Terror attack shuts down Libyan oil pipeline

The pipeline feeding crude from the Waha oil field into Libya’s Es Sider export terminal has been shut down for repairs after a fire broke out during the weekend.

An early report by Reuters cited a source from the pipeline operator Waha Oil Company who said the pipeline had been attacked by “a terrorist group.” Later, parent company NOC tweeted that preliminary investigation of the fire confirmed that the cause of the fire was a deliberate attack on the pipeline.

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FILE PHOTO: Libyan forces allied with the UN-backed government, Sirte, Libya, 2016 © Goran Tomasevic

Repairs should last a few days, NOC also said, with the loss of production during the period estimated at 80,000 bpd. Waha Oil operates the same-name field in partnership with ConocoPhillips, Total, and Hess. The field last month produced an average 300,000 bpd, the same as Libya’s largest field, Sharara—itself the target of several deliberate outages.

This is the second attack on the pipeline over the last five months. Last time, repairs led to the same loss of production.

Libya’s production and oil transport infrastructure in general is often the target of attacks by various militant groups seeking to gain an edge over rivals in the chaos that is Libyan politics right now. Because of this, the country is considered an important swing factor for oil prices.

Read more on Oilprice.com: A Natural Gas Giant Like No Other

Recently, there has been another factor contributing to the North African country’s significance for oil markets: General Khalifa Haftar, the leader of the LNA, which two years ago wrested control over Libya’s four oil export terminals from the Petroleum Facilities Guard.

There were reports recently that Haftar has serious health problems, with some media even claiming that he was dead. Some industry observers believe that Haftar’s death could send oil to US$ 100 a barrel as any semblance of order in Libya breaks down into chaos once again, undoubtedly leading to more production outages and pipeline blockades.

This article was originally published on Oilprice.com

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Ex-Tory minister: ‘Weekly Islamophobic incidents and rhetoric’ in Conservative Party

Former Tory minister Baroness Warsi, the first female Muslim to attend cabinet, has revealed that “there are almost now weekly occurrences of Islamophobic incidents and rhetoric,” in the Conservative Party.

Speaking on ITV’s Peston on Sunday show, the former Conservative Party co-chair was being interviewed about the Windrush scandal that has plagued Theresa May’s Tory government over the last few days with accusations that their “hostile environment” immigration policy, formulated under the Tory-Lib Dem coalition, was an inhumane strategy used in the futile pursuit to cut immigration numbers.

In light of the recent anti-Semitism row that has engulfed UK Labour, with wall-to-wall MSM broadcast, print, and social media coverage that has painted the issue as a “crisis” for the main opposition party, one may have thought this would have grabbed the attention of the media establishment.

The reality? Cue the tumbleweed.

Indeed, not even the presenter interviewing Baroness Warsi, Robert Peston, picked up the revelation to investigate the matter more fully, as some on Twitter have pointed out.

So, why the media silence? Could it be that the MSM are more focused on misdemeanors, perceived or otherwise, committed by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, as part of what some see as a concerted campaign to undermine his authority and weaken his standing as leader, for fear that one day he may become prime minister?

Others may suggest that Islamophobia is not seen by a majority of the British media as such a terrible scourge on our society as anti-Semitism.

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Harrow East MP Bob Blackman shared an offensive post online according to mosque leaders  © Wikipedia

It was the “unhealthy obsession” with reducing immigration to tens of thousands that seemingly riled Baroness Warsi. She recalled cabinet meetings where heated debates took place on immigration, remarking: “We were wedded to unrealistic targets – targets which we still haven’t met, unfortunately, a decade on.

“And yet we continued to remain wedded to these targets. And what ended up happening was that we ended up with an attitude of, I think, indifference to what could have been the unintended consequences that we’re not seeing of the policy that we were then implementing.”

The perceived “indifference” to the human impact on black and ethnic minorities that Baroness Warsi says still remains within her party today. Expanding on this issue, she makes the startling admission of her own party’s behavior when it comes to religious or racist bigotry, stating: “I know within my own party there are almost now weekly occurrences of Islamophobic incidents and rhetoric – and we saw it during the Brexit debate.”

Whatever the reason for the MSM blackout on Baroness Warsi’s admission, the concerns of many that large sections of the media apply lower moral standards to the Tories than to Labour, will not be adequately addressed while claims of Islamophobia in the Conservative Party are ignored.

Omar Baggili, RT Journalist

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‘Nazi scum get out’: Milo Yiannopoulos chased out of NYC pub by socialists, bloggers (VIDEO)

Conservative firebrand Milo Yiannopoulos was hounded out of a Manhattan pub on Sunday by a group of political activists and reporters. Video of the incident shows the left-leaning mob shouting: “Nazi scum get out” at Yiannopoulos.

