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Friday, September 30, 2016

Q4 risk to oil prices

Sun Oct 2, 2016 | 9:36 PM EDT Oil prices fall despite planned OPEC output cut A Texaco service station displays the price of petrol and diesel close to the financial centre of London January 30, 2016. REUTERS/Paul Hackett A Texaco service station displays the price of petrol and diesel close to the financial centre of London January 30, 2016. Reuters/Paul Hackett Oil prices fall despite planned OPEC output cut By Henning Gloystein | SINGAPORE Oil prices fell away from $50 per barrel on Monday despite last week's agreement by exporters to cut output, with traders doubting the step was big enough to rein in production that has exceeded consumption for the better part of three years. Brent crude futures LCOc1 were trading down 35 cents, or 0.7 percent, at $49.84 per barrel at 0053 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures CLc1 were down 40 cents, or 0.83 percent, at $47.84 a barrel. Oil trading activity will be limited on Monday as public holidays in China and Germany mean Asia's and Europe's biggest markets are shut. ADVERTISEMENT . The price falls came despite last week's agreement by members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to cut output to between 32.5 million barrels per day (bpd) and 33.0 million bpd from about 33.5 million bpd, with details to be finalised at OPEC's policy meeting in November. Traders said prices went lower despite the announced cuts as overproduction remained in place for the time being, and because the planned intervention might not be sufficient to bring production back to, or below, consumption. "OPEC has created its own Q4 risk to oil prices ... In raising expectations of a November deal to cut production, it also risks a steep price decline should it fail to achieve its goal of cutting output back to less than 33 million bpd," Barclays said in a note to clients. The market scepticism stems from the fact that OPEC production has so far chased new records for much of this year as rivaling members like Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq are reluctant to give away market share. As a result, OPEC's oil output is likely to reach 33.60 million bpd in September from a revised 33.53 million bpd in August, its highest in recent history, a Reuters survey found on Friday. Despite that, the British bank said that it did not expect a repeat of the price crash seen late last year after a rally earlier in 2015. "We think oil prices, and commodities more generally, will avoid the Q4 price crash that has become a feature of the market in recent years," it said, pointing to an improving Asian economic growth outlook, falling oil supplies and rising investor interest in oil markets as main support factors for this year. (Reporting by Henning Gloystein; Editing by Joseph Radford)

Saudi billionaire sells Toronto Four Seasons to Pakistani-American

Sun Oct 2, 2016 | 7:36 AM EDT Saudi's Kingdom Holding sells Four Seasons Toronto for C$225 million Saudi's Kingdom Holding sells Four Seasons Toronto Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Holding 4280.SE, the investment firm owned by billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, said on Sunday it had sold the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto for a gross price of 225 million Canadian dollars ($171.8 million). The property was sold to family investment vehicles related to Shahid Khan, Pakistani-American founder of automobile parts maker Flex-N-Gate Group and owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars American football team and London's Fulham Football Club. The sale occurred as a weak Canadian dollar increases interest among foreign investors eager to diversify their holdings with Canadian assets including real estate. ADVERTISEMENT . Canada's KingSett Real Estate Growth LP and InnVest REIT INN_u.TO bought 80 percent of another iconic downtown Toronto hotel, the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, for C$186.5 million early last year. Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, in which Kingdom Holding owns 47.5 percent alongside a similar stake held by Bill Gates’ Cascade Investment, will continue to operate the Four Seasons Toronto. (Reporting by Andrew Torchia; Editing by Toby Chopra) ===================== Saudi billionaire sells Toronto Four Seasons to Pakistani-American By AFP Published: October 2, 2016 73 SHARES Share Tweet Email Kingdom Holding Company sold the hotel for 225 million Canadian dollars to Shahid Khan. PHOTO: REUTERS Kingdom Holding Company sold the hotel for 225 million Canadian dollars to Shahid Khan. PHOTO: REUTERS Kingdom Holding Company sold the hotel for 225 million Canadian dollars to Shahid Khan. PHOTO: REUTERS PHOTO: Reuters . RIYADH: Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s company has sold the luxury Four Seasons hotel in Toronto for $170 million, it said on Sunday. Inside the world’s most expensive hotel suite Kingdom Holding Company said it sold the hotel for 225 million Canadian dollars (152 million euros) to Shahid Khan, the Pakistani-American businessman who founded auto parts maker Flex-N-Gate and owns English Premier League club Fulham. KHC said it had made a profit of 17 million Canadian dollars from the sale of the hotel, which it bought four years ago for 200 million Canadian dollars. Saudi billionaire prince trolls Trump on Twitter “This transaction marks yet another success for KHC’s value realisation strategy from our high-quality hospitality investments,” said Prince Alwaleed. “We are particularly pleased to be passing ownership of this property to Mr. Shahid Khan who is known for his passion for the Four Seasons brand,” he said in a statement. 30 months on, Saudi $1.5b gift to Pakistan unspent “Kingdom continues to be a stakeholder in this asset through our interest in the management company Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts which will continue to operate the hotel.” Prince Alwaleed owns 95 percent of KHC, a vast global investor with shares in the Euro Disney theme park, Apple, News Corporation and the US banking giant, Citigroup. The company also owns a string of luxury hotels including the George V in Paris.

SA Weather: Whyalla residents angry after failing to get blackout relief grants

SA Weather: Whyalla residents angry after failing to get blackout relief grants By Nick Harmsen Updated 56 minutes ago Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis at the Whyalla relief centre. Photo: Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis asks for patience as the power outage is investigated. (ABC News: Dean Faulkner) Related Story: Virginia, Port Wakefield under threat as rivers burst banks Related Story: Power 'gradually' returning after SA plunged into darkness Map: Whyalla 5600 South Australia Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis has been confronted by angry people at a relief centre in Whyalla, some who have been waiting two days to apply for emergency grants. Key points: •State Government announced three emergency relief grants for people affected by severe weather •Tom Koutsantonis says it will take a long time to "assess everyone individually" •One resident says she cannot afford to wait up to 10 days for relief A number of people left the centre this morning frustrated they were not eligible for the $700 payments, despite losing fridges full of food during a more than 24-hour blackout. "I'm bloody angry. Write that down," one man told the ABC in the car park of the hockey club. The entire state lost power on Wednesday after storms knocked out transmission towers. The State Government has announced three emergency relief grants for people who have been affected with the severe weather and floods. To be eligible for the loss-of-power grant, a household must have been continuously without power from 3:50pm Wednesday to at least 12:00pm on Thursday, suffered hardship and were unable to meet essential needs like food, clothing or accommodation. "I came here yesterday and it was a raffle ticket system because they were flat out in here for the services they were offering," local resident Lisa Forbes said as she waited inside the building. "They told me to come back at eight o'clock this morning and I've been here since eight o'clock and I'm still waiting to be assessed and seen. "We've lost our power, we've lost our assets, I've lost my fridge, I've lost food, I've had to borrow money which I've had to pay back, and now I'm chasing an emergency relief [grant] because I don't have money to survive for the full fortnight with my children." 'We need relief now' With the town's major employer Arrium in the midst of a financial crisis, Mr Koutsantonis said Whyalla's welfare needs have been only amplified by the blackout. The path leading up to a relief centre in Whyalla Photo: A number of people have left a relief centre in Whyalla frustrated they were not eligible for emergency grants. (ABC News: Nicholas Harmsen) "It's a tough room," he told the ABC, after speaking to some of the people waiting. "There's a lot of crossover. A lot of people here in Whyalla have got a lot of issues trying to get access to money. "Some people have got pre-existing conditions, they're looking for assistance. That's completely understandable. But we've got to assess everyone individually. It takes a long time." Mr Koutsantonis said there was strict criteria for access to the grants to ensure the money went to those most in need. He said those who have lost food may be eligible for compensation from electricity companies. But that will not be established until the cause of the blackout has been thoroughly investigated. "It's cold comfort to people now who are trying to restock their fridges. But what we're asking for is patience, keeping a good list of what they've had in their fridges, what they've lost," Mr Koutsantonis said. "And once we've assessed what exactly caused this and whether the time to reconnect was appropriate, there could be compensation payments available to people." But Ms Forbes said: "We can't wait up to 10 days for relief." "We need relief now as families. I've got to feed my children." Topics: floods, disasters-and-accidents, whyalla-5600, sa ======================== SA weather: Buckland Park market gardener loses next crop to flood Posted 40 minutes ago Victorian CFA volunteers sandbagging. Photo: The Nguyen family's dog laps up the attention while Victorian CFA volunteers sandbag close by. (ABC News: Tom Fedorowytsch) Related Story: SA conditions ease overnight; towns bracing for more rain Map: Buckland Park 5120 The floodwaters appeared shallow and slow moving at Buckland Park on Sunday but they were cutting a wide path of destruction across the semi-rural suburb, north of Adelaide. Nervous growers were watching the floodwaters as they crept into crops and towards homes. Market garden is under water at Buckland Park. Photo: The Nguyen family's market garden had been prepared for plantings but it is too wet now. (ABC News: Tom Fedorowytsch) The Nguyen family, from Buckland Park, has estimated it has lost about $300,000 because they will not be about to plant their next crop of capsicums in several large greenhouses. Country Fire Authority (CFA) units from Victoria arrived with sandbags to help save the family's house. The weather bureau has warned South Australians more rain is forecast to fall from Sunday afternoon into Tuesday. Nearby the Tsinivits family is building their own earth break to stop the water from entering their home. Kyriakos Tsinivits said it had been a busy morning sandbagging and watching flood levels online. "We are trying to sandbag around our house," he said. "Water came in pretty quickly earlier. It is kind of steady now but it's a pretty busy morning." He said he was surprised how quickly the water level changed this morning. Aerial photo showing flooding into rural properties at Virginia. Photo: Flooding over the Port Wakefield Highway at Virginia, near Buckland Park. (Twitter: SA SES) CFA volunteers sandbag a house. Photo: CFA volunteers help save the Nguyen's house at Buckland Park. (ABC News: Tom Fedorowytsch) ========================== Moderate Flood Warning for the Onkaparinga River Issued at 11:25 am CDT on Monday 3 October 2016 Flood Warning Number: 2 River levels in the Upper Onkaparinga River catchment have risen and moderate flood levels have been reached on Monday morning. Upper Onkaparinga River above Verdun: Moderate flooding is occurring along the Upper Onkaparinga River above Verdun. The Onkaparinga River at Woodside is currently at 2.47 metres and rising. The Onkaparinga River at Woodside will exceed the moderate flood level (2.40 m) late Monday morning. The Onkaparinga River at Oakbank is currently at 2.29 metres and rising. The Onkaparinga River at Oakbank will remain above the minor flood level (2.10 m) Monday afternoon. Middle Onkaparinga River between Verdun and Mt Bold Reservoir: Minor flooding is expected along the Middle Onkaparinga River between Verdun and Mt Bold Reservoir. The Onkaparinga River at Verdun is expected to exceed the minor flood level (4.00 m) Monday afternoon. Flood Safety Advice: People are advised to keep away from fast flowing water and not drive through it. For emergency assistance please call the SES on 132 500. Next Issue: The next warning will be issued by 03:30 pm CDT on Monday 03 October 2016. Latest River Heights: Location Height of River (m) Tendency Date/Time of Observation Onkaparinga River at Charleston 2.88 Steady 11:19 AM MON 03/10/16 Onkaparinga River at Woodside 2.47 Rising 11:18 AM MON 03/10/16 Western Branch at Tiers Road 2.02 Falling 11:19 AM MON 03/10/16 Lenswood Creek at Swamp Road 1.61 Steady 11:20 AM MON 03/10/16 Onkaparinga River at Oakbank 2.29 Rising 11:20 AM MON 03/10/16 Aldgate Creek at Aldgate 0.83 Steady 11:12 AM MON 03/10/16 Onkaparinga River at Clarendon Weir 10.41 Steady 12:20 PM MON 03/10/16 Onkaparinga River at Old Noarlunga 2.40 Steady 11:20 AM MON 03/10/16 This advice is also available by dialling 1300 659 215 . Warning, rainfall and river information are available at www.bom.gov.au/sa/flood. The latest weather forecast is available at www.bom.gov.au/sa/forecasts.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

