No Picture

Saudi Telecoms authority says cyberattacks have targeted websites

Author: 
ARAB NEWS
Mon, 2017-01-23
ID: 
1485184712306775800

RIYADH: Ministry of Labor and Social Development spokesman Khaled Aba Al-Khail said the ministry and the Human Resources Development Fund’s (Hadaf) electronic systems were attacked by a virus, but they are coordinating with the National Center for Cybersecurity (NCC) at the Ministry of Interior to address the problem.
Both the ministry and Hadaf have taken necessary steps for the safety of their systems, he said, adding that no significant damage was done as a result of the attack.
An alert from the telecoms authority advised all parties to be vigilant for attacks from the Shamoon 2 variant of the virus that in 2012 crippled tens of thousands of computers at Saudi Aramco.
Aba Al-Khail said the two institutions are following all the needed technical procedures and taking all measures to protect their databases, stressing that they were able to deal with (such situations) in coordination with the National Center for Cybersecurity.
He said the virus infected only some websites and some peripheral systems for users, but the databases containing customers’ information were not affected.
He said that the ministry and Hadaf’s electronic systems would be gradually running normally soon.
Jubail-based Sadara Chemical Co., a joint venture firm owned by Saudi Aramco and US company Dow Chemical, said it had experienced a network disruption on Monday morning and was working to resolve the issue.
The company made the disclosure on its official Twitter account after the warning by Al-Ekhbariya TV, which cited the telecoms authority. It did not say whether the disruption was due to a cyberattack but said as a precautionary measure it had stopped all services related to the network.
Other companies in Jubail, the hub of the Saudi petrochemicals industry, also experienced network disruptions, according to sources who were not authorized to publicly discuss the matter.
Those companies sought to protect themselves from the virus by shutting down their networks, said the sources, who declined to identify specific firms.
• With inputs from Reuters

Main category: 

No Picture

The Collapse Of The Left’s Great Con

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

The Left is not just in disarray- – it is in complete collapse because the working class has awakened to the Left’s betrayal and abandonment of the working class in favor of building personal wealth and power.

The source of the angry angst rippling through the Democratic Party’s progressive camp is not President Trump–it’s the complete collapse of the Left globally. To understand this collapse, we turn (once again) to Marx’s profound understanding of the state and capitalism.

We turn not to the cultural Marxism that is passingly familiar to Americans, but to Marx’s core economic analysis, which as Sartre noted, is only taught to discredit it.

Cultural Marxism draws as much from Engels as Marx. In today’s use, cultural Marxism describes the overt erosion of traditional values–the family, community, religious faith, property rights and limited central government–in favor of rootless Cosmopolitanism and an expansive, all-powerful central state that replaces community, faith and property rights with statist control mechanisms that enforce dependence on the state and a mindset that the individual is guilty of anti-state thinking until proven innocent by the state’s own rules.

Marx’s critique of capitalism is economic: capital and labor are in eternal conflict. In Marx’s analysis, capital has the upper hand until the internal contradictions of capitalism consume capital’s control from the inside.

Capital not only dominates labor, it also dominates the state. Thus the state-cartel version of capitalism that is dominant globally is not a coincidence or an outlier–it is the the only possible outcome of a system in which capital is the dominant force.

To counter this dominance of capital, social democratic political movements arose to wrest some measure of control out of the hands of capital in favor of labor. Social democratic movements were greatly aided by the near-collapse of the first version of cartel-capitalism in The Great Depression, when writing down the bad debt would have brought down the entire banking system and crippled capitalism’s core function of growing capital via expansion of debt.

The decimated owners of capital realized that they faced a bleak choice: either resist and be toppled by anarchism or Communism, or cede some of their wealth and power to the social democratic parties in exchange for social, political and economic stability.

Broadly speaking, the Left favored labor (whose rights were protected by the state) and the Right favored capital (also protected by the state).

But over the past 25 years of globalized neoliberalism, social democratic movements have abandoned labor to embrace the self-serving wealth and power offered by capital. The essence of globalization is: labor is commoditized as mobile capital is free to roam the globe for the lowest cost labor. In contrast, labor is far less mobile, and unable to shift as fluidly and frictionlessly as capital to exploit scarcities and opportunities.

