Just a day after Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that the OPEC/non-OPEC production cut pact was working and that there was no need to make immediate additional moves, an energy minister official told Russian reporters on Friday that Moscow was ready to review proposals from partners in the deal, including changes to production cuts. On Thursday, Minister Novak told Reuters in an interview that the output cut deal was working to reduce global oversupply and price volatility, and there was no need to make immediate additional…
Back in March, Elon Musk made a bet: he said that Tesla could install an energy storage system in Australia that would help prevent blackouts like the one that hit Southern Australia last year—and it could install it and switch it on in just 100 days. Now, Tesla has announced it is ready to install “the world’s largest lithium-ion battery storage project.” According to a news release from the company, the project will be completed by December this year, which means it will probably take more than 100 days—but…
Crude oil production at the giant Libra field in the pre-salt layer of Brazil’s shelf will start later than initially planned due to problems with the installation of equipment, the head of a state energy company told media. Ibsen Flores Lima, president of Pre-Sal Petroleo, added that initially, production was scheduled to start before this month’s end. Libra, with recoverable reserves estimated at between 8 and 12 billion barrels of crude, is operated by a consortium including local state major Petrobras, France’s Total,…
Militant anarchists continued violent protests in Hamburg for the second day as the G20 summit kicked off in the city. According to local press, at least 45 people have been detained and 159 police officers have been wounded in clashes. For the second day, police had to resort to water cannon to disperse protesters while dozens of were set on fire in the suburb of Altona.
As Reuters adds “for the 1,000 hard-left militants who wreaked havoc on the streets of Hamburg, German Chancellor Angela Merkel could not have chosen a better location to hold the G20 summit.” That’s because the dense, urban environment allows them to disperse and hide easily, and the city is full symbols of the wealth they detest – from the gleaming 800 million euro ($913 million) Elbphilharmonie concert hall to the shipyards that build luxury yachts.
As the July 7-8 summit started on Friday, Black Bloc anarchists and other anti-capitalist protesters sat in groups on main intersections, blocking streets and bridges leading to the summit venue as well as a road used by trucks at Hamburg Port. On Thursday night, they hurled beer bottles, blocked roads using trash bins and set cars on fire.
On Friday morning, G20 protesters staged a sit-in demonstration and blocked a road in Hamburg. Police said that they tried to urge the protesters to disperse peacefully, but then deployed water cannon to clear the road.
A Black Bloc activist who gave her name as Noura blamed police intransigence for the violence. “The police represent a government that says it is open and tolerant,” said the 27-year-old, who came from the western town of Krefeld and was trying to talk male friends out of hurling beer bottles at riot police.
live police r3move protesters against g20 Hamburg https://t.co/Ym0XFep691
— Lizzie Phelan (@LizziePhelan) July 7, 2017
“We just want them to listen to us and take our ideas seriously,” she said. “How do they want these young people not to be angry when they dismiss them all as a bunch of violent thugs?”
— Onlinemagazin (@OnlineMagazin) July 7, 2017
The Black Bloc movement, which gained prominence in the 1980s with violent protests against nuclear power and squatter evacuations, wants to end capitalism and replace it with a libertarian system void of state power and money.
Hamburg locals watched the violence unfold from their balconies on Thursday night, as police officers in full riot gear chased groups of mostly teenage Black Bloc activists who splintered when they saw the police approach, hiding in alleys on a hill on the northern bank of the Elbe River.
Several Black Bloc youth responded with “Get lost!” when approached by journalists, fearing that reporters wearing helmets were undercover police.
Meanwhile, Hamburg police requested reinforcements following overnight clashes in the city, according to Germany’s Welt newspaper, citing police officials. Berlin and Baden-Württemberg police units deployed 200 more officers each in addition to the 20,000 or so already providing security during the G20 summit. A police helicopter was nearly hit by a pistol flare light on Friday, the Hamburg police tweeted. At one point, the Hamburg police had to deny that the local army was getting involved, tweeting that “we are receiving no support from the army at the G20. There are clear constitutional limits on how we operate.”