SA'S BIG BLACKOUT

ONAIR 8223 0000 onair@fiveaa.com.au Sep 28, 2016 SHARE Image | @ColinJamesTiser 4:43pm -- Reports the estimated time to restore power is 4am Thursday morning. 4:29pm -- Power is OUT across South Australia after an “upstream” problem with an interconnector after the last storm, SA Power Networks tells FIVEaa. SAPN’s Paul Roberts said: “The whole state is without supply. We’re not receiving any supply from the upstream transmission network… we believe there’s been some issue with the interconnector to Victoria, and has resulted in South Australia losing its power.” He said take extreme care -- “There wont be any traffic lights available.” Some intersections with battery backup appear to be still working. Paul Roberts said it would take hours for power to be restored. Adelaide Metro reports that the Seaford and Tonsley trains are not running during to the power outage – all others are operating as close to schedule as possible. It also advises that trams are not running buses are experiencing delays. 4:05 -- Power out across Adelaide. 3:43pm – Next wave of the super storm rolls in. The BOM has made a statement warning residents about a severe thunderstorm scheduled to hit Adelaide on Wednesday afternoon. “Heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding and damaging wind gusts of 90-100 km/h are expected in the Adelaide Metropolitan and Mount Lofty Ranges districts. Large hailstones are not expected in these districts,” the BOM said. It also warned of severe thunderstorms likely to produce destructive wind gusts up to 140 km/h, heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding and large hailstones affecting Whyalla, Clare, Maitland, Hawker and Leigh Creek. 3:37pm -- Unbelievable video of Wednesday’s storm smashing Cleve, SA: 12.33pm -- Thousands of Adelaide homes without power. Thousands of homes are without power due to “storm activity” as strong winds and rain lash the state. More than 2,000 homes are out in Black Forest, Forestville, Glandore, Goodwood and Millswood. All current outages are available from the SA Power Networks website. 12.28pm -- By just after midday, Adelaide had recorded 3.6mm of rain. Whyalla – 13.6mm. Kadina – 10.4mm. 10.11am -- Menacing photo of thunderstorm hitting Woomera. The BOM posts an incredible photo of thunderstorm passing Woomera on its way across the Eyre Peninsula. EARLIER South Australians are preparing for one of the most extreme weather systems to hit the state in recent decades. Drenching rain and potentially storm-force winds are expected to lash large parts of SA on Wednesday and Thursday. Winds strengths not seen in more than 50 years are predicted, particularly in coastal areas, while up to 100 millimetres of rain is forecast for the Adelaide Hills. These winds should average about 90km/h at their peak, whipping up ocean waves of more than 10 metres. It comes from an unusually deep low pressure system forecast to move up over Kangaroo Island and into the Adelaide area on Wednesday evening. "This depth of low, this close to the coast, is very damaging," the Bureau of Metereology SA's director John Nairn said. "It's a very significant event for South Australia. It's very rare." State Emergency Services have distributed scores of sand bags across both metropolitan and regional areas in preparation for likely flooding. SES chief officer Chris Beattie said power lines will undoubtedly fall and there may be long outages for homes and businesses. -With AAP SA'S BIG BLACKOUT Sep 28, 2016 SA'S BIG BLACKOUT: * Severe winds and lightning caused major damage to energy infrastructure in SA's mid north including high-voltage transmission lines. * The damage caused generators across the power network to shut down with the interconnector with Victoria automatically cut to prevent further damage. * SA Power Networks reports outages to about 200,000 customers with services to be progressively restored, first in Adelaide and then country towns. * The blackout triggered widespread gridlock on Adelaide roads, with a spate of accidents and forcing police to direct traffic and to urge people to stay home. * Premier Jay Weatherill said some people could be without power for several hours as services were progressively restored. He urged locals to watch out for frail or elderly neighbours. * Hospitals and other emergency services were continuing to operate on back-up power. * The emergency came amid severe weather with an intense low pressure system the worst to blast SA for more than 50 years. * A flood watch remains in place for the Adelaide Hills and other parts of the state with up to 100mm of rain expected to fall across Wednesday and Thursday. BREAKING NEWS MH17 missile 'driven from Russia' Cronk, Taumalolo win Dally M medal SA's big blackout Aliir Aliir to miss AFL grand final Backpackers tax a shemozzle: Xenophon Former Aussie cricketer Max Walker dies ================================== Forecast issued at 5:40 am CST on Thursday 29 September 2016. Weather Situation An intense low 974 hPa near northwestern Kangaroo Island is tracking east to be near the southern Fleurieu Peninsula by mid morning, then near Bordertown by mid afternoon. A high pressure system will move in from the west on Friday and then move east of the State early Saturday, ahead of a trough moving over the west later Saturday and a cold front moving across the State on Sunday. Forecast for the rest of Thursday Cloudy. Very high (95%) chance of rain. Rain and showers heavy at times. The chance of a thunderstorm in the late morning and afternoon. Winds northwesterly 50 to 60 km/h tending westerly 45 to 65 km/h in the morning. Daytime maximum temperatures between 10 and 15. Sun protection 9:30am to 3:00pm, UV Index predicted to reach 6 [High] 7 day Town Forecasts Rain, possibly heavy. Windy. Port Pirie – 14 Rain, possibly heavy. Windy. Jamestown – 10 Rain, possibly heavy. Windy. Clare – 11 Rain, possibly heavy. Windy. Roseworthy – 14 Rain, possibly heavy. Windy. Snowtown – 14 Marketing Friday 30 September Cloudy. High (80%) chance of showers, most likely in the morning. Winds west to southwesterly 35 to 50 km/h decreasing to 15 to 20 km/h in the late evening. Overnight temperatures falling to between 4 and 7 with daytime temperatures reaching between 12 and 15. Saturday 1 October Mostly sunny. Winds westerly 15 to 20 km/h turning northerly 25 to 35 km/h during the day. Overnight temperatures falling to between 1 and 4 with daytime temperatures reaching the low 20s. Sunday 2 October Mostly sunny morning. High (70%) chance of showers, most likely in the afternoon and evening. Winds north to northwesterly 25 to 40 km/h tending northwest to southwesterly during the afternoon. Overnight temperatures falling to around 11 with daytime temperatures reaching the low to mid 20s. Adelaide’s in chaos -- but where’s Jay? Sep 29, 2016 David Penberthy | FIVEaa Adelaide’s in chaos -- but where’s Jay? https://shar.es/1xAmY2 David Penberthy has accused premier Jay Weatherill of a “backside covering exercise” on the morning after the state’s entire power supply went down. “From a crisis management perspective, he’s chosen to spend much of this morning talking to the national media,” Penbo said on Thursday’s FIVEaa breakfast. “He’s done Sky News, he’s spoken to Radio National…” “So much of this is about him wanting to scotch the perception nationally that South Australia is a basket case when it comes to its power industry.” Penbo said the state’s power supply could “no longer be accurately described as reliable”. “Our listeners needs and deserve the nuts and bolts logistical explanation from the premier as to what his government and all the relevant emergency services people are doing today. “So much of what he has been doing this morning has had nothing to do with talking directly to the people of South Australia.” ========================== IDS20364 Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology, South Australia Minor Flood Warning for the Onkaparinga River Issued at 8:36 am CST on Thursday 29 September 2016 Flood Warning Number: 2 Minor flooding is occurring in the upper Onkaparinga River and is expected to continue during Thursday morning and into Thursday afternoon. River levels in the middle Onkaparinga River are rising, and are expected to exceed the minor flood level later Thursday morning. Rainfalls totals of up to 80 mm have been recorded in the 24 hours to 9AM Thursday in the Onkaparinga River catchment, resulting in river rises in the Onkaparinga River and its tributaries. A further 40 to 80 mm is expected in the Mount Lofty Ranges during Thursday into Friday which will result in further river rises and areas of flooding. Upper Onkaparinga River above Verdun: Minor flooding is occurring along the Upper Onkaparinga River above Verdun. The Onkaparinga River at Oakbank will remain above the minor flood level (2.10 m) during Thursday morning. Middle Onkaparinga River between Verdun and Mt Bold Reservoir: Minor flooding is expected along the Middle Onkaparinga River between Verdun and Mt Bold Reservoir. The Onkaparinga River at Verdun is expected to exceed the minor flood level (4.00 m) during Thursday morning. Flood Safety Advice: People are advised to keep away from fast flowing water and not drive through it. For emergency assistance please call the SES on 132 500. Next Issue: The next warning will be issued by 01:00 pm CST on Thursday 29 September 2016. Latest River Heights: Location Height of River (m) Tendency Date/Time of Observation Onkaparinga River at Charleston 2.29 Rising 08:30 AM THU 29/09/16 Onkaparinga River at Woodside 1.70 Rising 08:32 AM THU 29/09/16 Western Branch at Tiers Road 1.50 Steady 08:27 AM THU 29/09/16 Lenswood Creek at Swamp Road 1.40 Steady 08:33 AM THU 29/09/16 Onkaparinga River at Oakbank 2.55 Rising 08:34 AM THU 29/09/16 Onkaparinga River at Verdun 1.23 Rising 08:30 AM THU 29/09/16 Aldgate Creek at Aldgate 1.12 Steady 08:34 AM THU 29/09/16 Onkaparinga River at Clarendon Weir 10.82 Steady 08:30 AM THU 29/09/16 Onkaparinga River at Old Noarlunga 3.58 Rising 08:30 AM THU 29/09/16 This advice is also available by dialling 1300 659 215 . Warning, rainfall and river information are available at www.bom.gov.au/sa/flood. The latest weather forecast is available at www.bom.gov.au/sa/forecasts. ============================= Wed Sep 28, 2016 | 10:04am EDT Lightning storms knock out power to entire Australian state Visitors bring trouble to Norway's polar bears Artist couple creates "tchotchke heaven" mosaic house Cedar Rapids spared from major flooding Iowa braces for historic flooding Lightning strikes leave Australian state in the dark 00:44 By James Regan and Tom Westbrook | SYDNEY Severe storms and thousands of lightning strikes knocked out power to the entire state of South Australia on Wednesday, authorities said, leading to port closures and commuter chaos. South Australia is the country's fifth most populous state, with 1.7 million people and Adelaide as its capital, and is a major wine producer and traditional manufacturing hub. The Bureau of Meteorology said a vigorous cold front was moving across the state with an intense low pressure system due on Thursday. "We'll have gale force winds and large seas (across the south of the country); also heavy rain and thunderstorms, which will lead to renewed river rises," it said on its website. SA Power Networks said repairs to its transmission network were underway. left right 2/2 left right Police direct traffic in the central business district (CBD) of Adelaide after severe storms and thousands of lightning strikes knocked out power to the entire state of South Australia, September 28, 2016. AAP/David Mariuz/via REUTERS 1/2 left right 2/2 left right 1/2 "There were more than 21,000 lightning strikes recorded over a 12-hour period from midday yesterday on the West Coast, and as a result it is likely some damage has occurred to our distribution network," it said. The state had been brought to a standstill, with ports closed, trains and trams stopped, traffic lights out and long commuter delays, state agencies said. South Australia was relying on accessing power from Australia's populous east coast via a power interconnector with the neighboring state of Victoria when there was a failure on Wednesday. No power was flowing from Victoria into South Australia, said a spokesman for the Australian Energy Market Operator, which operates the power systems in southern and eastern Australia. When the state tried to compensate, it experienced what is known as a "voltage collapse", Simon Emms, executive manager of network services at network operator ElectraNet, told ABC Radio, due to storm damage to power lines. This led to a statewide outage. A spokeswoman for Electranet said power was being restored to some areas of Adelaide, but could not say when the lights would go on across the state. Also In Global Energy News Wall Street rallies as OPEC reaches output deal Exclusive: Airbus to create two new czars as reorganization takes shape "Now, clearly, questions will be raised," Federal Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg told Sky News. "Serious questions will be raised that need to be answered as to how this extreme weather event could take out the whole of the electricity supply across a major state such as South Australia." The impact was wide-ranging, with traffic coming to a standstill in Adelaide while power supplies were disrupted to BHP Billiton's Olympic Dam copper-uranium mine, a huge mining operation more than 500 km (300 miles) to the northwest. A BHP spokesman said back-up power generation was being used to run critical infrastructure. (Writing by Jonathan Barrett; Editing by Nick Macfie) ================================= SA storm set to strike again Sep 29, 2016 The storms have temporarily slowed in South Australia and power is returning to homes but the foul weather is set to return with renewed ferocity. The Bureau of Meteorology says the storms will intensify again on Thursday afternoon, bringing more rain and destructive winds in some areas. People in Adelaide have been advised to leave work early as a severe storm brings fierce winds to the city. "If you are able to leave work early, do so," State Emergency Services chief officer Chris Beattie told reporters on Thursday afternoon. He said if the forecast conditions arrive, the storm will bring the strongest Adelaide has ever experienced. Wind gusts of up to 140km/h are possible, especially along the west coast of Eyre Peninsula and up to 100mm of rain could fall across the Adelaide Hills. "We remain in the middle of this event and there is a significant way to go," Premier Jay Weatherill told reporters in Adelaide on Thursday. About 75,000 homes are still blacked out in the state's north and on the Eyre Peninsula but power is being restored to about 90 per cent of the state's properties. Mr Weatherill warned some households, particularly in northern areas, could remain without power for at least a couple of days. He described the storm as "catastrophic" and said it had involved weather events not seen before in SA. "Such as twin tornadoes, which ripped through the northern parts of our state," he said. At the height of the drama on Wednesday super cell storms with destructive winds and tornadoes ripped more than 20 transmission towers in SA's north out of the ground, bringing down three major transmission lines. Lightning also damaged energy infrastructure, with 80,000 strikes hitting the state over a short period. It caused a state-wide blackout that plunged SA into darkness. The ongoing power supply problems have sparked calls for an independent inquiry with Senator Nick Xenophon urging the Australian Energy Market Commission to carry out a robust analysis. The South Australian Opposition has also called for an immediate investigation. "The situation that occurred yesterday was totally unacceptable and we need to ensure it does not happen again," Opposition Leader Steven Marshall said. Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg will bring the state and territory energy ministers together within weeks to discuss ways of avoiding the cascading effect of power blackouts and how to better manage the shift to renewable energy. Mr Weatherill said the state's power system was designed to shut itself down when such heavy damage was sustained, which protected it from further damage. He said the return of power had been efficient in such extreme circumstances, comparing it to a city-wide blackout in New York in 2003 that lasted much longer. Emergency relief grants of $700 will be available to those without power for extended periods. The State Emergency Service has been swamped, responding to more than 900 calls since the storms began, including many flooded homes. "We had about 100 homes inundated across the metro area," SES chief officer Chris Beattie said. On Thursday, a dam burst in the Barossa Valley, north of Adelaide, posing a flood risk for the town of Greenock. Mr Beattie said SA's coasts were at risk with the coming strong winds throughout the rest of the day. "Coupled with a high tide it may indeed threaten the city defences in Port Pirie," he said. =========================== #Moana #PortNoarlunga #SAStorms #AdelaideStorm @theTiser ============ Updated Marine Wind Warning Summary for South Australia Issued at 3:50 pm CST on Thursday 29 September 2016 for the period until midnight CST Friday 30 September 2016. Wind Warnings for Thursday 29 September Storm Force Wind Warning for the following areas: Central Coast, South Central Coast, Spencer Gulf and Investigator Strait Gale Warning for the following areas: Adelaide Metropolitan Waters, Upper West Coast, Lower West Coast, Gulf St Vincent and Upper South East Coast Strong Wind Warning for the following area: Far West Coast Wind Warnings for Friday 30 September Gale Warning for the following areas: Adelaide Metropolitan Waters, Lower West Coast, Central Coast, South Central Coast, Spencer Gulf, Gulf St Vincent and Upper South East Coast Strong Wind Warning for the following areas: Upper West Coast, Investigator Strait and Lower South East Coast The next marine wind warning summary will be issued by 5:10 am CST Friday. Check the latest Coastal Waters Forecast or Local Waters Forecast for information on wind, wave and weather conditions for these coastal zones. ================ Flood warning for the Torrens River Sep 29, 2016 Image | Torrens near Vale Park | @891adelaide The BOM has issued flood warning for the upper and middle Torrens River sections… Minor flooding may occur along the upper Torrens ABOVE Gumeracha Weir, the bureau says. By Thursday afternoon the Gumeracha Weir was at minor flood level (11.40m) – and likely to rise further during the evening. The BOM also advises that flooding is likely along the middle Torrens between Gumeracha and Gorge weirs. The Torrens River at Kangaroo Creek Dam is likely to reach the minor flood level (47.50 m) overnight Thursday into Friday. The Torrens River at Gorge Weir is likely to reach the minor flood level (11.30 m) overnight Thursday into Friday. The water level in Sixth Creek has risen to the minor flood level and is currently easing but is expected to rise again with further forecast rainfall Thursday afternoon and evening. People are advised to keep away from fast flowing water and call the SES for emergency assistance on 132 500 – or 000 if it is life-threatening. ====================== Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology, South Australia Major Flood Warning for the Gawler River Catchment The North Para River and South Para River Issued at 9:07 pm CST on Thursday 29 September 2016 Flood Warning Number: 2 In the 24 hours to 9pm Thursday, rainfall totals of up to 50mm have been recorded in the Gawler River catchment. A further 10 to 20mm is possible overnight. Moderate to major flooding is expected along the North Para and Gawler River catchment, and the South Para River may reach minor flood levels during Friday. North Para above Nuriootpa: Minor to moderate flooding is expected along the North Para River above Nuriootpa. The North Para River at Nuriootpa is currently at 2.42 metres and rising. The North Para River at Nuriootpa is expected to exceed the minor flood level (2.50 m) late Thursday evening. A moderate flood peak is likely around 12:00 am Friday. North Para between Nuriootpa and Turretfield Dam: Major flooding may occur along the North Para between Nuriootpa and Turretfield Dam. The North Para River at Yaldara is at 3.27 metres and rising. The North Para River at Yaldara is expected to exceed the moderate flood level (3.50 m) late Thursday evening. The river level may reach the major flood level (3.80 m) early Friday morning. The North Para River at Turretfield Dam is expected to reach the minor flood level (72.00 m) early Friday morning. South Para above South East Gawler: Levels in the South Para reservoir will continue to rise throughout Thursday and Friday and the reservoir may reach capacity on Friday or Saturday, depending on rainfall. The South Para River at South East Gawler may reach the minor flood level (2.90 m) Friday morning. Gawler Township: Minor flooding is expected in the Gawler River at Gawler Township. The Gawler River at Gawler West is expected to reach the minor flood level (5.40 m) late Thursday evening. Gawler River: Minor flooding is likely along the Gawler River. The Gawler River at Heaslip Road is currently at 2.67 metres and rising. The Gawler River at Heaslip Road is likely to reach the minor flood level (5.80 m) early Friday morning. The Gawler River at Virginia is likely to reach 3.00 metres early Friday morning. Flood Safety Advice: People are advised to keep away from fast flowing water. For emergency assistance please call the SES on 132 500. Only for life-threatening emergencies call 000. Next Issue: The next warning will be issued by 01:30 am CST on Friday 30 September 2016. Latest River Heights: Location Height of River (m) Tendency Date/Time of Observation North Para River at Nuriootpa 2.42 Steady 09:01 PM THU 29/09/16 North Para River at Turretfield Dam 63.69 Rising 09:03 PM THU 29/09/16 South Para River at Warren Reservoir 13.96 Steady 09:00 PM THU 29/09/16 South Para River at South Para Reservoir 28.14 Steady 09:00 PM THU 29/09/16 Galwer River at Gawler West 3.29 Rising 09:02 PM THU 29/09/16 Galwer River at Heaslip Road 2.67 Steady 09:02 PM THU 29/09/16 Galwer River at Virginia 2.01 Steady 09:00 PM THU 29/09/16 This advice is also available by dialling 1300 659 215 . Warning, rainfall and river information are available at www.bom.gov.au/sa/flood. The latest weather forecast is available at www.bom.gov.au/sa/forecasts. ======================================= SA weather: Virginia, Port Wakefield under threat as rivers burst banks Updated 26 minutes ago Gawler River at Gawler West in flood. Photo: The Gawler River at Gawler West in flood this morning. (Supplied: Laura Wise) Related Story: Gawler River flooding, emergency warning remains Map: Gawler 5118 The South Australian towns of Virginia and Port Wakefield are under threat from floodwaters as the Gawler and Wakefield rivers burst their banks, with warnings more rain is on the way. About 60,000 sandbags will be flown into the Edinburgh RAAF base this afternoon to be used in the sandbagging effort. CFS crews sandbagging at Port Wakefield. Photo: CFS crews sandbagging at Port Wakefield. (ABC News) The levee at Virginia, on the rural outskirts of Adelaide's north, failed this morning and an emergency warning for people in the area spreading from Gawler to Buckland Park was issued. "It's a very low-lying floodplain and there is a significant amount of water coming down the Gawler River and so there is every likelihood that there will be properties inundated," SES spokesman Chris Beattie told 891 ABC Adelaide. About 20 structures at Bowmans, in the state's Mid North, were flooded by the Wakefield River. There are also reports of flooding at Balaklava. + - ©Mapbox ©OpenStreetMap Improve this map Map: Towns affected as SA rivers burst their banks Premier Jay Weatherill said the major flood threat was around Virginia, with the Wakefield River yet to peak. "There has been a Herculean effort to protect Port Wakefield," Mr Weatherill said. "A temporary levy of sandbags has been constructed and up until this point has been effective in protecting the town." Overnight, SES, residents and the Army sandbagged the Port Wakefield township — home to about 500 people. The water was being directed away from the town on to the golf course. Sandbagging effort as people trapped Owner of the Port Wakefield Hotel Lee Barbero said floodwaters were blocking some people from getting out of the town. "[Overnight] it was very quiet and eerie actually except for where they are all doing their bits sandbagging," she said. "There's a hell of a lot of people out there trying to do whatever they can. "There are people who are actually trapped in their houses and that at the moment ... and we can't get to them and they can't get out." SES spokesman Chris Beattie said sandbags would be trucked from the RAAF base to pickup points like councils and CFS stations ahead of the rain which is expected from Sunday. He said crews remained on high alert around Port Pirie, on the east coast of the Spencer Gulf, watching the Broughton River. Sandbags on the back of a truck at Port Wakefield. Photo: Sandbags on the back of a truck at Port Wakefield in preparation for floodwaters. (ABC News: Angelique Donnellan) Significant rain on the way Senior forecaster John Nairn said more rain was expected across South Australia from Sunday afternoon. "So as we move into Sunday we expect to see a front to arrive in the mid afternoon and it will produce some falls in a range of 10 to 20 millimetres on higher ground," Mr Nairn said. He said "more significant rain" of up to 60 millimetres in the Mount Lofty Ranges, and about 20 to 30 millimetres north of the Gawler River catchment were expected on Monday. Between Sunday and Tuesday the Adelaide Hills could receive up to 100 millimetres on already saturated ground, he said. Gawler avoids serious damage Gawler, north of Adelaide, avoided serious property damage overnight after SES crews worked with volunteers and Australian Defence Force personnel to protect residents, as the Gawler River peaked about 10:00pm. The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said rainfall of more than 60 to 100 millimetres had been recorded across the Gawler catchment since Wednesday. Media player: "Space" to play, "M" to mute, "left" and "right" to seek. Other videos A 'tornado' filmed in South Australia Emergency crews continue to grapple with yesterday's state-wide power outage Video: Flooding in the Barossa Valley (ABC News) SES and CFS crews plan response to rising floodwaters around Port Wakefield. Photo: SES and CFS crews plan their response to rising floodwaters around Port Wakefield. (ABC News: Nathan Stitt) Flooding had also occurred further north-east of Gawler in the Barossa Valley. Parts of the Barossa Valley were inundated with floodwaters after the North Para River broke its banks on Thursday night, but water levels upstream in the North Para have since stabilised. The rising floodwaters forced the late-night evacuation of campers at the caravan park in Tanunda. Meanwhile floodwaters have forced the Ghan to transfer Adelaide-bound passengers onto buses for the rest of the journey. A spokesperson for Great Southern Rail said flooding between Two Wells and Mallala meant the Ghan had to stop at Port Augusta. Media player: "Space" to play, "M" to mute, "left" and "right" to seek. Other videos A 'tornado' filmed in South Australia Emergency crews continue to grapple with yesterday's state-wide power outage Video: Water rushes down Adelaide's River Torrens near the CBD (ABC News) More on this story: •Analysis: Rushing to renewables risks sector's reputation •SA blackout: Why and how? •Woman on operating table during blackout recounts her ordeal •Renewables not to blame for blackout, experts say

