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Food inflation at 12.21 pct y/y on Oct 22

Posted by Admin on November 7, 2011

http://in.finance.yahoo.com/news/Food-inflation-12-21-pct-y-y-reuters-1628243810.html

On Thursday 3 November 2011, 11:47 AM

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India‘s food price index rose 12.21 percent, its highest in 9 months, and the fuel price index climbed 14.50 percent in the year to Oct. 22, government data on Thursday showed.

In the previous week, annual food and fuel inflation stood at 11.43 percent and 14.70 percent, respectively.

The primary articles price index was up 12.08 percent, compared with an annual rise of 11.75 percent a week earlier.

The RBI raised interest rates last month for the 13th and possibly final time in a tightening cycle that began in early 2010, on expectations that persistently high inflation will finally begin to ease starting in December.

(Reporting by Rajesh Kumar Singh; editing by Malini Menon)

Posted in Economic Upheavals, India Forgotten | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Particles found to break speed of light

Posted by Admin on September 30, 2011

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/22/us-science-light-idUSTRE78L4FH20110922

A graphic showing a collision at full power is pictured at the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experience control room of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Meyrin, near Geneva March 30, 2010. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

By Robert Evans

GENEVA | Thu Sep 22, 2011 3:26pm EDT

(Reuters) – An international team of scientists said on Thursday they had recorded sub-atomic particles traveling faster than light — a finding that could overturn one of Einstein’s long-accepted fundamental laws of the universe.

Antonio Ereditato, spokesman for the researchers, told Reuters that measurements taken over three years showed neutrinos pumped from CERN near Geneva to Gran Sasso in Italy had arrived 60 nanoseconds quicker than light would have done.

“We have high confidence in our results. We have checked and rechecked for anything that could have distorted our measurements but we found nothing,” he said. “We now want colleagues to check them independently.”

If confirmed, the discovery would undermine Albert Einstein’s 1905 theory of special relativity, which says that the speed of light is a “cosmic constant” and that nothing in the universe can travel faster.

That assertion, which has withstood over a century of testing, is one of the key elements of the so-called Standard Model of physics, which attempts to describe the way the universe and everything in it works.

The totally unexpected finding emerged from research by a physicists working on an experiment dubbed OPERA run jointly by the CERN particle research center near Geneva and the Gran Sasso Laboratory in central Italy.

A total of 15,000 beams of neutrinos — tiny particles that pervade the cosmos — were fired over a period of 3 years from CERN toward Gran Sasso 730 (500 miles) km away, where they were picked up by giant detectors.

Light would have covered the distance in around 2.4 thousandths of a second, but the neutrinos took 60 nanoseconds — or 60 billionths of a second — less than light beams would have taken.

“It is a tiny difference,” said Ereditato, who also works at Berne University in Switzerland, “but conceptually it is incredibly important. The finding is so startling that, for the moment, everybody should be very prudent.”

Ereditato declined to speculate on what it might mean if other physicists, who will be officially informed of the discovery at a meeting in CERN on Friday, found that OPERA’s measurements were correct.

“I just don’t want to think of the implications,” he told Reuters. “We are scientists and work with what we know.”

Much science-fiction literature is based on the idea that, if the light-speed barrier can be overcome, time travel might theoretically become possible.

The existence of the neutrino, an elementary sub-atomic particle with a tiny amount of mass created in radioactive decay or in nuclear reactions such as those in the Sun, was first confirmed in 1934, but it still mystifies researchers.

It can pass through most matter undetected, even over long distances, and without being affected. Millions pass through the human body every day, scientists say.

To reach Gran Sasso, the neutrinos pushed out from a special installation at CERN — also home to the Large Hadron Collider probing the origins of the universe — have to pass through water, air and rock.

The underground Italian laboratory, some 120 km (75 miles) to the south of Rome, is the largest of its type in the world for particle physics and cosmic research.

Around 750 scientists from 22 different countries work there, attracted by the possibility of staging experiments in its three massive halls, protected from cosmic rays by some 1,400 metres (4,200 feet) of rock overhead.

(Reporting by Robert Evans; Editing by Tom Miles and Kevin Liffey)

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Netanyahu faces Israeli parliament over protests

Posted by Admin on August 16, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/netanyahu-faces-israeli-parliament-over-protests-230255945.html

By Allyn Fisher-Ilan | Reuters – 10 hrs ago

Israeli activists take part in a protest calling for social justice, including lower property prices in Israel, at the southern city of Be'er Sheva

Israeli activists take part in a protest calling for social justice, including lower property prices in Israel, at the southern city of Be'er Sheva August 13, 2011. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, under fire for his government’s handling of a month-long surge of protests against high living costs, faces a special debate in parliament on Tuesday.

Parliament has been recalled from its summer recess to consider the crisis, for once focused on social and economic issues rather than Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians or its Arab neighbors.

