637: Common Sense Fact

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 51m
July 24th, 2014
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Executive Producers: Brandon Fenton, Sir Mark Dytham Baron of Tokyo, Kristoffer Walker

Associate Executive Producers: Herb Lamb, Brian Eairheart, Bernard Glynn, Taphon Maddison, Travis Hubbard, Joeseph Kruger

Cover Artist: Patrick Buijs

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MH17
SU25 Proof
Ukrainian Su-25 fighter detected in close approach to MH17 before crash - Russian military '-- RT News
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 14:10
Published time: July 21, 2014 12:59Edited time: July 21, 2014 14:01The Russian military detected a Ukrainian SU-25 fighter jet gaining height towards the MH17 Boeing on the day of the catastrophe. Kiev must explain why the military jet was tracking the passenger airplane, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
''A Ukraine Air Force military jet was detected gaining height, it's distance from the Malaysian Boeing was 3 to 5km,'' said the head of the Main Operations Directorate of the HQ of Russia's military forces, Lieutenant-General Andrey Kartopolov speaking at a media conference in Moscow on Monday.
''[We] would like to get an explanation as to why the military jet was flying along a civil aviation corridor at almost the same time and at the same level as a passenger plane,'' he stated.
''The SU-25 fighter jet can gain an altitude of 10km, according to its specification,'' he added. ''It's equipped with air-to-air R-60 missiles that can hit a target at a distance up to 12km, up to 5km for sure.''
The presence of the Ukrainian military jet can be confirmed by video shots made by the Rostov monitoring center, Kartopolov stated.
At the moment of the MH17 crash an American satellite was flying over the area of eastern Ukraine, according to Russia's Defense Ministry. It urged the US to publish the space photos and data captured by it.
In addition, MH17 crashed within the operating zone of the Ukrainian army's self-propelled, medium-range surface-to-air 'Buk' missile systems, the Russian general said.
Sukhoi Su-25: Revision history - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 13:32
Sukhoi Su-25: Revision history - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaFor any version listed below, click on its date to view it.For more help, see Help:Page history and Help:Edit summary.External tools: Revision history statistics·Revision history search·Edits by user·Number of watchers·Page view statistics(cur) = difference from current version,(prev) = difference from preceding version, m = minor edit, '†' = section edit, '† = automatic edit summary(newest |
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Su-25 max op ceiling
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 08:19
STATE COMPANY "UKROBORONSERVICE"
A subsidiary of a state company "Ukrspecexport"
Su-25 is designed for direct aviation support of the Army, destruction of small-size moving and fixed objects under conditions of visibility at the forefront in tactical and nearest operative depth.
Main performancesModification
Su-25
Wingspan, m
14.36
Aircraft length, m
15.36
Aircraft height, m
4.80
Wing area, m2
33.70
Weight, kg
Empty aircraft
9500
Normal takeoff
14600
Maximum takeoff
17600
Fuel:
Internal fuel, kg
5000
Suspended fuel tanks
2
Type of engine
2 ÐRD R-195 (R95Sh)
Traction, kN
2 х 44.13 (40.20)
Maximum speed, km/h:
Ground-level
975
At high level
Ð'=0.82
Practical range, km
1850
Combat radius capability, km:
At high level
1250
Ground-level
750
Practical ceiling, m
7000-10000
Max combat height
5000
Max operating overload
6,5
Ground-level
975
Crew, persons
1
Armament:
one 30-mm double-barrelled gun GSh-30-2 in lower nose part with 250 rounds.Combat load - 4340 kg on 8(10) hanger units, normal load - 1340 kgBomb load: up to 8-10 х 500-,250-kg aviabombs, 32 х100-kg bombs,Unguided missiles: 160 х S-8 (80-mm)Guided missiles: air-to-air R-60
Two interchangeable non-afterburning turbo-jet engines R-95Sh with non-adjustable nozzle with downstream gearbox, with autonomous electric startup will be installed.
Sighting equipment:Modernized sight ASP-17BTs-8Ð'2 provides sighting while shooting, bombing and missiles launch at day time and at night time at visible ground and air targets;Laser station of illumination and range-metering (Klen-PS) provides measuring of slant range to target when solving the sighting tasks and its sending to the sight, as well as to aim the guided missile with laser seeker;System of audio-visual registration SAVR-25 (instead of SSh-45).Flight and navigation equipmentNon-stop automatic aircraft coordinates reading by autonomous means data;Flight by route, entry the given target zone, return to landing airdrome, decrease by height of pre-landing maneuver, repeated approach;Determination and display of main navigation and flight parameters.Navigation system consists of:IKV-1 inertial attitude and heading reference system;DISS-7 Doppler ground velocity and drift angle meter;Automatic radio compass providing the aircraft piloting by compass locators and broadcasting radio stations, as well as the landing under conditions of on-board system failure;Air signals system displaying the real air velocity, absolute and relative barometrical height and number M of the flight to users and on indicators;Radio altimeter of low heights;Marker radio receiver determining the moment of aircraft flying over the marker beacon;Satellite navigation system (GPS) ÐÐ'-3307;Course-93Ð' on-board integrated navigation and landing equipment (provides flights using the radio beacons VOR, allows to approach by signals of radio beacon system ILS);Small-size airborne range finder MSD-2000 (to measure and indicate the slant range to ground-based beacons DME).Radio technical equipmentProvides radio communication with ground objects and aircrafts in the whole altitude and range envelope.
Radio technical equipment consists of:
R-862 communication radio station upgraded to use the comm. channels with step 8.33kHz is designed for telephone radio communication in meter and decimetre wave range between the aircrafts and ground objects;Radio station for communication with the army with frequency spectrum stipulated by the customer that provides radio telephone communication with control points and separate moving objects of the army;A-511 airborne transponder instead of SО-69 designed for operation with secondary radar systems ATS RBS in modes А and AC according to ICAO requirements.Aircraft defence means warn the pilot about aircraft exposure to radiation from ground radars of AAMSs and enemy's fighters, radar bearing under different modes of irradiation, active jamming of weapon control radars, infrared jamming of missiles with heat-emitting homing heads.
Also during the overhaul, the BUR-4-1-10 digital flight data registration system will be installed instead of Ðеster-UZ.
Ukraine air traffic controllers instructed MH17 to fly lower, MAS says | Malaysia | The Malay Mail Online
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 08:20
Flowers lie on debris from the MH17 plane near the village of Rozsypne, in the Donetsk region July 18, 2014. '-- Reuters picKUALA LUMPUR, July 18 '-- Malaysia Airlines (MAS) said tonight that it was told to fly low over Ukrainian airspace by ground controllers, putting it at 33,000 feet, just skimming 1,000 feet above restricted altitude.
In a statement here, MAS explained that MH17 had initially filed a flight plan requesting to fly at 35,000 feet above Ukrainian territory, which it described as close to the ''optimum altitude''.
''However, an aircraft's altitude in flight is determined by air traffic control on the ground.
''Upon entering Ukrainian airspace, MH17 was instructed by Ukrainian air traffic control to fly at 33,000 feet,'' the national carrier said.
The decision by MH17's pilots to skim closely to the prohibited air zone '-- which is 32,000 feet, according to Europe's aviation authority Eurocontrol '-- has prompted numerous questions whether this may have contributed to what is believed to be a case of mistaken identity.
Authorities have yet to confirm what brought down the Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur flight with 298 on board, but suspicion has fallen on the pro-Russian separatists who are believed to have fired an air-defence missile at the civilian airliner after mistaking it for a military transporter plane.
Questions have also emerged over the reason why MAS had chosen to fly over a war zone but the troubled carrier insisted tonight that MH17's flight plan was approved by Eurocontrol, the authority responsible for determining the flight paths of civilian aircraft over European airspace.
Earlier today, the same was confirmed by the European aviation authority.
''According to our information, the aircraft was flying at Flight Level 330 (approximately 10,000 metres/33,000 feet) when it disappeared from the radar.
''This route had been closed by the Ukrainian authorities from ground to flight level 320 but was open at the level at which the aircraft was flying,'' EuroControl said on its website.
The Boeing 777 Malaysian Airlines aircraft with the registration number 9M-MRD lands early morning in Vienna in this July 14, 2005 file photo. '-- Reuters picA general view shows the site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash in the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014. '-- Reuters picAn Emergencies Ministry member works at the site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash in Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014. '-- Reuters picEmergencies Ministry members work at the site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash in the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014. '-- Reuters picThe site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash is seen in the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014. '-- Reuters picThe site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash is seen in the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014. '-- Reuters picAn armed pro-Russian separatist stands at a site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash in the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014. '-- Reuters picEmergencies Ministry members walk at the site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash in the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014. '-- Reuters picA man walks past the Malaysia Airlines check-in area at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang July 18, 2014. '-- Reuters picA man stands in front of a display showing plane locations around Malaysia at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang July 18, 2014. '-- Reuters picThe site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash is seen near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014. '-- Reuters picA part of the wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 plane is seen after it crashed near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 18, 2014. '-- Reuters picFamily members inquire about the flight name list following the tragic news of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH1 at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, July 18, 2014. '-- Picture by Choo Choi MayFamily members wait for news outside Anjung Tinjau following the tragic news of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH1 at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, July 18, 2014. '-- Picture by Choo Choi MayThe site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash is seen near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014. '-- Reuters picPeople take photos of a screen showing arrival details of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 (centre) at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang July 18, 2014. '-- Reuters picA ''no entry'' sign stands at the entrance to a Malaysia Airlines check-in counter at Kuala Lumpur International Airport July 18, 2014. '-- Reuters picThe wreckage of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane (back) is seen, with sunflowers in the foreground, near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014. '-- Reuters picSmoke rises from the site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014. '-- Reuters picArmed pro-Russian separatists stand at the site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014. '-- Reuters picThe upper floor of Schiphol Airport is closed for media and reserved for family and relatives of Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17, July 17, 2014. '-- Reuters picA screen showing arrival details of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 (4th from top) is seen at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang July 18, 2014. '-- Reuters picA woman (front), who said she believed her sister was on Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17, cries as she waits for more information about the crashed plane, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, July 18, 2014. '-- Reuters picPeople, who said they believed they had relatives on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, wait for more information about the crashed plane at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang July 18, 2014. '-- Reuters picArmed pro-Russian separatists stand at the site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014. '-- Reuters picFamily members of MH17 looking through the name list at the reception centre at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. '-- Photo by Choo Choo MaySmoke rises above the site of a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region, July 17, 2014. '-- Reuters picMalaysia Airlines Flight MH-17 is seen at the G3 gate of Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, before it took off, heading to Kuala Lumpur, July 17, 2014. '-- Reuters picA woman holds a sign that reads, 'Putin is a terrorist', as people bring flowers and candles to the Dutch embassy to commemorate the victims of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash, in Kiev, July 17, 2014. '-- Reuters picOne of the family members collapse after looking at the manifest at Anjung Tinjau, Kuala Lumpur International Airport. '-- Photo by Choo Choo MayPeople light candles at the Malaysian embassy for victims of Malaysia Airlines MH17, which crashed in eastern Ukraine, in Kiev July 17, 2014. '• Reuters picPeople leave candles and flowers at the Dutch embassy for victims of Malaysia Airlines MH17, which crashed in eastern Ukraine, in Kiev July 17, 2014. '• Reuters picRelatives of passengers onboard the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang July 18, 2014. '• Reuters picFamily members of passengers on board MH17 are seen here on the airport buggy at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), July 18, 2014. '• Picture by Choo Choy MayDatin Siti Dina is seen crying after learning that her daughter, Sherliza Zaini, was on the plane with her husband and their three children. '• Picture by Choo Choy MayFamilies of passengers on board flight MH17 gather at a hotel in Putrajaya July 18, 2014.A member of the Ukrainian Emergency Ministry walks past a white flag marking the location of a body near the settlement of Grabovo, in the Donetsk region July 18, 2014. '-- Reuters picDebris is seen at the site of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane crash near the settlement of Grabovo, in the Donetsk region July 18, 2014. '-- Reuters picMalaysian Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai speaks during a news conference at a hotel in Sepang July 18, 2014. '-- Reuters picLuggage and belongings are seen near the site of the MH17 crash, near the settlement of Grabovo in the Donetsk region July 18, 2014. '-- Reuters picA member of the Ukrainian Emergency Ministry searches for bodies close to the site of the MH17 crash near the settlement of Grabovo, in the Donetsk region July 18, 2014. '-- Reuters picDebris from the MH17 plane lies on the ground near the village of Rozsypne in the Donetsk region July 18, 2014. '-- Reuters picFlowers lie on debris from the MH17 plane near the village of Rozsypne, in the Donetsk region July 18, 2014. '-- Reuters picA boy places flowers outside the Dutch embassy in Moscow July 18, 2014. '-- Reuters picFlowers are placed outside the departure hall, in the wake of the downed Flight MH17, at Schiphol Airport July 18, 2014. '-- Reuters picThe Malaysian national flag flies at half-staff at the Malaysian embassy in The Hague July 18, 2014. '-- Reuters picA bouquet of flowers is placed on a Malaysia Airlines counter at Schiphol Airport July 18, 2014. '-- Reuters picA woman lights candles at a memorial for victims of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in Kuala Lumpur July 18, 2014. '-- Reuters picMembers of the United Nations Security Council observe a moment of silence for the victims of Flight MH17 at the United Nations headquarters in New York July 18, 2014. '-- Reuters picA woman prays during a special prayer held for the victims of downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in Kuala Lumpur July 18, 2014. '-- Reuters picThe airspace is not under any restriction by any aviation and transport authorities beyond that declared by Ukraine, which is currently embroiled in a civil war.
MAS reiterated that the route over Ukrainian airspace where the disaster occurred yesterday is commonly used for Europe and Asia flights.
The national carrier pointed out that another flight from a different carrier was on the same route yesterday, at the same time of the MH17 incident.
''Eurocontrol maintains records of all flights across European airspace, including those across Ukraine,'' it pointed out.
To stress its point that it had not flown into restricted airspace, MAS noted that in April, after the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) identified an area over the Crimean peninsula as risky, the aircraft had ''at no point'' flown into or requested to fly into the area.
''At all times, MH17 was in airspace approved by the ICAO,'' MAS said.
Fall Out Analysis
Some countries were warned, not Netherlands and Germany
ENERGY UNION
Idea of European energy union just foolish, irrational '' Gazprom deputy CEO '-- RT Business
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 03:55
Published time: June 04, 2014 02:33Edited time: June 04, 2014 08:36Deputy Gazprom Board Chairman and Gazprom Export General Director Alexander Medvedev.(RIA Novosti / Ramil Sitdikov)
The idea of a single European body that would be in charge of purchasing gas for the whole union is simply foolish and irrational, Gazprom Deputy Chairman Alexander Medvedev said, suggesting the Polish PM must've been out of his mind proposing it.
Speaking at the ''Export and reliability of gas supplies to Europe'' conference in Moscow, Gazprom Deputy CEO Aleksander Medvedev said that earlier calls by the Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk to create a type of EU Gas Union for centralization of purchases of gas in Europe is irrational.
''Mr. Tusk is a politician who did quite a lot for the development of our relations,'' Medvedev said. ''And suddenly, as they say, he just falls out of an oak tree and says: 'Why don't we introduce the purchase of gas based on the example of some kind of atomic agency, where Europe at some point purchased enriched uranium?'''
Even the EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger believes that Tusk's approach has no economic rationale behind it, Medvedev added.
''Gas is a special essence,'' he said. ''And even Mr. Oettinger agreed that the idea is far from being economically rational. I can say a lot about why this idea is foolish,'' Gazprom executive added.
In the Financial Times editorial dated April 21, Tusk called for measures to tackle Russia's monopoly in gas supplies to EU.
''Europe should confront Russia's monopolistic position with a single European body charged with buying its gas,'' Tusk wrote, adding, ''I therefore propose an energy union.''
Russia is set to provide roughly 30 percent of growing European natural-gas demand by 2020. Even by conservative estimates, Europe by 2025 will require an additional 170 billion cubic meters of gas, and by 2035, Medvedev said that figure might constitute 225 billion cubic meters, creating an urgency for the investors to address the growing European demand for Russian gas.
Medvedev said Gazprom is willing to expand its supplies to Europe, but the process is being hindered by European partners.
''The problem with OPAL is still not solved, which, of course, is very, very strange,'' said Medvedev, noting that agreements have already been signed. Under EU regulations Gazprom is only allowed to use 50 percent of capacity of the pipelines connecting the Nord Stream pipeline with the pipeline grid in Middle and Western Europe. Yet despite this, the European partners have repeatedly postponed a decision on the allocation of the remaining 50 percent capacity load.
''Calling this a policy would be a compliment to the politicians. This politicking, I can openly say,'' said Medvedev .
Gas giant's executive said that the same is true for the 'Yamal '' Europe-2' gas pipeline which will allow increasing transit capacities of gas to central Europe.
''There is no doubt that the project is economically efficient. But then again, based on some political issues, we have not moved forward. They do not know what they are doing. But we'll find another way to provide for our needs. You can't win love by force,'' he told reporters.
As far as the EU calls for the South Stream project to be halted, Gazprom says it is ready for the worst case scenario and can complete the project without outside investment.
''If you ask me if I'm ready for the worst case scenario, I'd say 'Yes, we are ready," Medvedev told journalists in Moscow.
Medvedev also said that US efforts to stop Russian energy supplies to Europe to increase American market share in the region are ''impossible.''
''We understand that the US, sitting high on a hill and independent of economic cooperation with us, is pushing Europe to take wild steps,'' Medvedev said. ''I think that logic of European business cooperation won't allow dementia to set in. Russian export restrictions are impossible.''
My priorities | Jean-Claude Juncker | Experience. Solidarity. Future.
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 06:53
1.My first priority will be to put policies that create growth and jobs at the centre of the policy agenda of the next Commission. As a key ingredient for this, we must create a digital single market for consumers and businesses '' making use of the great opportunities of digital technologies which know no borders. To do so, we will need to have the courage to break down national silos in telecoms regulation, in copyright and data protection legislation, in the management of radio waves and in competition law.
If we do this, we can ensure that European citizens will soon be able to use their mobile phones across Europe without having to pay roaming charges. We can ensure that consumers can access music, movies and sports events on their electronic devices wherever they are in Europe and regardless of borders. And we can generate 500 billion Euro of additional growth in Europe in the course of the mandate of the next Commission, thereby creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs and a vibrant knowledge-based society. I will work on this from day one of being Commission President.
2.As a second priority, I want to reform and reorganise Europe's energy policy in a new European Energy Union. We need to pool our resources, combine our infrastructures and unite our negotiating power vis- -vis third countries. We need to diversify our energy sources, and reduce the energy dependency of several of our Member States.
I want to keep our European energy market open to our neighbours. However, if the price for energy from the East becomes too expensive, either in commercial or in political terms, Europe should be able to switch very swiftly to other supply channels. We need to be able to reverse energy flows when necessary. And we need to strengthen the share of renewable energies on our continent. This is not only a matter of a responsible climate change policy. It is, at the same time, an industrial policy imperative if we still want to have affordable energy at our disposal in the medium term. I therefore want Europe's Energy Union to become the world number one in renewable energies.
3.Third, under my presidency, the Commission will negotiate a reasonable and balanced trade agreement with the United States of America. It is anachronistic that, in the 21st century, Europeans and Americans still impose customs duties on each other's products. These should be swiftly and fully abolished. I also believe that we can go a significant step further in recognising each other's product standards or working towards transatlantic standards. However, as Commission President, I will also be very clear that I will not sacrifice Europe's safety, health, social and data protection standards on the altar of free trade. Notably, the safety of the food we eat and the protection of Europeans' personal data will be non-negotiable for me as Commission President.
4.A fourth priority for me will be to continue with the reform of our monetary union, and to do so with Europe's social dimension in mind. I believe that, in the next five years, we will have to consolidate and complement the unprecedented measures we have taken during the crisis, to simplify them and to make them more legitimate socially. I see three main areas of change:
a. We have to re-balance the relationship between elected politicians and the European Central Bank in the daily management of the Eurozone. I admire what Mario Draghi has done to save the euro. However, he had to do so in a clearly exceptional situation. The ECB neither wants nor can govern the Eurozone. The Eurozone should instead be managed by the Commission and by the Euro Group, which in my view should be chaired by a full-time President. The responsibility of the Euro Group includes issues related to the exchange rate. We should not forget this should the euro exchange rate increase further and become a problem for growth.
b. We should also re-balance the way in which we grant conditional stability support to Eurozone countries in financial difficulties. I propose that in the future, any support and reform programme goes not only through a fiscal sustainability assessment; but at the same time through a social impact assessment. The social effects of structural reforms need to be discussed in public. My party, the European People's Party, believes in the social market economy. It is not compatible with the social market economy that during a crisis, ship-owners and speculators become even richer, while pensioners can no longer support themselves. In this context, a targeted fiscal capacity at Eurozone level could be developed to work as a shock-absorber, if needed.
c. Thirdly, I am convinced that we have to strengthen the external projection of our monetary union. A proposal for a joint representation of the Eurozone in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was already made by the Commission in 1998 '' but was never followed up. Today, the Treaty allows for the adoption of such a proposal by a qualified majority of Eurozone countries, and no longer by unanimity. I believe it is high time that we move ahead with this proposal and strengthen the Eurozone's voice in the IMF and, as Commission President, I will take care of this. The euro must not only be stable on the inside, but must also have a strong common voice on the global stage.
5.A fifth and last priority for me as Commission President will be to give an answer to the British question. No reasonable politician can ignore the fact that, during the next five years, we will have to find solutions for the political concerns of the United Kingdom. We have to do this if we want to keep the UK within the European Union '' which I would like to do as Commission President. As Commission President, I will work for a fair deal with Britain. A deal that accepts the specificities of the UK in the EU, while allowing the Eurozone to integrate further. The UK will need to understand that in the Eurozone, we need more Europe, not less. On the other hand, the other EU countries will have to accept that the UK will never participate in the euro, even if we may regret this. We have to accept that the UK will not become a member of the Schengen area. And I am also ready to accept that the UK will stay outside new EU institutions such as the European Public Prosecutor's Office, meant to improve the fight against fraud in the EU, but clearly rejected by the House of Commons and the House of Lords. We have to respect such clear positions of the British Parliament, based on the British ''opt out'' Protocol. David Cameron has recently written down a number of further key demands in an article published in the Daily Telegraph. As Commission President, I will be ready to talk to him about these demands in a fair and reasonable manner. My red line in such talks would be the integrity of the single market and its four freedoms; and the possibility to have more Europe within the Eurozone to strengthen the single currency shared so far by 18 and soon by 19 Member States. But I have the impression that this is as important for Britain as it will be for the next President of the Commission.
Nord Stream - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 07:29
Nord StreamLocation of Nord Stream
LocationCountryRussian Federation, GermanyCoordinates60°31'²44'"N28°4'²21'"E>> / >>60.52889°N 28.07250°E>> / 60.52889; 28.07250>> (Portovaya Compressor Station)54°8'²24'"N13°38'²23.28'"E>> / >>54.14000°N 13.6398000°E>> / 54.14000; 13.6398000>> (Landing in Lubmin)General directioneast''west''southFromVyborg, RussiaPasses throughBaltic SeaToGreifswald, GermanyGeneral informationTypeNatural gasPartnersGazprom, E.ON, Wintershall, Gasunie, GDF SuezOperatorNord Stream AGContractorsSaipem, Allseas, Ramb¸ll, Environmental Resource Management, Marin M¤tteknik, IfA–, PeterGaz, DOF Subsea, Intec Engineering, Tideway BV, Royal Boskalis Westminster, EUROPIPE, OMK, Sumitomo, EUPEC PipeCoatings, Rolls-Royce plc, Dresser-Rand Group, Siirtec Nigi SPACommissioned8 November 2011 (1st line)8 October 2012 (2nd line)Technical informationLength1,222 km (759 mi)Maximum discharge55 billion cubic metres per year (2012'')Diameter1,220 mm (48 in)Number of compressor stations1Compressor stationsVyborgNord Stream (former names: North Transgas and North European Gas Pipeline; Russian: ÐевеÑный Ðоток, Severny potok) is an offshore natural gaspipeline from Vyborg in the Russian Federation to Greifswald in Germany. It is owned and operated by Nord Stream AG. The name occasionally has a wider meaning, including the feeding onshore pipeline in the Russian Federation, and further connections in Western Europe.