— Polizei Hamburg (@PolizeiHamburg) July 7, 2017
The comment was prompted by a photo which showed armed vehicles belonging to the Bundeswehr (Germany army) moving towards Altona.
— Christoph Löffler (@ch_loe_foto) July 7, 2017
Subsequently, Spiegel reported that the German army was transporting materials on orders from the police.
As a testament to the severity of the local protest, First Lady Melania Trump was stuck inside her guesthouse in Hamburg her spokeswoman told German news agency DPA, which was confirmed by US sources.
Police won’t clear @FLOTUS to leave residence in Hamburg right now b/c of protests, her spox confirms: “”It’s unfortunate.”
— Hallie Jackson (@HallieJackson) July 7, 2017
Melania Trump acknowledged the G20 protests earlier on Friday, saying she hopes everyone stays safe.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) July 7, 2017
The first lady was due to attend an event for the spouses of world leaders, organized by the husband of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Joachim Sauer.
* * *
However, the most striking feature of the Hamburg violence was the pervasive attacks on cars by leftist protesters who set several cars on fire in Altona, several police vehicles also were vandalized, according to Hamburg police, who tweeted the images of police vans with black paint and smashed windows.
— Emma Anderson (@emkanderson) July 7, 2017
— Bundespolizei Nord (@bpol_nord) July 7, 2017
A video recorded in the neighborhood of Altona on Friday morning showed what looked like a war zone.
— Stefan S. (@StefanSkibbe) July 7, 2017
Twitter was flooded with pictures and videos showing burning cars in the streets of Altona.
— Agente Truffaut (@AgenteTruffaut) July 7, 2017
— Emma Anderson (@emkanderson) July 7, 2017
It wasn’t just cars: The Local’s Emma Anderson reported that she was walking through the places hit by rioting. She has seen a bank with its windows smashed in, boarded up shops, and more burned out cars.
— Emma Anderson (@emkanderson) July 7, 2017
— Emma Anderson (@emkanderson) July 7, 2017
— Emma Anderson (@emkanderson) July 7, 2017
With the summit set to continue into Saturday, it remains to be seen if the local police will be able to maintain peace and order on its own, or if this will be the first time ever Germany has been forced to call in the army to prevent violent protesters from overrunning the G-20 summit.
Meanwhile, for most of the Hamburg population, among the chaos the following picture summarizes the mood best: “I’m a local and I just want to go to the supermarket’
Egypt has increased electricity prices by over 40 per cent as it continues to work towards its plan of lifting all subsidies by the end of 2021-2022, according to the Washington Post. Electricity Minister Mohammed Shaker said that household bills would rise between 18 per cent and 42 per cent as a result of the increase. This is the latest in a series of austerity measures the country has taken, having last week also cut fuel subsidies for the second time since November, doubling the price of cooking gas cylinders. The adoption of a value added tax and the government’s flotation of the currency have resulted in living costs soaring. Read: Egypt increases fuel prices, reduces subsidies The cuts come […]
Update: The meeting seemed more cordial than many hoped for…
— WSVN 7 News (@wsvn) July 7, 2017
* * *
Following their uneventful first ‘handshake’, Presidents Trump and Putin are about to begin their first meeting. While last night’s media blitz was a distraction, there are five key things to watch for as the meeting plays out…
As The Hill reports, the encounter takes place as investigators search for any evidence of collusion between Trump’s 2016 campaign and the Kremlin. No such evidence has yet been uncovered but the backdrop makes the Putin meeting politically perilous for the president.
What will Trump say about Russian meddling?
U.S. intelligence services are adamant that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. Fired FBI director James Comey told Congress last month he had “no doubt” Russia was behind hacks of the Democratic National Committee and of high-level members of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. But Trump has been much more equivocal on the issue, which arose again during a news conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda on Thursday.
In response to a question about election interference from Hallie Jackson of NBC News, Trump said: “I agree, I think it was Russia — but I think it was probably other people and/or countries. And I see nothing wrong with that statement. Nobody really knows. Nobody really knows for sure.”