A motion introduced by the centrist Kadima party, one of four on the assembly’s charged agenda, targets “government imperviousness” and “foot-dragging” by Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition in addressing demands to cut taxes and housing prices.

Netanyahu has named a team of experts to look into possible reforms but he and financial officials have cautioned against any expansion of the state budget, wary of signs the economy is weakening due partly to a spreading global financial crisis.

“We are experiencing great turbulence,” Netanyahu told a parliamentary finance panel on Monday, adding: “We want to deal with both these problems — to relieve the cost of living and reduce gaps.” He also promised “substantial changes.”

Efforts by Netanyahu’s government to address protesters’ grievances seemed further complicated on Monday when an alternative panel of university professors stepped forward pledging to help protesters meet their goals. [nL6E7JD08N]

The Israeli protests, a rare sustained outburst of anger over domestic policies, have drawn hundreds of thousands to the streets since mid-July, when dozens first camped out on a Tel Aviv boulevard to complain of soaring rents, supermarket prices and taxes.

Soon a so-called middle-class revolt gathered momentum and spread to other cities, spawning several mass rallies.

More than 70,000 protesters thronged the centers of a dozen towns and cities across Israel on Saturday. Upwards of 250,000 demonstrated in the business capital of Tel Aviv last week.

Analysts say the unrest seems to pose no immediate political threat to Netanyahu’s two-and-a-half-year-old government.

But some officials say the controversy could inflame tensions in his coalition and result in national elections being held ahead of a scheduled 2013.

The parliamentary debate on petitions filed by four opposition parties will be an opportunity to air differences, but Netanyahu appears likely to win any votes held.

(Editing by Alistair Lyon)

Posted in Economic Upheavals, Geo-Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Special Report: How Indonesia crippled its own climate change

Posted by Admin on August 16, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/special-report-indonesia-crippled-own-climate-change-065209503.html

By David Fogarty | Reuters – 57 mins ago

Birute Mary Galdikas, the founder of Orangutan Foundation International (OFI), visits a feeding station at OFI's orangutan care and quarantine centre in Pangkalan Bun in the province of Central Kalimantan in this undated handout photo courtesy of InfiniteEARTH.

Birute Mary Galdikas, the founder of Orangutan Foundation International (OFI), visits a feeding station at OFI's orangutan care and quarantine centre in Pangkalan Bun in the province of Central Kalimantan in this undated handout photo courtesy of InfiniteEARTH. REUTERS/InfiniteEARTH/Handout

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – In July 2010, U.S. investor Todd Lemons and Russian energy giant Gazprom believed they were just weeks from winning final approval for a landmark forest preservation project in Indonesia.

A year later, the project is close to collapse, a casualty of labyrinthine Indonesian bureaucracy, opaque laws and a secretive palm oil company.

The Rimba Raya project, on the island of Borneo, is part of a United Nations-backed scheme designed to reward poorer nations that protect their carbon-rich jungles.

Deep peat in some of Indonesia’s rainforests stores billions of tonnes of carbon so preserving those forests is regarded as crucial in the fight against climate change.

By putting a value on the carbon, the 90,000-hectare (225,000 acre) project would help prove that investors can turn a profit from the world’s jungles in ways that do not involve cutting them down.

After three years of work, more than $2 million in development costs, and what seemed like the green light from Jakarta, the project is proof that saving the world’s tropical rainforests will be far more complicated than simply setting up a framework to allow market forces to function.

A Reuters investigation into the case also shows the forestry ministry is highly skeptical about a market for forest carbon credits, placing it at odds with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who supports pay-and-preserve investments to fight climate change.

Hong Kong-based Lemons, 47, a veteran of environmentally sustainable, and profitable, projects, discovered just how frustrating the ministry can be to projects such as his.

“Success was literally two months around the corner,” he said. “We went through — if there are 12 steps, we went through the first 11 on time over a 2-year period. We had some glitches, but by and large we went through the rather lengthy and complicated process in the time expected.”

That’s when the forestry ministry decided to slash the project’s area in half, making it unviable, and handing a large chunk of forested deep peatland to a palm oil company for development.

The case is a stark reminder to Norway’s government, the world’s top donor to projects to protect tropical forests, on just how tough it will be to preserve Indonesia’s rainforests under its $1 billion climate deal with Jakarta.

UNLIMITED CORRUPTION

The dispute has turned a spotlight on Indonesia’s forestry ministry, which earns $15 billion a year in land permit fees from investors. Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) said last month it will investigate the granting of forest permits and plans to crack down on corruption in the resources sector.

“It’s a source of unlimited corruption,” said Chandra M. Hamzah, deputy chairman at the KPK.

Indonesia Corruption Watch, a private watchdog, says illegal logging and violations in issuing forest use permits are rampant. It estimates ill-gotten gains total about 20 trillion rupiah ($2.3 billion) each year.