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Jordanian writer killed outside court before trial over ‘Islam-insulting’ cartoon

Sun Sep 25, 2016 | 7:34 AM EDT Jordanian writer shot dead outside court before trial over cartoon ‹ An ambulance transports the body of Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar to a medical facility after he was shot dead in Amman, Jordan, September 25, 2016. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed 6/6 An ambulance transports the body of Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar to a medical facility after he was shot dead in Amman, Jordan, September 25, 2016. Reuters/Muhammad Hamed Jordanian police stand guard in front of a hospital where the body of Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar, who was shot dead, was held in Amman, Jordan, September 25, 2016. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed 1/6 Jordanian police stand guard in front of a hospital where the body of Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar, who was shot dead, was held in Amman, Jordan, September 25, 2016. Reuters/Muhammad Hamed Jordanian police stand guard in front of a hospital where the body of Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar, who was shot dead, was held in Amman, Jordan, September 25, 2016. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed 2/6 Jordanian police stand guard in front of a hospital where the body of Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar, who was shot dead, was held in Amman, Jordan, September 25, 2016. Reuters/Muhammad Hamed An ambulance transports the body of Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar to a medical facility, after he was shot, in Amman, Jordan, September 25, 2016. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed 3/6 An ambulance transports the body of Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar to a medical facility, after he was shot, in Amman, Jordan, September 25, 2016. Reuters/Muhammad Hamed Jordanian police stand guard in front of a hospital where the body of Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar, who was shot dead, was held in Amman, Jordan, September 25, 2016. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed 4/6 Jordanian police stand guard in front of a hospital where the body of Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar, who was shot dead, was held in Amman, Jordan, September 25, 2016. Reuters/Muhammad Hamed An ambulance transports the body of Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar to a medical facility after he was shot dead in Amman, Jordan, September 25, 2016. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed 5/6 An ambulance transports the body of Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar to a medical facility after he was shot dead in Amman, Jordan, September 25, 2016. Reuters/Muhammad Hamed An ambulance transports the body of Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar to a medical facility after he was shot dead in Amman, Jordan, September 25, 2016. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed 6/6 An ambulance transports the body of Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar to a medical facility after he was shot dead in Amman, Jordan, September 25, 2016. Reuters/Muhammad Hamed Jordanian police stand guard in front of a hospital where the body of Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar, who was shot dead, was held in Amman, Jordan, September 25, 2016. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed 1/6 Jordanian police stand guard in front of a hospital where the body of Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar, who was shot dead, was held in Amman, Jordan, September 25, 2016. Reuters/Muhammad Hamed › Jordanian writer shot dead outside court before...X By Suleiman Al-Khalidi | AMMAN A gunman shot dead Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar on Sunday outside the court where he was to stand trial on charges of contempt of religion after sharing on social media a caricature seen as insulting Islam, witnesses and state media said. The gunman was arrested at the scene, state news agency Petra said. A security source said he was a 39-year-old Muslim preacher in a mosque in the capital. Hattar, a Christian and a anti-Islamist activist who was a supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, was arrested last month after he shared a caricature that depicted a bearded man in heaven smoking in bed with women and asking God to bring him wine and cashews. In the cartoon, the man also asks God to clear his dishes and put a door on his tent and knock before entering. Many conservative Muslim Jordanians considered Hattar's move offensive and against their religion. The authorities said he violated the law by sharing the caricature. The state news agency quoted a security source as saying Hattar was killed by a man who fired three shots at him on the steps of the palace of justice in the Jordanian capital. ADVERTISEMENT . "The assailant was arrested and investigations are ongoing," Petra quoted the security source as saying. Two witnesses said the gunman was wearing a traditional Arab dishashada, worn by ultra conservative Sunni Salafis who adhere to a puritanical version of Islam and shun Western lifestyles. Some secular and liberal supporters of Hattar said his arrest last month was a breach of freedom of speech but other Jordanians thought the caricature's publication had crossed a red line in a Muslim country where it is a taboo to attack God or the Prophet. Hattar was charged with contempt of religion and sowing sectarian tensions. The country's highest official religious fatwa authority criticized Hattar for what it said was the "insult to the divine entity, Islam and religious symbols". Hattar had apologized on social media and said he did not mean to insult God but had shared the cartoon to mock fundamentalist Sunni radicals and what he said was their vision of God and heaven. He had accused his Islamist opponents of using the cartoon to settle scores with him. Hattar also supported restricting the rights and privileges of Jordanians of Palestinian descent. The Jordanian government condemned the attack. "The law will be strictly enforced on the culprit who did this criminal act and will hit with an iron fist anyone who tries to harm state of law," government spokesman Mohammad Momani said. The moderate Islamist Muslim Brotherhood group also warned against a flare up in religious and sectarian tensions in a country in which Jordanian Christians are a minority but wield wide political and economic influence. (Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Janet Lawrence and Louise Heavens ==================================== Published time: 25 Sep, 2016 12:06 Get short URL Jordanian police stand guard in front of a hospital where the body of Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar, who was shot dead, was held in Amman, Jordan, September 25, 2016. © Muhammad Hamed Jordanian police stand guard in front of a hospital where the body of Jordanian writer Nahed Hattar, who was shot dead, was held in Amman, Jordan, September 25, 2016. © Muhammad Hamed / Reuters A prominent Jordanian Christian writer and staunch supporter of Syrian President Bashar Assad has been shot dead outside a court in central Amman which indicted him over sharing a cartoon online deemed “offensive” to Islam and Muslims. Nahed Hattar was assassinated in front the Palace of Justice, home to Jordan’s Supreme Court, in Amman on Sunday morning. He was shot three times in the head, according to the Petra news agency. Security officers of Public Security Department (PSD) who were on the scene arrested the gunman and seized his weapon, and took Hattar to a nearby hospital, where he apparently died. Security authorities said that the assassination is yet to be investigated, but Hattar’s background could possibly add fuel to sectarian strife in a country which evaded 2011 Arab Spring unrest and has a reputation of one of the most secular and pro-Western states throughout the Middle East. Earlier in August, Hattar was charged over sharing a cartoon on his Facebook page. The caricature depicted God in paradise, being treated as a servant by an Arabic-looking man, who is in bed with two women and asking for wine and cashews. The cartoon, created by an unknown author, sparked fury among many Muslims and was quickly deleted from the page. Later, Saed Hattar, a relative of the writer, said that the cartoon was shared to portray the true nature of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) extremists and had nothing to do with insulting other Muslims. Hattar himself tried to explain in one of his subsequent Facebook posts that the cartoon was to illustrate how Islamists perceive notions of God and Heaven. Read more Reuters/Eric Gaillard​Charlie Hebdo cartoonist: ‘I will no longer draw Mohammed’ “Those who became angry at the cartoon are the kind of people who did not get the point,” he wrote, according to the Jordan Times, adding that Islamists with an IS-like mindset are employing the cartoon to settle political scores. The explanation did not prove effective, with Jordanian Prime Minister Hani Mulki ordering an investigation. Hattar turned himself in to authorities and spent some time in Amman’s Marka prison pending a probe into inciting ‘sectarian strife and racism’, according to Petra news agency. Jordan is one of the closest allies of Washington in the region and participant of the US-led operation against IS. The tiny kingdom reined by the British-educated King Abdullah II founds itself in a troubled neighborhood, bordering war-torn Syria. Earlier this year, the king said the population has been “at the boiling point” due to the influx of hundreds of thousands refugees to his country. Jordan has been accepting refugees from Palestine and Iraq for decades and now asylum-seekers from Syria make up nearly 20 percent of the country’s population.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Hills homes with a European twist thanks to Samata Homes

