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Oil Field Disruptions Cost Libya 350,000 Bpd In Output

Recent disruptions of oil production in Libya have cost the country 350,000 barrels daily in lost output, the central bank of the country said, adding that the effects of these disruptions will force it to curb spending further even though it has been trying to avoid this. Before the recent string of production disruptions, which were caused by militant blockades on pipelines carrying crude from three fields to export terminals, Libya was pumping over 1 million barrels of oil daily, eyeing 1.2 million bpd in output by the end of the year. But earlier…

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Poverty leads Yemen boy to commit suicide

A 12-year-old Yemeni boy has hung himself because his family couldn’t afford new clothes for Eid, the New Arab reported. Ammar Mohamed Ali was found dead on the roof of his family home in the city of Ta’iz. Sadiq Abdullah Al-Qubati, a neighbour told the news site that Ali was heartbroken that Eid was on its way and that he didn’t have new clothes or an animal to sacrifice. The war in Yemen had left Ammar’s father in a difficult financial condition leaving him unable to purchase new clothes for his children. Impoverished Yemen has remained in a state of civil war since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital Sana’a. Read: Saudi Arabia should stop […]

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Israeli embassy reopens in Cairo

Israel has returned its diplomatic staff to Egypt some eight months after its embassy’s closure, the Associated Press reported yesterday. Whilst the Israeli Foreign Ministry refused to comment on the issue, airport officials anonymously informed reporters that Israeli Ambassador David Govrin flew back to Cairo last night with eight staff members. A large security motorcade escorted the diplomats to their offices in Giza. Zionist Union MK Ksenia Svetlova, a member of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee who has been urging the return of the diplomats to Cairo, welcomed the move and expressed hope that the return of the embassy staff would “open a window for the expansion of the relations between the two countries in other fields, such […]

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EU official: Give Libya $7bn to tackle migration

The president of the European Parliament has called for Libya to be paid €6 billion ($7.15 billion) to stop the flow of migrants; twice the amount that Turkey was paid for the same initiative. President Antonio Tajani’s suggestion came as Libya’s Presidential Council (PC) head Fayez Al-Sarraj joined EU and African leaders in Paris, France, this week for discussions on how the migrant crisis could be controlled. Tajani called on Europe to make the funds available to Libya with a long-term EU investment strategy for other African countries including the popular routes of Chad and Niger. The meeting included Presidents Idriss Deby of Chad and Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger who joined France’s President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian […]

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15 Gazans die after Israel denies them treatment

Some 15 Gaza residents have died since the start of 2017 after Israel denied terminally ill patients the necessary permits to travel outside the besieged Strip for medical treatment. Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights revealed the figures in a statement yesterday, condemning the Israeli blockade on the coastal enclave that has resulted in its healthcare service being brought “to its knees”, in the words of the World Health Organisation. Al-Mezan cited the cases of two women who were refused travel documentation on numerous occasions: Kaenat Jarour, a 42-year-old uterine cancer patient, and Faten Ahmed, a 26-year-old woman who died as a result of a brain tumour due to Israel’s refusal to allow her to re-enter Jerusalem where she had initially […]

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Mexico publishes first monthly natural gas price index after moving to competitive market

Mexico’s Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) released their first monthly price report on August 18, 2017. As part of its ongoing series of energy reforms that reduce government market controls, the Mexican government converted to a liberalized natural gas market on July 1, 2017.

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Jerusalem’s Waqf: Israeli municipality is ‘hostile’ to us

The Jerusalem Municipality is “hostile” towards the Jerusalem Waqf Department and its property, the unit said in a complaint to the city’s mayor. According to the Anadolu Agency, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported yesterday that the legal advisor of the department, Khalid Toma, sent a letter to the Israeli Jewish mayor of the municipality Nir Barakat outlining the “harassment” the Waqf has been subjected to at the hands of the municipality. Toma wrote that the Israeli municipality had developed a “hostile” policy against the Islamic Waqf, citing a number of unilateral illegal measures taken by the municipality, warning the retention of such measures would lead to undesirable confrontations. “As everyone knows, the Waqf Department is a branch of Jordan’s Endowment Ministry,” […]

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Israel conference: Jordan is only country for Palestinians

Right-wing organisation the International Jewish-Muslim Dialogue Centre is hosting a conference entitled “The Jordan Option: The only way to peace” aiming to highlight the issue that Jordan is the alternative country for Palestinians, reported yesterday. Due to take place on 17 October, the conference will reveal a shadow government headed by the Jordanian opposition figure Mudar Zahran, who is referred to in the invitation as the secretary-general of the Jordanian Opposition Coalition. The announcement of this government is an introduction for the establishment of the Palestinian state in Jordan. Scores of Jordanian, Jewish and Israeli figures are due to attend the conference, according to the invitation, including the extremist right wing Israeli MK Yehuda Glick who is planned to […]

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Gaza exports shipment of ready-made clothes to Israel

A Palestinian sewing company in Gaza has exported a shipment of ready-made clothes to Israel for the first time in ten years, Quds Press reported yesterday. Director of Media and Public Relations in the Palestinian Borders and Crossings Department, Hisham Adwan, said: “One shipment of ready-made clothes and two shipments of vegetables crossed the commercial Karm Abu-Salem crossing on Monday heading to Israel.” Head of UniPal 2000, Bashir Al-Bawwab, told Quds Press that this is the first time he has been able to export clothes to Israel since 2007. “The shipment included 3,500 pieces of different kinds and sizes that meet the international quality standard,” he said, noting that they were produced by “skilful” Palestinian workers. Al-Bawwab noted that this […]

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US Warship Shoots Down Test Ballistic Missile Off Hawaii

One day after the latest North Korean missile launch, which was followed by a warning in the state-owned KCNA that more Pacific launches would follow, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) said a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Pacific shot down a medium-range ballistic missile during a test off Hawai on Wednesday.

