UN rejects Palestinian resolution to end Israel‘s occupation- By EDITH M. LEDERER3 hours ago UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Security Council rejected a Palestinian resolution demanding an end to Israeli occupation within three years late Tuesday, a blow to an Arab campaign to get the U.N.’s most powerful body to take action to achieve an independent state of Palestine.Related Stories
The United States, Israel’s closest ally, had made clear its opposition to the draft resolution, insisting on a negotiated peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, not an imposed timetable. It would have used its veto if necessary but it didn’t have to because the resolution failed to get the minimum nine „yes” votes required for adoption by the 15-member council.The resolution received eight „yes” votes, two „no” votes — one from the United States and the other from Australia — and five abstentions.”We voted against this resolution not because we are comfortable with the status quo. We voted against it because … peace must come from hard compromises that occur at the negotiating table,” U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power said.She criticized the decision to bring the draft resolution to a vote as a „staged confrontation that will not bring the parties closer.” She added that the resolution was „deeply unbalanced” and didn’t take into account Israel’s security concerns.”Our effort was a serious effort, genuine effort, to open the door for peace,” said Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian U.N. ambassador. „Unfortunately, the Security Council is not ready to listen to that message.”Members vote during a meeting of the U.N. Security Council Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014, at the United Nat …Until shortly before the vote, council diplomats had expected the resolution to get nine „yes” votes. But Nigeria, which was believed to support the resolution, abstained. Its ambassador, U. Joy Ogwu, echoed the U.S. position saying the ultimate path to peace lies „in a negotiated solution.”The Palestinians, nonetheless, could point to support from two European nations, France and Luxembourg, reflecting the growing impatience especially in Europe over the lack of progress in achieving a two-state solution, and the increasing pressure on governments to do something to end the decades-old conflict.This impatience, and frustration over the Security Council’s paralysis in dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was echoed by many on the council, including the United States.Jordan’s U.N. Ambassador Dina Kawar, the Arab representative on the council, said after the vote: „The fact that this draft resolution was not adopted will not at all prevent us from proceeding to push the international community, specifically the United Nations, towards an effective involvement to achieving a resolution to this conflict.”Mansour said Palestinian leaders will be meeting Wednesday „and will decide on next steps.”Samantha Power, the United States’ ambassador to the United Nations speaks during a meeting of t …Before the vote, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that the Palestinians can return again to the Security Council, which will have five new members starting Thursday who are viewed as more sympathetic to their cause.If the council says „no” again, he said, the Palestinians will seek to join the International Criminal Court. They could then press charges against Israel for war crimes and crimes against humanity.France had put forward a draft resolution setting the outlines for a peace agreement and setting a two-year deadline for negotiations — and French Ambassador Francois Delattre told the council he will be pursuing council action to resolve the conflict.Israel’s image and its standing, especially in Europe, have come under increasing pressure as a result of this summer’s Gaza war and its refusal to halt settlement building.Israel Nitzan, the Middle East adviser at Israel’s U.N. Mission, delivered a brief message to the Palestinians after the vote: „You cannot agitate … your way to a state.”Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas found himself under pressure at home to proceed with a U.N. vote and to take other measures after months of unrest with Israel. Pressure increased earlier this month after a Palestinian minister died from a heart attack after scuffling with Israeli security forces in the West Bank at a protest against settlements.That incident came after months of tensions that included the collapse of the latest round of U.S.-backed peace talks, a 50-day war between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, Israeli security measures that restricted Muslim access to a revered holy site in Jerusalem and a spate of Palestinian attacks that killed 11 people.The violence seems to have mostly subsided in recent weeks but attacks persist.Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, a strong supporter of the resolution, took issue with the U.S. and others who said it undermined prospects for negotiations.”We believe this to be a strategic mistake,” Churkin said, „just as casting off our proposals to do brainstorming in the council in order to determine ways to reinvigorate the negotiating process, including sending to the Middle East a council mission.”_Associated Press writer Mohammed Daraghmeh in the West Bank contributed to this report