Posted on September 1, 2016, featuring topics like Featured, AHM - Adelaide Hills, AHM-featured, AHM - Home & Garden . Sponsored New Mount Barker-based Samata Homes launches to deliver smart, simple build options for new home buyers. Our picturesque Adelaide Hills are often compared to the leafy hills and valleys of the European countryside, and now you can have the best of both worlds and the home to match, thanks to Samata Homes. With the design trends and houses of Europe in mind, Samata homes are not only stunning, they’re also affordable and high quality. With a minimalist aesthetic, their gorgeous 2.5 and 3 bedroom homes are ideal for first home buyers. While owning your own new home may sound like a dream, more often than not, waiting for it to be approved and built might not. Samata has solved this problem by pre-approving its designs for allotments in Mount Barker at Aston Hills estate. Not only does it make the building process shorter, it also means you can begin your build as soon as the contract is signed. No fuss and no extended wait times for your dream home to be built. We’d say that’s a win-win. Outside, Samata facades are sleek and strong with clean lines and statement features to create a lasting impression. The interiors are focused on spaciousness, with a conscious effort to incorporate the outdoor alfresco area of the home with the indoor living space. And you know it’s quality work, with renowned South Australian builder Rendition Group behind the construction. Rendition Group managing director Wayne Fazzalari says luxurious open spaces and modern home entertaining facilities have been out of reach for today’s first home buyers, but Samata has focused on maximising space and utilising ingenious European design features to deliver this need to first home buyers. “Like the homes designs of Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Stockholm, we’ve made use of every square metre to create a floorplan with a distinct feeling of generosity as soon as you step inside,” he says. Ssamata_Homes_Kitchen.jpeg He says a relaxed Hills lifestyle with the option to entertain family and friends is paramount in the development of their designs, leading to a very open-plan feel. “When you combine the open layout with higher ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows in the foyer and bedrooms, and horizontal strip windows in the living area to unlock clear views of the sky, the sense of openness and calmness is distinct.” Homes are currently on sale in Aston Hills in Mount Barker, priced from less than $315,000. But that isn’t even the best part; all properties come equipped with paving, driveway, floor coverings, landscaping and even DeLonghi appliances, so you can pretty well move right in. Mr Fazzalari says it’s these finishing touches combined with the lack of stamp duty when you build your own home that makes Samata an ideal choice for first home buyers. “While building is financially more viable, to date there’s been little within reach that combines the strong design aesthetic first home buyers seek,” he says. If you’re interested in building your own little piece of Europe in the Hills, head over to Aston Hills display village (corner Sims and Paech roads, Mount Barker). Open 1pm to 5pm Mondays, Wednesdays and weekends. For more information head to samatahomes.com.au, Facebook or Instagram.

Obama vetoes Sept. 11 Saudi bill, sets up showdown with Congress

Fri Sep 23, 2016 | 6:44 PM EDT Obama vetoes Sept. 11 Saudi bill, sets up showdown with Congress U.S. President Barack Obama walks to the the Oval Office of the White House upon his return to Washington from New York, U.S. September 21, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas U.S. President Barack Obama walks to the the Oval Office of the White House upon his return to Washington from New York, U.S. September 21, 2016. Reuters/Yuri Gripas Patricia Zengerle and Roberta Rampton | WASHINGTON President Barack Obama on Friday vetoed legislation allowing families of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia, which could prompt Congress to overturn his decision with a rare veto override, the first of his presidency. Obama said the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act would hurt U.S. national security and harm important alliances, while shifting crucial terrorism-related issues from policy officials into the hands of the courts. The bill passed the Senate and House of Representatives in reaction to long-running suspicions, denied by Saudi Arabia, that hijackers of the four U.S. jetliners that attacked the United States in 2001 were backed by the Saudi government. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals. Obama said other countries could use the law, known as JASTA, as an excuse to sue U.S. diplomats, members of the military or companies - even for actions of foreign organizations that had received U.S. aid, equipment or training.
"Removing sovereign immunity in U.S. courts from foreign governments that are not designated as state sponsors of terrorism, based solely on allegations that such foreign governments' actions abroad had a connection to terrorism-related injuries on U.S. soil, threatens to undermine these longstanding principles that protect the United States, our forces, and our personnel," Obama said in a statement.
Senator Chuck Schumer, who co-wrote the legislation and has championed it, immediately made clear how difficult it will be for Obama to sustain the veto. Schumer, the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate, issued a statement within moments of receiving the veto, promising that it would be “swiftly and soundly overturned.” He represents New York, home of most of the Sept. 11 victims. Both the Democratic and Republican candidates for president, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, said they would have signed the bill into law if they were in the White House. SOME DOUBTS If two-thirds of the lawmakers in both the Senate and House vote to override, the law would stand, the first such override since he became president in 2009, and possibly the last. Obama leaves office in January. Friday's veto was the twelfth of his presidency. An override has been expected, despite some lawmakers saying they had doubts about the measure. In a letter seen by Reuters on Friday, Republican Representative Mac Thornberry, chairman of the powerful House Armed Services Committee, said he would oppose the override. "My primary concern is that this bill increases the risk posed to American military and intelligence personnel, diplomats and others serving our country around the world," Thornberry wrote in a letter encouraging his fellow Republicans to sustain the veto.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday he thought there were enough votes to override a veto, but had concerns. "I worry about trial lawyers trying to get rich off of this. And I do worry about the precedent," he told reporters.
The "9/11 Families & Survivors United for Justice Against Terrorism" group, which has pressed Congress to uphold the legislation, called Obama's veto explanation "unconvincing and unsupportable." The Saudi government has lobbied heavily to stop the bill, the European Union has formally opposed it and Gulf States have condemned it. Major U.S. corporations such as General Electric and Dow Chemical have also pressed lawmakers to reconsider. "The bill is not balanced, sets a dangerous precedent, and has real potential to destabilize vital bilateral relationships and the global economy," GE Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt said in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who supports the bill. (Reporting by Roberta Rampton and Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Grant McCool) ==================== Thu Sep 29, 2016 | 7:04 PM EDT U.S. lawmakers may change September 11 law after rejecting veto 1h ago | 01:35 Aftermath of 9/11, Congress allows lawsuits against Saudi Arabia. U.S. lawmakers may change September 11 law after...X The US Senate 'Unanimous' vote will Bankrupt Saudi Arabia, limit the influence of Backward Wahabbis and cut the Jugular of Barbaric ISIS. View location · Reply Retweet Like Adnan Darwash Adnan Darwash @AdnanDarwash 14h Stabbing Obama in the Back and His Saudi Allies in the Pockets: VeteransToday.com: veteranstoday.com/2016/09/28/us-… View details · Reply Retweet Like Adnan Darwash Adnan Darwash @AdnanDarwash 14h While Obama and Queen of England Are Saddened by Peres Death, Hamas calls for 'Day of Rage' during Peres funeral presstv.com//Detail/2016/0… View details · Reply Retweet Like Adnan Darwash Adnan Darwash @AdnanDarwash 15h Rubbing Salt in Obama's Legacy Wounds: '9/11 bill vote, embarrassment for Obama' presstv.com//Detail/2016/0… View details · Reply Retweet Like By Patricia Zengerle and Richard Cowan | WASHINGTON U.S. lawmakers expressed doubts on Thursday about Sept. 11 legislation they forced on President Barack Obama, saying the new law allowing lawsuits against Saudi Arabia could be narrowed to ease concerns about its effect on Americans abroad. A day after a rare overwhelming rejection of a presidential veto, the first during Obama's eight years in the White House, the Republican leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives opened the door to fixing the law as they blamed the Democratic president for not consulting them adequately. "I do think it is worth further discussing," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters, acknowledging that there could be "potential consequences" of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, known as JASTA. House Speaker Paul Ryan said Congress might have to "fix" the legislation to protect U.S. troops in particular. Ryan did not give a time frame, but Republican Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he thought JASTA could be addressed in Congress' "lame-duck" session after the Nov. 8 election. The law grants an exception to the legal principle of sovereign immunity in cases of terrorism on U.S. soil, clearing the way for lawsuits seeking damages from the Saudi government. Riyadh denies longstanding suspicions that it backed the hijackers who attacked the United States in 2001. Sept. 11 families lobbied intensely for the bill, getting it passed by the House days before the 15th anniversary of the 2001 attacks earlier this month after years of effort. "We have to understand the political environment we’re in right now and the tremendous support the 9/11 victims have in the United States," said Robert Jordan, a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Riyadh is one of Washington's longest-standing and most important allies in the Middle East and part of a U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. SAUDI CONDEMNATION The Saudis lobbied furiously against JASTA, and the Saudi foreign ministry condemned its passage in a statement on Thursday. "The erosion of sovereign immunity will have a negative impact on all nations, including the United States," said the statement, which was carried on state news agency SPA. Still, the new law is not expected to have a lasting effect on the two countries' strategic relationship. Saudi-U.S. ties have endured "multiple times of deep outrage" over 70 years, said Thomas Lippman of the Middle East Institute. "The two countries need each other as much today as they did before the day before yesterday," he said. White House spokesman Josh Earnest mocked lawmakers for shifting "within minutes" from overwhelmingly voting to override Obama's veto to wanting to change the law. "I think what we've seen in the United States Congress is a pretty classic case of rapid onset buyer's remorse," Earnest told a White House briefing. Corker said he had tried to work out a compromise with the White House, but Obama administration officials declined a meeting. Related Coverage Saudi foreign ministry condemns passage of U.S. September 11 law Passage of September 11 lawsuit bill an 'abject embarrassment': White House Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, who championed JASTA in the Senate, said he was open to revisiting the legislation. "I'm willing to look at any proposal they make but not any that hurt the families," he said at a news conference. He said he would oppose a suggestion that the measure be narrowed to only apply to the 2001 attacks on Washington and New York. "You know what that does? It tells the Saudis to go ahead and do it again, and we won't punish you," Schumer said. Corker said another suggestion was establishing an international tribunal so experts could determine whether there was culpability. He said the Saudis were been willing to work on a compromise, and denied they had threatened retaliation. Trent Lott, a former Republican Senate Majority Leader now at a Washington law firm lobbying for the Saudis, said attorneys would look carefully at JASTA's language. "I do feel passionately this is a mistake for a variety of reasons, in terms of threats to troops, diplomats, sovereignty, there's serious problems here. Hopefully we can find a way to change the tenor of this," Lott said. (Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton, Susan Cornwell, David Morgan, Yara Bayoumy, David Alexander and Susan Heavey; editing by Grant McCool and Tom Brown)