The problem for Trump is that failure to raise the issue with Putin will only fuel criticism from his domestic political enemies. They already say he is too closely aligned with the Russian president. The Kremlin would, presumably, be happy to inform the media if Trump decides against talking about the topic at all. Trump has also criticized former President Obama in recent days — including at Thursday’s news conference — for not doing enough to counter Russia’s efforts last year. But the smart money is on Trump raising the issue briefly rather than making it the centerpiece of the meeting.
The president, who believes that he is not given enough credit for his win last November, is likely to balk at saying anything that might seem to buttress his critics’ case.
Who will be in the meeting?
The meeting will reportedly be a small one, including only Trump and Putin, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, and two interpreters. Assuming there are no last minute changes, that means there will be no place for Fiona Hill, a White House advisor who is more hawkish than some other Trump confidants when it comes to Russia. Hill is the co-author of a critical biography of Putin, “Operative in the Kremlin.” There has been speculation that some within the White House orbit were pushing for Hill to be included in the meeting, in part to counter suggestions that it would be an overly chummy affair.
Tillerson is the recipient of a medal from Russia — the Order of Friendship, which he received in 2013. The honor was an acknowledgement of the extensive involvement he had with Russia in his former job, as CEO of energy giant ExxonMobil.
What will the body language be like?
Trump and Putin’s meeting will last approximately 30 minutes and there is no suggestion that the duo will hold a news conference, or even answer any questions from reporters. But any footage of the two together will be closely scrutinized.
— Dan Linden (@DanLinden) July 7, 2017
Those visuals are likely to be the most memorable element of the encounter. It will be trouble for Trump if he appears too affable with Putin. Images taken by a Russian photographer of an Oval Office meeting that Trump held with Lavrov and the Kremlin’s ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak in May showed the three men laughing together. That was unhelpful enough in itself for the White House — and only became more so when it was reported that Trump had disclosed classified information during the meeting.
At other times, the body language between Trump and other international leaders has been seen as frosty — most obviously during a White House visit by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in March.
On Friday, many of the president’s supporters would welcome a little coolness in the body language between him and Putin.
What will Putin do?
The Russian president has his own agenda going into the meeting, and it will likely include calling on Trump to ease or remove sanctions imposed on Moscow for its actions in Ukraine, and for its alleged election meddling. It is possible that Putin could call for the return of two Russian facilities in the U.S. — one on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and another near New York City — that were closed in the waning days of the Obama administration. Trump’s leeway may end up being constrained. The Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill before the Fourth of July recess that would give Congress the power to review any easing of sanctions on Russia, ratcheting up pressure on the House to do likewise.
Substantive issues aside, plenty of people will be curious as to how Putin, a former KGB officer, will treat Trump. The Russian leader once brought his large black Labrador to a meeting with Merkel, who is afraid of dogs. With Trump, most people expect Putin to be more inclined to flatter and cajole rather than threaten.
Any way forward on Syria?
Most experts believe this meeting will be more about each man taking the measure of the other, rather than reaching any substantive agreements. That said, in addition to Ukraine and sanctions, the other big issue that is virtually certain to come up is Syria. Prior to taking office, Trump argued that the U.S. and Russia might be able to create an informal alliance of convenience to “knock the hell out of ISIS.”
In April, however, Trump ordered a missile strike on a Syrian airfield after a chemical attack for which President Bashar Assad’s forces were held responsible. Russia is allied with Assad.
Earlier this week, Tillerson opened the door to establishing “joint mechanisms” with Russia, possibly including no-fly zones, with the goal of laying “a foundation for progress on the settlement of Syria’s political future.”
Can the two men find any way forward there?
A key piece of one of the most expensive liquefied natural gas projects in history may have developed a physical crack, and it could be costing billions.
The post Investors are afraid there’s a multibillion-dollar crack in one of the world’s giant energy projects appeared first on crude-oil.news.