A forest ministry official connected with the U.N.-backed forest carbon offset scheme was sentenced in April to three years in prison for accepting a $10,000 bribe to ensure an Indonesian company won a procurement tender.

Wandojo Siswanto was one of the negotiators for Indonesia’s delegation at the 2009 U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen, despite being a bribery suspect. His case has highlighted concerns about the capacity of the forestry ministry to manage forest-carbon projects.

The forestry sector has a long history of mismanagement and graft. Former trade and industry minister Bob Hasan, a timber czar during the Suharto years, was fined 50 billion rupiah ($7 million) for ordering the burning of forests in Sumatra and then imprisoned in a separate case of forestry fraud after Suharto was toppled from power in 1998.

In an interview in Jakarta, senior forestry ministry officials denied any wrongdoing in the Rimba Raya case and criticized the project’s backers for a deal they made with Russia’s Gazprom, the world’s largest gas producer, to market the project’s carbon credits.

Internal forestry ministry documents that Reuters obtained show how the ministry reversed its support for the project after a new minister came in, and a large chunk of the project’s land was turned over to a palm oil firm.

The case illustrates how growing demand for land, bureaucratic hurdles and powerful vested interests are major obstacles to conservation projects in Indonesia and elsewhere in the developing world.

That makes it hard for these projects to compete and navigate through multiple layers of government with the potential for interference and delay.

“We have systematically not been able to demonstrate that we can complete the loop to turn projects into dollar investments,” said Andrew Wardell, program director, forests and governance, at the Center for International Forestry Research in Indonesia.

“Which is why the palm oil industry is winning hands down every time.”

SHOWCASE PROJECT

The Rimba Raya project was meant to save a large area of carbon-rich peat swamp forest in Central Kalimantan province and showcase Jakarta’s efforts to fight climate change.

Much of the area is dense forest that lies atop oozy black peat flooded by tea-colored water. Dozens of threatened or endangered species such as orangutans, proboscis monkeys, otter civets and Borneo bay cats live in the area, which is adjacent to a national park.

Rimba Raya was designed to be part of the U.N’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) program. The idea is simple: every tonne of carbon locked away in the peat and soaked up by the trees would earn a steady flow of carbon credits.

Profit from the sale of those credits would go to project investors and partners, local communities and the Indonesian government. That would allow the project to pay its way and compete with palm oil farmers and loggers who might otherwise destroy it.

Rich countries and big companies can buy the credits to offset their emissions.

By preserving a large area of peat swamp forest, Rimba Raya was projected to cut carbon emissions by nearly 100 million tonnes over its 30-year life, which would translate into total saleable credits of about $500 million, Gazprom says.

It would also be a sanctuary for orphaned or rehabilitated orangutans from elsewhere in Borneo. Rimba Raya teamed up with the founder of Orangutan Foundation International, Birute Mary Galdikas, in which OFI would receive a steady income from annual carbon credit sales.

It was the sort of project President Yudhoyono and Norway have pledged to support. Yudhoyono has put forests — Indonesia is home to the world’s third-largest forest lands — at the center of a pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 26 percent by 2020.

He tasked a senior adviser to press for reforms to make REDD projects easier and for greater transparency at the forestry ministry.

GOLD STANDARD

Rimba Raya was poised for success. It got backing from the Clinton Foundation’s Climate Initiative, which helped pay for some of the early costs. Gazprom invested more than $1 million.

It was the first in the world to meet stringent REDD project rules under the Washington-based Voluntary Carbon Standard, an industry-respected body that issues carbon credits. Rimba Raya was also the first to earn a triple-gold rating under the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance, a separate verifier.

Companies including German insurer Allianz and Japanese telecoms giant NTT pledged to buy credits from the project if it gets its license.

In December 2009, the forestry ministry tentatively named the now Indonesian-registered company PT Rimba Raya Conservation the license holder for nearly 90,000 ha, contingent on it passing an environmental impact assessment. It did so a few months later.

The ownership of PT Rimba Raya Conservation is split 70 percent foreign and 30 percent Indonesian, with Lemons and business partner Jim Procanik holding small stakes.

Lemons is CEO of Hong Kong-based firm InfiniteEARTH, which is the developer and manager of the Rimba Raya project as well as investment fund-raiser. Procanik, 44, is the managing director.

In June last year, Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan asked for a map that would set the final boundary of the project, according to a copy of the instruction seen by Reuters. This mandatory step normally takes a few weeks. Once the map is issued, a project is eligible for a license to operate.

But by September last year it was clear something was wrong, according to Lemons. Despite repeated promises by ministry officials, the final map had not been issued. No explanations were given.

“No one has ever said, ‘No’. So that’s exhausting,” said Lemons.

What followed instead was a series of steps by the forestry ministry that have resulted in the project being undermined.

A ministry review focused on conflicting claims to the land by several companies belonging to palm oil firm, PT Best Group.