4 dead in shooting at mall in Washington state: media

/ 5 dead, manhunt for mall shooter underway in Burlington, Washington State Published time: 24 Sep, 2016 02:31 Edited time: 24 Sep, 2016 10:36 Get short URL © Google map A manhunt is still underway after SWAT teams swept the Cascade Mall and nearby areas in Burlington, WA, for an active shooter with a rifle. The gunman, believed to have acted alone, killed five people opening fire in the Macy's make-up store. In their latest briefing, police said that four female victims are confirmed dead, while one man was taken to hospital in a critical condition. Several hours later the man died of his wounds. "We're doing everything we can to find this person. Stay vigilant. If you see something, just like they say, say something," said Washington State Patrol spokesman Mark Francis as quoted by local Komo News TV. "Avoid the area. If you live close to the area, stay inside - lock your doors." A still from CCTV footage showing the suspect was also released. Francis tweeted the shooter was "armed with rifle." He reportedly entered a Macy's department store around 7pm. Police also confirmed they are looking for a "single shooter," while some reports on Twitter suggested the attacker could have an accomplice. Skagit County police and fire scanner audio described the suspect as appearing between 20 to 25 years old, with a "skinny build," black messy hair and wearing a black shirt. The motives of the shooter have not yet been revealed. The FBI has been investigating the attack as a potential act of terrorism, Reuters reported. A witness who was trapped in a fitting room at the time of the shooting says she heard the gunman yell out a woman's name while going after escaping shoppers, according to Skagit Breaking News. This is yet to be confirmed by officials. Earlier, it was reported that a person identifying as the shooter called into police, and crisis negotiators were being assembled, according to KIRO. But later police reported several calls from various people, all claiming to be the assailant. Besides the FBI and SWAT teams, the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was summoned to the scene. Police evacuated the mall, which features several large retails stores, cafes and a cinema, then escorted emergency medical services inside to attend to those injured. All roads in and out of the area were closed, according to KIRO reporter Gary Horcher. By nightfall, evacuation orders were lifted and law enforcers said they were leaving. The operation however moved to the neighborhood, where the suspect was sighted. “I think it’s too early to call it terrorism, but it’s also too early to take that off the table," director of the Center for the Study of Extremism, Bryan Levin, told RT. "Although, a couple of things: the fact that the casualty level is relatively low for someone who’s armed like that suggests to me that this could also be some personal issue, such as a targeted killing. But in the very early hours of these type of events, you want to make sure you have everything on the table, in case the facts change, and you need those resources." "So, there’s certain operational reasons that one does not want to take the potentiality of terrorism off the table. But, unfortunately, most of these kinds of shootings are not terrorism-related,” Levin added. Popular In the Community Russia: Let's improve Baltic air safety! NATO: No thanks, we'll pass Brrrt ·20 Why is America so stupid, just work together with Russia, saves billions of dollars and thousands of lives. Let´s hope if Trump would be president he makes good relations with Russia. Charlotte protesters march on highway on 4th night of demonstrations Orange Dog ·9 We need this to be happening everyday in every city and every state. 'He doesn't have a gun!' Keith Scott's wife yells before he's shot, her video shows (VIDEO) Purple Ducky ·17 “Keith, don’t you do it!” Scott’s wife yells several times, before at least gunshots are heard. Don't do what? Pull a gun? Sat Sep 24, 2016 | 2:25 AM EDT Medics wait to gain access to the Cascade Mall after four people were shot dead in Burlington, Washington, U.S. September 24, 2016. Sgt Mark Francis/Washington State Patrol/Handout via Reuters 2/2 Medics wait to gain access to the Cascade Mall after four people were shot dead in Burlington, Washington, U.S. September 24, 2016. Sgt Mark Francis/Washington State Patrol/Handout via Reuters Medics wait to gain access to the Cascade Mall after four people were shot dead in Burlington, Washington, U.S. September 24, 2016. Sgt Mark Francis/Washington State Patrol/Handout via Reuters 1/2 Medics wait to gain access to the Cascade Mall after four people were shot dead in Burlington, Washington, U.S. September 24, 2016. Sgt Mark Francis/Washington State Patrol/Handout via Reuters Medics wait to gain access to the Cascade Mall after four people were shot dead in Burlington, Washington, U.S. September 24, 2016. Sgt Mark Francis/Washington State Patrol/Handout via Reuters 2/2 Medics wait to gain access to the Cascade Mall after four people were shot dead in Burlington, Washington, U.S. September 24, 2016. Sgt Mark Francis/Washington State Patrol/Handout via Reuters Medics wait to gain access to the Cascade Mall after four people were shot dead in Burlington, Washington, U.S. September 24, 2016. Sgt Mark Francis/Washington State Patrol/Handout via Reuters 1/2 Medics wait to gain access to the Cascade Mall after four people were shot dead in Burlington, Washington, U.S. September 24, 2016. Sgt Mark Francis/Washington State Patrol/Handout via Reuters › Three dead in shooting at mall in Washington state...X Three people were shot dead and two were wounded during a shooting at a mall on Friday in northwest Washington state where authorities were searching for the gunman, several media outlets reported. Authorities initially said on social media that four people were killed in the shooting, that occurred at about 7 p.m. local time Friday at the Cascade Mall in Burlington, Washington, about 65 miles (105 km) north of Seattle. ABC News and several local media outlets reported that three, not four, people were fatally wounded. Three women were shot dead, a man was critically injured and another woman suffered non-life threatening injuries, Washington State Patrol spokesman Mark Francis told the network. Harborview Medical Center in Seattle said in a statement that it was treating a man who was in critical condition from the shooting. A local CBS affiliate reported that a nearby high school football game was evacuated as a precaution. ADVERTISEMENT . Francis said on Twitter that police were actively searching for the shooter, who was described as a "Hispanic male wearing gray" and last seen walking toward a nearby highway away from the mall. "Tragedy has struck in Washington tonight. Our hearts are in Burlington," Governor Jay Inslee said on Twitter. Rescue workers were entering the mall to attend to the injured, Francis said in a Twitter post. The shooting comes less than a week after a man stabbed nine people at a mall in central Minnesota before being shot dead. The FBI is investigating that attack as a potential act of terrorism. NBC News reported that Washington State Patrol have said that there is no indication of terrorism in the shooting in Burlington. (Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Michael Perry, Sam Holmes and Jane Merriman)

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Homes flooded, Roads closed across Adelaide

WINVIDEO SHOW HOMES FLOODED, ROADS CLOSED ACROSS ADELAIDE HILLS Sep 15, 2016 SHARE Montacute Rd | Image | @VandervegtRoy Police and emergency services have closed multiple roads throughout the Hills area, and are warning drivers to take care driving today and be aware of their surroundings. The following roads have been closed due to damage: North East Road, Chain of Ponds, from South Para Road to Gorge Road – there is significant damage to the road, and road closure signs in place Montacute Road, Montacute Strathalbyn Road near the Aldgate Hotel Waterfully Gully Road closed at Waterfall Gully Old Norton Summit Road, Horsnell Gully Homes and businesses are flooded and roads remain closed across the Adelaide Hills after a day of torrential rain and gale-force winds. Water levels in the Onkaparinga river have peaked while the Bremer and Angas rivers were expected to have peaked but further flooding was still possible downstream. Water continued to be released from the Mt Bold Reservoir causing problems around Clarendon. And a minor flood warning has also been issued for the upper Gawler River catchment, where totals of up to 34mm have been recorded. But the Bureau of Meteorology said the forecast was for more moderate conditions for Thursday with only showers and light winds. At the height of the drama on Wednesday students and staff from the Rapid Bay Primary School, south of Adelaide, had to be rescued after floodwaters surrounded the town and cut access to the school. Homes, shops and other buildings across the Mt Lofty Ranges were also flooded along with some in Adelaide's eastern suburbs, with the worst hit areas the town's of Bridgewater, Aldgate and Hahndorf. Several roads were closed after being cut by rising water or because of damage from mudslides and subsiding ground. The wild conditions were the result of an intense low pressure system which formed over South Australia, packing wind gusts of more than 90km/h and rainfall of more than 80mm. The State Emergency Service took more than 700 calls for help, most for water into properties or for trees across roads and buildings. The conditions also resulted in a series of power outages from Currency Creek, south of Adelaide, to Nuriootpa, in the Barossa Valley affecting thousands of properties. But by late on Wednesday only about 500 were still to have electricity supplies restored. -With AAP

Monday, September 12, 2016

Iran-Saudi war of words heats up ahead of hajj

Profile Mail Iran-Saudi war of words heats up ahead of hajj Eric Randolph and Ian Timberlake in Riyadh•September 7, 2016 Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the Saudi government was acting with US support to "shed blood in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Bahrain"View photos Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the Saudi government was acting with US support to "shed blood in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Bahrain" (AFP Photo/) More Tehran (AFP) - A bitter war of words between Iran and Saudi Arabia intensified Wednesday ahead of the annual hajj pilgrimage from which Iranians have been excluded for the first time in decades. Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blasted the "incompetence" of the Saudi royal family as he met with the families of victims of a deadly stampede during last year's hajj. "This incident proves once again that this cursed, evil family does not deserve to be in charge and manage the holy sites," Khamenei said. Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia were already at rock bottom before the regional rivals started trading caustic remarks ahead of the annual pilgrimage to Islam's holiest places in Saudi Arabia, which is due to start on Saturday. Iranians have been blocked from the event after talks on safety and logistics fell apart in May. "If the existing problems with the Saudi government were merely the issue of the hajj... maybe it would have been possible to find a way to resolve it," Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said at a cabinet meeting. "Unfortunately, this government by committing crimes in the region and supporting terrorism in fact shed the blood of Muslims in Iraq, Syria and Yemen," Rouhani said. - 'Inappropriate and offensive' - The week began with a furious rebuke from Khamenei, published on his website, in which he accused the Saudi royals of "murder" over the deaths of nearly 2,300 pilgrims, including hundreds of Iranians, in last year's stampede. Saudi Arabia claims the death toll was only 769 -- despite data from more than 30 countries suggesting it was far higher -- and has refused to release the details of its investigation into the disaster. But the head of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council hit back on Wednesday, calling Khamenei's remarks "inappropriate and offensive... and a desperate attempt to politicise" the hajj. Saudi Arabia's most senior cleric, Grand Mufti Abdulaziz al-Sheikh, also waded into the dispute, telling the Makkah daily on Tuesday: "We must understand these are not Muslims, they are children of Magi and their hostility towards Muslims is an old one." "Magi" is a reference to the Zoroastrian religion that was prevalent in Iran before Islam, and is sometimes used as an insult against Iranians. Jane Kinninmont, deputy head of the Middle East and North Africa programme at the Chatham House think tank in London, said the world needed to pay more attention to the "cold conflict" between Iran and Saudi Arabia. This week's verbal attacks "are an indication that the tensions that really ratcheted up earlier this year are still unresolved," she told AFP. "Particularly when it comes to the pilgrimage and religious discourse, then it has quite damaging effects on sectarian relations around the world." - A history of violence - The two dominant Middle Eastern powers follow different branches of Islam -- Shiite and Sunni -- and vie for regional dominance. Iran boycotted the hajj for three years between 1988 and 1990 after clashes between Iranian pilgrims and Saudi police in 1987 left around 400 people dead. Diplomatic ties were restored in 1991, but relations have deteriorated in recent years, particularly over the countries' support for opposing sides in the Syrian and Yemeni civil wars. In January, relations were severed again after Iranian demonstrators torched the Saudi embassy and a consulate following the kingdom's execution of a prominent Shiite cleric. Around 60,000 Iranians took part in last year's hajj, but the two sides could not reach an agreement on this year's pilgrimage. A former senior US foreign policy official, John Hannah, last month cited Gulf sources in an article for Foreign Policy magazine, saying that "the Saudis did in fact go out of their way to make Iranian attendance difficult." "(The) Saudis were insisting that the Iranians be kept in a closed camp, effectively barred from co-mingling and socialising with participants from other countries, often considered an essential element of the hajj experience," Hannah wrote. His claims could not be independently verified. Saudi Arabia says Tehran made "unacceptable" demands, including the right to organise demonstrations "that would cause chaos". Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef reiterated those concerns on Monday, saying Iran wanted to "politicise hajj and convert it into an occasion to violate the teachings of Islam, through shouting slogans and disturbing the security of pilgrims."