The project, which was promoted by the government of Russia and agreed to by the government of Germany, was seen as controversial for various reasons, including increasing European energy dependence on Russia and potential environmental damage.[1]
The project includes two parallel lines. The first line of the pipeline was laid by May 2011 and was inaugurated on 8 November 2011.[2][3] The second line was laid in 2011''2012 and was inaugurated on 8 October 2012. At 1,222 kilometres (759 mi) in length, it is the longest sub-sea pipeline in the world, surpassing the Langeled pipeline.[4][5]
History[edit]The original pipeline project started in 1997 when Gazprom and the Finnish company Neste (in 1998 merged with Imatran Voima to form Fortum, and 2004 separated again to Fortum and Neste Oil) formed the joint company North Transgas Oy for construction and operation of a gas pipeline from Russia to Northern Germany across the Baltic Sea.[6] North Transgas cooperated with the German gas company Ruhrgas (became later part of E.ON). A route survey in the Exclusive Economic Zones of Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany, and a feasibility study of the pipeline was conducted in 1998. Several routes were considered including routes with onshore segments through Finland and Sweden.[7]
On 24 April 2001, Gazprom, Fortum, Ruhrgas and Wintershall adopted a statement regarding a joint feasibility study for construction of the pipeline.[8] On 18 November 2002, the Management Committee of Gazprom approved a schedule of project implementation. In May 2005, Fortum withdrew from the project and sold its stake in North Transgas to Gazprom. As a result, Gazprom became the only shareholder of North Transgas Oy.[6][9]
On 8 September 2005, Gazprom, BASF and E.ON signed a basic agreement on the construction of a North European Gas Pipeline. On 30 November 2005, the North European Gas Pipeline Company (later renamed Nord Stream AG) was incorporated in Zug, Switzerland. On 9 December 2005, Gazprom started construction of the Russian onshore feeding pipeline. On 4 October 2006, the pipeline and the operating company were officially renamed Nord Stream AG.[10] After establishment of Nord Stream AG, all information related to the pipeline project, including results of the seabed survey of 1998, were transferred from North Transgas to the new company, and on 2 November 2006, North Transgas was officially dissolved.[11]
The environmental impact assessment started on 16 November 2006 with notification sent to Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany, as parties of origin (the countries whose exclusive economic zones and/or territorial waters the pipeline is planned to pass through), as well as to Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia as affected parties.[12] The final report on transboundary environmental impact assessment was delivered on 9 March 2009.[13]
On 19 March 2007, Nord Stream AG mandated Italian company Snamprogetti, a subsidiary of Saipem, for detailed design engineering of the pipeline.[14] A letter of intent for construction works was signed with Saipem on 17 September 2007 and the contract was concluded on 24 June 2008.[15][16] On 25 September 2007, the pipe supply contracts were awarded to the pipe producers EUROPIPE and OMK, and on 18 February 2008, the concrete weight coating and logistics services agreement was awarded to EUPEC PipeCoatings S.A.[17][18] The supply contracts for the second line were awarded to OMK, Europipe and Sumitomo Heavy Industries on 22 January 2010.[19] On 30 December 2008 Rolls-Royce plc was awarded a contract to supply gas turbines driving centrifugal compressors and on 8 January 2009, Royal Boskalis Westminster and Tideway were awarded a joint venture seabed dredging contract.[20][21]
The agreement to take N.V. Nederlandse Gasunie to the consortium as the fourth partner, was signed on 6 November 2007.[22] On 10 June 2008, Gasunie was included in the register of shareholders.[23] On 1 March 2010, French energy company GDF Suez signed with Gazprom a memorandum of understanding to acquire 9% stake in the project.[24] The transaction was closed in July 2010.[25]
In August 2008, Nord Stream AG hired former Finnish prime minister Paavo Lipponen as a consultant to help speed up the application process in Finland and to serve as a link between Nord Stream and Finnish authorities.[26]
On 21 December 2007, Nord Stream AG submitted application documents to the Swedish government for the pipeline construction in the Swedish Exclusive Economic Zone.[27] On 12 February 2008, the Swedish government rejected the consortium's application which it had found incomplete.[28][29] New application was filed later. On 20 October 2009, Nord Stream received a construction permit to build the pipeline in the Danish waters.[30] On 5 November 2009, the Swedish and Finnish authorities gave a permit to lay the pipeline in their exclusive economic zones.[31] On 22 February 2010, the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland issued the final environmental permit allowing construction of the Finnish section of the pipeline.[32][33]
On 15 January 2010 construction of the Portovaya compressor station in Vyborg near the Gulf of Finland began. [34][35] The first pipe of the pipeline was laid on 6 April 2010 in the Swedish exclusive economic zone by the Castoro Sei vessel. In addition to Castoro Sei, also Castoro 10 and Solitaire were contracted for pipe-laying works.[36] Construction of the pipeline was officially launched on 9 April 2010 at Portovaya Bay.[37]
The laying of the first line was completed on 4 May 2011 (the last pipe put in place), while all underwater works on the first line were completed on 21 June 2011.[5][38] In August 2011, Nord Stream was connected with the OPAL pipeline.[39] First gas was pumped into the first line on 6 September 2011.[40]
The pipeline was officially inaugurated by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and French Prime Minister Fran§ois Fillon on 8 November 2011 at the ceremony held in Lubmin.[2][3][41] Initially, the pipeline was able to deliver 27.5 billion cubic metres (970 billion cubic feet) of gas annually, but this capacity was doubled once the second pipeline was finished.[42] Construction of the second line was completed in August 2012 and it was inaugurated on 8 October 2012.[43][44][45]
In August 2012, Nord Stream AG applied to Finnish and Estonian governments for route studies in their exclusive economic zones for the third and fourth lines.[46]
Technical features[edit]Russian onshore pipeline[edit]Construction of the feeding pipeline in Russia (Gryazovets''Vyborg gas pipeline) began on 9 December 2005 in the town of Babayevo in Vologda Oblast. It was completed in 2010. This pipeline is operated solely by Gazprom.[47] It is a part of the integrated gas transport network of Russia connecting existing grid in Gryazovets with the coastal compressor station at Vyborg.[48] The length of this pipeline is 917 kilometres (570 mi), the diameter of the pipe is 1,420 millimetres (56 in), and working pressure is 100 standard atmospheres (10 MPa), which is secured by six compressor stations. The Gryazovets-Vyborg pipeline, parallel to the branch of the Northern Lights pipeline, also supplies gas to the Northwestern region of Russia (Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast).[47] A branch pipeline in Karelia will connect this feeding pipeline with Finland.[49]
Baltic Sea offshore pipeline[edit]The Nord Stream offshore pipeline is ordered and operated by Nord Stream AG.[12][22] It runs from Vyborg compressor station at Portovaya Bay along the bottom of the Baltic Sea to Greifswald in Germany. The length of the subsea pipeline is 1,222 kilometres (759 mi), of which 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) in Russian inland, 121.8 kilometres (65.8 nmi) in Russian territorial waters, 1.4 kilometres (0.8 nmi) in the Russian economic zone, 375.3 kilometres (202.6 nmi) in the Finnish economic zone, 506.4 kilometres (273.4 nmi) in the Swedish economic zone, 87.7 kilometres (47.4 nmi) in the Danish territorial waters, 49.4 kilometres (26.7 nmi) in the Danish economic zone, 31.2 kilometres (16.8 nmi) in the German economic zone, 49.9 kilometres (26.9 nmi) in German territorial waters and 0.5 kilometres (0.31 mi) in German inland.[50] The pipeline has two parallel lines, each with capacity of 27.5 billion cubic metres (970 billion cubic feet) of natural gas per year. Pipes have a diameter of 1,220 millimetres (48 in), the wall thickness of 38 millimetres (1.50 in) and a working pressure of 220 bars (22 MPa).[12]
Nord Stream AG is studying viability of building the third and fourth lines.[46]
Western European pipelines[edit]The Western European part of the project includes two transmission pipelines in Germany. The southern pipeline (OPAL pipeline) runs from Greifswald to Olbernhau near German-Czech border. It connects Nord Stream with JAGAL (connected to the Yamal-Europe pipeline), and STEGAL (connected to the Russian gas transport route via Czech and Slovak republics) transmission pipelines. The Gazelle pipeline, put into operation in January 2013,[51] links the OPAL pipeline with South-German gas network.
The western pipeline (NEL pipeline) will run from Greifswald to Achim, where it will be connected with the Rehden-Hamburg gas pipeline.[52] Together with the MIDAL pipeline it will create the Greifswald''Bunde connection. Further gas delivery to the United Kingdom will be made through the planned connection between Bunde and Den Helder, and from there through the offshore interconnector Balgzand''Bacton (BBL Pipeline).
Gazprom has also bought an abandoned mine (Hinrichshagen Structure) in Waren, which is planned to convert into the largest underground gas storage in Europe with capacity of 5 billion cubic metres (180 billion cubic feet).[53][54]
Supply sources[edit]The main source of natural gas for the Nord Stream pipeline is Yuzhno-Russkoye field, which is located in the Krasnoselkupsky District, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Tyumen Oblast.[55][56][57] Nord Stream is also fed from fields in Yamal Peninsula, Ob-Taz bay. Gazprom has also indicated that the majority of gas produced at the Shtokman field would be sold to Europe via the Nord Stream pipeline. For this purpose, the pipeline from the Shtokman field via Kola peninsula to Volkhov or Vyborg in the Leningrad Oblast has to be built.[58]
Costs and financing[edit]According to Gazprom, the costs of the onshore pipelines in Russia and Germany are around '‚¬6 billion.[59] The offshore section of the project is expected to cost '‚¬8.8 billion.[60] 30% of the financing was raised through equity provided by shareholders in proportion to their stakes in the project, while 70% came from external financing by banks.[61]
There are two tranches.[62][63] The first tranche for a '‚¬3.9 billion includes a 3.1 billion, 16-year facility covered by export credit agencies and a '‚¬800 million, 10-year uncovered commercial loan to be serviced by earnings from the transportation contracts. A '‚¬1.6 billion is covered by French credit insures company Euler Hermes, a '‚¬1 billion by the German Untied Loan Guarantee Programme UFK, and a '‚¬500 million Italian Export Credit Agency SACE SpA. Loans to be provided by 26 commercial banks. Cr(C)dit Agricole is documentation bank and bank facility agent. Soci(C)t(C) G(C)n(C)rale is intercreditor agent, Sace facility agent, security trustee and model bank. Commerzbank is Hermes facility agent, UniCredit is UFK facility agent, Deutsche Bank is account bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation is technical and environmental bank.[61][62] The financial advisers were Soci(C)t(C) G(C)n(C)rale, Royal Bank of Scotland (ABN Amro), Dresdner Kleinwort (Commerzbank), and Unicredit.[64][65] The legal adviser to Nord Stream was White & Case and legal adviser for the lenders was Clifford Chance.[62]
Contractors[edit]The environmental impact assessment was carried out by Ramb¸ll and Environmental Resource Management. The route and seabed surveys were conducted by Marin M¤tteknik, IfA–, PeterGaz and DOF Subsea.[66][67]
Work preliminary front-end engineering was done by Intec Engineering.[68] The design engineering of the subsea pipeline was done by Snamprogetti (now part of Saipem) and the pipeline was constructed by Saipem.[14][16] Saipem gave sub-contract to Allseas for laying more than 1/4 of both the pipelines. The seabed was prepared for the laying of the pipeline by a joint venture of Royal Boskalis Westminster and Tideway.[21] The pipes were provided by EUROPIPE, OMK, and Sumitomo.[17][19] Concrete weight coating and logistics services were provided by EUPEC PipeCoatings S.A. For the concrete weight coating new coating plants were constructed in Mukran (Germany) and Kotka (Finland).[18] Rolls-Royce plc supplied eight industrial aeroderivativegas turbines driving centrifugal compressors for front-end gas boosting at the Vyborg (Portovaya) gas compressor station.[20]Dresser-Rand Group supplied DATUM compressors and Siirtec Nigi SPA provided a gas treatment unit for the Portovaya station.[69][70]
For the construction period, Nord Stream AG created a logistic center in Gotland. Other interim stock yards are located in Mukran, in Kotka, in Hanko (Finland) and in Karlshamn (Sweden).[18]
Project company[edit]Main article: Nord Stream AGThe Nord Stream offshore pipeline is operated by the special purpose company'--Nord Stream AG. Nord Stream AG was incorporated in Zug, Switzerland on 30 November 2005. Shareholders of the company are the Russian gas company Gazprom (51% of shares), German gas companies Winthershall and E.ON Ruhrgas (both 15.5%), the Dutch gas company Gasunie (9%), and the French gas company GDF Suez (9%).[12][22] The Managing Director of Nord Stream AG is Matthias Warnig and the chairman of the shareholders' committee is German ex-chancellor Gerhard Schr¶der.
Transportation contracts[edit]On 13 October 2005 Gazprom's export arm Gazprom Export signed a contract with German gas company Wingas, a joint venture of Gazprom and Wintershall (subsidiary of BASF), to supply 9 billion cubic metres (320 billion cubic feet) of natural gas per year for 25 years.[71] On 16 June 2006 Gazprom and Danish DONG Energy signed a 20-year contract for delivery of 1 billion cubic metres (35 billion cubic feet) Russian gas per year to Denmark, while DONG Energy will supply 600 million cubic metres (21 billion cubic feet) natural gas per year to the Gazprom's subsidiary, Gazprom Marketing and Trading, in the United Kingdom.[72] 1 October 2009 the companies signed a contract to double the delivery to Denmark.[73]
On 29 August 2006 Gazprom and E.ON Ruhrgas signed an agreement to extend current contracts on natural gas supplies and have signed a contract for an additional 4 billion cubic metres (140 billion cubic feet) per year through the Nord Stream pipeline.[74] On 19 December 2006, Gazprom and Gaz de France (now GDF Suez) agreed to an additional 2.5 billion cubic metres (88 billion cubic feet) gas supply through the Nord Stream.[75]
Controversy[edit]The pipeline project was criticized by some countries and environmental organizations (such as the World Wide Fund for Nature).[76][77][78][79][80] At the same time, the European Commission energy commissioner office confirmed that the EU supports the project "as an additional source of gas supplies from Russia".[81]
Political aspects[edit]Opponents have seen the pipeline as a move by Russia to bypass traditional transit countries (currently Ukraine, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Belarus and Poland).[82] Some transit countries are concerned that a long-term plan of the Kremlin is to attempt to exert political influence on them by threatening their gas supply without affecting supplies to Western Europe.[83][84] The fears are strengthened by the fact that Russia has refused to ratify the Energy Charter Treaty. Critics of Nord Stream say that Europe could become dangerously dependent on Russian natural gas, particularly since Russia could face problems meeting a surge in domestic as well as foreign demand.[85][86][87] Following several Russia''Ukraine gas disputes, as well as foreign policy towards Eastern Europe, it has been noted that the gas supplies by Russia can be used as a political tool.[88] The Swedish Defence Research Agency study, conducted by Robert L. Larsson, counted over 55 incidents since 1991, most with "both political and economic underpinnings".[86][87] In April 2006 Radosław Sikorski, then Poland's defence minister, compared the project to the infamous 1939 Nazi-Soviet Molotov''Ribbentrop Pact. [89] In his book The New Cold War: Putin's Russia and the Threat to the West, Edward Lucas states that "though Nord Stream's backers insist that the project is business pure and simple, this would be easier to believe if it were more transparent."[86] In the report published by the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Norwegian researcher Bendik Solum Whist notes that Nord Stream AG was incorporated in Switzerland, "whose strict banking secrecy laws makes the project less transparent than it would have been if based within the EU".[86] Secondly, the Russian energy sector "in general lacks transparency" and Gazprom "is no exception".[86]
The Russian response has been that the pipeline increases Europe's energy security, and that the criticism is caused by bitterness about the loss of significant transit revenues, as well as the loss of political influence that stems from the transit countries' ability to hold Russian gas supplies to Western Europe hostage to their local political agendas.[90] It would reduce Russia's dependence on the transit countries as for the first time it would link Russia directly to Western Europe.[85] According to Gazprom, the direct connection to Germany would decrease risks in the gas transit zones, including the political risk of cutting off Russian gas exports to Western Europe.[91]
Security and military aspects[edit]Swedish military experts and several politicians, including former Minister for DefenceMikael Odenberg, have stated that the pipeline can cause a security policy problem for Sweden.[92] According to Odenberg, the pipeline motivates Russian navy presence in Swedish economic zone and the Russians can use this for military intelligence should they want to.[93] Finnish military scholar Alpo Juntunen has said that even though the political discussion over Nord Stream in Finland concentrates on the various ecological aspects, there are clearly military implications to the pipeline that are not discussed openly in Finland.[94] More political concerns were raised when Vladimir Putin stated that the ecological safety of the pipeline project will be ensured by using the Baltic Fleet of the Russian Navy.[95] German weekly Stern has reported that the fibre optic cable and repeater stations along the pipeline could theoretically also be used for espionage. Nord Stream AG asserted that a fibre-optic control cable was neither necessary nor technically planned.[96]
Deputy Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of Gazprom Alexander Medvedev has dismissed these concerns, stating that "some objections are put forward that are laughable'--political, military or linked to spying. That is really surprising because in the modern world ... it is laughable to say a gas pipeline is a weapon in a spy war."[97]
German Bundeswehr asked Nord Stream to change the planned route because the pipeline is laid close to a sea testing ground near R¼gen, which is actively used for naval exercises.[98]
Economic aspects[edit]Russian and German officials have claimed that the pipeline leads to economic savings due to the elimination of transit fees (as transit countries would be bypassed), and a higher operating pressure of the offshore pipeline which leads to lower operating costs (by eliminating the necessity for expensive midway compressor stations).[99] According to Ukrtransgaz, the Ukrainian gas transportation system operator, Ukraine alone will lose natural gas transit revenues up to $720 million per year.[100] Gazprom has stated that it will divert 20 billion m3 of natural gas transported through Ukraine to Nord Stream.[101]
Opponents say that the maintenance costs of a submarine pipeline are higher than for an overland route. In 1998, former Gazprom chairman Rem Vyakhirev claimed that the project was economically unfeasible.[102] This estimation may not be valid anymore as the price of natural gas and construction costs have changed since then.
As the Nord Stream pipeline crosses the waterway to Polish ports in Szczecin and Świnoujście, there were concerns that it will reduce the depth of the waterway leading to the ports.[103][104][105] However, Polish prime minister Donald Tusk as also several experts have confirmed that the Nord Stream pipeline does not block the development plans of Swinoujscie and Szczecin ports.[105][105]
Environmental aspects[edit]Before construction there were concerns that during construction the sea bed would be disturbed, dislodging World War II-era naval mines and toxic materials including mines, chemical waste, chemical munitions and other items dumped in the Baltic Sea in the past decades, and thereby toxic substances could surface from the seabed damaging the Baltic's particularly sensitive ecosystem.[106][107][108][109] Swedish Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren demanded that the environmental analysis should include alternative ways of taking the pipeline across the Baltic, as the pipeline is projected to be passing through areas considered environmentally problematic and risky.[110] Sweden's three opposition parties called for an examination of the possibility of rerouting the pipeline onto dry land.[109] Finnish environmental groups campaigned to consider the more southern route, claiming that the sea bed is flatter and so construction would be more straightforward, and therefore potentially less disruptive to waste, including dioxins and dioxin-like compounds, littered on the sea bed.[111] Latvian president Valdis Zatlers said that Nord Stream was environmentally hazardous as, unlike the North Sea, there is no such water circulation in the Baltic Sea.[112]Ene Ergma, Speaker of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia), warned that the pipeline work rips a canal in the seabed which will demand leveling the sand that lies along the way, atomizing volcanic formations and disposing of fill along the bottom of the sea, altering sea currents.[113]
The impact on bird and marine life in the Baltic Sea is also a concern, as the Baltic sea is recognized by the International Maritime Organization as a particularly sensitive sea area. The World Wide Fund for Nature requested that countries party to the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM) safeguard the Baltic marine habitats, which could be altered by the implementation of the Nord Stream project.[79] Its Finnish branch said it might file a court case against Nord Stream AG if the company did not properly assess a potential alternative route on the southern side of Hogland. According to Nord Stream AG, this was not a suitable route for the pipeline because of the planned conservation area near Hogland, subsea cables, and a main shipping route.[78] Russian environmental organizations warned that the ecosystem in the Eastern part of the Gulf of Finland is the most vulnerable part of the Baltic Sea and assumed damage to the island territory of the planned Ingermanland nature preserve as a result of laying the pipeline.[113] Swedish environmental groups are concerned that the pipeline is planned to pass too closely to the border of the marine reserve near Gotland.[114] Also Greenpeace is concerned that the pipeline would pass through several sites designated marine conservation areas.[115]
In April 2007, the Young Conservative League (YCL) of Lithuania started an online petition entitled "Protect the Baltic Sea While It's Still Not Too Late!", translated into all state languages of the countries of the Baltic region.[116] On 29 January 2008 the Petitions Committee of the European Parliament organized public hearing on petition introduced by the leader of YCL '' Radvile Morkunaite. On 8 July 2008, the European Parliament endorsed by 542 votes to 60 a non-binding report calling on the European Commission to evaluate the additional impact on the Baltic Sea caused by the Nord Stream project.[117] The Riigikogu made a declaration on 27 October 2009, expressing "concern over the possible environmental impacts of the gas line" and emphasizing that international conventions have deemed "the Baltic Sea in an especially vulnerable environmental status".[80]
Russian officials described these concerns as far-fetched and politically motivated by opponents of the project. They argued that during the construction the seabed will be cleaned, rather than endangered. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has claimed that Russia fully respects the desire to provide for the 100% environmental sustainability of the project and that Russia is fully supportive of such an approach, and that all environmental concerns would be addressed in the process of environmental impact assessment.[118]
Concerns raised, that originally Nord Stream AG planned on rinsing out the pipeline with 2.3 billion liters of a solution containing glutaraldehyde, pumped afterward into the Baltic Sea. Nord Stream AG responded that glutaraldehyde would not used, and even had the chemical been used, the effects would have been brief and localized due to the speed with which the chemical breaks down once it comes in contact with water.[119]
One of the raised problems was that the Baltic Sea and particularly Gulf of Finland was heavily mined during World War I and II, with many mines still on the sea.[115] According to Marin M¤tteknik around 85,000 mines were laid during the First and Second World Wars, of which only half have been recovered. A lot of munitions have also been dumped in this sea.[120] Critics of the pipeline voiced fears that the pipeline would disturb ammunition dumps. In November 2008 it was reported that the pipeline will run through old sea mine defense lines and that the Gulf of Finland is considered one of the most heavily mined sea areas in the world.[121] Sunken mines, which have been found on the pipeline route, lay primarily in international waters at a depth of more than 70 metres (230 ft). Nord Stream AG detonated the mines underwater.[121]
Ethical issues[edit]The former Chancellor of Germany, Gerhard Schr¶der, and the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, were strong advocates of the pipeline project during the negotiation phase. International media alluded to a past relationship between the Managing Director of Nord Stream AG, Matthias Warnig, himself a former East German secret police officer, and Vladimir Putin when he was a KGB agent in East Germany.[122][123][124][125] These allegations were denied by Matthias Warning, who said that he had met Vladimir Putin for the first time in his life in 1991, when Putin was the head of the Committee for External Relations of the Saint Petersburg Mayor's Office.[125][126]
The agreement to build the pipeline was signed ten days before the German parliamentary election. On 24 October 2005, a few weeks before Schr¶der had stepped down as Chancellor, the German government guaranteed to cover '‚¬1 billion of the Nord Stream project cost, should Gazprom default on a loan. However, this guarantee expired at the end of 2006 without ever having been needed.[127] Soon after leaving the post of Chancellor of Germany, Gerhard Schr¶der agreed to head the shareholders' committee of Nord Stream AG. This has been widely described by German and international media as a conflict of interest,[128][129][130] the implication being that the pipeline project may have been pushed through for personal gain rather than for improving gas supplies to Germany. Information about the German government's guarantee was requested by the European Commission. No formal charges have been filed against any party despite years of exhaustive investigations.[127]