PT Best, which is run by Indonesian brothers Winarto and Winarno Tjajadi, had long coveted the peat land within the area the forestry ministry set aside for the Rimba Raya project.

On December 31, 2010, PT Best was granted 6,500 ha of peat swamp land for palm oil development, next to a smaller parcel of deep peat land granted a year earlier — part of PT Best’s broader plan to connect its palm oil plantations in the north with a port on the coast nearby. The land granted last December was part of the original area set aside for Rimba Raya.

The Tjajadi brothers declined several requests by Reuters to comment.

The December allocation to PT Best came despite assurances from Forestry Minister Hasan that he would not allow deep peatlands to be converted for agriculture.

The allocation also came a day before a two-year moratorium on issuing licenses to clear primary forests and peat lands was due to start on January 1 this year. The moratorium is a key part of the climate deal with Norway.

After months of delay, the forestry ministry finally ruled that PT Rimba Raya was only eligible for 46,000 ha, a decision that cut out much of the peatlands covering nearly half the original project area.

OMBUDSMAN INVESTIGATES

The case has now been brought before the office of the Indonesian government’s Ombudsman. In an interview, senior Ombudsman Dominikus Fernandes told Reuters he believed the forestry ministry should issue the license to Rimba Raya.

“If Rimba Raya has already fulfilled the criteria, there should not be a delay in issuing the license,” he said.

“This is a model project in Indonesia that should be prioritized. If we don’t give an example on the assurance of investing in Indonesia, that’s not a good thing.”

Officials from the forestry ministry, in a lengthy interview with Reuters, said the area was given legally for palm oil development because PT Best had claims to the land dating back to 2005.

Secretary-General of the ministry Hadi Daryanto stressed the peatland areas originally granted to Rimba Raya were on a type of forest called convertible production forest, which can be used for agriculture but not REDD projects. Handing that nearly 40,000 ha to Rimba Raya would be against the law, he said.

Yet in 2009, the ministry was ordered to make the title switch for this same area of peatland so it could be used for a REDD project. The instruction to immediately make the switch, a bureaucratic formality, was never acted on.

In the Oct 2009 decree seen by Reuters, former Forestry Minister H.M.S. Kaban issued the order as part of a broader instruction setting aside the nearly 90,000 ha for ecosystem restoration projects. Kaban left office soon after.

Indonesian law also bans any clearing of peat lands more than 3 meters deep. An assessment of the Rimba Raya area by a peat expert hired by InfiniteEARTH showed the peat is 3 to 7 meters deep, so in theory was out of bounds for PT Best to clear for agriculture.

For Lemons, 47, the mood has switched from exhilaration to bitter disappointment. “We’ve been here every day pushing like hell from every angle,” he said.

Procanik says the disappointment is personal. “Todd and I have both invested what savings we had for our kids’ college education in this project,” he said.

Gazprom is also upset.

In a letter dated June 16 to the Indonesian government, the Russian firm criticized the ministry’s failure to issue the license for Rimba Raya and threatened to abandon clean-energy projects in Indonesia estimated to be worth more than $100 million in foreign investment. The government has yet to respond.

CARBON DREAMS?

Secretary-General Daryanto and Iman Santoso, Director-General for forestry business management, said another major problem was InfiniteEARTH’s deal with Gazprom, which was made in the absence of any license.

“We didn’t know about the contract with Gazprom. They had no legal right to make the contract,” Daryanto told Reuters.

Santoso described it as the project’s “fatal mistake.”

Daryanto also questioned whether REDD would ever work and whether there was any global appetite for carbon credits the program generates, a view at odds with other parts of the Indonesian government, which has been actively supporting REDD projects.

“Who will pay for the dream of Rimba Raya? Who will pay? Nobody, sir!” Daryanto told Reuters during an interview in the heavily forested ministry compound near central Jakarta.

Lemons said the Gazprom deal was explained in person during a presentation of a 300-page technical proposal submitted to the ministry to prove the project would be financially viable. Daryanto was among a ministry panel that approved the proposal.

“One of their biggest concerns was whether REDD could deliver the same revenues to the state as other land-use permits such as palm oil, logging, mining. We were required to show contracts that demonstrated we could pay the fees and annual royalties,” he said.

Gazprom, designated as the sole marketer of carbon credits from Rimba Raya, said it had already agreed long-term sales contracts with buyers at between 7 and 8 euros ($10 to $11.40) per tonne — contingent on the license being issued.

“We’ve sold to four or five companies around that price,” said Dan Barry, Gazprom Marketing & Trading’s London-based global director of clean energy.

Gazprom became involved, he said, because it was a project that looked to have official support. The Russian company agreed to a financing mechanism that ensured the project’s viability for 30 years, regardless of the price level of carbon markets.

Those markets, centered on the European and U.N. carbon trading programs, were valued at $142 billion in 2010, the World Bank says. National carbon trading schemes are planned for Australia and South Korea, while California is planning a state-based scheme from 2013. New Zealand’s carbon market started in 2008.