According to reports, Yiannopoulos was patronizing an unnamed Manhattan pub that was also hosting a group of Democratic Socialists, who quickly spotted the controversial commentator and began jeering at him and his associate, Chadwick Moore.

Several journalists from outlets like the Nation and Gizmodo joined in on the “Nazi scum get out” chants, according to media reports and Milo’s own retelling of the events.

“I was just shoved and screamed at by a big group in a pub in Manhattan and forced out of the place. One of them was a reporter for Gizmodo. They were screaming at the top of their lungs about ‘Nazis’ and ‘KKK,’” Yiannopoulos wrote on Facebook. He then explained that he decided to leave the venue because he didn’t want to have to explain to his black husband that he was injured after being called a “white supremacist.”

Yiannopoulos married his long-time African-American boyfriend last year in Hawaii.

“It’s now impossible for me to safely go out for lunch in most major cities in America because I supported Trump at the last election and don’t like feminism,” he wrote.

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Crisis-hit German army to spend millions on weapons & hardware – report

The German army is reportedly planning to spend millions on brand new rocket launchers, drones, helicopters and cargo aircraft to bridge gaps in its arsenal as the US pressures Berlin to do more for defense.

Germany’s Defense Ministry plans to purchase 18 items each costing more than €25 million (US$ 30 million), according to Handelsblatt and Bild. The list is, however, “preliminary” and may be altered, depending on the budget for 2018. It includes a number of MARS multiple launch rocket systems, seven rescue helicopters and six US-made C-130J Hercules cargo planes, Bild reported. 

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FILE PHOTO © Hannibal Hanschke

Heavy armor aside, a leasing contract for Israeli-built Heron TP reconnaissance drones is also on the Bundeswehr’s wish list, as are upgrades for Puma armored personnel vehicles and a maintenance contract for NH90 helicopters.

The army will also invest in developing a new radar for the Eurofighter Typhoon jet, telecommunication equipment for navy warships as well as new uniforms and protective gear, according to Zeit newspaper. 

The improvements were considered after the German Defense Ministry came in for heavy criticism regarding its ‘dramatically bad’ equipment and operational capability. After the end of the Cold War, Germany radically cut its military budget. Pushed by US President Donald Trump, who has blasted Berlin for “paying far less than they should” for NATO and military issues, Germany reconsidered its investment in armaments.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s pledge to boost Germany’s military budget followed Trump’s calls for NATO members to meet the defense spending target of 2 percent of GDP.

Members of Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) had sent “a clear no” to Trump’s calls to pump billions into massive armament programs, and denounced Merkel for kowtowing to the US president.

In 2017, then Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel warned Merkel not to “kneel” before Trump in attempts to “appease” him. The top diplomat called on the chancellor to withstand demands to bolster the military budget. He advocated that the role of the country must be of “the power of peace rather than an arms machine.” Merkel and her ruling party “want to follow Trump’s dictate and double Germany’s military spending,” the foreign minister argued.

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'We’ve prepared surprises for Playboy readers’ – Russian TV hosts do racy World Cup photo shoot

Presenters from Russian sports channel Match TV have taken part in a Playboy photo session dedicated to the 2018 World Cup, which will run from June 14 until July 15 in Russia.

Natalia Klark, Sofia Tartakova, Maria Makarova and Maria Bass – who cover various sports events on Match TV – will be featured in June’s edition of the men’s magazine, wearing lingerie and iconic bunny ears.

The hosts who participated in the racy session said that it was hard to pose for Playboy photographers, who made them stay in the studio for almost eight hours.

It’s a great honor to be featured on the pages of the world-known magazine, Playboy,” Klark said.

I would like to thank our channel for giving us such an amazing opportunity. It was an amazing experience. During an eight-hour photo shoot I realized that any profession, including photo model, requires much effort.”

I agreed [to take part in the photo session] without hesitation,” said Tartakova.

Everything was very delicate. I was really impressed by the photographer who turned out to be a real professional and found an individual approach to all of us. And we appeared to be very brave, we have prepared many surprises for Playboy readers.”

The photoshoot was great, I’m overwhelmed with emotions,” Bass said, sharing her feelings of working with the Playboy team.

I was really delighted by the high level of the shooting process. From my heart, I would like to thank Match TV and Playboy for organizing such an event for us.”

The new edition of Playboy featuring the Russian TV stars is expected to be released in June, when the global football tournament will be in full swing in Russia.

The World Cup will be staged in 12 stadiums in 11 Russian cities: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Saransk, Sochi, Kaliningrad, Ekaterinburg, Rostov-on-Don, Volgograd and Samara.