In February 2009, the Swedish prosecutor's office started an investigation based on suspicions of bribery and corruption after a college on the island of Gotland received a donation from Nord Stream. The 5 million Swedish kronor (US$574,000) donation was directed to a professor at Gotland University College who had previously warned that the Nord Stream pipeline would come too close to a sensitive bird zone.[131] The consortium has hired several former high-ranking officials, such as Ulrica Schenstr¶m, former undersecretary at the Swedish Prime Minister's office, and Dan Svanell, former press secretary for several politicians in the Swedish Social Democratic Party.[132] In addition, the former Prime Minister of Finland, Paavo Lipponen, had worked for Nord Stream as an adviser since 2008.[133]
Land-based alternatives[edit]On 11 January 2007, the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Finland made a statement on the environmental impact assessment programme of the Russia-Germany natural gas pipeline, in which it mentioned that alternative routes via the Baltic states, Kaliningrad and/or Poland might theoretically be shorter than the route across the Baltic Sea, would be easier to flexibly increase the capacity of the pipeline, and might have better financial results.[134] There were also calls from Sweden to consider rerouting the pipeline onto dry land.[109] Poland had proposed the construction of a second line of the Yamal''Europe pipeline, as well as the Amber pipeline through the Baltic states and Poland as land-based alternatives to the offshore pipeline. The Amber project foresees laying a natural gas pipeline across the Tver, Novgorod and Pskov oblasts in Russia and then through Latvia and Lithuania to Poland, where it would be re-connected to the Yamal''Europe pipeline.[7] Latvia has proposed using its underground gas storage facilities if the onshore route were to be used.[112] Proponents have claimed that the Amber pipeline would cost half as much as an underwater pipeline, would be shorter, and would have less environmental impact.[135] Critics of this proposal say that in this case it would be more expensive for the suppliers over the long-term perspective, because the main aim of the project is to reduce transit costs.[136] Nord Stream AG has responded that the Baltic Sea would be the only route for the pipeline and it will not consider an overland alternative.[137]
World War II graves[edit]A former member of the European Parliament from Estonia, Andres Tarand has raised the issue that the Nord Stream pipeline could disturb World War II graves dating from naval battles in 1941. A Nord Stream spokesman has stated that only one sunken ship is in the vicinity of the planned pipeline and added that it wouldn't be disturbed.[138] However, on 16 July 2008 was announced that one of DOF Subsea's seismic vessels during a shoot for the planned Nord Stream pipeline in Finland's exclusive economic zone in the Gulf of Finland, discovered the wreck of a submarine with Soviet markings, believed to have sunk during World War II.[66]
In addition to the wreck of the Soviet submarine, there are sunken ships on the route of Nord Stream in the Bay of Greifswald and in the Gulf of Finland. The ship in the Bay of Greifswald is one of 20 sunk in 1715 by the Swedish navy to create a physical barrier across the shallow entrance to the Bay of Greifswald coastal lagoon.[139] The sunken ship in the Gulf of Finland probably belonged to the fleet of Peter I of Russia, headed to Finland in 1713 under the Tsar's personal command.[140] There are plans to raise both wrecks.[citation needed]
See also[edit]References[edit]^"Nord Stream Environmental Risk Low". 04/26/2012. ^ ab"Controversial Project Launched: Merkel and Medvedev Open Baltic Gas Pipeline". Spiegel Online. 2011-11-08. Retrieved 2011-11-08. ^ abWiesmann, Gerrit (2011-11-08). "Russia-EU gas pipeline delivers first supplies". Financial Times. Retrieved 2011-11-08. ^"Nord Stream Passes Ships and Bombs". The Moscow Times. Bloomberg. 2011-05-05. (subscription required). Retrieved 2011-09-10. ^ abGloystein, Henning (2011-05-04). "Nord Stream to finish 1st gas pipeline Thursday". Reuters. Retrieved 2010-05-26. ^ ab"Fortum sells its stake in North Transgas to Gazprom" (Press release). Fortum. 2005-05-18. Retrieved 2008-02-15. ^ abProject Information Document '-- Offshore pipeline through the Baltic Sea (PDF). Nord Stream AG. November 2006. Retrieved 2012-05-14. ^"Pipeline Report" (PDF). Scientific Surveys. June 2001. Retrieved 2009-01-31. ^"Gazprom takes control of North Transgas". Upstream Online (NHST Media Group). 2005-05-18. (subscription required). Retrieved 2009-01-31. ^"Nord Stream: Historical Background". Gazprom. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-08-03. ^"ЛиквидиÑовано 100-ÐÑоцентное дочеÑнее ÐÑедÐÑиятие "Ð'азÐÑома" в ФинÐ>>яндии" [Gazprom's 100% owned daughter company in Finland is dissolved] (in Russian). RusEnergy. 2007-01-30. Retrieved 2008-02-15. ^ abcd"Nord Stream. Facts & Figures". Nord Stream AG. Archived from the original on 2011-01-04. Retrieved 2007-04-06. ^"Start of Public Participation throughout Baltic Sea Region on Nord Stream Pipeline Project" (Press release). Nord Stream AG. 2009-03-09. Retrieved 2009-04-19. ^ ab"Leading engineering company to prepare detailed design" (PDF). Nord Stream Facts (Nord Stream AG) (1). April 2007. Retrieved 2008-11-17. ^"Saipem bags Nord Stream work". Upstream Online (NHST Media Group). 2007-09-17. (subscription required). Retrieved 2007-09-30. ^ abSimpson, Ian (2008-06-24). "Saipem wins 1 bln euro Nord Stream contract". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-07-11. ^ ab"Nord Stream decided on Pipe Tender" (Press release). Wintershall. 2007-09-25. Retrieved 2007-09-30. ^ abc"Sustainable Investment in Logistics around the Baltic Region". Rigzone. 2008-02-18. Retrieved 2008-02-19. ^ abSoldatkin, Vladimir (2010-01-23). "Nord Stream awards 1 bln euros tender for gas link". Reuters. Retrieved 2010-02-18. ^ ab"Gazprom Awards Compressor Contract for Nord Stream Pipeline to Rolls-Royce". Downstream Today. 2008-12-30. Retrieved 2009-01-11. ^ ab"Boskalis Wins Nord Stream, Saudi Contracts". Downstream Today. AFX News Limited. 2009-01-09. Retrieved 2011-05-05. ^ abcLucian Kim, Greg Walters (2007-11-06). "Gazprom Picks Dutch Company for Northern Gas Pipeline". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2007-11-10. ^"Gasunie joins Nord Stream as shareholder". RBC. 2008-06-20. Retrieved 2008-06-23. ^Boselli, Muriel (2010-03-01). "GDF Suez, Gazprom sign Nord Stream pipeline deal". Reuters. Retrieved 2010-03-01. ^"GDF Suez SA has received 9% in Nord Stream". Rusmergers. 2010-08-11. Retrieved 2011-05-26. ^"Nord Stream Consortium Hires Former Finnish Premier". Downstream Today. Deutsche Presse-Agentur. 2008-08-15. Retrieved 2008-08-19. ^"Swedish Govt Receives Baltic Pipeline Plans". Downstream Today. Deutsche Presse-Agentur. 2007-12-21. Retrieved 2007-12-26. ^Ringstrom, Anna (2008-02-12). "Sweden says application for Baltic pipeline incomplete". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-02-15. ^"Sweden unimpressed by Baltic pipeline proposal". The Local. 2008-02-12. Retrieved 2008-02-15. ^"Nord Stream gas pipeline gets Danish clearance". Reuters. 2009-10-20. Retrieved 2009-11-01. ^Johnson, Simon; Lamppu, Eva; Korsunskaya, Darya; Wasilewski, Patryk; Baczynska, Gabriela (2009-11-05). "Nord Stream pipeline gets nod from Sweden, Finland". Reuters. Retrieved 2009-11-07. ^"Nord Stream Wins Final Clearance". The Moscow Times. 2010-02-15. Retrieved 2010-02-17. ^Young, Brett; Kinnunen, Terhi (2010-02-12). "Nord Stream cleared to start construction in April". Reuters. Retrieved 2010-02-18. ^"Gazprom starts Nord Stream launch point". Upi. 2010-01-15. Retrieved 2010-01-19. ^"Gazprom launches Portovaya compressor station construction" (Press release). Gazprom. 2010-01-15. Retrieved 2010-01-19. ^Smith, Christopher E. (2011-09-08). "Nord Stream natural gas pipeline begins line fill". Oil & Gas Journal (PennWell Corporation). (subscription required). Retrieved 2011-09-10. ^Vorobyova, Toni (2010-04-09). "Russia starts Nord Stream Europe gas route project". Reuters. Retrieved 2010-04-10. ^"Nord Stream completes underwater work on gas pipeline". RIA Novosti. 2011-06-21. Retrieved 2010-09-06. ^Blau, John (2011-08-26). "Nord Stream pipeline now connected to German link". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 2011-09-10. ^"First gas for Nord Stream". Upstream Online (NHST Media Group). 2011-09-06. (subscription required). Retrieved 2011-09-06. ^Hromadko, Jan; Harriet, Torry (8 November 2011). "Pipeline Opening Highlights Russian Energy Role". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 8 November 2011. ^"Nord Stream Is Giving Europe Gas". The Moscow Times. 8 November 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2011. ^"Gazprom Completes Nord Stream's 2nd Pipeline". RIA Novosti. 29 August 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2012. ^"Nord Stream Second Leg to Be Launched on Oct. 8". RIA Novosti. 11 September 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2012. ^Paszyc, Ewa (2012-10-10). "Russia: Gazprom has activated Nord Stream's second pipeline". EastWeek (Centre for Eastern Studies). Retrieved 2012-12-09. ^ ab"Nord Stream seeks to study Estonian economic zone in Baltic until 2015". Kyiv Post. Interfax-Ukraine. 27 August 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2012. ^ ab"Nord Stream Gas Pipeline". Gazprom. Archived from the original on 2007-07-08. Retrieved 2007-08-03. ^"Answers to questions asked by representatives of non-governmental organizations on the EIA procedure for the Nord Stream Project" (PDF). Nord Stream AG. 2007-10-20. Retrieved 2008-02-15. ^"Finland to get Shtokman gas via the Nord Stream". Barents Observer. 2006-12-11. Archived from the original on 2011-07-24. Retrieved 2007-08-02. ^Nord Stream Espoo Report. Chapter 4: Description of the Project (PDF). Nord Stream AG. 2009. p. 106. Retrieved 2009-04-19. [dead link]^Czech Nord Stream natural gas link Gazela flowing at full capacity, ICIS 24 Apr 2013 retrieved 2013-04-28^"Wingas plans Nord Stream double". Upstream Online (NHST Media Group). 2007-03-27. Retrieved 2007-08-03. ^"Gazprom Plans Underground Storage Near Berlin". Downstream Today. Deutsche Presse-Agentur. 2007-11-27. Retrieved 2007-11-29. ^"Gazprom plant Europas gr¶Ÿtes Erdgaslager" [Gazprom plans European largest gas storage]. Welt Online (in German). 2007-11-28. Retrieved 2007-11-29. ^Philippa Runner (2009-01-21). "Nord Stream to pump EU gas by 2011, Russia says". EUobserver. Retrieved 2009-10-10. ^Elena Zhuk (January 2008). "Gazprom and BASF Start Joint Production at Yuzhno-Russkoye Gas Field". Oil & Gas Eurasia (Eurasia Press, Inc.). Retrieved 2009-10-10. ^"Gas for Europe". Nord Stream AG. Retrieved 2009-10-10. ^Jorn Madslien (2006-10-09). "Shock as Russia goes solo on gas field". BBC News. Retrieved 2007-08-03. ^Dempsey, Judy (2007-08-23). "Gazprom plans to re-route controversial European pipeline". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-09-10. ^"Nord Stream more expensive". Barents Observer. 2010-03-17. Retrieved 2010-03-18. ^ abMangham, Christopher (2009-10-21). "RLPC-Nord Stream project financing signing '-- sources". Reuters. Retrieved 2009-11-01. ^ abc"Nord Stream completes Phase I financing" (Press release). Gazprom. 2010-03-16. Retrieved 2010-03-18. ^Leftly, Mark (2009-03-29). "Gazprom in Nord Stream windfall". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2009-04-19. ^Bowman, Louise (2009-04-14). "Nord Stream looks for flows in funding pipeline". Euromoney. Retrieved 2009-04-19. ^Reilly, Alasdair; Mangham, Christopher (2009-10-21). "RLPC-Nord Stream project financing nears agreement-sources". Reuters. Retrieved 2009-11-01. ^ ab"Nord Stream survey finds Soviet sub". Upstream Online (NHST Media Group). 2008-07-17. Retrieved 2008-07-18. ^"Nord Stream Project Well On Track" (Press release). Wintershall. 2008-10-21. Retrieved 2008-11-17. ^Clark, Judy; Rach, Nina (2006-10-10). "Gazprom to develop Shtokman alone, pipe gas to Europe". Oil & Gas Journal (PennWell Corporation). (subscription required). Retrieved 2009-01-31. ^"Dresser-Rand bags $200m in contracts". Upstream Online (NHST Media Group). 2009-01-13. Retrieved 2009-01-31. ^Izundu, Uchenna (2009-03-05). "Nord Stream lets gas treatment unit". Oil & Gas Journal (PennWell Corporation). (subscription required). Retrieved 2009-04-19. ^"Gazexport and WINGAS agree upon first deliveries of natural gas through the Northern European Gas Pipeline" (Press release). Wingas. 2005-10-13. Retrieved 2008-02-16. ^"Gazprom to deliver gas to Denmark via North European Gas Pipeline" (PDF) (Press release). DONG Energy. 2006-06-19. Retrieved 2007-12-16. ^Peter Levring (2009-10-01). "Dong Energy says to double Gazprom gas deliveries from 2012". Reuters. Retrieved 2009-11-07. ^"Gazprom and E.ON prolong the existing contracts and sign contract for gas sypply via the NEGP" (Press release). Gazprom. 2006-08-29. Retrieved 2008-05-18. ^"Gaz de France and Gazprom Extend Their Natural Gas Supply Agreements until 2030". Oil Voice. 2006-12-19. Retrieved 2007-12-16. ^Kotlowski, Aleksander (2009-06-09). "Russian Energy Strategy and Transit Routes in Eastern Europe '-- A View from Warsaw". Oil, Gas & Energy Law Intelligence (requires subscription) (MARIS B.V.) 7 (2 (special issue on 'EU '' Russia relations')). ISSN 1875-418X. Retrieved 2009-06-09. ^Schmid, Fidelius; Proissl, Wolfgang (2006-10-29). "US criticises Russia-Germany gas deal". Financial Times. Retrieved 2007-08-02. ^ abKinnunen, Terhi (2008-01-15). "Finnish court actions could delay Baltic gas link". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-01-31. ^ abRisk Assessment and an Environmental Impact Assessment for the North European Gas Pipeline Project (NEGP) (PDF). HELCOM. 2005-10-03. Archived from the original on 2007-06-21. Retrieved 2007-08-02. ^ abRiigikogu avaldus. L¤¤nemerre kavandatava gaasijuhtmega seotud keskkonnariskidest Declaration of the Riigikogu. On environmental hazards connected with the gas line planned into the Baltic Sea. In Estonian. The Riigikogu 27 October 2009^Crawford, David; Catan, Thomas (2008-11-13). "Putin Threatens to Scrap Gas Pipeline as Talks With EU Leaders Approach". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2008-11-14. ^Cohen, Ariel (2006-10-26). The North European Gas Pipeline Threatens Europe's Energy Security (PDF). Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 2010-10-04. ^"New Twists and Turns in German-Russian Gas Pipeline Saga". Deutsche Welle. 2007-07-13. Retrieved 2007-08-03. ^"Delays hit Nord Stream plans". Upstream Online (NHST Media Group). 2007-11-06. (subscription required). Retrieved 2007-11-10. ^ abDempsey, Judy (2008-05-06). "Gas pipeline under the Baltic faces many hurdles". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-18. ^ abcdeSolum Whist, Bendik (November 2008). Nord Stream: Not Just a Pipeline (PDF). Fridtjof Nansen Institute. Retrieved 2009-11-07. ^ abLarsson, Robert L. (March 2007). Nord Stream, Sweden and Baltic Sea Security (PDF). Swedish Defence Research Agency. ISSN 1650-1942. Retrieved 2009-11-07. ^Boyes, Roger (2009-01-07). "Gazprom is not a market player, it's a political weapon". The Times (London). Retrieved 2009-01-07. ^"Polish Defense Minister's Pipeline Remark Angers Germany". Voice of America Online. 2006-05-03. Retrieved 2010-10-04. ^"Baltic deal worries Polish press". BBC News. 2005-09-08. Retrieved 2008-03-18. ^"Gazprom'--Strategy for the Energy Sector Leadership. Speech by Alexey Miller at the Gazprom's annual general shareholders' meeting". Gazprom. 2006-06-30. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-08-02. ^Bakst, Alex (2006-11-15). "Baltic Sea Pipeline: Sweden Afraid of Russian Spooks". Spiegel Online. Retrieved 2008-05-18. ^"Rysk gasledning s¤kerhetspolitiskt problem (Russian gas pipeline is a security problem)" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter. 2006-11-14. Retrieved 2007-08-02. ^"Soome dotsent: Nord Streamil on sµjaline t¤hendus" [Nord Stream has military implications]. Postimees (in Estonian). 2009-01-10. Retrieved 2009-01-10. ^"Russian navy to ensure Nord Stream ecology'--Putin". Interfax. 2006-10-25. Retrieved 2007-08-02. ^Tillack, Hans-Martin (2008-02-13). "Schr¶ders Pipeline. Spionagekanal in der Ostsee? (Schr¶der's pipeline. Espionage channel in the Baltic Sea?)". Stern (in German). Retrieved 2008-05-18. ^"Gazprom seeking Shtokman partners". Upstream Online (NHST Media Group). 2007-07-28. (subscription required). Retrieved 2007-08-02. ^"German military asks for change to Nord Stream route '-- paper". RIA Novosti. 2009-06-10. Retrieved 2009-06-10. ^"Nord Stream. Questions and Answers. Economic and Financial aspects". Nord Stream AG. 2007-02-01. Retrieved 2007-04-06. ^"Nord Stream costs Ukraine $720 million". UPI. 2011-05-20. Retrieved 2011-05-26. ^Bachman, Jessica (2011-05-25). "Russia to divert 20 bcm of gas from Ukraine to Nord Stream". Reuters. Retrieved 2011-05-26. ^Grib, Natalya (2007-07-12). "Plus Gasification of Entire Europe". Kommersant. Retrieved 2007-08-26. ^"A Terminal Disagreement Between Poland and Germany". 2010-09-07. Retrieved 2011-09-06. ^Sobczyk, Marcin (2010-01-25). "Poland Sits Still as Nord Stream Prepares to Block Sea Port". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2011-09-06. ^ abcMelck, Brendan (2011-05-16). "Squeezed by Nord Stream". Warsaw Business Journal. Retrieved 2011-09-06. ^"Final Report of the ad hoc Working Group on Dumped Chemical Munition (HELCOM CHEMU) to the 16th Meeting of the Helsinki Commission" (PDF). HELCOM. March 1995. Retrieved 2007-08-02. ^"Tons of Mercury Found in the Baltic Sea. Europe's Underwater Chemical Dump". Spiegel Online. 2006-08-30. Retrieved 2007-08-02. ^McGroarty, Patrick (2008-01-02). "Bad News Blooms in the Baltic: Can a New Cleanup Plan Save the Sea". Spiegel Online. Retrieved 2008-05-18. ^ abc"Gazprom Standing By Nord Stream Plans". Downstream Today. UPI. 2007-11-27. Retrieved 2007-11-28. ^"Nord Stream hits Swedish hurdle". Upstream Online (NHST Media Group). 2007-10-31. Retrieved 2007-11-10. ^Terhi Kinnunen (2008-01-21). "Finland tells Nord Stream to study alternative routes". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-01-31. ^ ab"Latvia set to propose alternative to Nord Stream". RIA Novosti. 2009-04-17. Retrieved 2009-04-19. ^ abGalina Raguzina (2007-11-02). "While Nord Stream embraces Russia, Estonia will not embrace Nord Stream". Bellona. Retrieved 2008-08-09. ^Sch¤fer, Torsten (2007-02-17). "Baltic Sea Gas Pipeline Meets European Resistance". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 2007-08-02. ^ abHotten, Russell (2008-02-21). "What's in the pipeline for Nord Stream?". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2008-08-09. ^Galina Raguzina (2007-06-01). "Nord Stream gas pipeline a danger for the Baltic ecology". Bellona. Retrieved 2007-11-10. ^Pete Harrison (2008-07-08). "EU lawmakers demand probe of Baltic gas pipeline". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-07-11. ^"Russia backs green Nord Stream". Upstream Online (NHST Media Group). 2007-06-13. Retrieved 2007-08-02. ^"Baltic Sea Pipeline Keeps Losing Friends". Bloomberg Businessweek. Bloomberg. 2008-02-25. Retrieved 2008-05-18. ^"ROV survey tool searches for mines along Baltic pipeline". Offshore (PennWell Corporation) 68 (3). 2008-03-01. Retrieved 2010-10-04. ^ ab"Wartime Mines To Be Cleared from Nord Stream Route". Helsingin Sanomat (Downstream Today). 2008-11-29. Retrieved 2009-01-11. ^"My President Went to Bratislava and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt". Spiegel Online. 2005-02-24. Retrieved 2009-01-31. ^Vinocur, John (2006-01-03). "For Schr¶der and Putin, Linkup No Coincidence". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-01-31. ^Parfitt, Tom (2005-02-27). "Putin's Enemies Call for Investigation into Links with Stasi Agent". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2009-01-31. ^ ab"Report Links Putin to Dresdner". The St. Petersburg Times. 2005-03-01. Retrieved 2009-01-31. ^"Matthias Warnig: "In Russia You Need a Lot of Patience"". Welt am Sonntag (Nord Stream AG). 2007-01-14. Retrieved 2009-01-31. [dead link]^ abBuck, Tobias; Benoit, Bertrand (2006-05-08). "EU to Probe German Gas Pipeline Guarantee". Financial Times. Retrieved 2007-08-26. ^Young, Marc (2005-12-12). "Schr¶der to Build Putin's Pipeline". Spiegel Online. Retrieved 2007-08-26. ^"Schr¶der's New Job Stinks". Spiegel Online. 2005-12-13. Retrieved 2007-08-26. ^"Gerhard Schroeder's Sellout". The Washington Post. 2005-12-13. Retrieved 2007-08-26. ^"Nord Stream Gift Prompts Bribery Probe". The Local. 2009-02-19. Retrieved 2009-04-19. ^Ullman, Tommie (2009-02-16). "Former Political Employees Now on Other Side in the Hot 'Pipe Line Question'". Stockholm News. Retrieved 2009-04-19. ^"Ex-PM Paavo Lipponen to Serve as Adviser to Gas Pipeline Builder". Helsingin Sanomat. 2008-08-15. Retrieved 2009-04-19. ^Ministry of Trade and Industry of Finland (2007-01-11). Statement on the environmental impact assessment progamme of the Russia-Germany natural gas pipeline (PDF). Nord Stream AG. Retrieved 2008-02-23. [dead link]^"Poland has its own project of gas pipeline to deliver Russian gas to Western Europe". Gazeta.kz. 2008-01-30. Retrieved 2008-01-31. ^Baltic, Polish Leaders Rejuvenate Amber Gas Pipeline Proposal as Alternative to Controversial Nord Stream. Global Insight. 2008-02-06. Retrieved 2009-01-31. ^Flak, Agnieszka (2008-04-14). "Nord Stream says overland route not an option". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-05-18. ^"Pipelines from Russia '-- Dead souls". The Economist. 2008-05-15. Retrieved 2008-06-13. ^Nord Stream AG (2008-10-31). "Underwater Investigation of Wreck on Greifswalder Bodden Enters Second Phase" (Press release). Retrieved 2009-01-11. [dead link]^Russia Today (2008-12-12). "Peter the Great's lost ship found?". Retrieved 2009-01-11. External links[edit]
Eerst het gas, dan de moraal
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 07:14
Eerst het gas, dan de moraal9 maanden geleden
Morgen loopt het Nederland-Ruslandjaar officieel op zijn einde. In de aandacht stonden de diplomatieke rellen. Maar ondertussen sloten de landen grote olie- en gasdeals. Zo wordt niet alleen de wederzijdse afhankelijkheid steeds groter, maar raakt ook een duurzame energievoorziening steeds verder uit zicht.
Correspondenten Energie & Klimaat
Nord Stream wordt geopend. Foto: ANP
Op het belangrijkste fotomoment hebben alle machtige Europese leiders hun handen geklemd om een grote witte gaskraan. Het is 8 november 2011, de opening van Nord Stream, een investering van 7,4 miljard euro in twee reusachtige pijpleidingen die lopen van het Russische Vyborg naar de Duitse kustplaats Lubmin, ongeveer honderdvijftig kilometer ten noorden van Berlijn. Eenmaal opengedraaid stroomt er jaarlijks 55 miljard kubieke meter Russisch gas naar de rest van Europa. Meer dan 26 miljoen Europese huishoudens worden op deze manier van Russisch gas voorzien.
Aanwezigen: de Russische president Medvedev, de Duitse bondskanselier Merkel, de Franse premier Fillon en de Nederlandse minister-president Rutte. Het tafereel verbeeldt hoe afhankelijk Europa van Rusland is. Temeer omdat het Russische Gazprom 51 procent van de aandelen in handen heeft.Nord Stream AG is een internationale co¶peratie van vijf grote energiebedrijven met het Russische Gazprom als meerderheidsaandeelhouder. De beide Duitse bedrijven Wintershall Holding en E.ON Ruhrgas hebben een belang van 15.5 procent en zowel het Franse GDF Suez en de Nederlandse Gasunie zijn voor 9 procent aandeelhouder Met 9 procent van de aandelen voor het Nederlandse staatsbedrijf Gasunie is de opening van Nord Stream ook een Nederlands feestje. We tellen mee. Slechts 9 procent weliswaar, maar toch.
Door de arrestatie van een dronken Russische diplomaat in Den Haag, de mishandeling van een Nederlandse diplomaat in zijn flat in Moskou en de gevangenneming van twee Nederlandse Greenpeace-activisten heeft het Nederland-RuslandjaarZie hier de speciale website van de overheid over dit vriendschapsjaar (dat morgen officieel ten einde is) bijna geheel in het teken van diplomatieke relletjes gestaan. Maar op de achtergrond wordt de samenwerking tussen beide landen steeds inniger en de wederzijdse afhankelijkheid steeds groter.
Na de Chinezen zijn de Nederlanders de belangrijkste handelspartner van Rusland. Meer dan negentig procent van de Russische export richting Nederland bestaat uit fossiele brandstoffen zoals olie, kerosine, benzine en gas. Het afgelopen jaar bedroeg de import vanuit Rusland 20,3 miljard euro, een toename van 20 procent in vergelijking met het jaar daarvoor. Omgekeerd exporteert Nederland jaarlijks voor 7,1 miljard euro aan onder andere bloembollen, aardappelen, kaas, computer(onderdelen) en tractors naar Rusland.Cijfers zijn afkomstig van het CBS
Deze innige relatie tussen Nederland en Rusland is hoofdzakelijk de afgelopen tien jaar ontstaan. En wordt alleen maar sterker.
Het begin van een innige samenwerkingAan de basis van de handelsband met Rusland staat George Verberg, oud-directeur van het publiek-private bedrijf Gasunie.Op 6 april 1963 wordt het privaat-publieke bedrijf Gasunie opgericht. Het Nederlandse oliebedrijf Shell en het Amerikaanse Exxon - die via hun gezamenlijke dochterbedrijf de Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM) in 1959 de gasbel hadden ontdekt, krijgen beide een kwart van de aandelen van Gasunie. De andere helft is in handen van de Nederlandse staat. Gasunie is zowel eigenaar van het Nederlandse gasnet, als verantwoordelijk voor de gashandel en verkoop. Daar komt in juli 2005 een einde aan. De Nederlandse staat koopt Shell en Exxon voor een totaalbedrag van 5,56 miljard euro uit het Nederlandse gasnet waardoor het bedrijf Gasunie volledig in handen komt van de overheid. Het ministerie van Financin is nu enige aandeelhouder. Binnen GasTerra, die verantwoordelijk is voor de gashandel- en verkoop blijft de oude samenwerking tussen de oliebedrijven en de Nederlandse staat bestaan. In de hotellobby van het Hampshire Plaza, gebouwd boven op het Groningse gasveld, doet Verberg uit de doeken hoe hij Gasunie-aandeelhouders Shell en Exxon midden jaren negentig overtuigde om Russisch gas aan te kopen. 'Ik zei: die Groninger gasbel is eindig. Als je pas naar de Russen toegaat als het gas op is, heb je geen onderhandelingspositie.'
Waar komt onze olie vandaan? Illustratie: MomkaiDat klinkt gek, want wereldwijd is Nederland een van de belangrijkste gaslanden. Ons land is de negende grootste gasproducent ter wereld en de grootste in de Europese Unie. Jaarlijks ontvangt de Nederlandse staat tussen de tien en vijftien miljard euro aan gasbaten, van zowel kleine gasvelden uit de Noordzee als ons eigen gasveld in het Groningse SlochterenOp deze website is een grafiek te zien die een kort historisch overzicht geeft van de Nederlandse aardgasbaten .
Maar halverwege de jaren negentig was George Verberg er al van doordrongen dat strategische samenwerking met de Russen noodzakelijk was om ook na 2025 een belangrijk gasland te blijven. Dan is de eigen gasproductie namelijk te laag geworden om te voldoen aan jaarlijkse vraag naar binnenlands gas en moet Nederland voor het eerst meer gas importeren dan het kan exporterenZie hier informatie van ministerie van Economische Zaken . Om toch geld te blijven verdienen met de handel in gas, redeneert Verberg, zouden lege gasvelden ingezet moeten worden als strategische gasopslagplaatsen die 's winters - als er veel vraag is naar gas - aan omringende landen kunnen leveren.