Conviction of Putin foe sets off protest in Moscow By NATALIYA VASILYEVA6 hours ago MOSCOW (AP) — President Vladimir Putin’s chief political foe was convicted along with his brother on Tuesday in a fraud case widely seen as a vendetta by the Kremlin, triggering one of Russia’s boldest anti-government demonstrations in years.Police allowed a few thousand protesters to gather just outside Red Square for about two hours — a show of relative restraint for Russian authorities, who have little tolerance for dissent — before moving in to break up the unsanctioned rally by pushing the demonstrators toward subway entrances.The rally came hours after anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny was found guilty of what activists said were trumped-up charges and given a suspended sentence of 3½ years. His younger brother was sent to prison, a move that drew comparisons to the Stalin-era practice of punishing family members of enemies of the state.The 38-year old Navalny, a lawyer and popular blogger, rose to prominence with his investigations of official corruption and played a leading role in organizing anti-Putin demonstrations in Moscow in 2011 and 2012 that drew hundreds of thousands.Navalny, who has been under house arrest since February, violated its terms to attend the rally and was rounded up by police as he approached the site. He later tweeted that police drove him home and blocked him from leaving his apartment.The protesters, who gathered on the Manezh Square outside the Kremlin, chanted: „We are the power!” and „Russia without Putin!” Some shouted slogans of support for Ukraine, which saw its Crimean Peninsula annexed by Russia in March and has faced a pro-Russia insurgency in the east.Russian opposition activist and anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny, 38, second right, and his b …Scuffles erupted between the protesters and pro-Putin activists shouting, „Those who don’t like Russia should go to the United States!” — the chants reflecting the Kremlin’s depiction of opposition supporters as Western stooges.The Russian authorities usually move quickly to break up opposition protests, and the unusual delay this time may reflect Kremlin concerns about fueling public anger amid the country’s economic woes. The ruble has lost about half its value this year, and the economy is heading into recession under the combined weight of Western sanctions and slumping oil prices.Police said they detained about 100 protesters, while activists claimed up to 250 were rounded up. Russian law requires demonstrators to get official clearance for rallies. Violators can face prison sentences and heavy fines.Tuesday’s verdict was not scheduled to come down until next month, but the court session was abruptly moved up to the day before New Year’s Eve, the main holiday in Russia, in what was widely seen as an attempt to head off protests. Russia’s main state-controlled TV stations all but avoided the story.In Washington, State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said the U.S. government was troubled by the verdict, which „appears to be another example of the Russian government’s growing crackdown on independent voices.”Police officers detain a protester during an unsanctioned protest in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Dec. 3 …European Union spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said the charges hadn’t been substantiated and the verdict „appeared to be politically motivated.”Navalny and his brother Oleg were convicted of cheating a French cosmetics company and given the same 3½-year sentence, but only Navalny’s was suspended. The court also fined each man 500,000 rubles (about $8,800) and ordered them to pay a total of about 4 million rubles ($77,000) in damages.Oleg Navalny, the father of two small children and a former executive of the state-owned postal service, has never played a role in the Russian opposition movement. Alexei Navalny and his supporters portrayed the brother’s prison sentence as a means of punishing Navalny himself.”Aren’t you ashamed of what you’re doing? You want to punish me even harder?” Alexei Navalny shouted at Judge Yelena Korobchenko.He entered the metal cage that his brother was put into after the verdict and appeared to hold back tears.Supporters of Russian opposition activist and anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny gather holding …”This is the most disgusting and vile of all possible verdicts,” Alexei Navalny said outside court.”The government isn’t just trying to jail its political opponents — we’re used to it; we’re aware that they’re doing it — but this time they’re destroying and torturing the families of the people who oppose them.”Independent Moscow-based political analyst Masha Lipman said the verdict is a message to the entire Russian opposition: „All of you guys are at our mercy.”Lipman said it was clear the Kremlin had decided not to make a martyr out of Navalny, with the aim being „not to consolidate the opposition, but to demoralize and intimidate it.”The suspended sentence could be converted into a prison term at any time if Navalny breaks the law. His lawyer Vadim Kobzev said he will remain under house arrest until all appeals by either side are exhausted, which could take months.The trial seemed to be full of inconsistencies.Prosecutors insisted that the brothers forced the Yves Rocher company „into disadvantageous contracts” and defrauded it of 26 million rubles (about $440,000).An Yves Rocher executive submitted a complaint to investigators, but its representatives insisted throughout the trial that there was never any damage. Also, the French executive who wrote the complaint left Russia shortly afterward and never attended the hearings.Navalny was found guilty of embezzlement in a different case in 2013 and sentenced to prison but was released the next day after thousands protested near the Kremlin. He finished a strong second in Moscow’s mayoral election later that year.Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky who spent 10 years behind bars before he was pardoned last year, dismissed Tuesday’s verdict as Putin’s revenge for Navalny’s activism, adding that „Putin and his entourage are capable of vile tricks, deception, forgery and manipulation.”New York-based Human Rights Watch said the verdict sends a message „to expect a harsher crackdown in 2015.”_Jim Heintz, Kate de Pury and Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow, John-Thor Dahlburg in Brussels, and Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report
