US bets Europe willing to pay more for less dependence on Russian energy

On Monday, Lithuania received a shipment of American liquefied natural gas (LNG) as Vilnius wants to strengthen links with Washington and diversify its gas supplies away from Russia. Lithuania is expecting another shipment next month.

Earlier this year, Poland became the first country in Central and Eastern Europe to have LNG delivered from the US. To avoid Russian “gas blackmail,” Warsaw announced plans to sign a long-term contract for American LNG supplies.

Shortly after the first delivery, Polish President Andrzej Duda announced plans to make the country a pan-European energy hub able to distribute gas across the EU.

Washington has made its goals clear in its latest round of sanctions against Moscow. Western companies can be penalized for taking part in joint energy projects with Russia.

Several EU leaders have accused the US of using unilateral action in threatening to punish European companies to force more expensive American energy onto the European market.

European energy consumers have traditionally looked beyond politics, searching for lower prices. This makes it a challenge for US producers to significantly decrease the dominance of Russia’s cheaper energy.

Russian energy major Gazprom is catching up with the changing environment of the market. The company is adjusting prices and developing infrastructure to provide stable gas supplies to Europe.

“We are tracking the situation on the global gas market and the growth of US shale gas production. Recently we have allocated a lot of efforts to boost our presence in the LNG market,” Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said last month.

The price for Russian piped gas is seen as a game changer. Fuel delivered by gas pipelines is initially cheaper than liquefied, shipped and regasified on arrival.

According to S&P Global Platts last year data, LNG delivered from the US cost $ 6.29 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), while Russian gas shipped to Germany cost an average of $ 4.86 per mmBtu.

Another problem with US energy ambitions is supply.

“Even if Americans supplied liquefied gas to Europe free of charge, they simply would not have had enough capabilities to replace the Russian supplies,” Russia’s envoy to the European Union (EU), Vladimir Chizhov said last week.

Ultimately, the competition between the US and Russia for market share in Europe’s gas market will boil down to how far Gazprom could lower prices without severely denting revenue, and at what cost and for how long European consumers will pay more for American LNG.

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U.S. consul denied veteran's wife a visitor's visa

Q: I’m a U.S. citizen living in Mexico with my Mexican wife. The U.S. consul here denied her a visitor’s visa.

I am a veteran. My wife and I have been living together here in Mexico for two years. My wife wants the visitor’s visa to travel to the United States to meet my family.

Our ties to Mexico include her having a good job and four daughters living here. I run a little barbecue stand. We don’t want to live in the United States, but when she applied for the visa she was asked why she didn’t get a green card. It seems our marriage is a reason to deny her a visitor’s visa. The way they treated us, no wonder people sneak across the border to get to the United States.

Ron Chapman, Mexico

Money snag in applying for wife’s green card

A: Shameful! Have your wife apply again for the visa, but this time with the help of a congressional representative. Try the representative for your last U.S. residence. It’s hard to get a visitor’s visa denial reversed, but your being a veteran may help.

Ironically, marriage to a U.S. citizen is a negative factor when applying for a visitor’s visa. To get that visa, you must prove that you will leave when your stay expires. The consular officer thinks that your wife wants the visa so she can move to the United States without the typical one-year wait for an immigrant visa.

But with all her and your ties to Mexico, the decision seems wrong.

Immigrants Rising, immigrantsrising.org, which is dedicated to immigrant entrepreneurship, has a useful publication for anyone wishing to start a business, including those who are undocumented: “A Guide to ITINS, EINS and Taxes.” Get it at http://bit.ly/2wjRt3q.

USCIS applications seem to be taking longer now

Undocumented immigrants can lawfully own businesses and work as independent contractors. Some licenses, such as liquor licenses, may not be available to undocumented immigrants. Otherwise, undocumented immigrants can own businesses and contract for their work under the same rules that apply to U.S. citizens and legal immigrants. I know some who have grown quite rich running businesses or consulting.

Allan Wernick is an attorney and director of the City University of New York’s Citizenship Now! project. Send questions and comments to Allan Wernick, New York Daily News, 7th Fl., 4 New York Plaza, New York, N.Y. 10004, or email to [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @awernick.

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London police spend £9.4mn on lethal weapons to fight terrorism

London’s Metropolitan Police has massively increased spending on weapons as terrorists vow to launch attacks on Britain’s streets.

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© Tloose Otm

Spending on the Met arsenal rose six-fold last year from about £1.6 million to £9.4 million (US$ 2 million to US$ 12 million) as calls from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) to attack grow louder.

The news comes as it emerged the Westminster Bridge attacker, Khalid Masood, was stopped by a bullet to the chest fired by a private security detail – not by a police officer.

Masood, 52, killed five people and injured 49 when he drove a car along the sidewalk outside the Houses of Parliament.