Met die gedachte reisde Verberg, destijds directeur van Gasunie, naar Rusland. Hij kan zich dit bezoek nog levendig herinneren. 'Dat was in 1996 tijdens de tweede verkiezingstermijn van president Jeltsin. Mijn collega van Gazprom, Vjachriev, zorgde ervoor dat de contractondertekening werd gefilmd. Zo konden ze laten zien dat het Westen wel degelijk vertrouwen in ze had.' Vier jaar later, in 2000, wordt het eerste gas uit Rusland aangeleverd.
Een uniek contract, want Nederland zou niet alleen jaarlijks vier miljard kubieke meter gas afnemen, maar krijgt zomers - wanneer er minder vraag is - juist m(C)(C)r gas. Dit gas wordt opgeslagen in leeggepompte gasvelden, zodat Gazprom in de winter, als de vraag toeneemt, al haar capaciteit kan inzetten voor de Duitse markt. Een vernuftig staaltje handelsgeest, waarbij Nederland haar infrastructuur inzet, daar geld voor krijgt, ten behoeve van de Russische afzet op de Europese markt.
Het contract is het begin van een innige samenwerking tussen de landen. Het grootste gasproducerende land ter wereld wil haar gas kwijt, terwijl Nederland graag wil uitgroeien tot het belangrijkste gashandel- en doorvoerland in Noordwest-Europa. Er worden in Den Haag dan ook weinig vragen bij gesteld. Zoals hoeveel er eigenlijk verdiend kan worden aan dit nieuwe beleid. Of het wel genoeg oplevert om de jaarlijkse gasbaten van tien miljard te compenseren op het moment dat de Nederlandse gasvelden leeg zijn. En of meer samenwerking met Rusland ¼berhaupt wel een goed idee is.
Nederland als doorvoerhavenEn dan hebben we het alleen nog maar over gas gehad. Ook olie speelt inmiddels een grote rol in de handelsrelatie tussen Nederland en Rusland. Na de oliecrisis van 1973 In oktober 1973 vochten Isral en een coalitie van Arabische landen de 'Jom Kipoeroorlog' uit. De Arabische coalitie verloor de oorlog en stelde sancties in tegen landen die Isral hadden gesteund tijdens het conflict. Isralische bondgenoten als Nederland en de VS werden door belangrijke Arabische olieleveranciers volledig afgesneden van olie, de landen verhoogden de olieprijs voor de rest van de wereld met 70%. wilde Europa minder afhankelijk worden van het vaak instabiele Midden-Oosten en ging meer olie halen uit de Noordzee. Deze olieproductie uit Schotland, Engeland en Noorwegen nam op den duur af, waardoor Rusland in de afgelopen tien jaar kon uitgroeien tot de grootste handelspartner van de Rotterdamse haven.
Sterker nog: een kwart van alle ruwe olie die aankomt in Rotterdam (meer nog dan uit het hele Midden-Oosten) en bijna de helft van alle oliemineralen zoals diesel, kerosine en stookolie komt uit Rusland.Zie cijfers van CBS Sjaak Poppe, woordvoerder van Havenbedrijf Rotterdam: 'Rotterdam is echt een oliehub. We hebben veel raffinaderijen en chemische industrie en met Duitsland een groot achterland. Kortom: een heel aantrekkelijke omgeving voor grote olielanden zoals Rusland om hier hun producten naar te verschepen.'
De route van de Russische olie via Rotterdam. Illustratie: MomkaiHoe Rotterdam die oliehub is geworden? Een goede vraag. Want de route die de Russische olieschepen afleggen, lijkt op het eerste gezicht zeer omslachtig: vanuit de Russische havenstad Primorsk, vlakbij Sint-Petersburg, vertrekken schepen met stookolie naar de Rotterdamse haven, waar deze wordt overgeheveld in reusachtige olietankers die via de Middellandse Zee, door het Suezkanaal, om het Arabisch schiereiland heen, langs India en Indonesi, na meer dan 10.000 zeemijl eindelijk arriveren bij eindbestemming China. Terwijl Rusland grenst aan China. Toch is dit een logische vaarroute: de Russen kunnen namelijk niet anders. Poppe: 'Het ontbreekt Rusland aan pijpleidingen over land en de haven van Primorsk is niet diep genoeg. Er kunnen alleen kleine olieschepen vertrekken, terwijl in de Rotterdamse haven olietankers kunnen aanmeren die zo'n 24 meter diep in het water liggen.'
Dit natuurlijke voordeel maakt de haven van Rotterdam wereldwijd tot zowel de (C)(C)n na grootste importeur als exporteur van olie- en olieproducten. Zo ongeveer alle stookolie die uit Rusland komt, gaat via Rotterdam naar het Verre Oosten. Daarnaast is de helft van alle 100 miljoen ton ruwe olie die jaarlijks in Rotterdam arriveert, bedoeld voor gebruik in raffinaderijen in de omgeving van de haven, terwijl de andere 50 miljoen ton ruwe olie verscheept wordt naar Antwerpen en Duitsland.
Russische investeringen in NederlandAls handelspartner is Nederland de afgelopen tien jaar dus zeer afhankelijk van Rusland geworden. En die afhankelijkheid wordt nog eens versterkt doordat de Russen steeds meer in Nederland zijn gaan investeren.
Zo kwam onlangs de Nederlands tak van het grootste Duitse olie- en gasbedrijf Wintershall (zelf een dochteronderneming van chemiereus BASF) voor een deel in handen van het Russische Gazprom. Daar stond een aandelenruil tegenover, waarbij de Duitsers een belang kregen in een Siberisch gasveld en de Russen voor 50 procent aandeelhouder werden van 23 boorplatforms in de Noordzee. Geen vreemde investering van de Russen, gezien de recente vondstZie hier repo van NOS van olie vlakbij de kust van Den Helder. Goed voor minstens 30 miljoen vaten olie.
Ook investeerde Rusland in de ondergrondse gasopslag in het Noord-Hollandse Bergen.Zie hier meer info over gasopslag Bergermeer Meer dan dertig jaar werd er vlakbij Alkmaar gas gewonnen. Vijf jaar geleden was het gasveld leeg. Vanwege de ligging naast de pijpleiding naar het Engelse Bacton is dit gasveld zeer geschikt als ondergrondse opslag om op termijn de Engelse markt te bedienen. Energiebedrijf Taqa, afkomstig uit de Verenigde Arabische Emiraten, investeerde samen met de Nederlandse overheid in deze gasopslag, terwijl het Russische Gazprom het benodigde kussengasOm voldoende druk te hebben in een ondergrondse gasopslag moet ongeveer de helft van het gasreservoir gevuld worden met het zogenoemde kussengas. Dit gas wordt niet gewonnen maar functioneert als een soort bodemlaag. In gasopslag Bergermeer blijft er dan nog een werkvolume van 4,1 miljard kubieke meter gas over, voldoende om te voorzien in de jaarlijkse behoefte van 2,5 miljoen huishoudens. zou leveren. Nu blijkt dat Gazprom ook een aandeel van 42 procent heeft verworven in gasopslag Bergermeer.Zie hier de reportage van Brandpunt-Reporter 'Poetin aan de kraan'
GasrotondestrategieZo zal Nederland ook de komende decennia nog een belangrijke fossiele speler blijven, ondanks de steeds luidere roep om duurzame energie. Sterker nog, daar wordt ook beleidsmatig op ingezet. Om van Nederland een belangrijk gasknooppunt te maken, ook wel bekend als de 'gasrotondestrategie', heeft staatsbedrijf Gasunie de afgelopen jaren voor miljarden euro's aan pijpleidingen gekocht, investeerde het in een terminal voor vloeibaar gas Dit is aardgas die bij atmosferische druk wordt afgekoeld tot -160°C waardoor het vloeibaar wordt. Het gas is ook wel bekend onder de Engelse term Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). Voordeel van het koelen van aardgas is dat LNG 600 keer minder volume inneemt dan gasvorming aardgas. Daardoor kunnen grote hoeveelheden vloeibaar gas makkelijk verscheept worden over grote afstanden. Het kleine Arabische golfstaatje Qatar, de grootste LNG-exporteur ter wereld, kan op deze wijze elke gasmarkt ter wereld bedienen. Zowel het Verre Oosten als de haven van Rotterdam waar de enige Nederlandse vloeibare gasopslag terminal is gevestigd: GATE terminal, het samenwerkingsverband van Gasunie en VOPAK. en werden er miljoenen euro's aan overheidsgeld besteed aan ondergrondse gasopslag.
Leveren die investeringen ons ook wat op? Volgens de Algemene Rekenkamer is dat zeer onduidelijkZie hier het rapport van de Rekenkamer. . Het ministerie van Economische Zaken, dat verantwoordelijk is voor het gasbeleid, houdt zelf graag vast aan dit rapport waarin wordt gesteld dat het Nederlandse gasbeleid de komende tien jaar zorgt voor 21 miljard euro aan extra economische activiteit en honderdduizend nieuwe banenLees hier het Brattle Group rapport. .
Waar niet over wordt gesproken is het financile debacle uit 2007, toen staatsbedrijf Gasunie 1,5 miljard euro te veel betaalde voor een Duits buizennetwerk. De overheid houdt vol dat het een - weliswaar te dure - maar strategisch zeer goede aankoop was en de enige aandeelhouder van Gasunie, het ministerie van Financin, legt alle schuld bij de voormalige bestuurders en commissarissen van Gasunie. Deze conclusie wordt ook getrokken door het onderzoeksrapport van American Appraisal
De kritiek van de Algemene Rekenkamer gaat bovendien verder. Zij becijferde dat de gasrotondestrategie de overheid de afgelopen tien jaar al 8,2 miljard euro heeft gekost. Maar het ministerie van Economische Zaken wil dit nieuwe gasbeleid niet financieel toetsen en beargumenteert dat als volgt: 'De gasrotonde [kent] geen eigenaar, geen gedefinieerd einddoel en geen tijdstip waarop de gasrotonde gereed moet zijn.'Citaat is afkomstig uit 'beantwoording Kamervragen gasrotondestrategie'
Deze formulering is typerend voor de afgelopen tien jaar, waarin er eigenlijk geen politieke discussie is geweest over de nieuwe gasstrategie. Het ministerie van Economische Zaken zet na advies van de Algemene EnergieraadLees hier dit advies uit 2005 aan voormalig minister Brinkhorst van Economische Zaken actief in op Nederland als gasknooppunt van Noordwest-Europa. Leidend is de gedachte dat ons land al meer dan vijftig jaar miljarden euro's heeft verdiend met de verkoop van gas. We zijn goed in de handel in fossiele energie en daar moeten we mee doorgaan. Het betekent dat de Tweede Kamer alleen bij incidenten, zoals de mislukte aankoop van het Duitse gasnet, in actie komt.
'Onfortuinlijke incidenten'Dat de gasrotondestrategie ook meer afhankelijkheid van Rusland impliceert, werd ook dit jaar duidelijk. Want hoe hoog de spanningen tussen beide landen ook opliepen, de economische samenwerking leed er niet onder: na de mishandeling van een Nederlandse diplomaat in Moskou en de gevangenneming van twee Nederlandse Greenpeace-activisten, stelde premier Rutte in een persverklaring: 'De onfortuinelijke incidenten staan de goede betrekkingen niet in de weg.' Zie hier de officile persverklaring
Die reactie is niet verwonderlijk gezien het feit dat pogingen om de afhankelijkheid van Rusland te verkleinen tot nog toe grotendeels zijn mislukt. Onderdeel van de gasrotondestrategie is om met zoveel mogelijk verschillende gaspartners in zee te gaan. Naast gas uit Rusland zouden we ook uit andere grote gaslanden als Qatar, Noorwegen en Algerije moeten importeren. Maar van de drie geplande terminals voor vloeibaar gas uit die landen is er uiteindelijk maar (C)(C)n gebouwd. Terwijl het ministerie van Economische Zaken juist had gerekend op 3 miljard euro aan investeringen en een enorme hoeveelheid gas die op elk moment ingezet zou kunnen wordenDeze optimitische voorspelling deed de hoogste energieambtenaar van EZ, Mark Frequin in 2009 op het ingenieurscongres Kivi Niria . Met het aandeel in Nord Stream en de ondergrondse gasopslag in Bergermeer blijft de Russische afhankelijkheid dus onverminderd groot.
De toekomst: grijs of groen?En hoe zit het eigenlijk met de duurzaamheid? Volgens Coby van der Linde, directeur van Clingendael International Energy Programme (CIEP) wordt het vele (Russische) gas dat onze kant opstroomt, niet goed ingezet. Zo staan vele gasgestookte elektriciteitscentrales uit omdat ze te duur zijn. De import van goedkope kolen (C)n subsidies voor windparken maakt gas bovendien overbodig om elektriciteit mee op te wekken. Terwijl wij, als gasland bij uitstek, deze relatief schone brandstof kunnen inzetten voor vermindering van de CO2-uitstoot, acht Van der Linde een radicale energietransitie naar duurzame bronnen niet reel. 'Alleen al Rotterdam vervult een functie voor heel Europa en moet concurreren op de wereldmarkt. Als doorvoerland heb je rekening te houden met al je handelspartners.'
Die scepsis ten aanzien van een groene toekomst werd dit Nederland-Ruslandjaar nog eens onderstreept door de verlening van de vergunning voor de bouw van een olieterminal in de Rotterdamse haven. De investering van 800 miljoen euro, opgebracht door de Russische Summa Group en het Nederlandse energieopslagbedrijf VTTI, levert volgens minister Kamp van Economische Zaken veel geld en banen op. Zo zullen Nederland en Rusland ook de komende decennia op elkaar aangewezen zijn. Daar veranderen enkele diplomatieke relletjes en een meningsverschil over mensenrechten niets aan.
Het onderzoek voor dit artikel is gedaan door de Energiegroep, de auteur is Huib de Zeeuw.
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Morgen loopt het Nederland-Ruslandjaar officieel op zijn einde. In de aandacht stonden de diplomatieke rellen. Maar ondertussen sloten de landen grote olie- en gasdeals. Zo wordt niet alleen de wederzijdse afhankelijkheid steeds groter, maar raakt ook een duurzame energievoorziening steeds verder uit zicht.
Correspondenten Energie & Klimaat
Nord Stream wordt geopend. Foto: ANP
Op het belangrijkste fotomoment hebben alle machtige Europese leiders hun handen geklemd om een grote witte gaskraan. Het is 8 november 2011, de opening van Nord Stream, een investering van 7,4 miljard euro in twee reusachtige pijpleidingen die lopen van het Russische Vyborg naar de Duitse kustplaats Lubmin, ongeveer honderdvijftig kilometer ten noorden van Berlijn. Eenmaal opengedraaid stroomt er jaarlijks 55 miljard kubieke meter Russisch gas naar de rest van Europa. Meer dan 26 miljoen Europese huishoudens worden op deze manier van Russisch gas voorzien.
Aanwezigen: de Russische president Medvedev, de Duitse bondskanselier Merkel, de Franse premier Fillon en de Nederlandse minister-president Rutte. Het tafereel verbeeldt hoe afhankelijk Europa van Rusland is. Temeer omdat het Russische Gazprom 51 procent van de aandelen in handen heeft.Nord Stream AG is een internationale co¶peratie van vijf grote energiebedrijven met het Russische Gazprom als meerderheidsaandeelhouder. De beide Duitse bedrijven Wintershall Holding en E.ON Ruhrgas hebben een belang van 15.5 procent en zowel het Franse GDF Suez en de Nederlandse Gasunie zijn voor 9 procent aandeelhouder Met 9 procent van de aandelen voor het Nederlandse staatsbedrijf Gasunie is de opening van Nord Stream ook een Nederlands feestje. We tellen mee. Slechts 9 procent weliswaar, maar toch.
Door de arrestatie van een dronken Russische diplomaat in Den Haag, de mishandeling van een Nederlandse diplomaat in zijn flat in Moskou en de gevangenneming van twee Nederlandse Greenpeace-activisten heeft het Nederland-RuslandjaarZie hier de speciale website van de overheid over dit vriendschapsjaar (dat morgen officieel ten einde is) bijna geheel in het teken van diplomatieke relletjes gestaan. Maar op de achtergrond wordt de samenwerking tussen beide landen steeds inniger en de wederzijdse afhankelijkheid steeds groter.
Na de Chinezen zijn de Nederlanders de belangrijkste handelspartner van Rusland. Meer dan negentig procent van de Russische export richting Nederland bestaat uit fossiele brandstoffen zoals olie, kerosine, benzine en gas. Het afgelopen jaar bedroeg de import vanuit Rusland 20,3 miljard euro, een toename van 20 procent in vergelijking met het jaar daarvoor. Omgekeerd exporteert Nederland jaarlijks voor 7,1 miljard euro aan onder andere bloembollen, aardappelen, kaas, computer(onderdelen) en tractors naar Rusland.Cijfers zijn afkomstig van het CBS
Deze innige relatie tussen Nederland en Rusland is hoofdzakelijk de afgelopen tien jaar ontstaan. En wordt alleen maar sterker.
Het begin van een innige samenwerkingAan de basis van de handelsband met Rusland staat George Verberg, oud-directeur van het publiek-private bedrijf Gasunie.Op 6 april 1963 wordt het privaat-publieke bedrijf Gasunie opgericht. Het Nederlandse oliebedrijf Shell en het Amerikaanse Exxon - die via hun gezamenlijke dochterbedrijf de Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM) in 1959 de gasbel hadden ontdekt, krijgen beide een kwart van de aandelen van Gasunie. De andere helft is in handen van de Nederlandse staat. Gasunie is zowel eigenaar van het Nederlandse gasnet, als verantwoordelijk voor de gashandel en verkoop. Daar komt in juli 2005 een einde aan. De Nederlandse staat koopt Shell en Exxon voor een totaalbedrag van 5,56 miljard euro uit het Nederlandse gasnet waardoor het bedrijf Gasunie volledig in handen komt van de overheid. Het ministerie van Financin is nu enige aandeelhouder. Binnen GasTerra, die verantwoordelijk is voor de gashandel- en verkoop blijft de oude samenwerking tussen de oliebedrijven en de Nederlandse staat bestaan. In de hotellobby van het Hampshire Plaza, gebouwd boven op het Groningse gasveld, doet Verberg uit de doeken hoe hij Gasunie-aandeelhouders Shell en Exxon midden jaren negentig overtuigde om Russisch gas aan te kopen. 'Ik zei: die Groninger gasbel is eindig. Als je pas naar de Russen toegaat als het gas op is, heb je geen onderhandelingspositie.'
Waar komt onze olie vandaan? Illustratie: MomkaiDat klinkt gek, want wereldwijd is Nederland een van de belangrijkste gaslanden. Ons land is de negende grootste gasproducent ter wereld en de grootste in de Europese Unie. Jaarlijks ontvangt de Nederlandse staat tussen de tien en vijftien miljard euro aan gasbaten, van zowel kleine gasvelden uit de Noordzee als ons eigen gasveld in het Groningse SlochterenOp deze website is een grafiek te zien die een kort historisch overzicht geeft van de Nederlandse aardgasbaten .
Maar halverwege de jaren negentig was George Verberg er al van doordrongen dat strategische samenwerking met de Russen noodzakelijk was om ook na 2025 een belangrijk gasland te blijven. Dan is de eigen gasproductie namelijk te laag geworden om te voldoen aan jaarlijkse vraag naar binnenlands gas en moet Nederland voor het eerst meer gas importeren dan het kan exporterenZie hier informatie van ministerie van Economische Zaken . Om toch geld te blijven verdienen met de handel in gas, redeneert Verberg, zouden lege gasvelden ingezet moeten worden als strategische gasopslagplaatsen die 's winters - als er veel vraag is naar gas - aan omringende landen kunnen leveren.
Met die gedachte reisde Verberg, destijds directeur van Gasunie, naar Rusland. Hij kan zich dit bezoek nog levendig herinneren. 'Dat was in 1996 tijdens de tweede verkiezingstermijn van president Jeltsin. Mijn collega van Gazprom, Vjachriev, zorgde ervoor dat de contractondertekening werd gefilmd. Zo konden ze laten zien dat het Westen wel degelijk vertrouwen in ze had.' Vier jaar later, in 2000, wordt het eerste gas uit Rusland aangeleverd.
Een uniek contract, want Nederland zou niet alleen jaarlijks vier miljard kubieke meter gas afnemen, maar krijgt zomers - wanneer er minder vraag is - juist m(C)(C)r gas. Dit gas wordt opgeslagen in leeggepompte gasvelden, zodat Gazprom in de winter, als de vraag toeneemt, al haar capaciteit kan inzetten voor de Duitse markt. Een vernuftig staaltje handelsgeest, waarbij Nederland haar infrastructuur inzet, daar geld voor krijgt, ten behoeve van de Russische afzet op de Europese markt.
Het contract is het begin van een innige samenwerking tussen de landen. Het grootste gasproducerende land ter wereld wil haar gas kwijt, terwijl Nederland graag wil uitgroeien tot het belangrijkste gashandel- en doorvoerland in Noordwest-Europa. Er worden in Den Haag dan ook weinig vragen bij gesteld. Zoals hoeveel er eigenlijk verdiend kan worden aan dit nieuwe beleid. Of het wel genoeg oplevert om de jaarlijkse gasbaten van tien miljard te compenseren op het moment dat de Nederlandse gasvelden leeg zijn. En of meer samenwerking met Rusland ¼berhaupt wel een goed idee is.
Nederland als doorvoerhavenEn dan hebben we het alleen nog maar over gas gehad. Ook olie speelt inmiddels een grote rol in de handelsrelatie tussen Nederland en Rusland. Na de oliecrisis van 1973 In oktober 1973 vochten Isral en een coalitie van Arabische landen de 'Jom Kipoeroorlog' uit. De Arabische coalitie verloor de oorlog en stelde sancties in tegen landen die Isral hadden gesteund tijdens het conflict. Isralische bondgenoten als Nederland en de VS werden door belangrijke Arabische olieleveranciers volledig afgesneden van olie, de landen verhoogden de olieprijs voor de rest van de wereld met 70%. wilde Europa minder afhankelijk worden van het vaak instabiele Midden-Oosten en ging meer olie halen uit de Noordzee. Deze olieproductie uit Schotland, Engeland en Noorwegen nam op den duur af, waardoor Rusland in de afgelopen tien jaar kon uitgroeien tot de grootste handelspartner van de Rotterdamse haven.
Sterker nog: een kwart van alle ruwe olie die aankomt in Rotterdam (meer nog dan uit het hele Midden-Oosten) en bijna de helft van alle oliemineralen zoals diesel, kerosine en stookolie komt uit Rusland.Zie cijfers van CBS Sjaak Poppe, woordvoerder van Havenbedrijf Rotterdam: 'Rotterdam is echt een oliehub. We hebben veel raffinaderijen en chemische industrie en met Duitsland een groot achterland. Kortom: een heel aantrekkelijke omgeving voor grote olielanden zoals Rusland om hier hun producten naar te verschepen.'
De route van de Russische olie via Rotterdam. Illustratie: MomkaiHoe Rotterdam die oliehub is geworden? Een goede vraag. Want de route die de Russische olieschepen afleggen, lijkt op het eerste gezicht zeer omslachtig: vanuit de Russische havenstad Primorsk, vlakbij Sint-Petersburg, vertrekken schepen met stookolie naar de Rotterdamse haven, waar deze wordt overgeheveld in reusachtige olietankers die via de Middellandse Zee, door het Suezkanaal, om het Arabisch schiereiland heen, langs India en Indonesi, na meer dan 10.000 zeemijl eindelijk arriveren bij eindbestemming China. Terwijl Rusland grenst aan China. Toch is dit een logische vaarroute: de Russen kunnen namelijk niet anders. Poppe: 'Het ontbreekt Rusland aan pijpleidingen over land en de haven van Primorsk is niet diep genoeg. Er kunnen alleen kleine olieschepen vertrekken, terwijl in de Rotterdamse haven olietankers kunnen aanmeren die zo'n 24 meter diep in het water liggen.'
Dit natuurlijke voordeel maakt de haven van Rotterdam wereldwijd tot zowel de (C)(C)n na grootste importeur als exporteur van olie- en olieproducten. Zo ongeveer alle stookolie die uit Rusland komt, gaat via Rotterdam naar het Verre Oosten. Daarnaast is de helft van alle 100 miljoen ton ruwe olie die jaarlijks in Rotterdam arriveert, bedoeld voor gebruik in raffinaderijen in de omgeving van de haven, terwijl de andere 50 miljoen ton ruwe olie verscheept wordt naar Antwerpen en Duitsland.
Russische investeringen in NederlandAls handelspartner is Nederland de afgelopen tien jaar dus zeer afhankelijk van Rusland geworden. En die afhankelijkheid wordt nog eens versterkt doordat de Russen steeds meer in Nederland zijn gaan investeren.
Zo kwam onlangs de Nederlands tak van het grootste Duitse olie- en gasbedrijf Wintershall (zelf een dochteronderneming van chemiereus BASF) voor een deel in handen van het Russische Gazprom. Daar stond een aandelenruil tegenover, waarbij de Duitsers een belang kregen in een Siberisch gasveld en de Russen voor 50 procent aandeelhouder werden van 23 boorplatforms in de Noordzee. Geen vreemde investering van de Russen, gezien de recente vondstZie hier repo van NOS van olie vlakbij de kust van Den Helder. Goed voor minstens 30 miljoen vaten olie.