La guerre d’Ukraine a commencé : ce que les Occidentaux devront faire pour arrêter PoutinePar Florent Parmentier | Atlantico.fr – il y a 4 heuresLa capture de parachutistes russes en territoire ukrainien a marqué un tournant dans le conflit NEWS À LA UNELe décès de six SDF rouvre le débat sur le „mal-logement”Reuters – il y a 11 heuresLes médecins libéraux prêts à un mouvement au long coursReuters – il y a 11 heuresEasyjet annule 138 vols mercredi et jeudi en France Reuters – il y a 12 heures La capture de parachutistes russes en territoire ukrainien a marqué un tournant dans le conflit. De soutien ambigu aux séparatistes, la Russie est passée dans la catégorie d’Etat belligérant.Atlantico : Alors que le chef des séparatistes de Donetsk a affirmé que 3000 soldats russes combattaient à leurs côtés dans l’est de l’Ukraine, l’ambassadeur russe à l’Osce, Andreï Kelin, a formellement démenti cette information. Aujourd’hui, que sait-on de la présence russe dans l’est du pays ?Florent Parmentier & Cyrille Bret : Au cours de ce conflit, on a vu successivement des chefs séparatistes se réjouir de la présence russe, et les autorités russes dénier cette présence. A chaque fois pour des motifs politiques : les séparatistes veulent montrer qu’ils ne sont pas isolés et à ressouder leurs troupes, les autorités russes veulent intervenir en tant de tierce partie, et donc ne pas apparaître comme directement impliquées. C’est cet équilibre qui est remis en cause aujourd’hui. Ce qui est sûr, c’est que la Russie dispose d’une politique d’influence efficace dans la région, grâce à de multiples facteurs : son omniprésence médiatique, sa puissance économique et sa proximité géographique ; elle produit ses effets en construisant l’image de l’ennemi, nécessairement hostile, y compris lorsque Moscou a envoyé son aide humanitaire. Les autorités ukrainiennes auraient dû elle-même commencer par envoyer des convois humanitaires, sans laisser la possibilité à la Russie de reprendre l’initiative sur ce terrain…Au-delà, la capture de parachutistes russes sur le territoire ukrainien peut difficilement n’être que le fruit du hasard… La Russie est donc bien directement partie prenante. Ce que les opinions publiques pressentaient depuis longtemps est maintenant fortement avéré. Les autorités publiques russes soutiennent militairement et matériellement certaines fractions (…)lire la suite sur AtlanticoUkraine : présence de soldats russes, réunion d’urgence du Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU Ukraine : le président Petro Porochenko annonce la dissolution du Parlement Ukraine : pas d’accord de cessez-le-feu malgré une rencontre Poutine-Porochenko
U.S. opens door to oil exports after year of pressure By Timothy Gardner4 hours agoAn offshore oil platform is seen in Huntington Beach, California September 28, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Ni …By Timothy Gardner WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration on Tuesday bowed to months of growing pressure over a 40-year-old ban on exports of most domestic crude, taking two steps expected to unleash a wave of ultra-light shale oil onto global markets.The Bureau of Industry and Security, or BIS, which regulates export controls, said it had granted permission to „some” companies to sell lightly treated condensate abroad. Condensate is a form of ultra-light crude.Some two dozen energy companies had asked the agency for clarification on permissible exports earlier this year, but until Tuesday those requests had been put on indefinite hold.The BIS also released guidance in the form of frequently asked questions, or FAQs, to explain what kind of oil was generally allowed under the ban, the first effort by the administration to clarify an issue that has caused confusion and consternation in energy markets for more than a year.The two measures are clearest signs yet that the administration is ready to allow more of the booming U.S. shale oil production to be sold overseas, where drillers have said it can fetch a premium of $10 a barrel or more.They follow a year of murky messages and widespread uncertainty over what is or is not allowed under a trade restriction that critics say is a relic of a bygone age, when oil was seen as scarce after the 1970s Arab oil embargo.A domestic drilling boom of the past six years has transformed the United States into an energy powerhouse, boosting U.S. production by more than 50 percent and reversing decades of decline.Output of very light oil has been especially strong, leading to a glut that threatens to overwhelm domestic demand. The constraints helped fuel bumper profits for refiners such as Valero Energy Corp <VLO.N> and PBF Energy Inc <PBF.N>, but angered drillers such as Hess Corp <HES.N> that say they were selling at a discount.Jamie Webster, the senior director of oil markets at research firm IHS, said the FAQ „takes the leash off of (the U.S. Department of) Commerce” and signals it may take additional action on crude exports after several months of inaction.While likely to draw broad support from many quarters, the measures also open the Obama administration to attack by environmentalists and Democrats who may see it encouraging more hydraulic fracking and as a sop to big oil companies.STEPS TO CLARIFY How the measures will affect flows of condensate is uncertain, particularly given the dramatic slump in global oil markets, where prices have nearly halved since the summer.An administration official said that the oil market – not a „fairly arcane clarification” in guidelines – would ultimately determine how much oil is exported. That echoed the Obama administration’s policy on exports of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, which are also now generally allowed.The steps on Tuesday were „certainly not designed to add or detract from what can be exported. We are trying to make the boundary line clearer,” said the official.In its FAQ, which the agency has been working on for most of this year, the BIS confirmed or clarified a number of nuanced issues related to the rules, including:* Confirmation that lease condensate processed through a distillation tower is considered a petroleum product, and therefore can be exported without constraint.* Clarification of what constitutes „distillation” for export, including the fact that pressure reduction alone, and flash drums with so-called heater-treaters or separators, would not be sufficient to qualify oil for overseas sales.* A reminder that most petroleum products may be „exported to most of the world without a license,” a message seen by many analysts as blessing the process of self-certification.