Last night we asked a very simple question about why the DNC has failed to cooperate with Russia investigators by handing over their infamous email server to either the FBI or Robert Mueller’s team (see: DNC Server: Most Critical Evidence To Proving “Russian Hacking” Is Being Withheld From Mueller, Why?). Afterall, if Russia did “hack the election”, as we’ve been told 24/7 by CNN going on 8 months now, then the evidence could very well be on that server. Which prompted us to ask this very simple question:
All of which brings us back to our original question: If the DNC is in possession of actual tangible evidence that could prove once and for all that Russians hacked their servers and attempted to undermine the campaign of Hillary Clinton, why not share that evidence with investigators and enjoy the blissful vindication that its public release would provide?
We concluded by wondering whether the stonewalling from the DNC just might have something to do with this “purely coincidental’ meeting between Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton on a tarmac in Phoenix and/or Loretta Lynch’s ‘assurances’ to members of the Clinton campaign that the FBI’s investigation (or, “matter” if you prefer) of Hillary Clinton “wouldn’t go too far“? Afterall, if evidence of “Russian hacking” were on that server, so to would there be evidence of Lynch’s transgressions…if they existed, of course.
But we’re not the only ones wondering whether there’s more to the Lynch story. According to an article in the New York Post, some testimony that Lynch offered under oath before the Senate Judiciary Committee last year could come back to haunt her. In that testimony, Lynch said that she had “not spoken to anyone on either the campaign or transition or any staff members affiliated with them.”
That said, and as we’ve reported before, that statement seems to contradict reports that Lynch personally assured members of Clinton’s campaign, potentially Amanda Renteria, that the FBI’s investigation “wouldn’t go too far“…more from the Post:
When former Attorney General Loretta Lynch testified last year about her decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information, she swore she never talked to “anyone” on the Clinton campaign. That categorical denial, though made in response to a series of questions about whether she spoke with Clintonworld about remaining attorney general if Hillary won the election, could come back to haunt her.
The Senate Judiciary Committee, which has launched a bipartisan investigation into Lynch for possible obstruction of justice, recently learned of the existence of a document indicating Lynch assured the political director of Clinton’s campaign she wouldn’t let FBI agents “go too far” in probing the former secretary of state.
Lynch’s lawyer says she is cooperating with committee investigators, who are seeking answers to several questions, as well as relevant documents. Among other things, they want to know if she or any of her Justice Department staff “ever communicated with Amanda Renteria,” who headed Clinton’s political operations during the campaign. Renteria, who has been identified in the document as the senior Clinton campaign aide with whom Lynch privately communicated, has also been asked to testify.
And then there is that inconvenient Comey testimony in which the former FBI director says that he was instructed by Lynch to refer to the Clinton investigation as a “matter” rather than what it actually was, an investigation.
Now, as The Post points out, there are new developments which would suggest that Comey confronted Lynch about the alleged communication with Amanda Renteria and promptly asked to leave.
And it will press her to explain the discrepancy — along with why she reportedly asked former FBI Director James Comey to leave her office when he confronted her with the document.
And then there is that meeting with Bill Clinton on that Phoenix tarmac that just happened to get noticed by a local reporter who just happened to be on scene.
After all the drama around the Clinton email investigation, which included multiple people being offered immunity and the revelation of what appeared to be numerous federal crimes committed by several people on Clinton’s staff, wouldn’t it be ironic if Obama’s Attorney General were the only one to take the fall? Scandal free administration indeed…
The post Loretta Lynch Plot Thickens As New Details Emerge Of Her Dealings With The Hillary Campaign appeared first on crude-oil.news.
Thousands of Israeli ground units have been carrying out large-scale military exercises in the occupied Golan Heights in preparation for a war on the Gaza Strip, Yedioth Ahronoth reported. The website stated that the training, which started earlier this week and ended yesterday, involved soldiers from units 50, 931 and 932 as well as the mobile unit of the occupation army. According to the Israeli website, the army documented the training using cameras mounted on helmets and aircraft. Read: 3 years on from Gaza war, homes still in ruins During the training, the troops simulated a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, which would be the largest since the Israeli attack on the Strip in 2014. The Nahal Brigade, whose […]
WASHINGTON (Alliance News) – Crude oil futures tumbled Friday morning as the dollar …The post <b>Crude Oil</b> Slides As US Production Remains Robust appeared first on crude-oil.news.