“If you ever want a successful REDD scheme, you are going to have to have a process that people believe in,” Barry said.

“The Ministry of Forestry ought to be doing everything it can to support a program that benefits forestry as opposed to favor a program that’s there to cut it down and turn it into palm oil.”

“AHEAD OF ITS TIME”

Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, the head of the REDD task force in Indonesia who is also in charge of the president’s government reforms unit, said the Rimba Raya case highlighted deep flaws in the bureaucracy and the need for sweeping reforms to underpin the 40 other REDD projects in Indonesia.

“The core concern is the trust in government statements of readiness, and responsibility,” he told Reuters in an email. “Even with the best of intentions, the unsynchronous action of the central government’s ministry and the district government’s action is not conducive for investment, especially in this new kind of venture.

“I can surmise that the case of Rimba Raya is a case of a business idea that is ahead of its time. The government infrastructure is insufficiently ready for it.”

Legal action was one solution to this case, he added.

That is a path Lemons and Procanik may eventually take but for now they have proposed a land swap deal with PT Best in which the firm gives PT Rimba Raya 9,000 ha of peat land in return for a similar sized piece of non-peat land held by PT Rimba Raya in the north of the project near other PT Best landholdings.

PT Best rejected an earlier offer by Rimba Raya of 9 percent of the credits from the project, Lemons said.

Based on recent satellite images, PT Best has yet to develop the disputed 9,000 ha area.

The delays mean it is too late for Rimba Raya to become the world’s first project to issue REDD credits. That accolade has since gone to a Kenyan project.

“Our whole point here is to show host countries that REDD can pay its way,” said Lemons. “And if it can’t pay its way then we haven’t proven anything.”

In a sign a resolution could still be possible, Ombudsman Fernandes, Forestry Minister Hasan and PT Rimba Raya are scheduled to meet on Aug 19.

(Additional reporting by Olive Rondonuwu and Yayat Supriatna in Jakarta and Harry Suhartono in Singapore; Editing by Simon Webb, Simon Robinson and Bill Tarrant)

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Russian scientists expect to meet aliens by 2031

Posted by Admin on July 2, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/russian-scientists-expect-meet-aliens-2031-145615642.html;_ylt=AlyK.mPsGh4UscgUEHBVPJLtiBIF;_ylu=X3oDMTNhM2lzNzdzBHBrZwM3YjY3MTBmZS1kYmMyLTMzZTItOWJlYS0xNmY4ZDQ5ZjZlZjYEcG9zAzEyBHNlYwNNZWRpYVRvcFN0b3J5BHZlcgMyYjIxYmQ4MC1hMTk3LTExZTAtYmY5ZS02YTdlMTk4N2YxYzk-;_ylg=X3oDMTFxcW12NnU4BGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lfG9kZG5ld3MEcHQDc2VjdGlvbnM-;_ylv=3

By Alissa de Carbonnel | Reuters – Tue, Jun 28, 2011

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian scientists expect humanity to encounter alien civilizations within the next two decades, a top Russian astronomer predicted on Monday.

“The genesis of life is as inevitable as the formation of atoms… Life exists on other planets and we will find it within 20 years,” Andrei Finkelstein, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences‘ Applied Astronomy Institute, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

Speaking at an international forum dedicated to the search for extraterrestrial life, Finkelstein said 10 percent of the known planets circling suns in the galaxy resemble Earth.

If water can be found there, then so can life, he said, adding that aliens would most likely resemble humans with two arms, two legs and a head.

“They may have different color skin, but even we have that,” he said.

Finkelstein’s institute runs a program launched in the 1960s at the height of the Cold War space race to watch for and beam out radio signals to outer space.

“The whole time we have been searching for extraterrestrial civilizations, we have mainly been waiting for messages from space and not the other way,” he said.

(Writing by Alissa de Carbonnel; editing by Paul Casciato)

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Western, Arab talks to focus on Libya "end-game"

Posted by Admin on June 9, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110608/wl_nm/us_libya

By Khaled al-Ramahi Wed Jun 8, 6:20 pm ET

MISRATA (Reuters) – Western and Arab nations meet in Abu Dhabi on Thursday to focus on what one U.S. official called the “end-game” for Libya‘s Muammar Gaddafi as NATO once again stepped up the intensity of its air raids on Tripoli.

NATO air strikes resumed in Tripoli on Wednesday night after a lull that followed the heaviest day of bombings since March. Thousands of Gaddafi troops advanced on Misrata on Wednesday, shelling it from three sides and killing at least 12 rebels.

Ministers from the so-called Libya contact group, including the United States, France and Britain, as well as Arab allies Qatar, Kuwait and Jordan, agreed in May to set up a fund to help the rebels in the civil war.