* And clarification that „a minimum amount of mixing” between exportable foreign crude and restricted domestic crude may be allowed, a note likely making it easier to ship Canadian crude through U.S. pipelines and ports.FRUSTRATION BUILDING Uncertainty about what kind of petroleum can be shipped abroad has frustrated oil market players since the BIS, an office of the Commerce Department, quietly gave permission in 2013 to a small company, Peaker Energy, to export minimally treated light oil called condensate.Last spring BIS gave permission to export treated condensate in private letters to two other companies, Pioneer Natural Resources Co <PXD.N> and Enterprise Products Partners LP <EPD.N>.The private nature of the communications between the government and the three energy companies left a wide range of other drillers in the dark about investing in expensive infrastructure to process condensate.One company, Australia’s BHP <BHP.AX>, said last month it would press ahead with exports without having received a formal approval from the BIS, but other energy companies have been reluctant to follow suit without further guidance.Domestic pressure has also grown. Several lawmakers in the House of Representatives and Senate have said that unless energy companies can export oil to Asia and Europe, the drilling boom will eventually choke on its own output.(Additional reporting by Jessica Resnick-Ault and Jonathan Leff in New York; Editing by Jessica Resnick-Ault, Bill Trott and Jeffrey Benkoe)
Russia: Ukraine’s import of US nuclear fuel risky 7 hours agoMOSCOW (AP) — Russia says Ukraine’s deal to buy U.S.-made nuclear fuel for its Soviet-built reactors could trigger a nuclear accident.Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk of Ukraine announced Tuesday that his nation has reached a deal on nuclear fuel deliveries with Westinghouse to reduce dependence on Russian supplies.Russia’s Foreign Ministry deplored the move as a „dangerous experiment that threatens safety and health of the Ukrainian citizens and peoples of Europe.” It said nuclear fuel produced by the U.S. company doesn’t quite fit Soviet-built nuclear reactors that Ukraine has.The ministry said Ukrainian authorities must take a responsible approach to nuclear safety, or risk disasters such as the 1986 Chernobyl one, which was a result of a flawed Soviet reactor design coupled with serious mistakes made by the plant operators.In a statement Tuesday, Westinghouse said it „has been working in the Ukrainian market since 2003, and brings diversification of suppliers, global best practices and technology to the Ukraine market. Westinghouse fuel is currently operating safely and efficiently at the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant without any defects in performance.”
U.S. is in an oil war with Russia and OPEC: Katusa By Joe Belfiglio 10 hours ago Oil prices have tanked this year. Oversupply and diminishing consumption have resulted in oil falling to its cheapest price since May of 2009. “It’s a three-way oil war between OPEC, Russia and North American shale,” says Marin Katusa, author of “The Colder War,” and chief energy investment strategist at Casey Research.Katusa doesn’t see production slowing in 2015: “We know that OPEC will not be cutting back production. They’re going to increase it. Russia has increased production to all-time highs.” With Russia and OPEC refusing to give up market share how will the shale industry compete?Katusa thinks the longevity and staying power of the shale industry will keep it viable and profitable. “The versatility and the survivability of a lot of these shale producers will surprise people. I don’t see that the shale sector is going to collapse over night,” he says. Shale sweet spots like North Dakota’s Bakken region and Texas’ Eagle Ford area will help keep production levels up and output steady.Get the Latest Market Data and News with the Yahoo Finance AppIf you’re looking to invest in the energy sector, Katusa says don’t follow the crowd: “You have to be a contrarian and when everyone is hating oil that’s when you start looking.” Capitalizing on the lowest cost of production is a good rule of thumb. Right now oil is cheaper to produce but Katusa sees the shale sector eventually catching up. Also, look for shale to benefit from low interest rates.Katusa advises staying away from companies like Billionaire Harold Hamm’s Continental Resources(CLR), who’s stock saw nearly a third of its value wiped away this year. “You want to stick with the liquids. You want to stay away from companies that have high debt.” He thinks there are plenty of good companies with big upsides: “I think Enterprise group (E.TO) is going to surprise a lot of people. They’re a $70B company, pay a 4% yield and they don’t have the volatility risk in the price of oil.”As for oil prices in 2015, Katusa sees stability on the horizon: “I don’t see $20 oil. But I do see a trading range, a near term correction to maybe $65. We’re going to be in a trading range between $45-65 oil.”More from Yahoo FinancePutin is winning the oil war: Katusa Bull will run in 2015 but beware of inflation scare: Sonders Forget stocks, oil’s fall is „overwhelmingly good news” for Americans
US To Move 150 Tanks To Europe In Response To Ukraine Crisis Reuters/Michael Dalder The U.S. will move 150 tanks to Europe for training American troops there as a response to the continuing crisis in Ukraine, according to Reuters. An unspecified quantity could be placed in Poland, Romania or the Baltic states – Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania — seemingly to shore up NATO’s defensive capabilities against the Russian Federation, which NATO accused of directly fostering the conflict between the military and pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commanding general of the U.S. Army Europe, called the initative “operation Atlantic Resolve” and said it would allow the U.S. to defend NATO border states at a moment’s notice. At least a third of the new force will remain at training bases in Germany, he said.NATO, which is made up of European countries, Canada and the U.S., already has moved military assets like F-16 fighter jets to the Baltic countries at their request over their growing concerns about