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Why American LNG is no substitute for Russian gas in Europe

Washington’s plan to oust Russian natural gas from the European market and substitute it with its own liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipments is not economically feasible, analysts told RT.

“American LNG exports have failed to become a full-fledged alternative to Gazprom’s pipeline gas in Europe, as the latter has set another record-high last year. About half of the US LNG supplied to Europe is purchased by countries that do not have long-term contracts for Russian gas (formerly Spain and Portugal),” Maria Belova, head of research at VYGON Consulting, told RT.

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© Issei Kato

The analyst notes that US gas is not a viable alternative to the pipeline supplies of Gazprom, which has renewed its historical record in export volume to Europe for the second consecutive year, due to the competitive pricing.

“The current price advantage of Russian pipeline gas appeared thanks to the price formula mechanism in the supply contracts. Gazprom gas price has not yet managed to react to a significant increase in oil prices, which began in mid-2017, in contrast to spot gas prices at European gas hubs. Up to 2016 the spot prices at the EU hubs have been consistently below the price of Russian gas with oil linkage. As a result of a number of revisions to the terms of Gazprom contracts, the price correlation has increased and the differential with spot price has narrowed,” she said.

Germany has once again announced plans to build a $ 500 million LNG terminal on the Elbe river to diversify from Russian and Norwegian gas imports. The Brunsbuettel would be Germany’s first LNG plant and open by the end of 2022. But the expense of building the terminal and cheaper Russian gas have held up the project for years.

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© navigatorgas.com

Belova explained to RT why American gas is more expensive than Russian: “The average Gazprom price at the Germany border in 2017 neared the average European price (weighted average price of long-term contracts and spot prices) at around $ 5.65 per MMBtu. The estimated Gazprom price at the Germany border in the first quarter of 2018 increased to $ 7.15 per MMBtu. The US LNG gas landed and regasified in Belgium (Germany doesn’t have any LNG receiving terminals) cost around $ 7.9 per MMBtu, $ 8.1 per MMBtu in the first quarter of 2018. Therefore, American LNG is the more expensive option compared to Russian gas,” she wrote. 

The US has repeatedly tried to thwart the extension of the Nord Stream pipeline from Russia to Germany, which will double the existing pipeline’s capacity. Moscow has accused Washington of trying to force-feed American LNG to Europe. Despite US efforts to block the Russian project, Gazprom has received permission to build the pipeline.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

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Chechnya better than US on human rights, Kadyrov says

Ramzan Kadyrov has dismissed the allegations of human rights violations in Chechnya made by the acting US secretary of state, saying that the situation in the republic is “significantly better” than in America.

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A security officer attempts to control Rohingya refugees waiting to receive aid in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh © Cathal McNaughton

[Acting US Secretary of State] John Sullivan has called upon everyone to pay attention to the impunity of human rights abuses in Chechnya,” the head of the Chechen Republic wrote on Telegram. “With all responsibility, I am telling Mr. Sullivan that his statement of human rights violations in Chechnya contains not a small part of truth. This applies also to the part about the alleged impunity. As far as fundamental human rights are concerned, the situation in Chechnya is significantly better than the one in the United States of America.”

Kadyrov was referring to the latest Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, released by the US State Department at the end of last week. The authors of the document labeled the governments of Russia, Iran, China, and North Korea as “morally reprehensible” and alleged that human rights violations were committed in these nations “on a daily basis.” They also made a special mention of Chechnya, Kadyrov and his government, emphasizing the alleged impunity of violations.

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Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov speaks before a soccer match with Italian veteran players, photo by stringer

In his reply, the Chechen leader said that the republic has an extremely low rate of murder, robbery, rape, abduction and other “street” crime. He said that Chechnya stands out globally as a region that prioritizes equality by ethnicity and religion, and ensures that all of its residents have equal access to education and healthcare.

He also invited the acting US state secretary to visit the pre-trial detention center in the Chechen capital, Grozny, and a prison in the Naursky District of the republic to view in person the conditions in which inmates are kept. Kadyrov promised to apologize to Sullivan personally if during this visit the official found proof that the conditions in Chechen prisons were worse than in American ones.

Kadyrov said that the concern expressed by the US diplomat appeared especially cynical after the US introduced a new round of anti-Russian sanctions.

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Guardian’s Owen Jones accuses mainstream media of ‘groupthink’, ‘intolerance’ and elitism

Guardian columnist Owen Jones has fired an opinion-rocket right into the midst of his own kind – journalists. His claim that the mainstream media is an invite-only club run by public school pals has not gone down well.

It began when the author and columnist tweeted some of the lessons he’s learned working in the British media. Labeling the profession a “cult” in the UK, Jones goes on to say the mainstream media (MSM) is “afflicted by a suffocating groupthink, intolerant of critics, hounds internal dissenters, full of people who made it because of connections and/or personal background rather than merit.”