They are expected to firm up this commitment in the United Arab Emirates capital and press the rebels to give a detailed plan on how they would run the country if Gaddafi stood down as leader of the oil producing North African desert state.

“The international community is beginning to talk about what could constitute end-game to this,” one senior U.S. official told reporters aboard U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton‘s plane which landed in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday night.

“That would obviously include some kind of ceasefire arrangement and some kind of political process … and of course the question of Gaddafi and perhaps his family is also a key part of that,” the U.S. official said.

Both Libya’s rebel Transitional National Council (TNC) and its Western allies have rejected Libyan government ceasefire offers that do not include Gaddafi’s departure, saying he and his family must relinquish power before any talks can begin.

The U.S. official said there have been general discussions about what might happen to Gaddafi but nothing specific on “where he should go, or whether he should remain in Libya for that matter.”

U.S. officials on Wednesday announced delivery of the TNC’s first U.S. oil sale, part of a broader strategy they hope will get money flowing to the cash starved group.

U.S. oil refiner Tesoro announced in May it had purchased the 1.2 million barrel cargo, which U.S. officials said was due to arrive in Hawaii on Wednesday aboard a tanker chartered by Swiss oil trader Vitol.

“PRESSURE WILL INCREASE”

British Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt, who will be at the Abu Dhabi talks, said the group would be briefed by the International Stabilisation Response Team which is helping the rebel council plan for post-conflict rebuilding.

“The contact group will also reiterate the unequivocal message … that Gaddafi, his family and his regime have lost all legitimacy and must go so that the Libyan people can determine their own future,” Burt said.

“Until Gaddafi does so, the pressure will increase across the board: economically, politically and militarily.”

NATO defense ministers met in Brussels on Wednesday, but there were few signs of willingness to intensify their Libya mission, which after four months has failed to oust Gaddafi.

The alliance says the bombing aims to protect civilians from the Libyan leader’s military, which crushed popular protests against his rule in February, leaving many dead. The conflict has now become a civil war.

Gaddafi says the rebels are a minority of Islamist militants and the NATO campaign is an attempt to grab Libya’s oil.

On the battlefront, forces loyal to Gaddafi were staging a big push on Misrata. “He has sent thousands of troops from all sides and they are trying to enter the city. They are still outside, though, ” rebel spokesman Hassan al-Misrati told Reuters from inside the besieged town.

Another rebel spokesman in Misrata, called Mohammed, told Reuters late on Wednesday they were still in control of the city despite the assault.

Spain joined other Western and Arab governments in recognizing the Benghazi-based council as the sole representative of the Libyan people.

Gaddafi troops and the rebels have been deadlocked for weeks, with neither side able to hold territory on a road between Ajdabiyah in the east, which Gaddafi forces shelled on Monday, and the Gaddafi-held oil town of Brega further west.

Rebels control the east of Libya, the western city of Misrata and the range of western mountains near the border with Tunisia. They have been unable to advance on the capital against Gaddafi’s better-equipped forces.

(Additional reporting by Peter Graff in Tripoli, Adrian Croft in London and Andrew Quinn in Abu Dhabi; writing by John Irish, editing by Peter Millership)

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Libya's Gaddafi vows to fight to the death

Posted by Admin on June 7, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110607/wl_nm/us_libya_gaddafi

TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi vowed on Tuesday in a speech broadcast live on state television to fight to the end, after NATO intensified air strikes on Tripoli.

“We only have one choice: we will stay in our land dead or alive,” he said in the fiery audio address, calling on his supporters to flock to his Bab al-Aziziya compound.

Waves of NATO aircraft hit the Libyan capital on Tuesday, including targets in the vicinity of the vast Bab al-Aziziya residential compound, in the most sustained bombardment of the Libyan capital since Western forces began air strikes in March.

Describing planes flying overhead and explosions around him, Gaddafi was defiant.

“We are stronger than your missiles, stronger than your planes and the voice of the Libyan people is louder than explosions,” he said in his customary impassioned tone.

He said he was ready to unleash between 250,000 to 500,00 armed Libyans to swarm across the country to cleanse it from “armed gangs,” a reference to the rebels controlling the east of the North African oil producer.

Gaddafi was last seen on state television on May 30 in footage of him meeting South African President Jacob Zuma.

By Tuesday afternoon, warplanes were striking different parts of Tripoli several times an hour, rattling windows and sending clouds of grey smoke into the sky, a Reuters correspondent in the center of the city said.

“Whether we are martyred, killed or commit suicide, we care about our duty toward history,” Gaddafi said, demanding to know why the bombardment was continuing.

(Reporting by Joseph Nasr; Writing by John Irish; Editing by Andrew Roche)

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Yemen on brink of civil war as clashes spread

Posted by Admin on May 28, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110527/wl_nm/us_yemen

By Samia Nakhoul and Mohammed Ghobari Fri May 27, 4:16 pm ET

SANAA (Reuters) – Yemeni tribesmen said they wrested a military compound from elite troops loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh outside the capital Sanaa on Friday as fighting spread, threatening to tip the country into civil war.