Russia. The U.S. Army Europe, which is separate from NATO, has around 29,000 personnel in its ranks. In total, NATO has around 3.3 million soldiers on active duty, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.Hodges said soon after taking control of the U.S. Army Europe in November that the U.S. and its allies “face a resurgent Russia that has illegally annexed Crimea and which threatens our friends and allies.”Russia plans to answer right back: This month, the Russian Security Council deemed NATO the country’s biggest threat in a military doctrine that set the stage for a major upgrade to Russia’s military in 2015. Part of that upgrade will be to its nuclear forces equipment and will go toward expanding its capabilities in the Arctic, where vast energy reserves lie, according to Agence France-Presse. Russian leaders strongly opposed any troop movement near its borders and has answered with troop buildups and exercises this year.Since the escalation in Ukraine from peaceful protests in favor of moving toward the European Union to all-out territorial war in spring of this year, Russia has run dozens of missions with its aircraft near its NATO neighbors and even near U.S. airspace.on December 30 2014 2:59 PM
BBC Allegedly Bowed to Royal Pressure over Controversial Documentary: Report By Leo Barraclough14 hours agoLONDON — The BBC has been accused of bowing to pressure from the British royal family following a last-minute decision to pull controversial documentary “Reinventing The Royals” from its schedules.TV listings magazine Radio Times, which broke the story, alleges that lawyers representing members of the royal family intervened at the 11th hour, which led BBC execs to shelve the show.In a statement, the U.K. public broadcaster said it was “delaying broadcast” of the program, which was due to air on Jan. 4, until “later in the New Year while a number of issues including the use of archive footage are resolved.”BBC news chief James Harding made the decision to spike the broadcast, Radio Times claimed.The documentary, which is presented by Steve Hewlett, tracks attempts by Prince Charles to salvage his relationship with the British public following the death of Princess Diana in 1997.In the program, Sandy Henney, who was Charles’ press secretary at the time of Diana’s death, describes the situation when she was hired in 1993: “He was getting some pretty virulent criticism — bad father, unloving husband. I think he was pretty hurt… if you’ve got a middle-aged balding man and a beautiful princess, it’s a no-brainer as to who is going to get the media coverage.”After Diana’s death, the public began to turn against the monarchy, Henney says in the docu. “I remember briefing one of our private secretaries on the phone saying, ‘I know you’re seeing this on television but you really have to be here to feel the atmosphere. The people here are really anti-monarchy.’ I was really worried about where it was going to go.”The documentary then follows attempts by spin doctor Mark Bolland to repair Charles’ tattered public image, and win public approval for his relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles, whom Charles later married.The program also includes an interview with Tom Bradby, the political editor of U.K. broadcaster ITV, and its former royal correspondent. Bradby, who is close to Charles’ sons, William and Harry, describes in the program the princes’ disdain for the press. “William and Harry were very angry. They thought that the media had hounded their mother to death. I don’t mean they vaguely thought that — they actually thought that’s what had happened.”In an article for the Radio Times, Hewlett writes: “For William, protecting his personal privacy and that of his family has perhaps understandably become a virtual obsession. But with anything not classed as ‘public duty’ regarded as off limits, and in a new media age dominated by the internet, with all the accompanying expectations of openness and transparency, there are real concerns even within the royal household over the sustainability of William’s approach. Can a future monarch be so media shy in the modern age? Many doubt it.”Get more from Variety and Variety411: Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Newsletter
US Treasury enforces Iranian sanctions By DEB RIECHMANN11 hours agoThis photo released by the Iranian Defense Ministry shows, Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan, right, and his Iraqi counterpart Khalid al-Obeidi, as they listen to their countries national anthems during an official welcoming ceremony for al-Obeidi, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Dec. 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Iranian Defense Ministry)WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Treasury Department on Tuesday imposed economic penalties on six people and three companies accused of helping Iran’s government obtain hundreds of millions in U.S. currency or evade existing sanctions.The action shows that the Obama administration is serious about enforcing sanctions already on the books even though it does not support additional sanctions while the U.S. and its partners work to negotiate with Iran over its nuclear program, said David Cohen, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.Obama has threatened to veto any new sanctions legislation while American diplomats continue their push for an accord that would set multiyear limits on Iran’s nuclear progress in exchange for an easing of the international sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy. Senate hawks are still trying to build a veto-proof majority of 67 votes with Republicans set to assume the majority next month.Those accused of helping Iran convert various currencies into hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars include Iranians, citizens of Afghanistan and St. Kitts and Nevis and a Dubai-based trading company. Iran’s Douran Software Technologies is targeted for helping government censorship activities. Another tech firm, Abyssec, is blamed for supporting Iran’s Revolutionary Guard corps in cyber tradecraft.Americans can’t do business with those blacklisted. Any assets they have in the U.S. are now frozen.