The terrorist gained access to the palace grounds, where he stabbed PC Keith Palmer to death.

Although armed Met police guard the parliamentary estate, Masood was shot dead by a security officer assigned to Defence Secretary Michael Fallon.

Just months later, Pakistani-born Khuram Shazad Butt, 27, and Moroccan Rachid Redoune, 30, along with Moroccan-born Youssef Zaghba, murdered eight people on London Bridge and around Borough Market.

The attack lasted around eight minutes, before armed officers swooped in and shot the trio dead.

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© Colin Halpin

Guns, grenades, tasers and bullets cost Scotland Yard millions more in 2016 than in 2015.

A freedom of information request uncovered the massive spending increase, which showed funds used for ammunition and grenades tripled to £2.5 million.

Scotland Yard refused to divulge how it is spending the money, but it is believed tens of thousands has been poured into training for officers in the capital, alongside the huge amounts spent on special armed units.

Britain is in the midst of a drive to recruit and train an extra 1,500 firearms officers.

The national aim is to have at least 7,000 firearms officers available.
A spokesman for Scotland Yard told the Times: “The Met is on track to meet the plan to complete an uplift of 600 firearms officers by April next year.”

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More than 30 people injured in Pennsylvania train crash (VIDEO)

Some 30 people have been taken to hospital after a train ploughed into an empty train sitting at a Transportation Center in Upper Darby. At least four people are reported to be in a critical condition.

The incident occurred around 12:15am on Tuesday, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) said.

An inbound Norristown High Speed Line train crashed into an unoccupied, parked train at the 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby, Heather Redfern, SEPTA spokeswoman, said.

According to SEPTA, 33 people aboard the moving train sustained injuries.

At least four people were seriously injured, Upper Darby Mayor Nicholas Micozzie told an early-morning news briefing, AP reported.

The victims were rushed to nearby hospitals.

“The conductor is in the hospital right now, I can’t release his condition,” Micozzie said.

“I stood up to get off to get ready to get to my bus on time and smack! It hit the other trolley, parked,” one passenger told CBS Philly.

“My face hit the wall, put a big hole in the wall and I went straight down and I blacked out,” he added.

“There was blood everywhere. The driver is all banged up and there was this one girl bleeding out of her face pretty bad.”

Service disruptions are expected for the Tuesday morning commute, SEPTA said.

In late February, two commuter trains collided head-on in Philadelphia, injuring four people.

That crash happened near the 69th Street Terminal during the city’s busy morning commute.

READ MORE: Philadelphia commuter trains crash head-on, four people injured (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

The trains were empty when they collided, but minor injuries occurred when one of the cars toppled on to a separate parked car where a homeless man was staying. All the other injured parties were reported to be workers from SEPTA.

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Iran ‘needs just 5 days’ to return to uranium enrichment if US backs out of nuclear deal

Tehran needs only five days to increase uranium enrichment to a level sufficient to make a nuclear weapon, Iran’s atomic chief has warned. The warning comes as US President Donald Trump seeks to renegotiate the 2015 nuclear deal.

“If there is a plan for a reaction and a challenge, we will definitely surprise them,” the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, said Tuesday, as quoted by AP. “If we make the determination, we are able to resume 20 percent enrichment in at most five days,” he said on national television.

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© Carlos Barria

Salehi underlined that Iran is not keen on such a scenario, saying that “definitely, we are not interested in such a thing happening. We have not achieved the deal easily to let it go easily. We are committed to the deal and we are loyal to it.”

In 2015, Iran struck a landmark deal with the US, France, the UK, Russia, China and Germany, under which it agreed to cap its uranium enrichment at 5 percent, as well as to reduce its stockpile of the material in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.

“Our biggest priority is to maintain the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), but of course not at any price,”AFP cited Salehi as saying.

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Argentine football stars among new ‘Fancy Bears’ 2010 World Cup drug exemption list

Five Argentina internationals are among the latest list published by hacker group Fancy Bears of footballers using exemption forms at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.

A total 25 players have been named in the list, published Tuesday, to have received Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) or Declaration of Use (DoU) forms from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to take banned substances at the tournament.

Argentina feature the most players in the list, which marks out footballers from 12 nations that took part in the 2018 tournament. Current World Cup holders Germany have the second most with four. 

La Albiceleste stars Juan Verón, Carlos Tevez, Gabriel Heinze and Walter Samuel each received a DoU to take the steroid betamethasone, while striker Diego Milito was issued a TUE to take formoterol, a drug used to treat asthma, as well as DoUs for three other banned substances.

READ MORE: IAAF apologizes to Mo Farah for releasing hacked athlete data

Other notable players included in the list are former Italy duo Mauro Camoranesi, who received a TUE for triamcinolone, and Vincenzo Iaquinta, who also received a betamethasone DoU.