Neoliberalism–the opening of markets and borders–enables capital to effortlessly crush labor. The social democrats, in embracing open borders, have institutionalized an open immigration that shreds the scarcity value of domestic labor in favor of lower cost immigrant labor that serves capital’s desire for lower costs.

Globalization and neoliberal financial / immigration policies signify the collapse of the Left and the victory of capital. Now capital completely dominates the state and its cronyist structures–political parties, lobbying, campaign contributions, charitable foundations operating as pay-for-play cash vacuums, and all the other features of cartel-state capitalism.

To mask the collapse of the Left’s economic defense of labor, the Left’s apologists and PR machine have substituted social justice movements for economic opportunities to acquire economic security and capital. This has succeeded brilliantly, as tens of millions of self-described “progressives” completely bought the left’s Great Con that “social justice” campaigns on behalf of marginalized social groups were the defining feature of Progressive Social Democratic movements.

This diversionary sleight-of-hand embrace of economically neutered “social justice” campaigns masked the fact that social democratic parties everywhere have thrown labor into the churning propellers of globalization, open immigration and neoliberal financial policies–all of which benefit mobile capital, which has engorged itself on the abandonment of labor by the Left.

Meanwhile, the fat-cats of the Left have engorged themselves on capital’s largesse in exchange for their treachery. Bill and Hillary Clinton’s $200 million in “earnings” come to mind, as do countless other examples of personal aggrandizement by self-proclaimed “defenders” of labor.

Please examine this chart, which depicts labor’s share of GDP (economic output), and tell me the Left hasn’t abandoned labor in favor of personal wealth and power.

The Left is not just in disarray – it is in complete collapse because the working class has awakened to the Left’s betrayal and abandonment of the working class in favor of building personal wealth and power. Anyone who denies this is still in the fatal grip of the Left’s Great Con.

The post The Collapse Of The Left’s Great Con appeared first on crude-oil.top.




No Picture

Saudi businessman congratulates Trump in full-page advert, stirs mixed reactions

Author: 
MOHAMMED AL-SULAMI
Mon, 2017-01-23
ID: 
1485183467576653500

JEDDAH: To console or congratulate others through newspaper advertisements is a common practice in Arab societies, especially in Saudi Arabia. Ad sales agents eagerly await major events, such as national days or royal appointments, to help them meet, if not exceed, their revenue targets.
But when a Saudi businessman recently published a full page advert in a local newspaper to congratulate US President Donald Trump on his inauguration, it certainly proved unexpected, with many Saudis resorting to social media to express their surprise and mixed emotions.
Businessman Muslat Abu Theneen Al-Sobaie took out the unusual advertisement on the last page of Al-Jazira, one of the most popular local Saudi newspapers.
Speaking to Arab News, Al-Sobaie confirmed that he was just expressing his own point of view when he said in the ad: “I congratulate Your Excellency on the occasion of assuming the leadership of the US and wish you and the friendly American people every success and prosperity during your term.”
Al-Sobaie also told Arab News that the ad marked an appreciation and personal admiration for Trump, specifically “his positions and promises he vowed to address Iranian terrorist expansion in the Arab region and his promises to build an international consensus to fight terrorism.”
The Saudi businessman said that “the promises made by President Trump toward the afflicted Syrian people were what made me rush (to congratulate him). The whole world ignored the injustice inflicted on the Syrian people and it also ignored the Iranian expansion in the Arab region in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. We hope that President Trump keeps his promises and puts an end to this (Iranian) expansion in order to deter the mullahs of Iran from implementing their plan to destroy the Arab world.”
Al-Sobaie underlined that he did not take out the advertisement for the fame, but that he merely wanted to greet the president and congratulate him on taking office.
He stressed that if he wanted fame, he would have gone to the international media, but said he only wanted to convey his personal point of view and in a Saudi newspaper.
After the ad was published, many turned to social media to comment, with some tweets mocking the advertisement, given it was in an Arabic-speaking newspaper that is not circulated in the US.
Some social media said they considered Al-Subaie to be showing off. But Al-Subaie refuted these claims, saying that if he wanted to boast or brag with such ad, there are many other ways that could help him reach that goal.

Main category: 

No Picture

For The First Time Ever Russia Beats Saudi Arabia As China’s Top Oil Supplier

While OPEC members were infighting over crude production and export quotas, posturing with temporary production cuts (just so the Saudis could get a six month reprieve during which it clears out a massive internal crude glut), Russia was busy capturing market share, and according to overnight Chinese data, Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as China’s top oil supplier last year for the first time ever boosted by robust demand from independent Chinese “teapot” refineries.

