr/acl/spm


(AFP) Ukraine on Thursday accused Russia of flagrantly threatening it with destruction and warned Moscow that any escalation of fighting would be met with a firm military response.

Tensions have risen once again in the long-simmering conflict in eastern Ukraine, where government forces have battled pro-Russian separatists since 2014.

Kiev and its Western allies this week have sounded the alarm over a huge build-up of Russian military personnel along Ukraine's northern and eastern borders, as well as on the Crimean peninsula annexed by Moscow in 2014.


During a press conference Thursday, Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said rhetoric in Moscow had reached a fever pitch with pundits and officials issuing "dehumanising" statements aimed at intimidating Kiev.

"They are openly threatening Ukraine with war and the destruction of Ukrainian statehood," Kuleba told reporters at a press conference with counterparts from former Soviet countries Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

"The red line of Ukraine is the state border. If Russia crosses the red line, then it will have to suffer," Kuleba added.

The visit to Ukraine from senior diplomats from the Baltic states is the latest show of support for Kiev from European countries and the United States, which has promised "unwavering" backing.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis reiterated that support Thursday telling reporters "Ukraine will never be on its own."

"We stand with you, we stand in solidarity," he said.

- 'We are not afraid' -

The display of solidarity follows US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreeing on Thursday to call on Russia to reduce its troops on the border with Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy was also expected to travel to Paris on Friday to discuss the rising tensions with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.

Kuleba's warning to Russia on Thursday comes after international observers to the conflict said late Wednesday that there had been a dramatic increase in recent violations that was hindering their work.

"The number of violations recorded over the past two weeks has reached its highest level this year and was three times higher than over the same period before," monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe said in a statement.

An uptick in fighting since the start of the year has seen Moscow and Kiev blaming each other for the rise in violence between government forces and separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine says the spate of clashes has cost the lives of at least 28 Ukrainian servicemen and left at least another 68 wounded since January.

It warned this week that 28,000 separatist fighters and more than 2,000 Russian military instructors and advisers are currently stationed in eastern Ukraine, while nearly 33,000 soldiers are deployed in Crimea.

Russia's defence ministry, however, said those troops were merely responding to "threatening" NATO actions by participating in military drills that would conclude in three weeks.

The uptick in fighting has left in tatters a ceasefire brokered last July that had brought relative calm to the conflict.

"We are not afraid. Ukraine itself is strong enough and has reliable friends to defend its statehood," Kuleba said Thursday.

"It is important to make Russia clearly understand that the consequences in the event of military adventures on its part will be very painful."

osh-jbr/acl/spm

(VIDEO) Jose Mourinho leads football tributes to Prince Philip, expresses ‘deep respect for Royal Family’

(VIDEO) Jose Mourinho leads football tributes to Prince Philip, expresses ‘deep respect for Royal Family’



Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho was among the first from the world of football to offer his condolences to the British Royal Family after the death of Prince Philip – husband of Queen Elizabeth II – at the age of 99. Buckingham Palace announced on Friday that Prince Philip – also known as the Duke of Edinburgh – had passed away. 

 Mourinho, speaking at a press conference before his host Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday broke off to speak of his sadness at the news. “I would like to express my condolences to the Royal Family, and to be very honest and say I have deep, deep, deep respect, the utmost respect to the Royal Family,” said the Portuguese. 

 “I believe that is not just this country that is going to be sharing these feelings because I’m not English, and I know that many like myself have the utmost respect.” 

 Also the English FA as well as a host of clubs took to social media to offer messages


Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho was among the first from the world of football to offer his condolences to the British Royal Family after the death of Prince Philip – husband of Queen Elizabeth II – at the age of 99. Buckingham Palace announced on Friday that Prince Philip – also known as the Duke of Edinburgh – had passed away. 

 Mourinho, speaking at a press conference before his host Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday broke off to speak of his sadness at the news. “I would like to express my condolences to the Royal Family, and to be very honest and say I have deep, deep, deep respect, the utmost respect to the Royal Family,” said the Portuguese. 

 “I believe that is not just this country that is going to be sharing these feelings because I’m not English, and I know that many like myself have the utmost respect.” 

 Also the English FA as well as a host of clubs took to social media to offer messages

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