Former Liverpool player Dirk Kuyt also featured in the list. Kuyt was on the losing side in the tournament’s final match, which Spain won 1-0 with an extra-time goal from Andres Iniesta.

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Alibaba’s Jack Ma re-crowned Asia’s richest person

A huge rise in Alibaba Group’s earnings and the stock price has propelled its founder and executive chairman Jack Ma back to the top of the list of Asia’s wealthiest people.

According to Forbes Real-time Billionaires List, Ma is now worth $ 37.4 billion.

Another Chinese internet billionaire, Tencent Chairman Ma Huateng, also known as Pony, dropped to second with a fortune worth $ 36.7 billion. The two businessmen have been trading places at the top of Asia’s rich list. Earlier this month, Pony overtook Jack Ma to become China’s wealthiest person.

Jack Ma is currently the world’s eighteenth richest person and is followed by his Chinese rival.

Last week Alibaba reported a 56 percent revenue rise in its fiscal first quarter, led by gains in core e-commerce business. For the week as a whole, the company’s shares rose more than ten percent.

Revenue from the cloud business is up 96 percent to $ 359 million and has more than one million paying customers for the first time.

Annual active consumers on Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms grew by 12 million year-on-year while mobile monthly active users hit 529 million in June, an increase of 22 million compared to last year.

Former English teacher Jack Ma founded Alibaba in 1999. The company unites a family of internet-based businesses, which enables users to buy or sell anywhere in the world.

Ma predicts Alibaba will be worth more than the world’s fifth-largest economy by 2036, bigger than the economies of France or the United Kingdom today.

Alibaba is already bigger than the economies of Sweden, Poland, Iran, Norway, and Austria.

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Scotland ‘wholly unprepared’ for nuclear weapons accident on its roads – report

Nuclear warheads surrounded by explosives are regularly transported on British roads, yet authorities are “wholly unprepared” to handle an accident, a damning report has revealed.

A “critical gap” in the protection of Britons has been identified by Nukewatch UK, amid claims public safety is being put at risk by the Scottish Government.

The report, ‘Unready Scotland’, reveals weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) are driven across the country around eight times every year, without police accompanying them and without public knowledge.

The convoys travel with a potentially-deadly cocktail of explosives and nuclear weapons packed inside – yet those traveling alongside the huge trucks remain blissfully unaware of the dangerous cargo.

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© Nukewatch UK

Scottish councils have failed to carry out individual assessments of the routes taken by the massive convoys. This means vital evacuation time could be lost and the number of casualties could rise rapidly should there be an incident.

The potential contamination zone for an accident involving nukes is 24 miles, according to some experts, meaning entire villages and towns could be engulfed.

“The radioactive material in the warheads includes both plutonium and uranium, with a potential dispersal range of at least 5km,” Nuke Watch reports. “In addition to this, warhead materials include a number of toxic and hazardous substances.”

Unready Scotland suggests there is “no evidence” that authorities would be able to cope with a disaster on the route between the Aldermaston and Burghfield atomic weapon plants in Berkshire and RNAD Coulport on Loch Long.

In the event of nuclear fallout, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) would prioritize the mobilization of troops to secure the weapons – and the safety of the public would fall squarely on the shoulders of local authorities and emergency responders.

Yet the frightening report shows that those who would be first on the scene would be “unprepared” and unable to launch into action.

The researchers warn that police, paramedics and the Scottish Government, who would need to handle a mass evacuation, are “wholly unprepared to discharge that responsibility.”

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© Wikipedia

Although some claim an accident involving a convoy is unlikely, there have already been underreported incidents. In May, a military convoy of nuclear warhead carriers was left stranded on the side of the M40 motorway when the escort broke down. Fortunately in this instance there were no live warheads onboard.

Despite authorities claiming potential terrorist plots make it impossible for them to reveal details of the convoys to the public, activists claim the information is already in the public domain.

The report claims there is “no justification for not informing the public about the existence of the convoy traffic and its attendant risks.”

“The simple fact that these trucks carry nuclear bombs on public roads is enough to cause very serious concern, amounting to alarm,” said Nuke Watch. The report says the police officers manning the convoy “very frequently” have no idea what they are protecting – and would be unable to react in an emergency, the report says.

Astonishingly, some authorities “rely on generic risk assessments conducted within their Resilience Partnerships.”

Practice runs have been carried out on a small scale, according to Local Authority and Emergency Services Information (LAESI) reports, but nowhere close to the scale of the potential damage.

In 1990 it was predicted by nuclear engineer John Large that an accident involving nuclear warheads could spread contamination “at least 40 kilometres.”

Nuke Watch has called for an urgent review into the country’s response to a nuclear accident.

It claims since community safety is wholly devolved to the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, the Scottish National Party (SNP) Government has failed in its duty to put adequate plans in place.

RT has contacted the SNP for comment.

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