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Brent crude futures ease as hope for output freeze fades

Tue Sep 6, 2016 3:26pm EDT Brent crude futures ease as hope for output freeze fades Reuters Oil slips towards $47 as output hopes wane (01:24) Replay Watch More Video Goldbean's Jane Barratt on why Apple stock will o higher- just not yet Goldbean's Jane Barratt on why Apple stock will o higher- just not yet Ackman may push for board changes Ackman may push for board changes Wall Street bets on a Chipotle after Ackman investment Wall Street bets on a Chipotle after Ackman investment BoE's Carney "serene" about Brexit warnings BoE's Carney "serene" about Brexit warnings Oil slips towards $47 as output hopes wane 01:24 By Scott DiSavino | NEW YORK Global benchmark Brent crude fell almost 1 percent on Tuesday as hopes waned for an agreement between two of the biggest oil producers to freeze output to tackle a global supply glut. Brent had jumped 5 percent on Monday, after Saudi Arabia and Russia agreed to cooperate in world oil markets. But Brent pared gains later that session after Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said there was no need to freeze output for now. Still, his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak said he was open to ideas on what cut-off period to use if countries chose to freeze output, and said even production cuts could be considered. On Tuesday, Brent futures for November delivery fell 37 cents, or 0.8 percent, to settle at $47.26 a barrel. U.S. crude, meanwhile, rose 39 cents, or 0.9 percent from Friday's settlement, to $44.83 per barrel. U.S. crude did not settle on Monday due to the Labor Day holiday. A worker looks on at the Bashneft-Ufaneftekhim oil refinery outside Ufa, Bashkortostan, Russia January 29, 2015. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin/File Photo A worker looks on at the Bashneft-Ufaneftekhim oil refinery outside Ufa, Bashkortostan, Russia January 29, 2015. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin/File Photo U.S. trading was thin following the long Labor Day holiday weekend. Traders said U.S. crude was supported by Genscape data showing a draw of some 700,000 barrels last week at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for U.S. crude futures. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and non-OPEC producers such as Russia will hold informal talks in Algeria on Sept. 26-28. Many in the market are skeptical a deal will happen. "The reaction so far suggests that talk is no longer enough to support prices; the market needs to see action," Tim Evans, energy futures specialist at Citi Futures, said in a note. "While talk of a production freeze is easy, achieving one will be more difficult, with Iran still poised to increase output to 4.0 (million barrels per day) and Nigeria plotting a recovery." Iran has been trying to regain market share after the United States and other nations lifted nuclear-related sanctions. Also In Commodities Oil up nearly 2 percent on possible production freeze, inventory data eyed U.S. judge halts fracking plan for federal lands in California EIA forecasts oil output to fall by less than previously expected Exclusive: Egypt's ergot saga deepens as wheat rejected in Romania Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday it would go along with a freeze in oil output if other producers agreed, but cautioned that Iran could foil any attempt to limit output. "I believe again the spoiler will be the Iranians. You can't expect other countries to freeze while you reserve the right to increase your production," Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told reporters in London. Oil prices are half their level of mid-2014, hurting producing nations' income. OPEC and Russia tried this year to curb the glut with an output freeze, but the deal collapsed in April due to tension between Saudi Arabia and Iran. (Additional reporting by Catherine Ngai and Devika Krishna Kumar in New York, Alex Lawler in London and Osamu Tsukimori in Tokyo; Editing by Marguerita Choy, David Clarke and David Gregorio)

Friday, September 09, 2016

Voices Saudi Arabia cannot pay its workers or bills – yet continues to fund a war in Yemen

World News | Mon Sep 5, 2016 12:20pm EDT Cash crunch at Saudi firm casts shadow over Lebanon's Hariris By Tom Perry | BEIRUT The Hariri family's pre-eminent role in Lebanese politics is being shaken by a financial crisis at its Saudi construction firm, a development that could dilute Sunni influence in the country and leave Iran's allies even more firmly in control. The troubles at Saudi Oger have led to a cash crunch and layoffs in Lebanon's Future Movement, the political party built with Saudi backing by the late statesman Rafik al-Hariri and now led by his son, Saad. The party's woes have led many analysts in Lebanon to ask whether Riyadh may be cutting its losses in a country increasingly dominated by the Iran-backed Shi'ite Hezbollah despite enormous Saudi efforts to counter it over the years. "We can't deny the existence of a financial crisis, which is a reflection of another one that has nothing to do with the organization. It has an indirect link to the crisis of Saudi Oger," said Rashed Fayed, a Future Movement official who is a member of its policy-making office. The financial engine behind the Hariri family's political network, Saudi Oger has been hit hard recently by a slowdown in the Saudi construction sector linked to the drop in oil prices and resulting state spending cuts. Wage payments to thousands of its workers have been delayed for months, according to Saudi media and the workers themselves. The company has declined to speak publicly about its finances. Many employees of Hariri-owned organizations in Lebanon also say they have not been paid in months. Sources in the Future Movement said some staff were laid off last week. One source, who declined to be named, said the layoffs aimed to cut costs across the movement to safeguard continued operations. The situation may reflect a bigger shift in Saudi policy as other countries become more important in its titanic struggle with Iran, notably Syria, Yemen, and Bahrain, analysts say. Lebanon is one of the places where that conflict first flared: with Saudi support, Hariri spearheaded a political confrontation with Hezbollah following his father's assassination in 2005. "Is Hariri part of the past in Saudi, the present, or the future? This is the biggest question surrounding him," said commentator Jihad el-Zein. Although his party has deep roots in Lebanon's Sunni community built over decades, "we can't imagine a political history or presence for it without Saudi Arabia". A BIGGER SHIFT Despite Saudi efforts, Hezbollah's influence in Lebanon has grown only stronger. Riyadh canceled a $4 billion aid package to the Lebanese army and security forces in February over perceived Hezbollah influence on Lebanese foreign policy. The Saudi foreign minister said in March the group had "hijacked" government decisions. While Hezbollah built its legitimacy in the Shi'ite community on the fight to drive Israel from southern Lebanon, Rafik al-Hariri was building his by rebuilding Lebanon from its civil war. He became more powerful than any of a number of Sunni families that had historically led the community. An international tribunal has indicted five members of Hezbollah over his assassination. The group denies any role. Saad followed in his father's footsteps, becoming prime minister in 2009 until his unity government was toppled in 2011 by the resignation of Hezbollah and its allies. He then spent years outside the country, making only short visits until earlier this year when he returned permanently. The Hariri family's network includes media outlets and charitable foundations as well as the Future Movement's party bureaucracy, a large staff of advisors and regional offices. Future Movement MP Ahmad Fatfat said financial difficulties were first felt in 2009 "but in the last year it has become more acute". Public services including health support offered by the party have been cut back, he told Reuters. "Nothing has been halted completely, but nothing is at the previous level," he said. Fatfat was confident the Future Movement would remain politically dominant, however, "because people realize that we defend their real interests, the state, Sunni moderation and coexistence". AN OPPORTUNITY FOR REFORM? Also In World News Iraq militia fighters join battle for Syria's Aleppo Exclusive: ACT partners with test-prep firms despite signs of cheating in Asia Russian jet came within 10 feet of U.S. spy plane: U.S. officials Yemen foreign minister urges more support for fight against militia foes Hariri's opponents see his financial problems as a harbinger of his political demise. The pro-Hezbollah al-Akhbar newspaper declared on the frontpage of its Friday edition that a "massacre" of Future Movement employees was underway. The big test will be parliamentary elections expected to be held next year for the first time since 2009, in which Hariri will face a growing challenge from Ashraf Rifi, a former ally who beat established Sunni politicians in local elections in the predominantly Sunni city of Tripoli in May. Rifi's tough rhetoric has struck a chord with Sunnis who are hostile to Iran and Hezbollah. Hariri is equally scathing in his public remarks, but his party's continued participation in government alongside Hezbollah has exposed him to criticism from hawks in the Sunni community. Rifi resigned from his post as justice minister in February in protest at what he saw as Hezbollah's domination in the unity government, which is widely seen as a guarantor of political stability. He also criticized Hariri for nominating a Hezbollah ally, Suleiman Franjieh, for the vacant presidency last year. For its part, Hezbollah is deeply suspicious of Rifi. Its refusal to consent to the extension of his term as chief of police contributed to the collapse of the government in 2013. While Rifi's politics have won him admirers in Saudi Arabia, where some see him as a potentially more effective ally than Hariri, he does not have the kind of countrywide presence built by the Hariris over nearly two decades. The Future Movement is due to convene a conference in October. Fayed, the Future Movement official, said the financial crisis was an opportunity for reform. A Future activist, who declined to be identified, said Hariri faced a struggle to redefine the movement, forecasting that his dominance would steadily diminish as other Sunni politicians gain ground. "Harirism was built on pillars -- financial capabilities and Arab Gulf backing. In 2016, political Harirism has neither of these," the activist said. Nabil Boumonsef, a commentator in An-Nahar newspaper, said it was too early to say how the crisis would play out for Hariri, who remains the strongest Sunni leader for now. But he warned against him being weakened. "Hariri is the main moderate Sunni force in Lebanon, and if this political track is damaged, you are damaging Sunni moderation," Boumonsef told Reuters. "This is very dangerous for Lebanon." (Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall) ================================= Voices Saudi Arabia cannot pay its workers or bills – yet continues to fund a war in Yemen In Saudi Arabia itself, the government seems unable to cope with the crisis. The 'Arab News' says that 31,000 Saudi and other foreign workers have lodged complaints with the government’s labour ministry over unpaid wages. On one occasion, the Indian consulate and expatriates brought food to the workers so that their people should not starve Robert Fisk @indyvoices 14 hours ago53 Voices Culture Lifestyle Tech Sport Paralympics Daily Edition Voices Saudi Arabia cannot pay its workers or bills – yet continues to fund a war in Yemen In Saudi Arabia itself, the government seems unable to cope with the crisis. The 'Arab News' says that 31,000 Saudi and other foreign workers have lodged complaints with the government’s labour ministry over unpaid wages. On one occasion, the Indian consulate and expatriates brought food to the workers so that their people should not starve Robert Fisk @indyvoices 14 hours ago53 comments 498 jeddah-skyline.jpg Jeddah, Saudi Arabia Wikipedia Almost exactly a year after Salman bin Albdulaziz Al Saud, king of Saudi Arabia, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and head of the House of Saud, hurriedly left his millionaire’s mansion near Cannes with his 1,000 servants to continue his vacation in Morocco, the kingdom’s cash is not flowing so smoothly for the tens of thousands of sub-continental expatriates sweating away on his great building sites. Almost unreported outside the Kingdom, the country’s big construction magnates – including that of the Binladen group – have not been paid by the Saudi government for major construction projects and a portion of the army of Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan and other workers have received no wages, some of them for up to seven months. Indian and Pakistani embassies approached the Saudi government, pleading that their workers should be paid. Economists who adopt the same lickspittle attitude towards the Saudi monarchy as the British Government, constantly point out that the authorities have been overwhelmed by the collapse of oil prices. They usually prefer not to mention something at which the rest of the world remains aghast: deputy crown prince and defence minister Mohamed bin Salman’s wasteful and hopeless war in Yemen. Since the king’s favourite son launched this preposterous campaign against the Houthis last year, supporting the internationally recognized Yemeni president against Shia Muslim rebels, aircraft flown by Saudi and Emirati pilots (aided by British technical “experts” on the ground) have bombed even more hospitals, clinics and medical warehouses than America has destroyed in Serbia and Afghanistan combined since The result? A country with 16 per cent of the world’s proven oil reserves, whose Aramco oil company makes more than $1bn a day and now records a budget deficit of $100bn, cannot pay its bills. At first, the Yemen fiasco was called “Operation Decisive Storm”, which – once it proved the longest and least decisive Arab “storm” in the Middle East’s recent history – was changed to “Operation Restore Hope”. And the bombing went on, just as it did in the pre-“hope” “storm”, along with the help of the UK’s “experts”. No wonder the very same deputy crown prince Mohamed announced this year that state spending on salaries would be lowered, yet individual earnings would rise. In Pakistan, whose soldiers make up a large number of the “Saudi” armed forces, there has been outrage, parliamentarians are asking why three Saudi companies have not paid salaries for eight months, refusing even to provide food for their employees. In some cases, the Pakistanis have paid their own nationals for food supplies. In Saudi Arabia itself, the government seems unable to cope with the crisis. The Arab News says that 31,000 Saudi and other foreign workers have lodged complaints with the government’s labour ministry over unpaid wages. On one occasion, the Indian consulate and local Indian expatriates brought food to the workers so that their people should not starve. The overall figure that the government owes the construction companies owed may be billions of dollars. Overtly xenophobic comments have emerged in the Saudi press. Writing in the Saudi Gazette, Abdulrtahman Saad Al-Araabi said: “Many expats hate us and are angry because we are a rich country. Some of them go so far as to say that we, Saudis, do not deserve these blessings and the money we have. That is the reason why some of them become violent when they do not get paid on time.” people are paying a lot of cash to the Jabhat al-Nusra (recently re-named Jabhat Fateh al-Shamal-Nusrah) or Al-Qaeda or Isis lads out there in the line of fire in Syria. Embassy staff from the Philippines, France and many countries in the Middle East, have raised the problems with the Saudi government. Typical of their responses has been that of Saudi Oger which said it had been “affected by current circumstances [sic] which resulted in some delays in delays in fulfilling our commitments to our employees”. The Saudi government insisted the company paid its employees. Many of them, it should be added, are Lebanese whose Sunni Muslims come from the Sunni areas of Lebanon who traditionally vote for the Sunni leader’s son Saad. An official of the company made the extraordinary statement that “the company’s situation is unstable due to the scrapping [sic] of many of its projects it was to execute,” Meanwhile, workers at United Seemac construction company are complaining they have not been paid for months – or even granted permission to leave the country. Some had apparently not been paid for more than a year and a half. Unlike the big companies such as Binladen and Oger, these men – and they are indeed mostly men – are consumed into the smaller employees. “All the attention is on the big companies – it’s easy to ignore us because we are not so many people.” All in all, a dodgy scenario in our beloved monarchy-dictatorship, whose war against the Shia Houthis – and the Shia Hezbollah, the Shia/Alawite regime in Damascus and Iran – is unending. Wasn’t there an equally dodgy Al-Yamamah arms deal with the Saudis a few years ago? No cash flow problems then. And what does “yamamah” mean in Arabic? “Dove”? Let us go no further. 498