Yemeni fighter jets broke the sound barrier as they swooped over Sanaa, where battles between Saleh loyalists and the Hashed tribal alliance led by Sadeq al-Ahmar erupted this week after failure of a deal to ease the president out.

Clashes spread northeast of Sanaa on Friday, where tribes said in addition to seizing a military post in the Nahm region, they were also fighting government troops at two other positions south of the capital.

In Sanaa, tens of thousands of people gathered after Friday prayers for what they branded a “Friday of Peaceful Revolution” against Saleh, releasing white doves and carrying the coffins of about 30 people killed in clashes this week.

Tens of thousands turned out for the rally, inspired by the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions, though their numbers had dwindled compared to previous weeks after thousands fled Sanaa and the government closed roads around the city to keep out tribes trying to reinforce the Ahmars.

Machinegun fire and sporadic blasts rattled the city before fighting eased after mediation efforts. Ahmar’s fighters evacuated government ministry buildings they had grabbed this week in return for a ceasefire and troops quitting their area.

“We are now in mediation and there has been a ceasefire between the two sides,” Ahmar, close to an Islamist opposition party, told protesters in “Change Square.” “But if Ali Abdullah Saleh returns (to fighting) then we are ready. We are steadfast and victorious.”

“We wanted it (revolution) to be peaceful but Saleh, his sons and his clique wanted war. We will not leave them the opportunity to turn it into a civil war,” Ahmar told Reuters.

But in a sign of hostility between the sides, a government source ridiculed Ahmar for his grandiose statements, saying the state had taught him a “small lesson” and urging him and “his gangs” to turn themselves in to face justice.

Battles this week, the worst since protests began in January, killed around 115 people and let Saleh grab back the initiative, overshadowing the protest movement with the threat of civil war. Yet protesters were determined to see him go.

“We are here to renew our resolve for a peaceful revolution. We reject violence or being dragged into civil war,” said Yahya Abdulla at the anti-Saleh protest camp, where armed vehicles were deployed to protect those praying.

A few kilometres (miles) away, government loyalists staged a short rally, waving Yemeni flags and pictures of Saleh, who has ruled the Arabian Peninsula state for nearly 33 years.

Worries are growing that Yemen, already a safe haven for al Qaeda and on the verge of financial ruin, could become a failed state that would erode regional security and pose a serious risk to neighboring Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter.

The United States and Saudi Arabia, both targets of foiled attacks by a wing of al Qaeda based in Yemen, are concerned any spread of anarchy could embolden the militant group.

BATTLE AT MILITARY COMPOUND

In Nahm, 100 km (60 miles) northeast of Sanaa, a tribal leader said fierce fighting over three military posts killed 19 and wounded dozens. He said tribesmen had seized one post and were battling for two more as military planes bombed the area.

“There had been some skirmishes between the tribesmen supporting the youth revolution from time to time, but today it became a big armed confrontation,” Sheikh Hamid Asim said.

He had earlier said anti-Saleh fighters killed the commander of the military post they seized. A separate tribal source said the Yemeni air force dropped bombs to prevent the tribesmen from seizing an arms cache there.

The defense ministry blamed the opposition coalition, comprised of Islamists and leftists, for the fighting in Nahm. State television, citing a military source, denied any posts were seized. “These are lies with no basis in truth,” Yemen TV quoted him as saying.

If confirmed, the Republican Guard’s loss of a military post to tribesmen armed with machineguns and rocket-propelled grenades would be an embarrassing setback for Saleh, whose country has become the poorest in the region.

Mediators have been increasingly exasperated with Saleh, saying he had repeatedly imposed new conditions each time a Gulf-led transition agreement was due for signing, mostly recently demanding a public signing ceremony.

Leaders of the G8 leading industrialized nations called on Saleh to step down during a summit in France, but analysts said global powers have little leverage in Yemen, located on a shipping lane through which 3 million barrels of oil pass daily.

FEAR OF CIVIL WAR

Sanaa residents had been streaming out of the capital by the thousands to escape escalating violence in recent days. Others stocked up on essentials and waited in trepidation.

“There is absolute poverty because of this regime. We want change,” said Abdulrahman al-Fawli, 42, an engineer. “But I’m terrified of civil war. I dread this prospect.”

The recent fighting between tribal fighters and loyalists has ignored a commitment to peaceful demonstrations by protesters, many of whom are sceptical about the vested interests of both sides in the armed conflict.

“Saleh and his forces and the al-Ahmar tribe cannot make the civilian state that the protesters want. They stole the limelight of the revolution and undermined it with their fighting,” said Ali Mohammed Subaihy, a doctor.

In the south, dozens of armed men believed to be from al Qaeda stormed into the city of Zinjibar in the flashpoint province of Abyan, chasing out security forces while seizing several government buildings and setting off blasts in others, residents said.