Hurling such accusations against the British media did not solicit a positive reaction from the club’s members. Jones himself described the onslaught that followed against him as an “inferno” of fury… which in turn, sparked an article detailing exactly what is wrong with the UK press.

Journalists from publications across London (where most mainstream outlets are based) were outraged by the comments. There were anecdotes given to disprove Jones – with one reporter even quipping that “no one tells me what to think.”

Jones goes on to describe what’s known as the ‘huddle’ – to put it simply, that’s when reporters get together after Prime Minister’s Questions (or other media events frequented by lobby journalists) to decide what to say or write about. “[L]obby journalists will often stand together and/or walk back to the press lobby together and agree on ‘what just happened,’ if you like,” Jones writes.

Other ways the huddle – or “groupthink,” as he calls it – manifests in the media is through peer pressure. Jones included a comment from right-wing blogger Paul Staines in explanation: “there is for example peer pressure on new hacks to not rock the boat,” even if that pressure is applied by an “exasperated collective groan [from other reporters] if someone asks a dissonant question.”

Staines’ comments end by adding that it is “not a conspiracy, just peer pressure.”
Times columnist David Aaronovitch‏, ex-BuzzFeed writer James Ball, Financial Times editorial director Robert Shrimsley‏, and freelance journalist Robin Whitlock were some of many to swipe back at Jones. ITV news royal editor Chris Ship simply tweeted back his educational history, as the virtue signaling and defensiveness told their own story.

PoliticsHome editor Kevin Schofield followed suit. “I grew up in a working class household, went to state schools, worked my arse off on local papers for years and finally made it to Fleet St,” he tweeted, nose thoroughly out of joint.

It turns out Jones was referring to the media elite of the national titles and broadcasters; and not the “army of poorly paid and insecure freelancers or local reporters who are deeply undervalued,” as he describes them.

To go with the truth bomb he lobbed into the center of the media scrum, Jones dug up one or two supporting statistics – and it turns out that many in the media had a very privileged start to life.

“Just 7% of the British population are privately educated. But according to the Sutton Trust in 2016, 51% of Britain’s top journalists are privately educated,” Jones writes. Poverty Commission in 2014, 43% of newspaper columnists are privately educated; just 23% went to comprehensives. Two thirds of new entrants to journalism came from managerial and professional backgrounds: more than twice the level of the rest of the population.

“According to another government study, journalists are second only to doctors when it comes to the dominance of those from professional or managerial parental backgrounds. In other words: journalism is one of the most socially exclusive professions in Britain.”

That hasn’t stopped journalists and writers from coming out of the woodwork to slam Jones – or, at least, to enjoy others doing so.

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Stomach-churning moment tornado rips into Florida bay caught on camera (VIDEOS)

A tunnel tornado was spotted tearing across parts of Florida as high winds whipped up in the city of Fort Walton Beach Sunday. The US National Weather service received multiple reports of whirlwinds affecting the area.

Locals from Fort Walton Beach took to social media to post incredible images of a twister, which was spotted ploughing across the sea.

READ MORE: Plane makes harrowing landing in Sochi as tornadoes rip through Black Sea nearby (PHOTO, VIDEO)

Footage verified by RT.com shows at least one tornado travelling from Okaloosa and Santa Rosa Island towards the city. Okaloosa County was among the heaviest hit by the storm, according to the Northwest Florida Daily News.

Sunday’s strong winds brought down power lines with storm damage also reported in the areas of Kenwood, Industry Maples and parts of Ocean City-Wright outside the city limits, according to the local police department.

There have been no reports of injuries.

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‘French connection’: Macron & Trump’s political bromance blossoming after Syrian strikes

Long gone are French snorts at the US. Despite disagreeing on the Iran deal and climate change, Emmanuel Macron is the first foreign leader to be indulged with a full state visit by US President Donald Trump in the White House.

United in their recent crusade against Syrian President Bashar Assad, the two leaders are expected to iron out their differences on other international policy questions, including Trump’s threats to ditch the landmark nuclear deal with Iran.

Watch RT’s report on the Trump-Macron bromance

While Macron, 40, trolled Trump, 71, over climate change a year ago, they now seem to be on much better terms, with the French leader claiming it was he who had convinced Trump to keep troops in Syria “for the long term.” The White House maintains, however, that US troops will get out of Syria as soon as possible, after they crush ISIS.

While the grande dame of German politics, Chancellor Angela Merkel, struggles to find common ground on reforming the Eurozone with Macron, Trump looks like the French president’s new best friend. Both were elected on their first try and have high hopes for being reelected while facing an increasingly loud chorus of public disapproval.  

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