Grève chez easyJet: 30% des vols annulés mercredi en FrancePar AFP | AFP – il y a 11 heuresAFP/AFP – Un avion de la compagnie aérienne low cost easyJet à Lille-Lesquin le 29 décembre 2014 NEWS À LA UNEen FranceReuters – il y a 12 heures La compagnie low cost easyJet a annulé 30% de ses vols mercredi en France et 26% jeudi en raison d’une nouvelle grève de deux jours menée par ses hôtesses et stewards français, une semaine après la précédente.Le groupe britannique a indiqué mardi dans un communiqué avoir annulé 70 vols mercredi et 68 jeudi.Il précise que 166 et 192 vols seront assurés ces deux jours-là respectivement, depuis et vers la France, sur le millier opéré quotidiennement dans l’ensemble du réseau mondial.Les deux syndicats SNPNC-FO et Unac protestent contre l’instabilité des plannings et la baisse de 25% du bonus annuel distribué sous formes d’actions aux salariés.Ils ont déposé un préavis de grève pour le 31 décembre et le 1er janvier, après un premier débrayage qui avait conduit à l’annulation de 38 vols les 25 et 26 décembre.Mercredi, le mouvement social touchera principalement les aéroports parisiens de Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle (24 annulations) et Orly (14), ainsi que celui de Lyon (20). Les autres annulations concernent Nice (6), Toulouse (4) et Lille (2).Jeudi, le trafic sera davantage perturbé à Lyon (22 annulations), Roissy (18) et Nice (16).Direction et syndicats ont renoué le dialogue mardi après-midi lors d’une conférence téléphonique, mais sans succès.”La discussion n’a pas permis de lever le préavis pour le 31 et le 1er”, a indiqué à l’AFP Laurent Nicolas du SNPNC-FO, syndicat majoritaire chez les hôtesses de l’air et stewards français d’easyJet.Une conférence de presse est organisée mercredi à 11h30 à Roissy par les deux syndicats appelant à la grève.L’Unac avait affirmé avant même la reprise du dialogue que la grève serait „maintenue quoi qu’il arrive”, selon sa déléguée Laeticia Oulaitoh, qui ne s’attendait à aucune concession de la part de l’entreprise.La direction aurait, selon elle, expliqué à l’ensemble des salariés français via le site intranet qu’elle ne renoncerait pas à la baisse du bonus annuel, décidée à cause d’un mauvais taux de „satisfaction” des clients.Les syndicats trouvent injuste la prise en compte de ce critère dans le calcul du bonus, arguant que le plus gros de la satisfaction du passager est généré par le traitement qu’il reçoit au sol (enregistrement, contrôle de sécurité) assuré par des prestataires.Ils reprochent en outre à easyJet d’avoir recouru à des salariés britanniques lors de la précédente grève, pour diminuer son impact, une „forme de travail dissimulé qui porte atteinte aux organismes sociaux et au droit de grève”, a dénoncé dans un communiqué le SNPNC-FO.Contestée par les syndicats, cette pratique est cependant légale lorsqu’un groupe international fait appel en interne à ses propres salariés pour remplacer le personnel gréviste.
Russisch-ukrainisches Abkommen zu Stromlieferung Auch Halbinsel Krim soll beliefert werdenAFP – vor 11 StundenAFP/Max Vetrov – Bahnhof in Simferopol auf der Krim Das russische Energieministerium hat den Abschluss eines Abkommens über die Lieferung von Strom an die Ukraine bekannt gegeben. Der am Dienstag in Kraft getretene Vertrag zwischen der russischen Firma Inter-RAO und dem ukrainischen Unternehmen UkrInterEnergo sieht demnach auch Stromlieferungen an die Schwarzmeeerhalbinsel Krim vor, die wegen ihrer Eingliederung in die Russische Föderation einer Stromblockade durch Kiew unterliegt.Moskau hatte bereits am Samstag die Lieferung von Kohle und Strom an die Ukraine zu „Vorzugspreisen” angekündigt. Die Ukraine leidet vor allem wegen des Konflikts im Osten des Landes, der viele Bergwerke in der Kohleregion Donbass lahmgelegt hat, unter Kohleknappheit.Seit dem Frühjahr liefern sich ukrainische Regierungstruppen und prorussische Rebellen im Osten des Landes heftige Gefechte. Dabei wurden seit April mehr als 4700 Menschen getötet. Eine mehrfach beschlossene Waffenruhe wird immer wieder verletzt. Der Westen wirft Russland vor, die Rebellen militärisch zu unterstützen. Der Kreml weist dies zurück.Aus Regierungskreisen in Berlin hieß es unterdessen, Bundesaußenminister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) habe an den vergangenen beiden Tagen mit seinen russischen und ukrainischen Kollegen, Sergej Lawrow und Pawlo Klimkin, über Möglichkeiten zur weiteren Stabilisierung der schwierigen Lage in der Ost-Ukraine sowie die Umsetzung der Minsker Vereinbarung über eine Waffenruhe beraten. Ziel bleibe ein rasches Treffen der Kontaktgruppe aus Vertretern Russlands, der Ukraine, der Organisation für Sicherheit und Zusammenarbeit in Europa (OSZE) sowie der prorussischen Rebellen.Auch ein mögliches Treffen im Normandie-Format war demnach Thema der Gespräche. Der ukrainische Präsident Petro Poroschenko hatte am Montag mitgeteilt, er wolle sich am 15. Januar in der kasachischen Hauptstadt Astana im Normandie-Format mit dem russischen Staatschef Wladimir Putin, Frankreichs Präsidenten François Hollande und Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel (CDU) treffen. Damit bezog er sich auf ein Treffen der vier Politiker am 6. Juni in der Normandie anlässlich des Gedenkens an die Landung der Alliierten in Frankreich im Jahr 1944. Ein zweites Treffen im gleichen Format folgte im Oktober in Mailand.