Russia boosted oil exports to China by 24% from 2015 to 52.5 million metric tons, or 1.05 million barrels per day, according to data released Monday by the General Administration of Customs, cited by Bloomberg. In a blow to Ridyah’s ambitions, the Middle Eastern kingdom slipped to second place, shipping 51 million tons, or 1.02 million barrels per day, little changed from a year earlier.

For December, Russia also held the top spot with supplies up 4.8 percent from the same month a year earlier at 1.19 million bpd. Meanwhile Saudi sales dropped nearly 20 percent from a year earlier to 841,820 bpd, data from the Chinese General Administration of Customs showed.

Total crude oil imports in December hit a record as refiners stepped up purchases ahead of a deal by oil-producing countries to reduce supply and bolster prices, Reuters reports. For the whole of 2016, imports gained nearly 910,000 bpd over 2015, the strongest annual growth on record and mostly driven by teapot buying. While Saudi Arabia counts China’s state oil firms as backbone clients through long-term supply contracts, China’s independent refineries, called “teapots” due to their smaller processing capacity, saw Russia as a more flexible, and perhaps cheaper, supplier.

Over the past year in which China’s growing demand has proven to be the holy grail for oil exporters, “Russia has been tussling with Saudi Arabia for dominance in the Asian nation amid efforts by oil producers to defend market share during a worldwide glut.”

Chinese demand, much of which has been to fill its strategic petroleum resreve, has been seen as a key to a sustainable recovery in prices, while benchmark rates are climbing from the worst crash in a generation amid output cuts by major producing nations. China last year bought the commodity at the fastest pace since 2010 amid growing appetite from private refiners, known as teapots, according to Bloomberg.

The proximity of Kozmino port, from where Russia ships Siberian crude, to Qingdao, where teapots typically receive their supplies, has helped boost cargoes after the processors were allowed to use overseas oil in 2015. “With teapots’ import growth set to continue in 2017 and the expected expansion of Sino-Russia pipeline by year-end, Russia is likely to aim for the top spot again this year,” said Sun.

“Saudis have always dominated the top supplier spot to China,” said Amy Sun, an analyst with Shanghai-based commodities researcher ICIS-China. “High imports from Russia mostly can be attributed to growing demand from teapots and strategic reserves purchase.” For the teapot plants, authorized to import crude oil for the first time in late 2015, shipments from Russia’s eastern ports are easier to process, coming in smaller cargo sizes at a closer proximity.

Looking at 2017, Russia may be able to maintain the top spot as it expands exports of its East Siberian-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline blend crude. Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, is set to shoulder the lion’s share of supply cuts agreed to last year by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC producers. Should the Saudis lose even more market share to Russia, it is virtually certain that the kingdom will promptly nullify the Vienna deal, as it scrambles to regain China’s top supplier status in what will soon be a matter of national pride.

“OPEC cuts means Gulf producers take a hit in terms of market share, even though most of their cuts are to Europe and US …Russia has an ESPO expansion coming up as well as supplies via Kazakhstan earmarked for China,” said Michal Meidan of consultancy Energy Aspects.

Angola was the third-largest supplier in 2016, exporting 43.7 million tons, or about 875,000 barrels per day, 13 percent higher from last year, today’s customs data showed. China’s total crude imports climbed 13.6 percent last year to 381 million tons, according to customs data released on Jan. 13. China also boosted imports from South American producers last year, with growth of 37.6 percent from Brazil and 26 percent from Venezuela, the data showed.

Finally, imports from Iran expanded nearly 18 percent last year to a record 624,260 bpd, as Chinese state oil firms started to lift barrels from their investments in Iranian oilfields in addition to term supply agreements.

The post For The First Time Ever Russia Beats Saudi Arabia As China’s Top Oil Supplier appeared first on crude-oil.top.


No Picture

For The First Time Ever Russia Beats Saudi Arabia As China’s Top Oil Supplier

While OPEC members were infighting over crude production and export quotas, posturing with temporary production cuts (just so the Saudis could get a six month reprieve during which it clears out a massive internal crude glut), Russia was busy capturing market share, and according to overnight Chinese data, Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as China’s top oil supplier last year for the first time ever boosted by robust demand from independent Chinese “teapot” refineries.