Ook investeerde Rusland in de ondergrondse gasopslag in het Noord-Hollandse Bergen.Zie hier meer info over gasopslag Bergermeer Meer dan dertig jaar werd er vlakbij Alkmaar gas gewonnen. Vijf jaar geleden was het gasveld leeg. Vanwege de ligging naast de pijpleiding naar het Engelse Bacton is dit gasveld zeer geschikt als ondergrondse opslag om op termijn de Engelse markt te bedienen. Energiebedrijf Taqa, afkomstig uit de Verenigde Arabische Emiraten, investeerde samen met de Nederlandse overheid in deze gasopslag, terwijl het Russische Gazprom het benodigde kussengasOm voldoende druk te hebben in een ondergrondse gasopslag moet ongeveer de helft van het gasreservoir gevuld worden met het zogenoemde kussengas. Dit gas wordt niet gewonnen maar functioneert als een soort bodemlaag. In gasopslag Bergermeer blijft er dan nog een werkvolume van 4,1 miljard kubieke meter gas over, voldoende om te voorzien in de jaarlijkse behoefte van 2,5 miljoen huishoudens. zou leveren. Nu blijkt dat Gazprom ook een aandeel van 42 procent heeft verworven in gasopslag Bergermeer.Zie hier de reportage van Brandpunt-Reporter 'Poetin aan de kraan'
GasrotondestrategieZo zal Nederland ook de komende decennia nog een belangrijke fossiele speler blijven, ondanks de steeds luidere roep om duurzame energie. Sterker nog, daar wordt ook beleidsmatig op ingezet. Om van Nederland een belangrijk gasknooppunt te maken, ook wel bekend als de 'gasrotondestrategie', heeft staatsbedrijf Gasunie de afgelopen jaren voor miljarden euro's aan pijpleidingen gekocht, investeerde het in een terminal voor vloeibaar gas Dit is aardgas die bij atmosferische druk wordt afgekoeld tot -160°C waardoor het vloeibaar wordt. Het gas is ook wel bekend onder de Engelse term Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). Voordeel van het koelen van aardgas is dat LNG 600 keer minder volume inneemt dan gasvorming aardgas. Daardoor kunnen grote hoeveelheden vloeibaar gas makkelijk verscheept worden over grote afstanden. Het kleine Arabische golfstaatje Qatar, de grootste LNG-exporteur ter wereld, kan op deze wijze elke gasmarkt ter wereld bedienen. Zowel het Verre Oosten als de haven van Rotterdam waar de enige Nederlandse vloeibare gasopslag terminal is gevestigd: GATE terminal, het samenwerkingsverband van Gasunie en VOPAK. en werden er miljoenen euro's aan overheidsgeld besteed aan ondergrondse gasopslag.
Leveren die investeringen ons ook wat op? Volgens de Algemene Rekenkamer is dat zeer onduidelijkZie hier het rapport van de Rekenkamer. . Het ministerie van Economische Zaken, dat verantwoordelijk is voor het gasbeleid, houdt zelf graag vast aan dit rapport waarin wordt gesteld dat het Nederlandse gasbeleid de komende tien jaar zorgt voor 21 miljard euro aan extra economische activiteit en honderdduizend nieuwe banenLees hier het Brattle Group rapport. .
Waar niet over wordt gesproken is het financile debacle uit 2007, toen staatsbedrijf Gasunie 1,5 miljard euro te veel betaalde voor een Duits buizennetwerk. De overheid houdt vol dat het een - weliswaar te dure - maar strategisch zeer goede aankoop was en de enige aandeelhouder van Gasunie, het ministerie van Financin, legt alle schuld bij de voormalige bestuurders en commissarissen van Gasunie. Deze conclusie wordt ook getrokken door het onderzoeksrapport van American Appraisal
De kritiek van de Algemene Rekenkamer gaat bovendien verder. Zij becijferde dat de gasrotondestrategie de overheid de afgelopen tien jaar al 8,2 miljard euro heeft gekost. Maar het ministerie van Economische Zaken wil dit nieuwe gasbeleid niet financieel toetsen en beargumenteert dat als volgt: 'De gasrotonde [kent] geen eigenaar, geen gedefinieerd einddoel en geen tijdstip waarop de gasrotonde gereed moet zijn.'Citaat is afkomstig uit 'beantwoording Kamervragen gasrotondestrategie'
Deze formulering is typerend voor de afgelopen tien jaar, waarin er eigenlijk geen politieke discussie is geweest over de nieuwe gasstrategie. Het ministerie van Economische Zaken zet na advies van de Algemene EnergieraadLees hier dit advies uit 2005 aan voormalig minister Brinkhorst van Economische Zaken actief in op Nederland als gasknooppunt van Noordwest-Europa. Leidend is de gedachte dat ons land al meer dan vijftig jaar miljarden euro's heeft verdiend met de verkoop van gas. We zijn goed in de handel in fossiele energie en daar moeten we mee doorgaan. Het betekent dat de Tweede Kamer alleen bij incidenten, zoals de mislukte aankoop van het Duitse gasnet, in actie komt.
'Onfortuinlijke incidenten'Dat de gasrotondestrategie ook meer afhankelijkheid van Rusland impliceert, werd ook dit jaar duidelijk. Want hoe hoog de spanningen tussen beide landen ook opliepen, de economische samenwerking leed er niet onder: na de mishandeling van een Nederlandse diplomaat in Moskou en de gevangenneming van twee Nederlandse Greenpeace-activisten, stelde premier Rutte in een persverklaring: 'De onfortuinelijke incidenten staan de goede betrekkingen niet in de weg.' Zie hier de officile persverklaring
Die reactie is niet verwonderlijk gezien het feit dat pogingen om de afhankelijkheid van Rusland te verkleinen tot nog toe grotendeels zijn mislukt. Onderdeel van de gasrotondestrategie is om met zoveel mogelijk verschillende gaspartners in zee te gaan. Naast gas uit Rusland zouden we ook uit andere grote gaslanden als Qatar, Noorwegen en Algerije moeten importeren. Maar van de drie geplande terminals voor vloeibaar gas uit die landen is er uiteindelijk maar (C)(C)n gebouwd. Terwijl het ministerie van Economische Zaken juist had gerekend op 3 miljard euro aan investeringen en een enorme hoeveelheid gas die op elk moment ingezet zou kunnen wordenDeze optimitische voorspelling deed de hoogste energieambtenaar van EZ, Mark Frequin in 2009 op het ingenieurscongres Kivi Niria . Met het aandeel in Nord Stream en de ondergrondse gasopslag in Bergermeer blijft de Russische afhankelijkheid dus onverminderd groot.
De toekomst: grijs of groen?En hoe zit het eigenlijk met de duurzaamheid? Volgens Coby van der Linde, directeur van Clingendael International Energy Programme (CIEP) wordt het vele (Russische) gas dat onze kant opstroomt, niet goed ingezet. Zo staan vele gasgestookte elektriciteitscentrales uit omdat ze te duur zijn. De import van goedkope kolen (C)n subsidies voor windparken maakt gas bovendien overbodig om elektriciteit mee op te wekken. Terwijl wij, als gasland bij uitstek, deze relatief schone brandstof kunnen inzetten voor vermindering van de CO2-uitstoot, acht Van der Linde een radicale energietransitie naar duurzame bronnen niet reel. 'Alleen al Rotterdam vervult een functie voor heel Europa en moet concurreren op de wereldmarkt. Als doorvoerland heb je rekening te houden met al je handelspartners.'
Die scepsis ten aanzien van een groene toekomst werd dit Nederland-Ruslandjaar nog eens onderstreept door de verlening van de vergunning voor de bouw van een olieterminal in de Rotterdamse haven. De investering van 800 miljoen euro, opgebracht door de Russische Summa Group en het Nederlandse energieopslagbedrijf VTTI, levert volgens minister Kamp van Economische Zaken veel geld en banen op. Zo zullen Nederland en Rusland ook de komende decennia op elkaar aangewezen zijn. Daar veranderen enkele diplomatieke relletjes en een meningsverschil over mensenrechten niets aan.
Het onderzoek voor dit artikel is gedaan door de Energiegroep, de auteur is Huib de Zeeuw.
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Het beste antwoord op MH17 is een Europese energie-unie
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 06:50
Het beste antwoord op MH17 is een Europese energie-unie3 uur geleden
De vliegramp in Oekra¯ne is meer dan een nationale tragedie. Doordat de Boeing 777 van Malaysia Airlines vermoedelijk is neergeschoten door een raket van de pro-Russische separatisten in Oost-Oekra¯ne, is ons land terechtgekomen in een geopolitiek steekspel. Een energie-unie, die Europa onafhankelijker maakt van Russisch gas, zou verstandig zijn. Maar uitgerekend gasland Nederland is daar geen voorstander van.
Correspondenten Energie & Klimaat
Het Witte Huis in Moskou. Voorheen de zetel van het parlement (Doema), nu huist de Russische regering er. Daanaast een lichtreclame voor gasbedrijf Gazprom. Foto: Hollandse Hoogte
We weten nog steeds niet wie vlucht-MH17 van Malaysia Airlines uit de lucht heeft geschoten. De meest gehoorde verklaring is dat pro-Russische separatisten donderdagmiddag het passagiersvliegtuig voor een Oekra¯ens gevechtsvliegtuig hebben aangezien en het hebben geraakt met het Russische Buk-raketsysteem.
De Amerikanen, Britten en Zweden gaan hiervan uit, en wijzen beschuldigend naar Rusland. In een open brief op de voorpagina van TheSunday Times is de woede van de Britse premier David Cameron voelbaar. 'Welbespraaktheid en nette communiqu(C)s zijn geen vervanging voor echte actie. De wapens en strijders die over de grens tussen Rusland en oostelijk Oekra¯ne worden geloodst, de steun aan de milities, de halve waarheden, het gebral, de vertragingen. Het moet ophouden.'
Ook premier Mark Rutte sluit harde actie niet uit. Zijn voornaamste prioriteit is om alle lichamen uit het rampgebied te halen. Daarnaast eist hij volledige medewerking van Rusland bij het onderzoek naar de ramp. Wanneer de toegang beperkt blijft zal Nederland 'alle politieke, economische en financile middelen die we hebben, inzetten tegen diegenen die daarvoor direct of indirect verantwoordelijk zijn.'Deze uitspraak deed premier Rutte tijdens een briefing aan de Tweede Kamer.
Militaire middelen worden door alle westerse leiders uitgesloten. Maar wat is eigenlijk wel mogelijk om Rusland te dwingen tot openheid over de oorzaak van de ramp? En wanneer de Russen indirect verantwoordelijk zijn voor de vliegramp, wat kan Europa - en specifiek Nederland - doen om de Russen aan te pakken?
1. De handel geheel stopzettenRusland is afhankelijker van de Europese Unie dan andersom. Met een exportwaarde van 215 miljard eurode cijfers komen uit dit overzicht van CNN zijn de EU-landen de belangrijkste afzetmarkt voor Rusland. De Russen vormen op hun beurt de derde grootste exportmarkt voor de EU: er gaat voor ongeveer 125 miljard euro aan Europese producten naar Rusland.
Nederland importeerde in 2012 voor 20,3 miljard euro uit Rusland, een toename van 20 procent in vergelijking met het jaar daarvoor. Omgekeerd exporteert Nederland jaarlijks voor 7,1 miljard euroDe cijfers zijn afkomstig van CBS naar Rusland. Daarnaast investeerden Nederlandse bedrijven in 2012 voor maar liefst 53 miljard euro in de Russische economie. Russische investeringen in Nederland bedroegen bijna 29 miljard euro. cijfers afkomstig van De Nederlandse Bank. Het Adviesraad Internationale Vraagstukken, brief-advies ' EU-gasafhankelijkheid van Rusland' (juni 2014) publiceerde deze cijfers.
Wanneer Europa in het radicaalste scenario de handel geheel zou stopzetten '' dat gebeurde in 1988 nadat de Libische regering het passagiersvliegtuig Pan Am vlucht 103 boven het Schotse Lockerbie neerhaalde - stort de Russische economie in. De inkomsten uit olie en gas maken de helft van de Russische begroting uit en betekenen 70 procent van de totale export.Zie hier een analyse van de Russische economie door het EIA.
Maar de gevolgen voor een handelsboycot richting Rusland zijn voor Europa ook niet te overzien. Ongeveer (C)(C)n derde van alle olie en gas komt uit Rusland en kwart van de Europese vraag naar kolen. Rusland is Europa's grootste gasleverancier, olieleverancier (C)n exporteur van kolen.Cijfers komen uit het energierapport 2013 van de Europese Commissie.
Deze grote afhankelijkheidsrelatie met Rusland zit veel Europese leiders dwars. Het valt dus te verwachten dat de EU de komende jaren de fossiele energiestromen uit Rusland wil afbouwen. Allereerst door werk te maken van een Europese energie-unie die onder meer gezamenlijk Russisch gas moet gaan inkopen.
2. Zo snel mogelijk starten met de Europese energie-unieZo'n energie-unie is ook een van de prioriteiten van de nieuwe voorzitter van de Europese Commissie, de Luxemburger Jean-Claude Juncker. Op zijn weblog schrijftLees hier zijn blog. hij: 'Mijn tweede prioriteit is dat ik het energiebeleid van Europa wil hervormen en reorganiseren tot een nieuwe Europese energie-unie. We moeten onze middelen bundelen, onze infrastructuur samenvoegen en onze onderhandelingspositie ten opzichte van derde landen verenigen.'
Deze laatste, zeer politiek correcte, opmerking is in het licht van het toekomstig optreden tegen Rusland het interessantst. Een beetje goede verstaander weet dat Juncker een krachtiger Europa wil dat zich niet laat uitspelen door Rusland. De Poolse premier Donald Tusk zal hier blij mee zijn; hij schreef drie maanden geleden al dat de EU het machtsmonopolie van het Russische staatsbedrijf Gazprom moet doorbreken. Europa moet gezamenlijk haar Russisch gas inkopen.
Eigenlijk een heel vreemd voorstel, aangezien Europa al jaren inzet op liberalisering van de gassector. Maar de marktregels hebben niet kunnen verhinderen dat Rusland volgens Brussel een ongezond grote invloed heeft op vooral Oost-Europese landen. Zo betalen Polen, Bulgarije en Tsjechi meer dan 500 dollar per 1.000 kubieke meter Russische gas, terwijl de Britten net 300 dollar moeten neerleggen. Hoe afhankelijker van Rusland, hoe hoger de gasprijs.
Een praktijk waar ook de Eurocommissaris voor Energie, G¼nther Oettinger, een einde aan wil maken. Hij liet twee maanden geleden weten dat de EU gezamenlijk moet optrekken. 'Het verdeel-en-heersspel dat Moskou speelt kan en mag niet geaccepteerd worden door de EU-lidstaten.'
Welke Europese instantie dan de langetermijncontracten voor Russisch gas moet gaan voeren, is onduidelijk. Maar het achterliggende idee is heel eenvoudig: wanneer de EU als (C)(C)n blok onderhandelingen voert met Gazprom, is er een veel betere prijs uit te slepen.
Het probleem is: Nederland is groot tegenstander van het gezamenlijk inkopen van Russisch gas, want dat kost ons als gashandelaar geld
Het probleem is alleen: Nederland zal vermoedelijk gaan dwarsliggen. Ons land is ferm tegenstander van het gezamenlijk inkopen van Russisch gas, want dat kost ons als gashandelaar geld. GasTerraGasTerra is een joint-venture van de Nederlandse staat met vijftig procent van de aandelen en olie- en gasbedrijven Shell en ExxonMobil, met beide een kwart van de aandelen. wil het Nederlandse gas zelf blijven verkopen aan omringende landen en niet de verantwoordelijkheid overdragen aan Brussel.
Hoe de langetermijncontracten precies zijn opgebouwd, is een geheim dat zowel GasTerra als Gazprom niet prijs wil geven. Nederland lijkt bij dit Europese voornemen dan ook eerder een front te vormen met Rusland dan met de EU.
Wellicht kan de Tweede Kamer boven tafel krijgen wat het de Nederlandse overheid kost om niet langer gas te verkopen via GasTerra, maar het te verkopen via een Europese instantie. Dan wordt ook inzichtelijk waarom de Nederlandse gassector (en overheid) niet zit te wachten op deze verkoopwijzigingen.
Interessant genoeg heeft het prestigieuze orgaan Adviesraad voor de Internationale Vraagstukken (AIV), met oud-NAVO-topman Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, een maand geleden het rapport De EU-gasafhankelijkheid van Rusland uitgebracht. Daarin stellen de auteurs: 'De AIV is geen voorstander van een centraal inkoopmechanisme, zoals de huidige premier van Polen dit voor zich ziet in het kader van solidariteit tussen de lidstaten. Een dergelijk instrument haalt de flexibiliteit uit het systeem, druist in tegen de liberalisering van de energiemarkt van de Unie en zal vermoedelijk leiden tot een verminderde marktefficieÌntie.' Lees hier het rapport van de Adviesraad uit juni 2014.
Volgens de Adviesraad, met ook oud-ministers Ernst Hirsch Ballin en Joris Voorhoeve in de gelederen, moet Nederland wel 'streven naar een geiÌntegreerd EU-energiebeleid, met als doel de afname van de afhankelijkheid van Russisch gas.'
Waar Nederland zich op z'n minst achter moet scharen, is de harde eis van Juncker om in 2030 minimaal 30 procent energie te besparen. Hij wil dat Europa snel werk maakt van grote energie-efficintie binnen woningbouw en bedrijven om minder afhankelijk te worden van buitenlandse energieleveranciers. Volgens TheWall Street Journalmaakt DuitslandLees hier het bericht. zich zelfs sterk voor een energiebesparing van 35 procent - alles om de fossiele afhankelijkheid van Rusland af te bouwen.
3. Afbouwen innige olie- en gasrelaties met RuslandElk Europees land zou dan ook onder ogen moeten zien dat de huidige bilaterale gasrelaties met Rusland voor de Europese Unie als politiek en economisch front zeer nadelig uitpakken. Al meer dan een halfjaar maakt het conflict in Oekra¯ne zichtbaar dat de EU geen vuist durft maken tegen Rusland vanwege de zeer nauwe handelsrelaties. Wanneer het specifiek gaat om de fossiele energierelaties, valt vooral op hoe handig Rusland de verschillende Europese landen om haar vingers windt.
Duidelijk is dat op deze manier de fossiele afhankelijkheid van Rusland met Europees geld wordt uitgebouwd
Zo probeert Nederland al een aantal jaar d(C) gasrotondeOns artikel over de achtergrond van deze strategie. te worden van Noordwest-Europa, met vooral Russisch gas uit de Nord Stream-pijpleiding. Tegelijkertijd wil Oostenrijk fungeren als de gasrotonde van Centraal-Europa met Russisch gas dat binnenstroomt via de South Stream-pijpleiding. Daarnaast zijn Franse, Duitse en Italiaanse energiebedrijven Het pijpleidingproject Nord Stream AG is een internationale co¶peratie van vijf grote energiebedrijven met het Russische Gazprom als meerderheidsaandeelhouder (51 procent van de aandelen). De beide Duitse bedrijven Wintershall Holding en E.ON Ruhrgas hebben een belang van 15,5 procent en zowel het Franse GDF Suez en de Nederlandse Gasunie zijn voor 9 procent aandeelhouder. Ook het South Stream-pijpleidingproject bestaat uit een Russisch-Europees consortium. Gazprom heeft wederom een meerderheidsbelang van 51 procent. Daarnaast heeft het Italiaanse Eni - voor 30 procent in handen van de staat- een aandeel van twintig procent. Het Franse EDF Group - voor 84,5 procent in handen van de staat- heeft 15 procent van de aandelen in handen net als het Duitse Wintershall (dochteronderneming van chemiereus BASF). Er zit ook een Nederlands tintje aan het South Stream-project. Het hoofdkantoor zit op de Amsterdamse Zuidas en tot voor kort was Marcel Kramer- voormalig bestuursvoorzitter van Gasunie- de CEO van South Stream. mede-eigenaar van deze Russisch-Europese gasprojecten.
Het is zeer onduidelijk wat dit voor financile voordelen oplevert voor de EU-lidstaten, maar duidelijk is dat op deze manier de fossiele afhankelijkheid van Rusland met Europees geld wordt uitgebouwd.
Nederland speelt als gasproducerend- en doorvoerland van fossiele brandstoffen, een zeer belangrijke rol als handelspartner van Rusland. Op dit moment is nog maar 5 procent van ons gas afkomstig uit Rusland, dat wordt na een jaar of tien veel meer. Dan moet Nederland meer gas importeren dan het kan exporteren. Zo bezien is vanaf eind jaren negentig ingezet op steeds innigere banden met de Russische gassector. Ook de Nederlandse oliesector profiteert van steedse hechtere banden met Rusland. Een opsomming van tien jaar handelsrelaties:
Staatsbedrijf Gasunie heeft een aandeel van 9 procent in de Europees-Russische pijpleiding Nord Stream.Gazprom is voor 42 procent eigenaar van de ondergrondse gasopslag in het Noord-Hollandse Bergen, bedoeld om op termijn de Engelse markt te bedienen.Gazprom is samen met Gasunie, GasTerra en de Universiteit van Groningen oprichter van het Groningse Energy Delta Institute, een particuliere energieopleiding.Gazprom is voor 50 procent aandeelhouder van de Nederlandse tak van Wintershall. Dit Duitse bedrijf is actief in olie- en gaswinning in de Noordzee.Het Nederlandse dochterbedrijf van Gazprom wil binnen tien jaar 15 procent van de zakelijke markt in handen krijgen.Rotterdam is de belangrijkste doorvoerhaven van Russische olie naar China en het Europese achterland en fungeert als opslag voor Russische olie. Zo opende minister Henk Kamp van Economische Zaken tijdens het Nederland-Ruslandjaar de olieterminal Shandart - een samenwerkingsverband tussen de Russische Summa Group en het Nederlandse/Maleisische opslagbedrijf VTTI.Dit alles maakt duidelijk hoe de Nederlandse en Russische economie met elkaar zijn vervlochten - en de komende jaren worden de onderlinge relaties alleen maar sterker. Het is niet alleen energie en kapitaal wat beide landen verbindt, het zijn ook persoonlijke ontmoetingen, culturele uitwisselingen en de gezellige diners die daarbij horen. Denk alleen al aan onze bierdrinkende koning die samen met Vladimir Poetin een toost uitbrengt op de geslaagde Winterspelen van Sotsji.
Het is voorbarig om de schuldvraag van het neergestorte vliegtuig bij Rusland neer te leggen. Het valt hoe dan ook te hopen dat jºist Nederland niet op de rem trapt als het gaat om een energie-onafhankelijker Europa. De harde uitspraken van vele Europese leiders wijzen erop dat Brussel in ieder geval klaar is met het gesodemieter van Vladimir Poetin.
De les van de bruusk uit de lucht geschoten teddybeerHet was een onvergetelijk beeld: de Oekra¯ense separatist die een knuffel van een slachtoffer van de aanslag op vlucht MH17 omhooghield. Toen ik de foto zag, drong tot me door: het zijn de kinderen die de rekening van de strijd van hun ouders betalen. We zouden een top moeten organiseren waar wereldleiders uitsluitend over kinderen mogen praten.
Lees hier zijn column
Zo ontstond de opstand in Oekra¯neDe West-Oekra¯ense stad Lviv geldt als de historische bakermat van de protestbeweging Euromaidan. Haar getormenteerde verleden is een vruchtbare bodem geweest voor de huidige opstand tegen president Janoekovitsj. Gastauteur en correspondent Michiel Driebergen legt uit hoe dat komt.
Lees hier het verhaal
Poetin heeft gelijk: Europa wil Oekra¯ne niet reddenEuropa mag in haar woorden dan wel achter Oekra¯ne staan, haar daden vertellen een heel ander verhaal. Onder aanvoering van Duitsland, Frankrijk (C)n Nederland voert de EU al ruim acht jaar een gasbeleid dat Oekra¯ne enorm heeft verzwakt en steeds afhankelijker heeft gemaakt van Rusland. Een reconstructie.
Lees hier de reconstructie
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Lid worden kost maar een minuutMeteen toegang tot alle verhalenOntvang dagelijks nieuwe stukkenMeer dan 30.000 leden gingen je voor:
Ja, ik doe mee!Log inLees verderHet beste antwoord op MH17 is een Europese energie-unie3 uur geleden
De vliegramp in Oekra¯ne is meer dan een nationale tragedie. Doordat de Boeing 777 van Malaysia Airlines vermoedelijk is neergeschoten door een raket van de pro-Russische separatisten in Oost-Oekra¯ne, is ons land terechtgekomen in een geopolitiek steekspel. Een energie-unie, die Europa onafhankelijker maakt van Russisch gas, zou verstandig zijn. Maar uitgerekend gasland Nederland is daar geen voorstander van.
Correspondenten Energie & Klimaat
Het Witte Huis in Moskou. Voorheen de zetel van het parlement (Doema), nu huist de Russische regering er. Daanaast een lichtreclame voor gasbedrijf Gazprom. Foto: Hollandse Hoogte
We weten nog steeds niet wie vlucht-MH17 van Malaysia Airlines uit de lucht heeft geschoten. De meest gehoorde verklaring is dat pro-Russische separatisten donderdagmiddag het passagiersvliegtuig voor een Oekra¯ens gevechtsvliegtuig hebben aangezien en het hebben geraakt met het Russische Buk-raketsysteem.
De Amerikanen, Britten en Zweden gaan hiervan uit, en wijzen beschuldigend naar Rusland. In een open brief op de voorpagina van TheSunday Times is de woede van de Britse premier David Cameron voelbaar. 'Welbespraaktheid en nette communiqu(C)s zijn geen vervanging voor echte actie. De wapens en strijders die over de grens tussen Rusland en oostelijk Oekra¯ne worden geloodst, de steun aan de milities, de halve waarheden, het gebral, de vertragingen. Het moet ophouden.'
Ook premier Mark Rutte sluit harde actie niet uit. Zijn voornaamste prioriteit is om alle lichamen uit het rampgebied te halen. Daarnaast eist hij volledige medewerking van Rusland bij het onderzoek naar de ramp. Wanneer de toegang beperkt blijft zal Nederland 'alle politieke, economische en financile middelen die we hebben, inzetten tegen diegenen die daarvoor direct of indirect verantwoordelijk zijn.'Deze uitspraak deed premier Rutte tijdens een briefing aan de Tweede Kamer.
Militaire middelen worden door alle westerse leiders uitgesloten. Maar wat is eigenlijk wel mogelijk om Rusland te dwingen tot openheid over de oorzaak van de ramp? En wanneer de Russen indirect verantwoordelijk zijn voor de vliegramp, wat kan Europa - en specifiek Nederland - doen om de Russen aan te pakken?