Destroyer USS John Paul Jones intercepts the target with an SM-6 missile.
(Missile Defense Agency photo)

In the “complex missile defense flight test,” the USS John Paul Jones detected and tracked a test ballistic missile that had been launched from Kaui, Hawaii, then fired one of its onboard SM-6 missiles to intercept the target in its terminal phase, the Missile Defense Agency said in a release. It said it marked the second time an SM-6 missile has successfully intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile in a test.

Quoted by USA Today, MDA Director Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves said the test marked a “key milestone.”

“We are working closely with the fleet to develop this important capability, and this was a key milestone in giving our Aegis BMD ships an enhanced capability to defeat ballistic missiles in their terminal phase,” said Missile Defense Agency Director Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves. “We will continue developing ballistic missile defense technologies to stay ahead of the threat as it evolves.”

According to the WashExaminer, in a similar drill last December, John Paul Jones fired two SM-6 missiles against a test medium-range ballistic missile (made by Raytheon). In a release on Wednesday morning, the company said it rushed enhanced software for the missile based on a request from the government. The SM-6, which is part of the Standard Missile family, is the only sea-based missile that can knock down ballistic missiles in their terminal phase, while also handling air and surface threats.

“Earlier this year, our customer requested an enhanced capability to deal with a sophisticated medium-range ballistic missile threat,” said Mike Campisi, Raytheon’s SM-6 senior program director. “We did all this — the analysis, coding and testing — in seven months; a process that normally takes one to two years.”

The Pentagon on Tuesday confirmed that North Korea fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile near Sunan Air Base, which then flew over northern Japan before landing in the Pacific Ocean 500 nautical miles east of Japan. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un later threatened further action.

“The current ballistic rocket launching drill like a real war is the first step of the military operation of the KPA in the Pacific and a meaningful prelude to containing Guam,” Kim said, according to state-run media outlet KCNA.

On Tuesday, the White House responded to the North Korean launch on Tuesday, saying “all options are on the table.”

* * *

North Korea on Wednesday released images of its intermediate-range ballistic missile launch over Japan a day before. The official Korean Central News Agency reported Wednesday that the Hwasong-12, the first missile the nation has fired over Japan, was “guided” by leader Kim Jong Un and observed by senior officials.

“Involved in the drill were Hwasong artillery units…tasked with striking the bases of the U.S. imperialist aggressor forces located in the Pacific operational theater,” the KCNA reported.

It said the launch of the intermediate-range rocket was “part of the muscle-flexing” in reaction to ongoing military drills by the U.S. and South Korea, “in disregard” for Pyongyang’s “meaningful and crucial warning.” The North sees the military exercises as a preparation for war.

KCNA releases footage of the Hwasong-12 ballistic missile launch, NK’s response to ongoing US-ROK drills

— NK NEWS (@nknewsorg) August 30, 2017

Kim said “more ballistic missile rocket launching drills” are “necessary” to modernize his military’s strategic capabilities and that his country will continue to watch “U.S. demeanors” before it decides on future actions. The North Korean leader expressed “great satisfaction” with what he called a “meaningful prelude” to containing the U.S. territory of Guam, which he has threatened to fire four missiles toward.

* * *

Late on Tuesday the U.N. Security Council said it “strongly condemns” the missile test and the North’s launching of three ballistic missiles into the sea on Aug. 25. It demanded that Pyongyang “immediately cease all such actions” in a statement following an emergency meeting Tuesday. However, in a sign of de-escalation, it did not announce new sanctions.

Choo Mi-ae, the head of South Korea’s ruling Democratic Party, urged Pyongyang to accept its offer of dialogue and said “such an act that threatens neighboring nations is unpardonable,” the South’s Yonhap news agency reported. “If North Korea trusts South Korea’s government and holds its hands, the door will open for its survival. Otherwise, it will face more serious isolation,” Choo said. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said his country will “fully and completely” abide by U.N. Security Council sanctions and would work with other council members on how best to react to the North’s latest action. “We will make a necessary response,” Wang said. China, North Korea’s most important ally, accounts for about 90% of the North’s foreign trade.

Early on Thursday, British Prime Minister Theresa May called on China to put more pressure on North Korea, as she arrived in Japan for a three-day visit Wednesday. “We think that China has a role to play and we’d encourage China to do everything it can to bring pressure on North Korea to stop this,” she said.

Earlier this month, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on 10 companies and six individuals from mostly China and Russia who it says helped North Korea develop its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. They were the latest in a raft of blacklists issued in recent months to punish Chinese and Russian companies that try to evade international efforts to isolate North Korea.

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