Udo Jürgens bekommt Ehrengrab auf Wiener Zentralfriedhof Termin für Beisetzung des Sängers steht noch nicht festAFP – vor 11 StundenAFP/Jens Kalaene – Udo Jürgens verstarb im Alter von 80 Jahren Udo Jürgens soll ein Ehrengrab auf dem Wiener Zentralfriedhof bekommen. Das habe die Stadt Wien bestätigt, berichtete die österreichische Nachrichtenagentur APA. Einen Termin für die Beisetzung des gebürtigen Österreichers gebe es allerdings noch nicht.Der Sänger, Entertainer und Komponist war am 21. Dezember mit 80 Jahren bei einem Spaziergang in der Schweiz zusammengebrochen und konnte nicht mehr wiederbelebt werden. Jürgens’ Leiche wurde nach Angaben seines Sprechers bereits zwei Tage später in Zürich eingeäschert, nachdem sich seine engsten Freunde und Angehörigen von ihm verabschiedet hatten.Mit mehr als 100 Millionen verkauften Tonträgern zählte Jürgens zu den erfolgreichsten Sängern der Welt. Zu seinen größten Hits zählen Lieder wie „Merci Chérie”, „Griechischer Wein” oder „Ich war noch niemals in New York”.
Neujahrsansprache: Angela Merkel warnt vor Fremdenhass und kritisiert PegidaCF – vor 1 Stunde 25 MinutenCF – Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel blickt in ihrer Neujahrsansprache auf das Jahr 2014 zurück. Genau wie Joachim Gauck in seiner Weihnachtsansprache hat sich auch Angela Merkel in ihrer Neujahrsansprache klar gegen die Ausgrenzung von Flüchtlingen gestellt. Die Kanzlerin verurteilt zudem die islamfeindlichen Demonstrationen der Pegida-Bewegung aufs Schärfste: „Heute rufen manche montags wieder ‘Wir sind das Volk’. Aber tatsächlich meinen sie: Ihr gehört nicht dazu – wegen Eurer Hautfarbe oder Eurer Religion. Deshalb sage ich allen, die auf solche Demonstrationen gehen: Folgen Sie denen nicht, die dazu aufrufen! Denn zu oft sind Vorurteile, ist Kälte, ja, sogar Hass in deren Herzen!”Seit dem Zweiten Weltkrieg habe es nicht mehr so viele Flüchtlinge gegeben, betont Angela Merkel. Zahlreiche Menschen müssen aus Kriegsgebieten flüchten, daher sei es „selbstverständlich, dass wir ihnen helfen und Menschen aufnehmen, die bei uns Zuflucht suchen”, so die Kanzlerin in ihrer Neujahrsansprache. Zuwanderung sei ein „Gewinn für uns alle”, stellt sie klar. Für Deutschland sei es ohnehin das größte Kompliment, „dass die Kinder Verfolgter hier ohne Furcht groß werden können.”Angela Merkel lobt zudem den Zusammenhalt Europas – besonders im Angesicht der Ukraine-Krise. „Es steht völlig außer Frage, dass wir Sicherheit in Europa gemeinsam mit Russland wollen, nicht gegen Russland”, so Merkel. Allerdings sei auch außer Frage, „dass Europa ein angebliches Recht eines Stärkeren, der das Völkerrecht missachtet, nicht akzeptieren kann und nicht akzeptieren wird.””Es ist und bleibt der Zusammenhalt, mit dem wir auch in Zukunft die großen Herausforderungen meistern können”, weiß Angela Merkel. Immerhin habe auch der Zusammenhalt einer ganz besonderen Nationalmannschaft den WM-Titel im Sommer 2014 erbracht. Schlussendlich sei klar: „Auch im kommenden Jahr sollten wir gemeinsam alles daran setzen, den Zusammenhalt unseres Landes zu stärken. Er macht unsere Gesellschaft menschlich und erfolgreich.”Bild Copyright: dpa
Italy finds 700 migrants on ‘drifting’ shipBy AFP | AFP – 1 hour 19 minutes agoAFP/Aeronautica Militare Italiana/HO/AFP – An image grab taken from a video made available by the Aeronautica Militare Italiana on December 30, 2014 shows the Moldovan-flagged ship Blue Sky M in the Mediterranean …more Italy’s navy said it had taken control of a ship carrying some 700 migrants, including a heavily pregnant woman, after it issued a distress call near the Greek island of Corfu.Coastguards flown out to the ship by helicopter found hundreds of mainly Syrian illegal migrants on board, Italian media reported, citing military sources.”Coastguard personnel have boarded a cargo ship adrift with 700 migrants,” the Italian navy said in a tweet late on Tuesday.A frigate, a Greek navy helicopter and two patrol vessels were dispatched to rescue the Moldovan-flagged Blue Sky M after it issued a distress signal in Greek waters and reports emerged of gunmen on board.But an inspection of the boat, which was travelling to Italy, revealed „no (mechanical) problems and nothing suspicious on the boat”, a spokeswoman for the port police told AFP.The ship was allowed to continue its journey before it was intercepted by Italian coastguards, who suspected it had a cargo of illegal migrants and was heading for the coast on autopilot.The latest safety scare in the Adriatic comes after at least 13 people were killed in a huge rescue operation to save an Italian ferry that burst into flames in stormy seas on Sunday.Both rescue operations have had to combat strong winds and stormy conditions, according to port police.The Blue Sky M was expected to arrive in the port of Gallipoli, in the southeast of Italy, later Tuesday, according to a statement from the navy.Italy has picked up 2,300 people from troubled boats over the Christmas period, lifting to more than 170,000 the number of migrants from North Africa registered as reaching Italian soil this year.The conflict in Syria and Iraq and repression in Eritrea have been the two biggest factors behind the migrant surge this year with Syrian and Eritrean nationals accounting for over half the arrivals in Italy.