1. De handel geheel stopzettenRusland is afhankelijker van de Europese Unie dan andersom. Met een exportwaarde van 215 miljard eurode cijfers komen uit dit overzicht van CNN zijn de EU-landen de belangrijkste afzetmarkt voor Rusland. De Russen vormen op hun beurt de derde grootste exportmarkt voor de EU: er gaat voor ongeveer 125 miljard euro aan Europese producten naar Rusland.
Nederland importeerde in 2012 voor 20,3 miljard euro uit Rusland, een toename van 20 procent in vergelijking met het jaar daarvoor. Omgekeerd exporteert Nederland jaarlijks voor 7,1 miljard euroDe cijfers zijn afkomstig van CBS naar Rusland. Daarnaast investeerden Nederlandse bedrijven in 2012 voor maar liefst 53 miljard euro in de Russische economie. Russische investeringen in Nederland bedroegen bijna 29 miljard euro. cijfers afkomstig van De Nederlandse Bank. Het Adviesraad Internationale Vraagstukken, brief-advies ' EU-gasafhankelijkheid van Rusland' (juni 2014) publiceerde deze cijfers.
Wanneer Europa in het radicaalste scenario de handel geheel zou stopzetten '' dat gebeurde in 1988 nadat de Libische regering het passagiersvliegtuig Pan Am vlucht 103 boven het Schotse Lockerbie neerhaalde - stort de Russische economie in. De inkomsten uit olie en gas maken de helft van de Russische begroting uit en betekenen 70 procent van de totale export.Zie hier een analyse van de Russische economie door het EIA.
Maar de gevolgen voor een handelsboycot richting Rusland zijn voor Europa ook niet te overzien. Ongeveer (C)(C)n derde van alle olie en gas komt uit Rusland en kwart van de Europese vraag naar kolen. Rusland is Europa's grootste gasleverancier, olieleverancier (C)n exporteur van kolen.Cijfers komen uit het energierapport 2013 van de Europese Commissie.
Deze grote afhankelijkheidsrelatie met Rusland zit veel Europese leiders dwars. Het valt dus te verwachten dat de EU de komende jaren de fossiele energiestromen uit Rusland wil afbouwen. Allereerst door werk te maken van een Europese energie-unie die onder meer gezamenlijk Russisch gas moet gaan inkopen.
2. Zo snel mogelijk starten met de Europese energie-unieZo'n energie-unie is ook een van de prioriteiten van de nieuwe voorzitter van de Europese Commissie, de Luxemburger Jean-Claude Juncker. Op zijn weblog schrijftLees hier zijn blog. hij: 'Mijn tweede prioriteit is dat ik het energiebeleid van Europa wil hervormen en reorganiseren tot een nieuwe Europese energie-unie. We moeten onze middelen bundelen, onze infrastructuur samenvoegen en onze onderhandelingspositie ten opzichte van derde landen verenigen.'
Deze laatste, zeer politiek correcte, opmerking is in het licht van het toekomstig optreden tegen Rusland het interessantst. Een beetje goede verstaander weet dat Juncker een krachtiger Europa wil dat zich niet laat uitspelen door Rusland. De Poolse premier Donald Tusk zal hier blij mee zijn; hij schreef drie maanden geleden al dat de EU het machtsmonopolie van het Russische staatsbedrijf Gazprom moet doorbreken. Europa moet gezamenlijk haar Russisch gas inkopen.
Eigenlijk een heel vreemd voorstel, aangezien Europa al jaren inzet op liberalisering van de gassector. Maar de marktregels hebben niet kunnen verhinderen dat Rusland volgens Brussel een ongezond grote invloed heeft op vooral Oost-Europese landen. Zo betalen Polen, Bulgarije en Tsjechi meer dan 500 dollar per 1.000 kubieke meter Russische gas, terwijl de Britten net 300 dollar moeten neerleggen. Hoe afhankelijker van Rusland, hoe hoger de gasprijs.
Een praktijk waar ook de Eurocommissaris voor Energie, G¼nther Oettinger, een einde aan wil maken. Hij liet twee maanden geleden weten dat de EU gezamenlijk moet optrekken. 'Het verdeel-en-heersspel dat Moskou speelt kan en mag niet geaccepteerd worden door de EU-lidstaten.'
Welke Europese instantie dan de langetermijncontracten voor Russisch gas moet gaan voeren, is onduidelijk. Maar het achterliggende idee is heel eenvoudig: wanneer de EU als (C)(C)n blok onderhandelingen voert met Gazprom, is er een veel betere prijs uit te slepen.
Het probleem is: Nederland is groot tegenstander van het gezamenlijk inkopen van Russisch gas, want dat kost ons als gashandelaar geld
Het probleem is alleen: Nederland zal vermoedelijk gaan dwarsliggen. Ons land is ferm tegenstander van het gezamenlijk inkopen van Russisch gas, want dat kost ons als gashandelaar geld. GasTerraGasTerra is een joint-venture van de Nederlandse staat met vijftig procent van de aandelen en olie- en gasbedrijven Shell en ExxonMobil, met beide een kwart van de aandelen. wil het Nederlandse gas zelf blijven verkopen aan omringende landen en niet de verantwoordelijkheid overdragen aan Brussel.
Hoe de langetermijncontracten precies zijn opgebouwd, is een geheim dat zowel GasTerra als Gazprom niet prijs wil geven. Nederland lijkt bij dit Europese voornemen dan ook eerder een front te vormen met Rusland dan met de EU.
Wellicht kan de Tweede Kamer boven tafel krijgen wat het de Nederlandse overheid kost om niet langer gas te verkopen via GasTerra, maar het te verkopen via een Europese instantie. Dan wordt ook inzichtelijk waarom de Nederlandse gassector (en overheid) niet zit te wachten op deze verkoopwijzigingen.
Interessant genoeg heeft het prestigieuze orgaan Adviesraad voor de Internationale Vraagstukken (AIV), met oud-NAVO-topman Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, een maand geleden het rapport De EU-gasafhankelijkheid van Rusland uitgebracht. Daarin stellen de auteurs: 'De AIV is geen voorstander van een centraal inkoopmechanisme, zoals de huidige premier van Polen dit voor zich ziet in het kader van solidariteit tussen de lidstaten. Een dergelijk instrument haalt de flexibiliteit uit het systeem, druist in tegen de liberalisering van de energiemarkt van de Unie en zal vermoedelijk leiden tot een verminderde marktefficieÌntie.' Lees hier het rapport van de Adviesraad uit juni 2014.
Volgens de Adviesraad, met ook oud-ministers Ernst Hirsch Ballin en Joris Voorhoeve in de gelederen, moet Nederland wel 'streven naar een geiÌntegreerd EU-energiebeleid, met als doel de afname van de afhankelijkheid van Russisch gas.'
Waar Nederland zich op z'n minst achter moet scharen, is de harde eis van Juncker om in 2030 minimaal 30 procent energie te besparen. Hij wil dat Europa snel werk maakt van grote energie-efficintie binnen woningbouw en bedrijven om minder afhankelijk te worden van buitenlandse energieleveranciers. Volgens TheWall Street Journalmaakt DuitslandLees hier het bericht. zich zelfs sterk voor een energiebesparing van 35 procent - alles om de fossiele afhankelijkheid van Rusland af te bouwen.
3. Afbouwen innige olie- en gasrelaties met RuslandElk Europees land zou dan ook onder ogen moeten zien dat de huidige bilaterale gasrelaties met Rusland voor de Europese Unie als politiek en economisch front zeer nadelig uitpakken. Al meer dan een halfjaar maakt het conflict in Oekra¯ne zichtbaar dat de EU geen vuist durft maken tegen Rusland vanwege de zeer nauwe handelsrelaties. Wanneer het specifiek gaat om de fossiele energierelaties, valt vooral op hoe handig Rusland de verschillende Europese landen om haar vingers windt.
Duidelijk is dat op deze manier de fossiele afhankelijkheid van Rusland met Europees geld wordt uitgebouwd
Zo probeert Nederland al een aantal jaar d(C) gasrotondeOns artikel over de achtergrond van deze strategie. te worden van Noordwest-Europa, met vooral Russisch gas uit de Nord Stream-pijpleiding. Tegelijkertijd wil Oostenrijk fungeren als de gasrotonde van Centraal-Europa met Russisch gas dat binnenstroomt via de South Stream-pijpleiding. Daarnaast zijn Franse, Duitse en Italiaanse energiebedrijven Het pijpleidingproject Nord Stream AG is een internationale co¶peratie van vijf grote energiebedrijven met het Russische Gazprom als meerderheidsaandeelhouder (51 procent van de aandelen). De beide Duitse bedrijven Wintershall Holding en E.ON Ruhrgas hebben een belang van 15,5 procent en zowel het Franse GDF Suez en de Nederlandse Gasunie zijn voor 9 procent aandeelhouder. Ook het South Stream-pijpleidingproject bestaat uit een Russisch-Europees consortium. Gazprom heeft wederom een meerderheidsbelang van 51 procent. Daarnaast heeft het Italiaanse Eni - voor 30 procent in handen van de staat- een aandeel van twintig procent. Het Franse EDF Group - voor 84,5 procent in handen van de staat- heeft 15 procent van de aandelen in handen net als het Duitse Wintershall (dochteronderneming van chemiereus BASF). Er zit ook een Nederlands tintje aan het South Stream-project. Het hoofdkantoor zit op de Amsterdamse Zuidas en tot voor kort was Marcel Kramer- voormalig bestuursvoorzitter van Gasunie- de CEO van South Stream. mede-eigenaar van deze Russisch-Europese gasprojecten.
Het is zeer onduidelijk wat dit voor financile voordelen oplevert voor de EU-lidstaten, maar duidelijk is dat op deze manier de fossiele afhankelijkheid van Rusland met Europees geld wordt uitgebouwd.
Nederland speelt als gasproducerend- en doorvoerland van fossiele brandstoffen, een zeer belangrijke rol als handelspartner van Rusland. Op dit moment is nog maar 5 procent van ons gas afkomstig uit Rusland, dat wordt na een jaar of tien veel meer. Dan moet Nederland meer gas importeren dan het kan exporteren. Zo bezien is vanaf eind jaren negentig ingezet op steeds innigere banden met de Russische gassector. Ook de Nederlandse oliesector profiteert van steedse hechtere banden met Rusland. Een opsomming van tien jaar handelsrelaties:
Staatsbedrijf Gasunie heeft een aandeel van 9 procent in de Europees-Russische pijpleiding Nord Stream.Gazprom is voor 42 procent eigenaar van de ondergrondse gasopslag in het Noord-Hollandse Bergen, bedoeld om op termijn de Engelse markt te bedienen.Gazprom is samen met Gasunie, GasTerra en de Universiteit van Groningen oprichter van het Groningse Energy Delta Institute, een particuliere energieopleiding.Gazprom is voor 50 procent aandeelhouder van de Nederlandse tak van Wintershall. Dit Duitse bedrijf is actief in olie- en gaswinning in de Noordzee.Het Nederlandse dochterbedrijf van Gazprom wil binnen tien jaar 15 procent van de zakelijke markt in handen krijgen.Rotterdam is de belangrijkste doorvoerhaven van Russische olie naar China en het Europese achterland en fungeert als opslag voor Russische olie. Zo opende minister Henk Kamp van Economische Zaken tijdens het Nederland-Ruslandjaar de olieterminal Shandart - een samenwerkingsverband tussen de Russische Summa Group en het Nederlandse/Maleisische opslagbedrijf VTTI.Dit alles maakt duidelijk hoe de Nederlandse en Russische economie met elkaar zijn vervlochten - en de komende jaren worden de onderlinge relaties alleen maar sterker. Het is niet alleen energie en kapitaal wat beide landen verbindt, het zijn ook persoonlijke ontmoetingen, culturele uitwisselingen en de gezellige diners die daarbij horen. Denk alleen al aan onze bierdrinkende koning die samen met Vladimir Poetin een toost uitbrengt op de geslaagde Winterspelen van Sotsji.
Het is voorbarig om de schuldvraag van het neergestorte vliegtuig bij Rusland neer te leggen. Het valt hoe dan ook te hopen dat jºist Nederland niet op de rem trapt als het gaat om een energie-onafhankelijker Europa. De harde uitspraken van vele Europese leiders wijzen erop dat Brussel in ieder geval klaar is met het gesodemieter van Vladimir Poetin.
De les van de bruusk uit de lucht geschoten teddybeerHet was een onvergetelijk beeld: de Oekra¯ense separatist die een knuffel van een slachtoffer van de aanslag op vlucht MH17 omhooghield. Toen ik de foto zag, drong tot me door: het zijn de kinderen die de rekening van de strijd van hun ouders betalen. We zouden een top moeten organiseren waar wereldleiders uitsluitend over kinderen mogen praten.
Lees hier zijn column
Zo ontstond de opstand in Oekra¯neDe West-Oekra¯ense stad Lviv geldt als de historische bakermat van de protestbeweging Euromaidan. Haar getormenteerde verleden is een vruchtbare bodem geweest voor de huidige opstand tegen president Janoekovitsj. Gastauteur en correspondent Michiel Driebergen legt uit hoe dat komt.
Lees hier het verhaal
Poetin heeft gelijk: Europa wil Oekra¯ne niet reddenEuropa mag in haar woorden dan wel achter Oekra¯ne staan, haar daden vertellen een heel ander verhaal. Onder aanvoering van Duitsland, Frankrijk (C)n Nederland voert de EU al ruim acht jaar een gasbeleid dat Oekra¯ne enorm heeft verzwakt en steeds afhankelijker heeft gemaakt van Rusland. Een reconstructie.
Lees hier de reconstructie
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Hoe Nederland een brievenbussenparadijs voor Rusland werd
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 04:43
Hoe Nederland een brievenbussenparadijs voor Rusland werd59 minuten geleden
Nederland is een waar brievenbussenparadijs voor Rusland: aan de Amsterdamse Zuidas staan vele Russische miljarden geparkeerd. Niet alleen om belastingtechnische redenen, ook het juridische klimaat in Nederland beschermt - veelal schimmige - Russische bedrijven tegen de toorn des Poetins. Hoe is dat zo gekomen?
Kantoren aan de Zuidas Amsterdam. Foto: Getty Images
Het ligt misschien niet voor de hand, maar Nederland is de op (C)(C)n na grootste investeerder in Rusland. In 2012 was Nederland goed voor ruim 12 procent van alle investeringen in en 15,9 procent van alle investeringen uit Rusland. Alleen het nog kleinere Cyprus scoorde hoger. Op de derde plek prijkten de nog kleinere Britse Maagdeneilanden.
Veel Nederlands is er echter niet aan die investeringen. In werkelijkheid komt het gros van deze investeringen van brievenbusvennootschappen. Naar schattingDit valt in te schatten omdat de IMF-cijfers over 'Foreign Direct Investment' wel 'bijzondere financile instellingen' meenemen en de OESO-cijfers niet. Door deze twee van elkaar af te trekken is een ruwe schatting te maken van de omvang van brievenbussen in geldstromen. zo'n negentig procent van alle investeringen uit Nederland in Rusland komt van brievenbusmaatschappijen.
Lukoil, het op twee na grootste Russische bedrijf, heeft in Nederland bijvoorbeeld al 59 dochtervennootschappen zitten. Een Nederlandse holding is eigenaar van al haar Europese operaties. Eind 2013 had dit bedrijf 15,9 miljard euro aan bezittingen.
Ook Russische staatsbedrijven als Gazpromhebben Nederlandse dochters.Lees hier ook het stuk van Henk-Willem Smits van Quote. Met Nederlandse dochtermaatschappijen als Gazprom Sakhalin (10,8 miljard euro aan bezittingen), Gazprom Finance (2,98 miljard euro) en Gazprom EDP International (1,75 miljard euro) heeft het staatsbedrijf het nodige te verliezen, mochten er sancties worden aangekondigd.
In de Kamer van Koophandel zijn ook bekenden te vinden van de Amerikaanse sanctielijst.Dit is een lijst van bedrijven en personen die op enigerlei wijze financieel gehinderd dienen te worden door Amerikaanse financile instellingen e.a.. door het blokkeren van bezittingen of andere restricties op hun financile activiteiten. Sanctieslachtoffer Novatek, de tweede grootste Russische gasproducent, heeft 800 miljoen euro in een Nederlands vennootschap genaamd Arctic Russia B.V. zitten. En daar blijft het niet bij.
Misschien wel de opmerkelijkste naam op de Amerikaanse sanctielijst was Genaddy Timchenko, oprichter van (C)(C)n van 's werelds grootste grondstofhandelaren Gunvor. 'Timchenko's activiteiten in de energiesector zijn direct gelinkt aan Poetin,' schreef het Amerikaanse ministerie van Financin in een summiere verklaring. 'Poetin heeft investeringen in Gunvor en heeft mogelijk toegang tot Gunvor's gelden.' Nadat het Amerikaanse ministerie van Financin Timchenko op de sanctielijst plaatste, werd hij door Poetin benoemd tot de Russische handelsvertegenwoordiger in China.
Waar de moedermaatschappij van Gunvor gevestigd is? Op de Barbara Strozzilaan 201 te Amsterdam, in het warme gezelschap van nog 429 andere bedrijven. Sinds 2010 heeft het bedrijf, overigens in strijd met de wet, al geen jaarrekening meer gedeponeerd. In dat jaar had het bedrijf 59 miljard aan omzet en prijkten er 7 miljard aan bezittingen op de balans.
Kortom: voor Rusland is Nederland een waar brievenbussenparadijs.
Waarom Nederland?Er zijn goede redenen voor Russische bedrijven om zich in Nederland te vestigen. De eerste is welbekend: belastingen. Nederland heeft belastingverdragen met meer dan negentig landen en een belastingregime dat het mogelijk maakt om geld belastingvrij door Nederland te laten stromen.
Minder bekend is echter dat Nederland aantrekkelijk is omdat ons rechtssysteem unieke bescherming biedt tegen de toorn des Poetins. Dat werd de afgelopen jaren vooral duidelijk in de afwikkeling van het faillissement van wat eens het grootste Russische olieconcern was: Yukos Oil.
Tussen 2006 en 2013 is in de Nederlandse rechtbanken een obscuur juridisch conflictLees hier meer over de juridische strijd. tussen de Nederlandse vestiging van Yukos Oil en haar Russische curator uitgevochten. De Hoge Raad besliste dit conflict eind 2013 in het voordeel van Yukos Oil.
Yukos Oil was het olieconcern van de Russische oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Khodorkovsky was (C)(C)n van de rijkste Russen in de jaren negentig, toen Rusland bekendstond als het Wilde Oosten. Hij had na de val van het kapitalisme op tamelijk dubieuze wijze olieconcessies in handen gekregen: zijn bank Menatep werd geacht de staatsveilingen voor de olieconcessies te organiseren, maar vreemd genoeg bleek er op de veiling maar (C)(C)n bieder te zijn.
Toen Poetin aan de macht kwam, kreeg Khodorkovsky het al snel met hem aan de stok. Hij betichtte de nieuwe president '' ironisch genoeg - van corruptie. In 2003 werd Khodorkovsky opgepakt op verdenking van belastingfraude. Uiteindelijk werd hij veroordeeld tot acht jaar cel en werd Yukos Oil - of wat er nog van over was - in Rusland failliet verklaard.
Maar een aanzienlijk deel van de bezittingen van Yukos Oil zat nog vast in een Nederlandse vennootschap: Yukos Finance B.V. De Russische bewindvoerder probeerde deze Nederlandse bezittingen te verkopen en ontsloeg het dwarsliggende management van Yukos Finance. Dit management maakte hiertegen bezwaar en wist uiteindelijk de Nederlandse rechter ertoe te bewegen het in Rusland uitgesproken faillissement ongegrond te verklaren.
Het Yukos-faillissement en de Nederlandse rechtszaak waren volgens fiscalist Ronald Holtkamp van JDsupra het afgelopen jaar 'een grote stimulans voor de influx van Russische bedrijven in Nederland.'
Het aangescherpte sanctieregime: geen loze dreigingDe aanwezigheid van zoveel brievenbusmaatschappijen schept ook mogelijkheden bij scherpere sancties. Aangezien zoveel bezittingen van Russische bedrijven via Nederland zijn gestructureerd, gaat het al snel om aanzienlijke bedragen mocht het tot het bevriezen van bezittingen of andere financieel hinderlijke maatregelen komen.
De Amerikaanse sancties waren vooralsnog aanzienlijk strenger. Op de Amerikaanse lijst stonden bijvoorbeeld al de namen van de grootste olieproducent Rosneft, de tweede grootste gasproducent Novatek en de derde grootste bank Gazprombank. Allemaal bedrijven waar bondgenoten van Poetin leiding aan geven. Bovendien richtten de VS zich ook op personen, zoals Timchenko, die nog niet op de Europese lijst staan.
Voor de VS is het makkelijker sanctioneren gezien de beperktere economische relaties met Rusland. Maar de vervlochtendheid van Nederland en andere continentale landen met Rusland is enorm. Met name de afhankelijkheid van Russisch gasLees hier het pleidooi voor een Europese energie-unie. maakt een harde confrontatie met Rusland economisch pijnlijk.
Gisteren beslotenLees hier meer. de Europese ministers van Buitenlandse Zaken desondanks tot versnelde uitbreiding van de sanctielijst met meer personen en bedrijven. Wie hier precies op komen te staan, is nog onduidelijk. De Europese ministers dreigen ook met verdergaande sancties waarbij bepaalde sectoren van de Russische economie, zoals defensie en de financile markten, in het vizier komen, als Rusland onvoldoende afstand neemt van de Oekra¯ense separatisten.
Dat is geen loze dreiging. De Europese economie mag dan economisch afhankelijk zijn van Rusland, Russische ondernemingen kunnen gezien hun brievenbusactiviteiten ook midscheeps geraakt worden bij een financile blokkade door Nederland.Niet voor niets steldeDie WeltLees hier het artikel.vast dat 'als er een land is dat Rusland pijnlijke sancties kan opleggen, het Nederland is.'
Is dit aannemelijk? Als we de retoriek mogen geloven wel. 'Dit gaat niet meer over economie en handel,' zei minister van Buitenlandse Zaken Frans Timmermans, 'dit gaat over veiligheid en gerechtigheid voor bijna tweehonderd Nederlanders die op een gruwelijke manier aan hun einde zijn gekomen.'
En toch, sancties op zo'n grote schaal, niet tegen een paar stichtingen verdacht van terrorismefinanciering, maar tegen hele sectoren van een grote staat, zullen ongetwijfeld hun uitwerking hebben op de aantrekkelijkheid van Nederland als vestigingslocatie. Het is maar zeer de vraag of de politiek bereid is die consequenties te slikken. Want in Nederland wint de koopman het toch meestal van de dominee.
Belastingontduiking, moeilijker kunnen we het maar niet makenVolgens recente schattingen van de Franse econoom Gabriel Zucman is er maar liefst 4.300 miljard euro aan priv(C)vermogen in belastingparadijzen gestald. Zo wordt op gigantische schaal belasting ontdoken. En de maatregelen van de Europese Unie, de G20 en de OESO om dat tegen te gaan, blijken eenvoudig te omzeilen.
Lees hier mijn stuk over belastingontduiking terug
Zo ontstond de opstand in Oekra¯neDe West-Oekra¯ense stad Lviv geldt als de historische bakermat van de protestbeweging Euromaidan. Haar getormenteerde verleden is een vruchtbare bodem geweest voor de huidige opstand tegen president Janoekovitsj. Gastauteur en correspondent Michiel Driebergen legt uit hoe dat komt.
Lees hier het verhaal
Poetin heeft gelijk: Europa wil Oekra¯ne niet reddenEuropa mag in haar woorden dan wel achter Oekra¯ne staan, haar daden vertellen een heel ander verhaal. Onder aanvoering van Duitsland, Frankrijk (C)n Nederland voert de EU al ruim acht jaar een gasbeleid dat Oekra¯ne enorm heeft verzwakt en steeds afhankelijker heeft gemaakt van Rusland. Een reconstructie.
Lees hier de reconstructie
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Ja, ik doe mee!Log inLees verderHoe Nederland een brievenbussenparadijs voor Rusland werd59 minuten geleden
Nederland is een waar brievenbussenparadijs voor Rusland: aan de Amsterdamse Zuidas staan vele Russische miljarden geparkeerd. Niet alleen om belastingtechnische redenen, ook het juridische klimaat in Nederland beschermt - veelal schimmige - Russische bedrijven tegen de toorn des Poetins. Hoe is dat zo gekomen?
Kantoren aan de Zuidas Amsterdam. Foto: Getty Images
Het ligt misschien niet voor de hand, maar Nederland is de op (C)(C)n na grootste investeerder in Rusland. In 2012 was Nederland goed voor ruim 12 procent van alle investeringen in en 15,9 procent van alle investeringen uit Rusland. Alleen het nog kleinere Cyprus scoorde hoger. Op de derde plek prijkten de nog kleinere Britse Maagdeneilanden.
Veel Nederlands is er echter niet aan die investeringen. In werkelijkheid komt het gros van deze investeringen van brievenbusvennootschappen. Naar schattingDit valt in te schatten omdat de IMF-cijfers over 'Foreign Direct Investment' wel 'bijzondere financile instellingen' meenemen en de OESO-cijfers niet. Door deze twee van elkaar af te trekken is een ruwe schatting te maken van de omvang van brievenbussen in geldstromen. zo'n negentig procent van alle investeringen uit Nederland in Rusland komt van brievenbusmaatschappijen.
Lukoil, het op twee na grootste Russische bedrijf, heeft in Nederland bijvoorbeeld al 59 dochtervennootschappen zitten. Een Nederlandse holding is eigenaar van al haar Europese operaties. Eind 2013 had dit bedrijf 15,9 miljard euro aan bezittingen.
Ook Russische staatsbedrijven als Gazpromhebben Nederlandse dochters.Lees hier ook het stuk van Henk-Willem Smits van Quote. Met Nederlandse dochtermaatschappijen als Gazprom Sakhalin (10,8 miljard euro aan bezittingen), Gazprom Finance (2,98 miljard euro) en Gazprom EDP International (1,75 miljard euro) heeft het staatsbedrijf het nodige te verliezen, mochten er sancties worden aangekondigd.