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Samsung Electronics seeks U.S. court help to get Hanjin cargo

Wed Sep 21, 2016 | 9:55 PM EDT Hanjin Shipping shares rally 28 percent after Korean Air approves lending Container vessel Hanjin Rome sits in the eastern anchorage area in Singapore September 9, 2016. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo Container vessel Hanjin Rome sits in the eastern anchorage area in Singapore September 9, 2016. Reuters/Edgar Su/File Photo Hanjin Shipping shares rally 28 percent after Hanjin Shipping (117930.KS) shares surged as much as 28 percent in morning trade on Thursday after the board of Korean Air Lines (003490.KS), its biggest shareholder, approved lending 60 billion won ($53.96 million) to the troubled container carrier. Shares of Korean Air climbed 5 percent. Korean Air's board decided late on Wednesday to provide the funds to help offload cargo that has been stranded on Hanjin ships, using Hanjin's accounts receivable as collateral, a spokesman for the airline said. (Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Paul Tait) ======================= Thu Sep 8, 2016 | 5:36 PM EDT Samsung Electronics seeks U.S. court help to get Hanjin cargo ‹ Giant cranes are seen at the Hanjin Shipping container terminal at Incheon New Port in Incheon, South Korea, September 7, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji 2/2 Giant cranes are seen at the Hanjin Shipping container terminal at Incheon New Port in Incheon, South Korea, September 7, 2016. Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji Shipping containers are seen at the Hanjin Shipping container terminal at Incheon New Port in Incheon, South Korea, September 7, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji 1/2 Shipping containers are seen at the Hanjin Shipping container terminal at Incheon New Port in Incheon, South Korea, September 7, 2016. Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji Giant cranes are seen at the Hanjin Shipping container terminal at Incheon New Port in Incheon, South Korea, September 7, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji 2/2 Giant cranes are seen at the Hanjin Shipping container terminal at Incheon New Port in Incheon, South Korea, September 7, 2016. Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji Shipping containers are seen at the Hanjin Shipping container terminal at Incheon New Port in Incheon, South Korea, September 7, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji 1/2 Shipping containers are seen at the Hanjin Shipping container terminal at Incheon New Port in Incheon, South Korea, September 7, 2016. Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji › Samsung Electronics seeks U.S. court help to get. By Tom Hals Samsung Electronics Co Ltd on Thursday asked a U.S. judge to allow it to pay cargo handlers to remove its goods from Hanjin Shipping Co Ltd's vessels stationed near U.S. ports after the failure of the world's seventh-largest container carrier. Around $14 billion of cargo has been tied up globally as ports, tug boat operators and cargo handling firms refuse to work for Hanjin because they fear they will not be paid due to uncertainty over plans to provide new financing. Samsung said an order this week by a U.S. bankruptcy judge did not encourage the Hanjin ships to enter U.S. ports as intended, which the company blamed on a misunderstanding of maritime law, the bankruptcy code and Korean law. The maker of electronic goods including Galaxy smartphones said the judge should issue an order barring the seizure of ships and allow it and other cargo owners to retrieve their goods by paying cargo handlers, who have been demanding payment guarantees. "There’s no earthly reason why these parties should not be permitted to cut their own deals," Samsung said in a Thursday court filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Newark, New Jersey. An attorney for Hanjin, Ilana Volkov, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The judge, John Sherwood, will hear the request on Friday. Hanjin's collapse last week came during the peak shipping period ahead of the year-end holiday season, stranding cargo for the likes of HP Inc and Samsung. As of Thursday afternoon, two Hanjin ships were near the Port of Long Beach, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California, which tracks cargo ship traffic. One of the ships, the Hanjin Boston, is scheduled to head into the port on Friday afternoon for re-fueling. A third ship, the Hanjin Greece, was off the shore of Mexico, where it could avoid U.S. anti-pollution regulations that require use of low-sulfur fuel, the tracking group said. Many ships carry only a limited supply of low-sulfur fuel. Some cargo owners have already paid fees to terminal operators to allow the release of Hanjin containers held up on the docks, according to a Port of Oakland spokesman. The Seoul Central District Court is presiding over the receivership filed by Hanjin last week. A foreign representative of the shipping line has filed for so-called Chapter 15 bankruptcy with the Newark court. Chapter 15 is meant to allow a company to seek recognition by U.S. courts of orders issued overseas and to ask U.S. judges to assist in a foreign corporate debt restructuring. ====================== Ex-chairwoman of Hanjin Shipping indicted over illegal stock trading 2016/12/30 16:56 TweetFacebook ShareGoogle +1 ReduceEnlargePrint SEOUL, Dec. 30 (Yonhap) -- A former head of Hanjin Shipping Co. was indicted Friday on charges that she illegally sold company stocks using insider information to avoid losses. The Seoul Southern District Prosecutors' Office said Choi Eun-young is accused of selling stocks of the financially troubled Hanjin Shipping in April after obtaining information that the company will go through a creditor-led debt restructuring. The stock sale was completed a few days before Hanjin Shipping, long troubled by an industry slump and ballooning losses, decided to apply for a creditor-led debt revamp and a self-rescue program. Hanjin, one of the world's leading container carriers, filed for court receivership in late August amid multi-billion-dollar debts. Choi currently heads Eusu Holdings Co. which separated from Hanjin Group in May 2015. It has shipping-related units under its wing. In this file photo taken on Sept. 27, 2016, Choi Eun-young, former chairwoman of Hanjin Shipping, sobs on her knees during a parliamentary audit at the government complex in Sejong, central South Korea. Choi, who served as the shipper's head from 2008 and 2014, offered an apology over the fall of the country's No. 1 container shipping line currently under court receivership. (Yonhap) In this file photo taken on Sept. 27, 2016, Choi Eun-young, former chairwoman of Hanjin Shipping, sobs on her knees during a parliamentary audit at the government complex in Sejong, central South Korea. Choi, who served as the shipper's head from 2008 and 2014, offered an apology over the fall of the country's No. 1 container shipping line currently under court receivership. (Yonhap)