Analysis – U.S. opening of oil export tap widens battle for global marketReuters – 9 minutes agoReuters – A section of the BP Eastern Trough Area Project (ETAP) oil platform is seen in the North Sea, around 100 miles east of Aberdeen in Scotland February 24, 2014. REUTERS/Andy Buchanan/pool/Files By Timothy Gardner and Jonathan Leff WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Obama administration has opened a new front in the global battle for oil market share, effectively clearing the way for the shipment of as much as a million barrels per day of ultra-light U.S. crude to the rest of the world.The Department of Commerce on Tuesday ended a year-long silence on a contentious, four-decade ban on oil exports, saying it had begun approving a backlog of requests to sell processed light oil abroad. It also issued a long-awaited document outlining exactly what kinds of oil other would-be exporters can ship.The administration’s first serious effort to clarify an issue that has caused confusion and consternation in energy markets for more than a year will likely please domestic oil drillers, foreign trade partners and some Republicans who have urged Obama to loosen the export ban, which they see as an outdated holdover from the 1970s Arab oil embargo.The latest measures were wrapped in regulatory jargon and couched by some as a basic clarification of existing rules, but analysts said the message was unambiguous: a green light for any company willing and able to process their light condensate crude through a distillation tower, a simple piece of oilfield kit.”In practice this long-awaited move can open up the floodgates to substantial increases in exports by end 2015,” Ed Morse, global head of commodities research at Citigroup in New York said in a research note.The action comes at a critical juncture for the global oil market. World prices have halved to less than $60 a barrel since the summer as top exporter Saudi Arabia, once a staunch defender of $100 oil, refused to cut production in the face of surging U.S. shale output and tempered global demand.By opening the door to U.S. crude exports, the administration is offering a bit of relief to some domestic drillers that have said that they are forced to sell their shale oil at a discount of as much as $15 a barrel versus global markets as fast-rising domestic supplies overwhelm local demand.But the impending swell of U.S. petroleum into global markets may intensify what many analysts say is a pivotal oil market war, with Saudi Arabia and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) unwilling to yield ground. Now they will face even greater competition beyond U.S. shores.If they can boost selling prices by even a dollar or two, oil producers in places such as the Eagle Ford of Texas will be better able to withstand the slump in oil markets. Morse said U.S. condensate exports could rise from 200,000 bpd to as much as 1 million bpd by the end of next year.”This has an interesting impact on the current confrontation between Saudi Arabia and shale,” he said.Among those most at risk from the U.S. shale exports is Nigeria, which pumps similarly light, sweet oil. The OPEC member has already lost the U.S. market to shale, with its exports falling from more than 1 million barrels per day to next to nothing; now it will face U.S. competition in Europe and Asia, too.JUST THE FAQS The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), which regulates U.S. export controls, has come under enormous scrutiny over the past year because of growing pressure to clarify confusing regulations on exporting crude.While untreated crude oil is generally banned from being exported, refined fuels such as gasoline and diesel can be freely sold abroad. The question that has bedeviled U.S. producers is how the rules apply to „processed condensate,” ultra-light oil that has been heated through a very basic refining unit.On Tuesday, the BIS said it had given permission to „some” companies to ship treated light oil but did not give details about what it had approved.Two energy companies, driller Pioneer Natural Resources and mid-stream firm Enterprise Products Partners, have been regularly exporting processed condensate since the summer after receiving a private permit from the BIS. But several dozen other companies that also raced to file similar requests were left waiting, with no timeline for action.The agency also released its first ever written guidance on the rules themselves in the form of frequently asked questions (FAQs), clarifying a series of detailed questions that had clouded efforts to move forward with substantial exports.The document gives „considerable discretion” that could allow for rising export volumes in the future, measures that could narrow the price gap between U.S. benchmark WTI crude and global marker Brent, said Kevin Book, managing director at ClearView Energy Partners LLC.On Tuesday, the Brent/WTI spread narrowed by more than 50 cents to around $3.70 a barrel.In its guidelines, the BIS said that most goods can be shipped abroad „without a license” – a reminder that some analysts read as encouraging shippers to „self-classify” their condensate, as Reuters reported earlier. QUESTIONS AHEAD With global oil markets in flux, it is far from clear how much U.S. condensate will find a market overseas. Drillers are already slashing billions of dollars off their 2015 budgets because of lower prices, actions likely to slow growth in output next year and push forward the point at which supply overtakes demand.One administration official said the question of exports would ultimately be left to the market, and that the agency was simply seeking to „make the boundary line clearer.”Even so, with no changes to the core U.S. law that bans raw crude exports, even slower growth will eventually stretch refiners’ limits, forcing tougher questions in years ahead.”Whether to allow crude oil exports directly because the production of light crude overwhelms the domestic refining system still remains a live issue that may need to be addressed in the future in response to changing market conditions,” said Jason Bordoff, the founding director of Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy and a former energy adviser to the Obama White House.(Reporting by Jonathan Leff; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)