In de Kamer van Koophandel zijn ook bekenden te vinden van de Amerikaanse sanctielijst.Dit is een lijst van bedrijven en personen die op enigerlei wijze financieel gehinderd dienen te worden door Amerikaanse financile instellingen e.a.. door het blokkeren van bezittingen of andere restricties op hun financile activiteiten. Sanctieslachtoffer Novatek, de tweede grootste Russische gasproducent, heeft 800 miljoen euro in een Nederlands vennootschap genaamd Arctic Russia B.V. zitten. En daar blijft het niet bij.
Misschien wel de opmerkelijkste naam op de Amerikaanse sanctielijst was Genaddy Timchenko, oprichter van (C)(C)n van 's werelds grootste grondstofhandelaren Gunvor. 'Timchenko's activiteiten in de energiesector zijn direct gelinkt aan Poetin,' schreef het Amerikaanse ministerie van Financin in een summiere verklaring. 'Poetin heeft investeringen in Gunvor en heeft mogelijk toegang tot Gunvor's gelden.' Nadat het Amerikaanse ministerie van Financin Timchenko op de sanctielijst plaatste, werd hij door Poetin benoemd tot de Russische handelsvertegenwoordiger in China.
Waar de moedermaatschappij van Gunvor gevestigd is? Op de Barbara Strozzilaan 201 te Amsterdam, in het warme gezelschap van nog 429 andere bedrijven. Sinds 2010 heeft het bedrijf, overigens in strijd met de wet, al geen jaarrekening meer gedeponeerd. In dat jaar had het bedrijf 59 miljard aan omzet en prijkten er 7 miljard aan bezittingen op de balans.
Kortom: voor Rusland is Nederland een waar brievenbussenparadijs.
Waarom Nederland?Er zijn goede redenen voor Russische bedrijven om zich in Nederland te vestigen. De eerste is welbekend: belastingen. Nederland heeft belastingverdragen met meer dan negentig landen en een belastingregime dat het mogelijk maakt om geld belastingvrij door Nederland te laten stromen.
Minder bekend is echter dat Nederland aantrekkelijk is omdat ons rechtssysteem unieke bescherming biedt tegen de toorn des Poetins. Dat werd de afgelopen jaren vooral duidelijk in de afwikkeling van het faillissement van wat eens het grootste Russische olieconcern was: Yukos Oil.
Tussen 2006 en 2013 is in de Nederlandse rechtbanken een obscuur juridisch conflictLees hier meer over de juridische strijd. tussen de Nederlandse vestiging van Yukos Oil en haar Russische curator uitgevochten. De Hoge Raad besliste dit conflict eind 2013 in het voordeel van Yukos Oil.
Yukos Oil was het olieconcern van de Russische oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Khodorkovsky was (C)(C)n van de rijkste Russen in de jaren negentig, toen Rusland bekendstond als het Wilde Oosten. Hij had na de val van het kapitalisme op tamelijk dubieuze wijze olieconcessies in handen gekregen: zijn bank Menatep werd geacht de staatsveilingen voor de olieconcessies te organiseren, maar vreemd genoeg bleek er op de veiling maar (C)(C)n bieder te zijn.
Toen Poetin aan de macht kwam, kreeg Khodorkovsky het al snel met hem aan de stok. Hij betichtte de nieuwe president '' ironisch genoeg - van corruptie. In 2003 werd Khodorkovsky opgepakt op verdenking van belastingfraude. Uiteindelijk werd hij veroordeeld tot acht jaar cel en werd Yukos Oil - of wat er nog van over was - in Rusland failliet verklaard.
Maar een aanzienlijk deel van de bezittingen van Yukos Oil zat nog vast in een Nederlandse vennootschap: Yukos Finance B.V. De Russische bewindvoerder probeerde deze Nederlandse bezittingen te verkopen en ontsloeg het dwarsliggende management van Yukos Finance. Dit management maakte hiertegen bezwaar en wist uiteindelijk de Nederlandse rechter ertoe te bewegen het in Rusland uitgesproken faillissement ongegrond te verklaren.
Het Yukos-faillissement en de Nederlandse rechtszaak waren volgens fiscalist Ronald Holtkamp van JDsupra het afgelopen jaar 'een grote stimulans voor de influx van Russische bedrijven in Nederland.'
Het aangescherpte sanctieregime: geen loze dreigingDe aanwezigheid van zoveel brievenbusmaatschappijen schept ook mogelijkheden bij scherpere sancties. Aangezien zoveel bezittingen van Russische bedrijven via Nederland zijn gestructureerd, gaat het al snel om aanzienlijke bedragen mocht het tot het bevriezen van bezittingen of andere financieel hinderlijke maatregelen komen.
De Amerikaanse sancties waren vooralsnog aanzienlijk strenger. Op de Amerikaanse lijst stonden bijvoorbeeld al de namen van de grootste olieproducent Rosneft, de tweede grootste gasproducent Novatek en de derde grootste bank Gazprombank. Allemaal bedrijven waar bondgenoten van Poetin leiding aan geven. Bovendien richtten de VS zich ook op personen, zoals Timchenko, die nog niet op de Europese lijst staan.
Voor de VS is het makkelijker sanctioneren gezien de beperktere economische relaties met Rusland. Maar de vervlochtendheid van Nederland en andere continentale landen met Rusland is enorm. Met name de afhankelijkheid van Russisch gasLees hier het pleidooi voor een Europese energie-unie. maakt een harde confrontatie met Rusland economisch pijnlijk.
Gisteren beslotenLees hier meer. de Europese ministers van Buitenlandse Zaken desondanks tot versnelde uitbreiding van de sanctielijst met meer personen en bedrijven. Wie hier precies op komen te staan, is nog onduidelijk. De Europese ministers dreigen ook met verdergaande sancties waarbij bepaalde sectoren van de Russische economie, zoals defensie en de financile markten, in het vizier komen, als Rusland onvoldoende afstand neemt van de Oekra¯ense separatisten.
Dat is geen loze dreiging. De Europese economie mag dan economisch afhankelijk zijn van Rusland, Russische ondernemingen kunnen gezien hun brievenbusactiviteiten ook midscheeps geraakt worden bij een financile blokkade door Nederland.Niet voor niets steldeDie WeltLees hier het artikel.vast dat 'als er een land is dat Rusland pijnlijke sancties kan opleggen, het Nederland is.'
Is dit aannemelijk? Als we de retoriek mogen geloven wel. 'Dit gaat niet meer over economie en handel,' zei minister van Buitenlandse Zaken Frans Timmermans, 'dit gaat over veiligheid en gerechtigheid voor bijna tweehonderd Nederlanders die op een gruwelijke manier aan hun einde zijn gekomen.'
En toch, sancties op zo'n grote schaal, niet tegen een paar stichtingen verdacht van terrorismefinanciering, maar tegen hele sectoren van een grote staat, zullen ongetwijfeld hun uitwerking hebben op de aantrekkelijkheid van Nederland als vestigingslocatie. Het is maar zeer de vraag of de politiek bereid is die consequenties te slikken. Want in Nederland wint de koopman het toch meestal van de dominee.
Belastingontduiking, moeilijker kunnen we het maar niet makenVolgens recente schattingen van de Franse econoom Gabriel Zucman is er maar liefst 4.300 miljard euro aan priv(C)vermogen in belastingparadijzen gestald. Zo wordt op gigantische schaal belasting ontdoken. En de maatregelen van de Europese Unie, de G20 en de OESO om dat tegen te gaan, blijken eenvoudig te omzeilen.
Lees hier mijn stuk over belastingontduiking terug
Zo ontstond de opstand in Oekra¯neDe West-Oekra¯ense stad Lviv geldt als de historische bakermat van de protestbeweging Euromaidan. Haar getormenteerde verleden is een vruchtbare bodem geweest voor de huidige opstand tegen president Janoekovitsj. Gastauteur en correspondent Michiel Driebergen legt uit hoe dat komt.
Lees hier het verhaal
Poetin heeft gelijk: Europa wil Oekra¯ne niet reddenEuropa mag in haar woorden dan wel achter Oekra¯ne staan, haar daden vertellen een heel ander verhaal. Onder aanvoering van Duitsland, Frankrijk (C)n Nederland voert de EU al ruim acht jaar een gasbeleid dat Oekra¯ne enorm heeft verzwakt en steeds afhankelijker heeft gemaakt van Rusland. Een reconstructie.
Lees hier de reconstructie
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Het kost maar een minuutMeteen toegang tot de hele siteEen jaar lang dagelijks nieuwe verhalenAlle extra steun voor onze journalistiek is broodnodig. Doe je mee?
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Dit artikel wordt met je gedeeld door lid Adam Curry
Bedankt voor je interesse in dit verhaal!Onze correspondenten deelden deze maand al verhalen met je.
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Trans Adriatic Pipeline - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 04:08
Trans Adriatic PipelineLocation of Trans Adriatic Pipeline
LocationCountryGreeceAlbaniaItalyGeneral directioneast''westFromKipoi, EvrosPasses throughAlbaniaAdriatic SeaToSan FocaGeneral informationTypeNatural gasPartnersBP (20%)SOCAR (20%)Statoil (20%)Fluxys (16%)Total S.A. (10%)E.ON (9%)Axpo (5%)OperatorTrans Adriatic Pipeline AGExpected2018Technical informationLength867 km (539 mi)Maximum discharge10''20 billion cubic metres per annum (350—10^9''710—10^9 cu ft/a)Diameter48 in (1,219 mm)Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP; Albanian: Gazsjellsi Trans-Adriatik, Greek: ΑδριαÏικός ΑÎ"ωÎ"ός Î...υσικÎύ ΑερίÎυ, Italian: Gasdotto Trans-Adriatico) is a pipeline project to transport natural gas from the Caspian sea (Azerbaijan), starting from Greece via Albania and the Adriatic Sea to Italy and further to Western Europe.
History[edit]Trans Adriatic Pipeline project was announced in 2003 by Swiss energy company EGL Group (now named Axpo). The feasibility study was concluded in March 2006. Two options were investigated: a northern route through Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia and Albania, and a southern route through Greece and Albania, which finally was considered to be more feasible. In March 2007, the extended basic engineering for the pipeline was completed.[1]
On 13 February 2008, EGL Group and the Norwegian energy company Statoil signed an agreement to set up Trans Adriatic Pipeline AG, a joint venture to develop, build and operate the pipeline.[2] In June 2008, the project company filed an application with the Greek authorities to build a 200 kilometres (120 mi) section of the pipeline from Thessaloniki to the Greek-Albanian border.[3] In January 2009, the TAP project carried out a marine survey in the Adriatic Sea to verify the offshore route for the future gas pipeline.[4] A route assessment survey in Albania started in July 2009.[5] In March 2009, an intergovernmental agreement between Italy and Albania on energy cooperation mentioned TAP as a project of common interest for both countries. In January 2010, TAP opened country offices in Greece, Albania and Italy.[6] In March 2010, TAP submitted an application to Italian authorities for inclusion into the Italian gas network.[7]
On 20 May 2010, it was announced that E.ON becomes a partner in the project.[8] The deal was successfully closed on 7 July 2010.[9]
In March 2010, TAP submitted an application to Italian authorities for inclusion into the Italian gas network.[7] In November 2010, TAP started a route refinement survey in northern Greece in preparation for the environmental impact assessment.[10] On 7 September 2011, the Trans Adriatic Pipeline AG (TAP AG) submitted its EU Third Party Access Exemption applications in all three host countries. Exemption will allow TAP AG to enter into long term ship-or-pay gas transportation agreements with the shippers of Shah Deniz II gas.[11][12] The exemptions were granted on 16 May 2013.[13][14]
In February 2012, the Trans Adriatic Pipeline was the first project to be pre-selected and to enter exclusive negotiations with the Shah Deniz Consortium.[15] In August 2012, consortium partners BP, SOCAR and Total S.A. signed a funding agreement with TAP's shareholders, including an option to take up to 50% equity in the project.[16] On 22 November 2012, the TAP consortium and Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline's partners signed a memorandum of understanding that establishes a cooperation framework between the two parties.[17] In June 2013, the project was chosen as a route for gas from Shah Deniz II over the competing Nabucco West project.[18] Later this year, BP, SOCAR, Total, and Fluxys became shareholders of the project.[19]
Political support[edit]Since it will enhance energy security and diversify gas supplies for several European markets, the TAP project is supported by the European institutions and seen as a "Project of Common Interest" and a part of the Southern Gas Corridor.[20][21] On 28 September 2012, Albania, Greece and Italy confirmed their political support for the pipeline by signing a memorandum of understanding.[22] In February 2013, Greece, Italy and Albania signed an intergovernmental agreement.[23]
Technical description[edit]The pipeline starts at the Greece''Turkey border at Kipoi, Evros, where it will be connected with the Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline. It will cross Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea and come ashore in Italy near San Foca. The total length of the pipeline will be 867 kilometres (539 mi), of which 547 kilometres (340 mi) in Greece, 211 kilometres (131 mi) in Albania, 104 kilometres (65 mi) in offshore, and 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) in Italy. The offshore leg will be laid at a maximum depth of 810 metres (2,660 ft).[24]
The initial capacity of the pipeline will be about 10 billion cubic metres (350 billion cubic feet) of natural gas per year, with the option to expand the capacity up to 20 billion cubic metres (710 billion cubic feet).[2] It will use 48-inch (1,200 mm) pipes for pressure of 95 bars (9,500 kPa) on the onshore section and 36-inch (910 mm) pipes for pressure of 145 bars (14,500 kPa) on the offshore section.[24]
TAP also plans to develop an underground natural gas storage facility in Albania and offer a reverse flow possibility of up to 8.5 billion cubic metres (300 billion cubic feet). These features will ensure additional energy security for the Southeastern Europe.[25][26] Total construction costs are expected to be about '‚¬1.5 billion.[2] TAP is ready to commence pipeline operations in time for first gas exports from Shah Deniz II (expected in 2017''2018).[11][27]
Supply sources[edit]The pipeline would be supplied by natural gas from the second stage of the Shah Deniz gas field development in the Azerbaijani section of Caspian Sea through the South Caucasus Pipeline and the planned Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP).[28][29]
Project company[edit]Trans Adriatic Pipeline AG is a joint venture company registered in Baar, canton Zug, Switzerland, with a purpose of planning, developing and building the TAP pipeline. [30] Managing Director of the company is Kjetil Tungland.[31]
Shareholders of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline are BP (20%), SOCAR (20%), Statoil (20%), Fluxys (16%), Total (10%), E.ON (9%) and Axpo (5%).[19]
See also[edit]References[edit]^"Natural gas pipeline through Adriatic achieves major milestone" (Press release). EGL. 2007-03-13. Archived from the original on 2012-03-08. Retrieved 2010-07-16. ^ abc"StatoilHydro takes place at TAP table". Upstream Online (NHST Media Group). 2008-02-13. Retrieved 2008-02-16. ^"TAP lays groundwork in Greece". Upstream Online (NHST Media Group). 2008-06-19. Retrieved 2008-08-18. ^"Marine survey in the Adriatic Sea to verify offshore route of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline" (Press release). Trans Adriatic Pipeline AG. 2009-01-22. Retrieved 2009-06-16. ^"Route assessment survey begins in Albania for Trans Adriatic Pipeline". Balkans.com Business News. 2009-07-13. Retrieved 2009-07-18. ^"Trans-Adriatic Gas Pipeline Co. Opens Offices in Albania, Italy, Greece". SeeNews. 2010-01-20. Retrieved 2010-07-16. ^ ab"Trans Adriatic Pipeline taps into Italy's gas grid". Pipelines International. 2010-03-17. Retrieved 2010-07-16. ^"E.ON Ruhrgas joins Trans Adriatic Pipeline". Oil and Gas Journal (PennWell Corporation). 2010-05-21. (subscription required). Retrieved 2010-05-25. ^"E.ON firms TAP stake". Upstream Online (NHST Media Group). 2010-07-07. Retrieved 2010-07-07. ^"Trans-Adriatic Pipeline begins route refinement study in northern Greece". European Energy Review. 2010-11-23. Retrieved 2010-12-01. ^ ab"Trans Adriatic Pipeline submits Third Party Access Exemptions in Albania, Greece & Italy". Greece. Energia.gr. 2011-09-13. Retrieved 2011-09-13. ^"Trans Adriatic Pipeline submits Independent Natural Gas application to Greek regulator". Offshore Magazine (PennWell Corporation). 2011-09-15. Retrieved 2011-09-16. ^"Commission decision of 16.5.2013 on the exemption of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline from the requirements on third party access, tariff regulation and ownership unbundling laid down in Articles 9, 32, 41(6), 41(8) and 41(10) of Directive 2009/73/EC". European Commission. 2013-05-16. Retrieved 2013-07-11. ^Gloystein, Henning (2013-05-17). "TAP gas pipeline project gets vital legal approval" (PDF). Reuters. Retrieved 2013-07-11. ^Geropoulos, Kostis (2012-02-21). "TAP, Nabucco and SEEP still in EU pipeline race". New Europe. Retrieved 2013-03-14. ^Lewis, Barbara (9 August 2012). "BP, Socar, Total pledge to fund gas pipeline-TAP". Reuters. Retrieved 10 March 2013. ^"TAP Managing Director: Cooperation with TANAP is milestone for Southern Gas Corridor progress". Trend News Agency. 2013-03-07. Retrieved 2013-03-15. ^O'Cinneide, Eoin (2013-06-28). "TAP confirmed as Shah Deniz 2 winner". Upstream Online (NHST Media Group). Retrieved 2013-07-11. ^ abSocor, Vladimir (15 January 2014). "SCP, TANAP, TAP: Segments of the Southern Gas Corridor to Europe". Eurasia Daily Monitor11 (8) (Heritage Foundation). Retrieved 18 January 2014. ^(PDF) >>Gas Regional Investment Plan Southern Corridor 2012 - 2021. Annex B: Infrastructure Projects>> (Report). ENTSOG. 2012-01-30. p. 46. http://www.entsog.eu/public/uploads/files/publications/GRIPs/2012/GRIP_SC_AnnexB.pdf. Retrieved 2013-02-27.^"Trans Adriatic Pipeline EU status". Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) AG. Retrieved 2013-03-14. ^Agayev, Zulfugar (28 September 2012). "TAP Gas Pipeline Project Gains Support of Italy, Greece, Albania". Bloomberg. Retrieved 13 March 2013. ^"Commissioner Oettinger welcomes the signature of an intergovernmental agreement on TAP" (Press release). European Commission. 2013-02-13. Retrieved 2013-03-14. ^ ab"Connecting Caspian Gas to European Markets. A summary of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline's Decision Support Package proposal to the Shah Deniz Consortium" (PDF). Trans Adriatic Pipeline AG. Retrieved 2013-07-11. ^"Europe's southern gas corridor: The great pipeline race". EurActiv. 2010-10-11. Retrieved 2010-12-01. ^Grgic, Borut (2010-05-11). "Getting natural gas to the Balkans". Hurriyet Daily News. Retrieved 2010-12-01. ^"Turkey, Azerbaijan sign long-awaited gas deal". Azerbaijan. News.az. 2010-06-07. Retrieved 2010-07-15. ^"Time to act on diversifying EU gas supplies". New Europe. Retrieved Jan 20, 2013. ^"Adriatic pipeline to tap into Azeri gas". EurActiv. 2010-09-15. Retrieved 2010-09-15. ^"Trans Adriatic Pipeline AG, Baar" (in German). itonex ag. Retrieved 2010-01-12. ^"Pipeline director: Gas race will have a winner in April". EurActiv. 2010-11-23. Retrieved 2010-01-12. External links[edit]
Shah Deniz gas field - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 04:07
Shah Deniz gas field is the largest natural gas field in Azerbaijan. It is situated in the South Caspian Sea, off the coast of Azerbaijan, approximately 70 kilometres (43 mi) southeast of Baku, at a depth of 600 metres (2,000 ft). The field covers approximately 860 square kilometres (330 sq mi). The Shah Deniz gas and condensate field was discovered in 1999. Stretching out over 140 square kilometres, the reservoir is similar in size and shape to Manhattan Island .
It is to bring gas into Europe without having to traverse countries like Russia or Iran, deemed to be politically unreliable[3] by some.
Shareholders[edit]The Shah Deniz field is operated by BP which has a share of 28.8%. Other partners include TPAO (19%), SOCAR (16.7%), Statoil (15.5%), LUKoil (10%) and NIOC (10%). Eni sold its 5% share to LUKOIL in June 2004. Later divestitures included pre-FID in December 2013 sales of %10 shares by Statoil to BP and SOCAR who shared them at %3.3 and %6.7 respectively.[1] as well as sale by Total SA in May 2014 its %10 share to Turkish TPAO[4]
Statoil reported sales price as 1.45 billion USD.[1] Although the sales price of Total shares to TPAO wasn't disclosed, the analysts estimate it to be very close to Statoil's price.
Reserves[edit]The Shah Deniz reserves are estimated at between 1.5 billion barrels (240,000,000 m3) to 3 billion barrels (480,000,000 m3) of oil equivalent from 50 to 100 billion cubic meters of gas. Gas production to date at the end of 2005 was estimated to be approximately 7 billion cubic meters (600 mmcf/day avg). The Shah Deniz field also contains gas condensate in excess of 400 million cubic meters.
Pipeline[edit]The 692 kilometres (430 mi) South Caucasus Pipeline, which began operation at the end of 2006, transports gas from the Shah Deniz field in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea to Turkey, through Georgia.
The associated condensate is mixed with the oil from the ACG field and is transported to Turkey through Georgia, along the Baku''Tbilisi''Ceyhan pipeline.
Recent developments[edit]The Shah Deniz scheme started to produce gas at the end of December 2006, three months later than expected, but was forced to close briefly in January 2007. Azerbaijan then announced that the field had resumed output only to admit that it had been forced to shut down for a few weeks due to start up technical issues.The shutdown forced Georgia to buy emergency gas supplies from Russia at a market price. Georgia hoped that production from Shah Deniz will allow the country to decrease its energy '-- and political '-- dependence on Russia.[3]
By July 2007, the Shah Deniz gas plant at Sangachal Terminal was fully operational, with all buyers of Shah Deniz taking gas.
Shah Deniz Phase-2[edit]Shah Deniz-2 discussions have started around in 2008 with main discussion topic being the selection of transportation routes for additional gas volumes. 5 year long intense negotiations finalized with signing of Final Investment Decision (FID) on 17 December 2013 in Baku, Azerbaijan.
9 companies agreed to sign GSA (Gas Sales Agreement) with the consortium:[5]
Out of total 10 bcm intented for Europe, 1 bcm will go to Bulgria and Greece and the rest will go to buyers in other countries, mainly Italy.
This project will include two additional bridge-linked offshore gas platforms, sub sea wells and expansion of the gas plant at Sangachal Terminal, at an estimated cost of at least $10 billion.[6]
Overall cost of Phase-2 expansion including upstream and midstream stages (TANAP and TAP pipelines) is estimated to be around $45 billion.
See also[edit]References[edit]External links[edit]
Ukraine crisis: capital market, Russia is falling - News Money - Stock Exchange - THE WORLD
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 04:39
Die Kapitalm¤rkte schaffen Tatsachen. W¤hrend die europ¤ischen AuŸenminister erst noch ¼ber neue Sanktionen gegen Russland entscheiden wollen, leihen internationale Investoren dem Land offenbar kein Geld mehr, zumindest nicht zu vertretbaren Konditionen.
Nun musste der Kreml den Verkauf neuer Anleihen am Kapitalmarkt absagen. Nach drei Monaten wollte Moskau endlich wieder neue Schuldtitel platzieren und sich so neues Geld zur Finanzierung des Staatshaushalts beschaffen.
Das Finanzministerium begr¼ndete den Fehlschlag mit ung¼nstigen Marktbedingungen. Tats¤chlich sind die Renditen russischer Staatsanleihen zuletzt in die H¶he geschossen. Seit Washington die Sanktionen gegen Russland versch¤rft hat, waren die Zinsen um fast einen gesamten Prozentpunkt auf ¼ber neun Prozent in die H¶he geschossen.
Staatsanleihen sind wichtigste Finanzierungsform"Russland ist der Paria an den M¤rkten", sagt Charles Dumas, Stratege beim unabh¤ngigen Analysehaus Lombard Street Research. Das Land sei jetzt weitgehend isoliert und damit von frischem internationalen Geld abgeschnitten.
Es ist nicht das erste Mal, dass das russische Finanzministerium mit dem Versuch gescheitert ist, neue Anleihen am Kapitalmarkt zu platzieren. Seit Jahresanfang wurden bereits acht Bond-Auktionen abgesagt. Vier weitere wurden gestoppt, weil Investoren h¶here Renditen forderten, die Moskau nicht zahlen wollte.
Staatsanleihen sind die wichtigste Finanzierungsform von Staaten. Denn an den Kapitalm¤rkten lassen sich in kurzer Zeit groŸe Summen aufnehmen.
Zwar ist Russland nicht so sehr auf die M¤rkte angewiesen, wie das bei Spanien oder Italien w¤hrend der Euro-Krise der Fall war. Allerdings wird die gecancelte Auktion als weiteres Misstrauensvotum gewertet. An den M¤rkten wird die Bonit¤t des Landes kritischer gesehen. Die M¤rkte beziffern das Risiko einer Staatspleite in den kommenden f¼nf Jahren auf rund 14 Prozent.
Kapitalflucht d¼rfte sich weiter beschleunigenVor allem die j¼ngsten US-Sanktionen haben die Isolation des Landes vorangetrieben. "Man darf nicht vergessen, dass amerikanische Investoren f¼r die H¤lfte des russischen Kapitalmarktes stehen", meint Yaroslav Lissovolik, Stratege bei der Deutschen Bank.