Russia boosted oil exports to China by 24% from 2015 to 52.5 million metric tons, or 1.05 million barrels per day, according to data released Monday by the General Administration of Customs, cited by Bloomberg. In a blow to Ridyah’s ambitions, the Middle Eastern kingdom slipped to second place, shipping 51 million tons, or 1.02 million barrels per day, little changed from a year earlier.

For December, Russia also held the top spot with supplies up 4.8 percent from the same month a year earlier at 1.19 million bpd. Meanwhile Saudi sales dropped nearly 20 percent from a year earlier to 841,820 bpd, data from the Chinese General Administration of Customs showed.

Total crude oil imports in December hit a record as refiners stepped up purchases ahead of a deal by oil-producing countries to reduce supply and bolster prices, Reuters reports. For the whole of 2016, imports gained nearly 910,000 bpd over 2015, the strongest annual growth on record and mostly driven by teapot buying. While Saudi Arabia counts China’s state oil firms as backbone clients through long-term supply contracts, China’s independent refineries, called “teapots” due to their smaller processing capacity, saw Russia as a more flexible, and perhaps cheaper, supplier.

Over the past year in which China’s growing demand has proven to be the holy grail for oil exporters, “Russia has been tussling with Saudi Arabia for dominance in the Asian nation amid efforts by oil producers to defend market share during a worldwide glut.”

Chinese demand, much of which has been to fill its strategic petroleum resreve, has been seen as a key to a sustainable recovery in prices, while benchmark rates are climbing from the worst crash in a generation amid output cuts by major producing nations. China last year bought the commodity at the fastest pace since 2010 amid growing appetite from private refiners, known as teapots, according to Bloomberg.

The proximity of Kozmino port, from where Russia ships Siberian crude, to Qingdao, where teapots typically receive their supplies, has helped boost cargoes after the processors were allowed to use overseas oil in 2015. “With teapots’ import growth set to continue in 2017 and the expected expansion of Sino-Russia pipeline by year-end, Russia is likely to aim for the top spot again this year,” said Sun.

“Saudis have always dominated the top supplier spot to China,” said Amy Sun, an analyst with Shanghai-based commodities researcher ICIS-China. “High imports from Russia mostly can be attributed to growing demand from teapots and strategic reserves purchase.” For the teapot plants, authorized to import crude oil for the first time in late 2015, shipments from Russia’s eastern ports are easier to process, coming in smaller cargo sizes at a closer proximity.

Looking at 2017, Russia may be able to maintain the top spot as it expands exports of its East Siberian-Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline blend crude. Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, is set to shoulder the lion’s share of supply cuts agreed to last year by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC producers. Should the Saudis lose even more market share to Russia, it is virtually certain that the kingdom will promptly nullify the Vienna deal, as it scrambles to regain China’s top supplier status in what will soon be a matter of national pride.

“OPEC cuts means Gulf producers take a hit in terms of market share, even though most of their cuts are to Europe and US …Russia has an ESPO expansion coming up as well as supplies via Kazakhstan earmarked for China,” said Michal Meidan of consultancy Energy Aspects.

Angola was the third-largest supplier in 2016, exporting 43.7 million tons, or about 875,000 barrels per day, 13 percent higher from last year, today’s customs data showed. China’s total crude imports climbed 13.6 percent last year to 381 million tons, according to customs data released on Jan. 13. China also boosted imports from South American producers last year, with growth of 37.6 percent from Brazil and 26 percent from Venezuela, the data showed.

Finally, imports from Iran expanded nearly 18 percent last year to a record 624,260 bpd, as Chinese state oil firms started to lift barrels from their investments in Iranian oilfields in addition to term supply agreements.

The post For The First Time Ever Russia Beats Saudi Arabia As China’s Top Oil Supplier appeared first on crude-oil.top.


No Picture

Key Senators McCain, Graham Back Tillerson As Secretary Of State

Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has won the approval of two key Republican senators, John McCain and Lindsey Graham, just before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee votes on Tillerson’s nomination on Monday. “After careful consideration, and much discussion with Mr. Tillerson, we have decided to support his nomination to be secretary of state,” Senators John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said in a joint statement on Sunday. “Though we still have concerns about…