The army had withdrawn from Zinjibar after a battle with militants in March, but later regained control.

Friday’s violence, which killed at least seven people including a civilian, sent hundreds of families fleeing their neighborhoods as shelling continued and warplanes roared overhead. Smoke billowed from a military building.

Similar clashes broke out in Lawdar, also in the south, a government official said.

Saleh has said his removal would be a boon to al Qaeda, but the opposition, which includes the Islamist party Islah, accuses him of exploiting militancy to keep his foreign backing and argues that it would be better placed to fight al Qaeda.

Washington, which long treated Saleh as an ally against al Qaeda, has said it now wants him to go. Saleh’s attempts to stop protests by force have so far killed around 280 people.

(Additional reporting by Mohamed Sudam and Khaled al-Mahdy in Sanaa, Mohammed Mukhashaf in Aden, Erika Solomon in Dubai and from Barbara Lewis in Geneva; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Louise Ireland)

Posted in Conspiracy Archives, Geo-Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

OPEC worried by high oil price, patchy global recovery

Posted by Admin on April 18, 2011

http://in.finance.yahoo.com/news/OPEC-worried-high-oil-price-reuters-5695835.html

On Monday 18 April 2011, 2:37 PM

 

OPEC building is pictured in the centre Vienna September 14, 2010. REUTERS/Herwig Prammer/Files

By Eman Goma

KUWAIT (Reuters) – High oil prices represent a potentially major burden for importers with global economic recovery still fragile, leading OPEC ministers said on Monday.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi, a day after confirming the kingdom slashed oil production by more than 800,000 barrels per day (bpd) in March due to weak demand, warned of continued weakness in the global economy.

“The recovery remains patchy, in many countries unemployment remains at unacceptable levels,” Naimi told a meeting of Middle Eastern and Asian energy officials, according to the text of his speech obtained by Reuters.

Consuming nations have warned that rising oil prices, which earlier this month touched $127 a barrel, their highest level since July 2008, pose a threat to economic growth.

OPEC ministers for the most part have acknowledged the risk high oil prices pose but say there is little the group can do about it as demand for crude is being met with sufficient supplies.

“At these high price levels, spending on oil imports could represent a significant economic burden for many import dependent countries,” Kuwait ‘s Oil Minister Sheikh Ahmad al-Abdullah al-Sabah said in a speech at the meeting.

OPEC Secretary General Abdullah Al-Badri called on consuming nations to rein in speculators, saying they had added a $15 to $20 risk premium to the price of crude.

SAUDI SPECIAL BLEND REJECTED

Oil has been pushed higher since the start of the year by the wave of discontent that has swept through the Arab world, toppling the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt and touching off a civil war in Libya that has brought oil exports to a halt.

Saudi Arabia , Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates boosted output when Libyan supplies were lost but they have struggled to find buyers for the extra crude they are pumping.

Saudi Arabia tried to replicate Libya’s very low sulphur, high quality sweet oil with a special blend of crude, but refiners have only bought 2 million barrels of the blend.

“The market doesn’t want to change the Libyan crude, they still wait for the Libyan crude … I am surprised that nobody is buying the new ( Saudi ) crude,” Al-Badri, a former head of Libya’s OPEC delegation, told reporters.

The bulk of the crude oil produced by OPEC is sour, or high sulphur, while sweet crudes, like Libyan barrels, are highly prized for making transport fuels that have tight sulphur restrictions.

Iran ‘s OPEC Governor Mohammad Ali Khatibi told Reuters the market was well supplied with sour crude.

“There is a shortage of sweet crude, the Libyan kind, and as we enter the driving season there is higher demand for sweet crude,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Amena Bakr and Reem Shamseddine; writing by Robert Campbell; editing by James Jukwey)

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Iran says oil prices to reach $150 per barrel

Posted by Admin on April 6, 2011

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran

Belligerence and Hypocrisy

http://in.finance.yahoo.com/news/Iran-says-oil-prices-reach-reuters-728569414.html

On Monday 4 April 2011, 9:22 PM

 

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday that oil prices will reach $150 per barrel and the current crude prices were “not real”.

“The price of oil will increase to $150 per barrel in a period of time … the current oil prices are not real,” Ahmadinejad told a news conference.

Oil traded above $119 a barrel for Brent on Monday, just off a two-and-a-half year high touched in February, spurred by political instability in the Middle East and North Africa.

Iran is OPEC ‘s second biggest crude producer after Saudi Arabia .

Disruption of Libyan exports because of violent unrest in the OPEC member country also provided an opportunity for Iran to sell some of the crude that had built up in floating storage.

A popular uprising in Libya has shut down almost all of the country’s 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil production, prompting Saudi Arabia to boost crude output to try to compensate for the loss and rein in oil prices.

(Editing by Jason Neely)

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