Pikant ist auch, dass ausgerechnet die Niederlande '' die besonders viele Opfer beim MH17-Ungl¼ck zu beklagen hat '' der gr¶Ÿte Abnehmer russischer Exporte ist. Umgekehrt sind die Holl¤nder die zweitgr¶Ÿten Investoren in Russland. Im vergangenen Jahr hat Russland Waren und Dienstleistungen im Volumen von 70 Milliarden Dollar dorthin exportiert. Zwischen Januar und Mai diesen Jahres betrugen die Ausfuhren noch mal umgerechnet 29 Milliarden Dollar. "Wenn ein Land Russland schmerzliche Sanktionen zuf¼gen k¶nnen, w¤ren es die Niederlande", sagt Charles Robertson, Stratege bei Renaissance Capital.
Stratege Lissovolik rechnet auch deshalb damit, dass sich die Finanzierungskosten f¼r Russland noch einmal deutlich erh¶hen. Nach seiner Ansicht d¼rfte sich auch die Kapitalflucht wieder deutlich beschleunigen.
Bereits im ersten Halbjahr hatten Unternehmen, Banken und private Haushalte umgerechnet 74,6 Milliarden Dollar aus Putins Reich abgezogen. Damit war der Aderlass in den ersten sechs Monaten gr¶Ÿer als im gesamten Jahr 2013. Lediglich ein Mal, n¤mlich w¤hrend der Finanzkrise im Jahr 2008, kam es in einem Halbjahr zu gr¶Ÿeren Abfl¼ssen.
Inflation schieŸt in die H¶heNach Ansicht von Experten k¶nnte sich die russische Notenbank auf ihrer n¤chsten Sitzung am Freitag dazu gezwungen sehen, die Zinsen anzuheben, um die Kapitalflucht zu bremsen und auch den Rubel-Verfall aufzuhalten, der nach den Sanktionen wieder eingesetzt hat.
Denn der niedrige Wechselkurs hat die Inflation im Land in die H¶he schieŸen lassen, weil der Import wichtiger G¼ter teurer geworden ist. Im Juni lag die Teuerung bei 7,8 Prozent und damit deutlich ¼ber der Zielmarke der Notenbank von f¼nf Prozent.
Eine zu starke Teuerungsrate kann sich der Kreml nicht leisten, will er es sich nach den M¤rkten nicht auch noch mit der eigenen Bev¶lkerung verscherzen. Noch ist das Ansehen Putins hoch. Zuletzt hatte die Zustimmungsrate Putins mit 80 Prozent ein Sechs-Jahreshoch erreicht.
Die Russen scheinen sich wenig daran zu st¶ren, dass ihr Land seinen Ruf an den M¤rkten verspielt hat. Seit Einf¼hrung der US-Sanktionen wurden an den B¶rsen nach Zahlen des Datenanbieters Bloomberg noch mal Werte von umgerechnet 50 Millionen Dollar vernichtet.
(C) Axel Springer SE 2014. Alle Rechte vorbehalten
How Russia moves billions offshore '-- and a handful of tax havens may hold key to sanctions | Financial Post
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 04:10
Two years ago, a Dutch law firm prepared a pitch in Moscow to Russian businesses: come to the Netherlands and we can help you avoid taxes and keep your assets safe.
''You can rely on our legal system!'' the firm, Buren van Velzen Guelen, said in a slide presentation.
Such appeals have worked on a grand scale. Russia's biggest oil, gas, mining and retail companies '-- including some run by billionaires close to President Vladimir Putin '-- have moved tens of billions of corporate assets to the Netherlands and other European countries often used for tax avoidance and capital flight, such as Luxembourg, Cyprus, Switzerland and Ireland. The firms include OAO Rosneft, OAO Gazprom, OAO Lukoil and Geneva-headquartered Gunvor Group Ltd., which was co-founded by a Putin associate now under U.S. sanctions.
As a result, a handful of European tax havens may hold the key to pressuring Russia to pull back from Ukraine. The extensive use of foreign subsidiaries by Russia's richest businessmen exposes their assets to sanctions. Yet capitalizing on this vulnerability requires help from countries that rely economically on Russian capital flight and have traditionally protected investors against foreign laws.
''If it can be shown that the owners, through these Dutch structures, are people who are sanctioned, there's no question that those assets can be frozen,'' said Jack Blum, a former U.S. Senate investigator and expert on money laundering and offshore havens. ''The question is, 'How far is anyone willing to go? Are the Swiss and the Dutch and Luxembourg prepared to do that?' Everybody's known this has been going on for years.''
Merkel's Speech
The Netherlands, Cyprus, Luxembourg and Ireland belong to the European Union and must comply with its penalties against Russia. However, they have discretion on whether to pursue tougher, unilateral measures similar to the U.S., which is considered unlikely. Switzerland is not in the EU.
Many European countries have been ambivalent about cracking down on Russia because it supplies much of their oil and gas and is also a significant source of investment in assets such as prime real estate in London. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said May 2 that she's ready to support sanctions against Russia if it interferes with Ukraine's May 25 presidential election.
''It's critical to get on board the banking centers or places where Russians have found avenues or vehicles to invest or nest property,'' said Juan Zarate, a former deputy U.S. national security advisor and author of ''Treasury's War: The Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfare.''
Volga Sanctioned
The 19 companies sanctioned by the U.S. include Luxembourg- based Volga Group and 10 of its units, according to the U.S. Treasury. Luxembourg had, by a narrow margin, the most foreign direct investment in Russia in 2012 of any country, followed by the Netherlands and Ireland, the most recent full-year Russian central bank data shows.
Those figures likely reflect money returning to Russian investors after having been routed through those countries, said Louise Shelley, director of the terrorism, transnational crime and corruption center at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.
Yet Luxembourg isn't likely to implement measures that go beyond the EU's, said E. Wayne Merry, Senior Fellow for Europe and Eurasia at the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington.
''Luxembourg is very good at saying, 'We're not giving our approval for things that may have happened somewhere else, but we're maintaining strict rule of law with what happens within the Grand Duchy,''' Merry said.
Low Taxes
Veronique Piquard, a spokeswoman from the Luxembourg ministry of finance, didn't respond to e-mailed questions and three phone calls seeking comment.
In the Netherlands, sanctions have prompted an examination of the country's role as a popular way station for companies and industrialists routing profits to low-tax jurisdictions like Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands. On May 15, the Dutch Parliament will hold a debate on how Russian and Ukrainian magnates and companies have used the Netherlands to dodge taxes.
Putin has been urging his country's businessmen for more than a year to bring their capital back home.
''Russian companies have to be registered here, in their home country, and have a transparent ownership structure,'' Putin said at a March 20 business conference in Moscow.
Instead, some $51 billion of Russian capital exited the country in the first quarter of 2014, according to central bank data. That figure has risen to more than $60 billion, U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague said last week. A total of $63 billion flowed out of Russia last year.
U.S. Sanctions
The U.S. has issued four rounds of sanctions against individuals and companies in response to Russia's seizure of Crimea, Ukraine's mainly Russian-speaking peninsula that juts into the Black sea, and its alleged backing of pro-Russian militants who have taken over part of eastern Ukraine. Russian forces, estimated by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to number about 40,000, continue to mass on Ukraine's border, acting President Oleksandr Turchynov said on April 30.
Last week, the U.S. placed Igor Sechin, the CEO of state-controlled Rosneft, Russia's largest oil producer, on its sanctions list. His company, which was not put on a blacklist, has billions of dollars in assets in a series of Luxembourg vehicles, records show. The company has also used units in Cyprus, Ireland, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Its Irish subsidiary reported more than $2 billion in gross revenue in 2012, according to its most recent filing.
Gennady Timchenko
Rosneft's foreign subsidiaries and companies were primarily established by previous owners, a company representative said in an e-mailed statement. These companies are ''dormant in Rosneft and are destined for liquidation'' once contracts have expired, Rosneft said.
Also under U.S. sanctions is Gennady Timchenko, co-founder of Gunvor, the oil trading company in which the U.S. has alleged Putin has investments. Gunvor, which isn't under U.S. sanctions, has denied the allegations and said it has never had any links to Putin.
A former Soviet Trade Ministry official, Timchenko met Putin in the 1990s and later sponsored a St. Petersburg judo club where Putin served as honorary president.
After Putin seized control of political opponent Mikhail Khodorkovsky's Yukos Oil Co. in 2003, many of its most valuable assets ended up in the hands of Rosneft. Rosneft then awarded some trading contracts to Gunvor, helping the company become one of the biggest traders of Russian crude oil. Timchenko has said that his friendship with Putin is overblown and that it hasn't helped his businesses.
Dutch Unit
Despite its initial focus on trading Russian oil, most of Gunvor's sales were routed through a Dutch unit, Gunvor International BV, operating through a branch in Geneva. In 2010, the last time it filed an annual report in the Netherlands, the subsidiary reported $59 billion in revenue, more than 90% of Gunvor's total sales. Thanks to a ruling from Dutch tax authorities, the unit was able to allocate most of its profit to its Swiss branch, helping to cut Gunvor's global tax bill, disclosures show.
''Gunvor Group is structured for optimal tax planning purposes, the same as other global trading houses,'' and ''operates in full compliance with all applicable tax laws and regulations,'' Seth Pietras, a Gunvor spokesman, said in an e- mail.
Gunvor, which in recent years has slashed its dependence on Russian oil and diversified into trading metals and coal, reported net income of $308 million for last year on revenue of $91 billion.
'Linked to Putin'
Timchenko, whose net worth is $7.9 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, sold his 44% stake in Gunvor to his business partner, Swedish national Torbjorn Tornqvist, on March 19, a day before the U.S. imposed sanctions against him. Timchenko owns a residence in Cologny, a wealthy enclave of Geneva.
''Timchenko's activities in the energy sector have been directly linked to Putin,'' the U.S. Treasury Department said in a statement March 20. ''Putin has investments in Gunvor and may have access to Gunvor funds.''
Timchenko owns or controls at least 10 companies through his Luxembourg-based Volga Group, the company's website shows. Stuart Leasor, a Volga Group spokesman, declined to comment.
Gazprom, the state-owned gas company whose CEO Alexey Miller is also considered part of Putin's inner circle, reported $14 billion of assets in a tiny Dutch unit that employs just 14 people, according to filings. Miller and Gazprom haven't been placed on any sanctions list.
Firtash Arrested
Gazprom would consider appropriate measures if conditions change, Sergei Kupriyanov, a spokesman for the Moscow-based gas exporter, said by text message, without elaborating.
Ukrainians who are close to Russia have held their assets in tax havens as well. Billionaire Dmitry Firtash made his fortune as a middleman in Gazprom's secretive gas trade with Ukraine through partial ownership in a Swiss company, RosUkrEnergo. He was arrested in Vienna in March on U.S. bribery charges.
Firtash wrote April 3 on his personal website that the allegations are ''completely absurd and unfounded'' and he's confident they will be dismissed.
Frozen Assets
Oleksandr Yanukovych owns a Swiss commodity trading company through a Dutch holding unit. He's the son of ousted Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych, who fled to Russia in February. That same month, Swiss police raided and seized documents at the Geneva offices of Oleksandr's firm as part of an investigation into alleged money laundering. The case is still under investigation and no charges have been filed, according to Swiss authorities.
Viktor Yanukovych and his son have both been sanctioned by the EU. Switzerland has issued a decree freezing all assets Viktor Yanukovych and his entourage might have in Switzerland.
Switzerland's federal prosecutor has frozen 170 million Swiss francs ($193.8 million) of assets in bank accounts belonging to Viktor Yanukovych and people close to him, Swiss newspaper Zentralschweiz am Sonntag reported Sunday.
In addition to companies, the U.S. has so far sanctioned 45 individuals, including four it designated as members of Putin's inner circle: Timchenko, Arkady and Boris Rotenberg and Yury Kovalchuk.
'Get-Out' Clause
The sanctions mean that any U.S. assets of those people or companies named are frozen and Americans are generally prohibited from dealing with them. While non-Americans aren't bound to follow U.S. sanctions, some banks and companies make a point of doing so in order to ensure their access to U.S. markets isn't compromised.
''Sanctions in some ways give European countries a 'get- out' clause,'' said Mark Galeotti, a New York University professor and Russian organized crime expert who advises regulators on money laundering. ''It allows countries, say, the Netherlands, to say 'look, if it was up to us we wouldn't be putting this pressure on you, but the Americans are beginning to play hardball.'''
While there is some overlap between the European Union's sanction lists and the one compiled by the U.S., Europe has focused mainly on government officials. It has assembled a blacklist of 70 members, whose assets in Europe are now frozen. They are not permitted to travel within the EU.
Economic Ties
Switzerland has issued an ordinance that prevents financial intermediaries in Switzerland from entering into new business with the individuals sanctioned by the EU or from transferring any assets to Switzerland from inside or outside the EU. Assets held in Switzerland won't be frozen and existing business relationships involving those sanctioned are not subject to the ban.
Economic ties between Switzerland and Russia run deep. About 75% of Russian sea-bound crude exports are handled by Swiss-based trading firms including Gunvor, according to the Geneva Trade and Shipping Association, an industry lobby group. Russian energy companies including Rosneft, Gazprom and Lukoil all have trading operations or subsidiary companies in Switzerland.
Swiss Properties
Swiss banks held 13.8 billion Swiss francs ($15.7 billion) worth of Russian money in 2012, according to the latest available statistics from the Swiss National Bank. More than a dozen Russian and Ukrainian industrialists have business interests, charity operations or own property in Switzerland, Tages Anzeiger, a Zurich newspaper reported in March. Andrei Klishas, the politician and metals businessman who was sanctioned by both the EU and the U.S., owns an estate in Ticino, near the Italian border.
Switzerland is ''closely'' monitoring the situation in Ukraine and the sanctions imposed by its ''most important trading partners,'' Marie Avet, a spokeswoman for Switzerland's State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, said in an e-mailed statement.
''Switzerland could take further measures depending on how the situation develops,'' she said.
Kiev Seminar
A wide swath of multinational companies, including Google Inc., Yahoo! Inc. and Pfizer Inc., have moved their profits through the Netherlands. It attracts global corporations because of its extensive tax treaty network and lack of withholding taxes on various payments leaving the country for island havens like Bermuda.
The country has promoted these features internationally, including in Ukraine. Last November, the Dutch embassy in Kiev hosted a seminar, whose organizers included international law firm DLA Piper. The event, titled ''Dutch holding companies: new opportunities for structuring of Ukrainian business,'' included tips on ''asset protection structures'' and ''tax planning opportunities for Ukrainian companies.''
Svitlana Musienko, one of the DLA Piper attorneys who gave the presentation, said the firm had no comment.
An outline of the agenda for the April 17, 2012, presentation by Buren van Velzen Guelen in Moscow cited the various big Russian concerns already using the Netherlands: oil and gas companies Gazprom, Lukoil, and Rosneft, Internet company Yandex NV, X5 Retail Group NV, and mining and precious metals companies Nord Gold NV and OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel.
'Flexible' Tax Policies
The firm detailed the particularly generous tax treaty between Russia and the Netherlands, described the virtues of the country's ''flexible'' tax policies, and offered examples of several structures to help clients avoid taxes and protect assets, including one that makes it harder to trace a company's owners.
In one slide, the law firm demonstrated how Russian real estate investors could avoid capital gains taxes on the sale of property there simply by using a Dutch holding company. The firm pointed out that this benefit was not available for investors using vehicles in Cyprus and Switzerland.
''A good reputation is more valuable than a bulging bank safe,'' the firm explained, according to another slide.
Peter van Dijk, one of the attorneys at the firm listed on the presentation, declined to comment.
Dutch Reputation
The U.S. sanctions have prompted some Dutch politicians to say they worry about damage to the country's reputation from hiding the wealth of Russian companies and oligarchs.
''On the one hand we invite them, and make it possible for them to avoid taxes through the Netherlands, while on the other hand we say we freeze the assets, which is a good thing,'' said Arnold Merkies, a Dutch parliament member from the Socialist Party. ''But why did we allow them in the first place? We even stimulated them to do this.''
''The Netherlands cannot be regarded as a tax haven, and it is not used as such by Russian or any other companies,'' said a spokeswoman for the Dutch Finance Ministry. ''The Netherlands has been actively involved in the drafting of the recent EU regulations related to the situation in Ukraine and will implement strictly and without delay the provisions thereof including any necessary measures relating to funds held in the Netherlands.''
The Netherlands ''attaches great importance to close coordination between the EU and U.S.'' on sanctions, a foreign ministry spokesman said.
'In a Bind'
The U.S. has given tax havens an excuse for inaction by failing to back up its assertion that Putin is a Gunvor shareholder, said a former senior Treasury official who asked not to be identified because he didn't want to be seen as criticizing the government's actions. In addition, some oligarchs may have legitimate reasons for moving funds beyond Putin's reach, he said.
Countries like the Netherlands and Switzerland are ''in a bind, because an awful lot of what they do for a living revolves around structuring and hiding money and assets through very complex structures,'' said Blum, the former U.S. Senate investigator. ''It really is a tricky question because there is some legitimacy to people putting assets outside of their own country because of political instability. The flip'' is that those countries are ''also being used by the kleptocrats who are ripping off Russia.''Bloomberg.com
EU Leaders Deeply Divided Over Russia
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 04:03
European elites, who take pride in viewing the EU as a "postmodern" superpower, have long argued that military hard-power is illegitimate in the 21st century. Unfortunately for Europe, Russia (along with China and Iran) has not embraced the EU's fantastical soft-power worldview, in which "climate change" is now said to pose the greatest threat to European security.
For its part, the European Commission, the EU's administrative branch, which never misses an opportunity to boycott institutions in Israel, has issued only a standard statement on the shooting down of MH17 in Ukraine, which reads: "The European Union will continue to follow this issue very closely."
The EU has made only half-hearted attempts to develop alternatives to its dependency on Russian oil and gas.
European divisions over relations with Russia are being laid bare by the shooting down of a passenger plane over Ukraine.
The missile attack on Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 claimed the lives of 298 passengers, including 230 Europeans, making it the single most deadly act of terror in modern European history.
But despite a growing body of evidence that MH17 was shot down by a surface-to-air missile that was launched from an area that is controlled by Russian-backed separatists inside of Ukraine, the European Union's 28 member states have still been unable to agree on even a basic unified response to the attack.
A battery of the Russian-made Buk (SA-11) anti-aircraft missile system, which is the type of system used to shoot down flight MH17.
Western European countries, including Britain, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands'--all of which enjoy strong trade relations with Russia'--have long been reluctant to antagonize Moscow, based largely on economic and energy supply considerations.
By contrast, eastern European countries such as Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and the Baltic states, all of which experienced decades of misery under Soviet military domination, favor a far more aggressive EU policy regarding the Kremlin, which they view as posing a potentially existential threat.
Few Europeans have had the courage to follow the lead of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who was the first Western leader directly to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin over the MH17 disaster.
Abbot has warned Putin that his attendance at the G20 summit in Brisbane in November will be contingent on how much co-operation Australia and other countries receive from Russia in securing an independent international investigation into the plane crash.
By contrast, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, evidently fearful of angering Putin, has been walking on eggshells. "If I bang my fist against the table now... then I reduce the chances of the Netherlands and all those who support us getting the facts on the table," he told a news conference in The Hague.
Rutte has also played down expectations that the Netherlands would support tougher EU economic sanctions against Russia or the Ukrainian separatists.
In an interview with the New York Times, one of the main opposition leaders in the Netherlands, Alexander Pechtold, said: "We are a small country, dependent on our exports, and unlike the United States, we cannot always react from our moral high grounds. Still, if it is proven that the Russians have their fingerprints on this horrible event, we cannot look in the other direction."
Russia is the third-largest destination for Dutch exports outside Europe after the US and China. The Netherlands is also a key tax shelter for Russia's billionaires.
Amid reports that some of the bodies were being looted or removed from the crash site, Rutte has stepped up his rhetoric. On his Twitter feed, he wrote: "Shocked by images of totally disrespectful behavior, downright disgusting. Absolutely urgent now is the rapid repatriation of victims."
Arguably the most befuddled European response to the downing of MH17 has come from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who seemed oblivious to the scale of the disaster when she told a group of 1,000 guests gathered in Berlin just hours after the attack to celebrate her 60th birthday: "We are living in happy times." According to those in attendance, Merkel's words "fell flat."
After Merkel was criticized for downplaying the crime, Merkel begrudgingly acknowledged that, "it is especially Russia's responsibility for what is going on in Ukraine right now." She added that the EU's response so far has been more than "adequate."
Merkel has urged Putin to use his influence with the pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine to facilitate an international investigation into what German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has called an "incident."
Steinmeier later tweeted that the killing of hundreds of innocents as a "crime beyond any imagination." But he then employed rambling phraseology in an apparent effort not to be seen as pinning blame on Russia: "Those responsible would lose any right to claim their interests in the name of humanity."
Observers say Merkel, who was recently named "the most powerful woman in the world," is afraid of Putin, who provides Germany with more than one third of its gas imports.
Another key individual involved in shaping Europe's response to Russia is Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, whose country currently holds the EU's rotating presidency. Renzi has been keen to avoid alienating Russia, Italy's biggest supplier of natural gas.
Renzi is also energetically pushing for his foreign minister, Federica Mogherini, to replace Catherine Ashton as the EU's new foreign policy chief. Mogherini, who has almost no foreign policy experience, is unabashedly pro-Russian. Her candidacy is being opposed by Poland and the Baltic countries, which believe Mogherini would be too accommodating toward the Kremlin.
For its part, the European Commission, the EU's administrative branch, which never misses an opportunity to boycott institutions in Israel, has issued only a standard statement which reads: "The European Union will continue to follow this issue very closely."
In France, President Fran§ois Hollande is loath to antagonize Putin ahead of the delivery of two highly sophisticated Mistral-class amphibious assault warships in a contract worth '‚¬1.2 billion ($1.6 billion). The first warship is to be delivered in October, and the French navy is currently training Russian sailors how to use it at the port of Saint-Nazaire.
After the Russian invasion of Crimea in March 2014, the United States and several EU states criticized the deal. But others, including Germany, have defended France's decision to go ahead with the sale.
In the wake of the MH17 disaster, however, a senior European diplomat told the EU Observer that France risks "international ridicule" if it goes ahead with the deal. "Putin has pursued a policy of dividing the U.S. and the European Union, as well as the EU internally. This incident [the air disaster] is going to make it harder for him [Hollande] to do this."
For now, France appears keen to keep talk of the air disaster separate from the arms deal. "The most important priority right now is to shed light on what happened in this catastrophe," a French government official said. "We should not turn away from this subject in order to discuss some hypothetical consequences, or to talk about subjects which are not really connected."
In a rebuke of Merkel and other European leaders for their reluctance to confront Russia, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Europe must now "respond robustly."
In a blistering article published by the Sunday Times on July 20, Cameron called the attack on MH17 a "direct result of Russia destabilizing a sovereign state, violating its territorial integrity, backing thuggish militias and training and arming them."
Cameron added: "For too long, there has been a reluctance on the part of too many European countries to face up to the implications of what is happening in eastern Ukraine.... It is time to make our power, influence and resources count. Our economies are strong and growing in strength. And yet we sometimes behave as if we need Russia more than Russia needs us."
It remains to be seen whether the MH17 disaster will serve as a moment of moral and strategic clarity and cajole European leaders into confronting Russia's increasingly increasing bellicosity.
More than 50% of the EU's total energy consumption in 2012 was imported from outside the EU, according to the most recent data compiled by Eurostat, the EU's statistics agency. A large percentage of that imported energy originates in Russia. In 2012, some 33.7% of the EU-28's imports of crude oil were from Russia, as were 32% of the bloc's imports of natural gas.
The EU has made only half-hearted attempts to develop alternatives to its dependency on Russian oil and gas. The Nabucco pipeline, for example, was a plan to push gas from the Caspian Sea region into central Europe by bypassing Russia and Ukraine. The project was shelved in June 2013, after Moscow pressured southern European countries into supporting the rival South Stream pipeline, run by Gazprom, which is majority owned by the Russian government.
More recently, Israel decided to ship much of its natural gas to Egypt, further confounding efforts to lessen EU dependence on Russian sources. Energy analysts say the failures point to a lack of a common EU energy policy, which means that Russia is likely to remain Europe's chief natural gas supplier well beyond 2020.
Even if the EU were to achieve complete energy independence, however, it would hardly change the crux of Europe's security problem, which is its over-reliance on diplomatic and economic "soft-power" at the expense of military "hard power."
European elites, who take pride in viewing the EU as a "post-modern" superpower, have long argued that military hard power is illegitimate in the 21st century.
Unfortunately for Europe, Russia (along with China and Iran) has not embraced the EU's fantastical soft-power worldview, in which "climate change" is now said to pose the greatest threat to European security.
The EU's lack of a hard power deterrent has emboldened Putin to the point where he has been able to run roughshod in Crimea and Ukraine with impunity, and evidently there is not much Europe's soft power can do about it.
Soeren Kernis a Senior Fellow at the New York-basedGatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estrat(C)gicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him onFacebookand onTwitter.
Related Topics: Russia | Soeren Kernreceive the latest by email: subscribe to the free gatestone institute mailing list
South Stream
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 03:58
EventsJuly 2014 June 2014 May 2014 April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 All news items SignificanceThe South Stream project is aimed at strengthening the European energy security. It is another real step in pursuing the Gazprom strategy to diversify the Russian natural gas supply routes. The new gas pipeline system meeting the most recent environmental and engineering requirements will significantly raise the energy security throughout mainland Europe.
RouteSouth Stream's offshore section with the total length of 930 kilometers will run under the Black Sea through the exclusive economic zones of Russia, Bulgaria and Turkey. The maximum depth will be more than two kilometers and the design capacity will amount to 63 billion cubic meters.
The onshore section will cross Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Slovenia. The gas pipeline will end at the Tarvisio gas metering station in Italy. Gas branches from the main pipeline route will be built to Croatia and to Republika Srpska (the state formation within Bosnia and Herzegovina).
In order to feed the required amount of gas into the South Stream gas pipeline, Russia's gas transmission system will be expanded by means of constructing the additional 2,506.2 kilometers of linepipe and 10 compressor stations with the total capacity of 1,516 MW. This project has been named Southern Corridor and will be implemented in two phases before 2018.
Environmental complianceState-of-the-art technologies meeting the most stringent environmental requirements will be employed while executing the project. The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) will be carried out in full compliance with the Espoo Convention.
CooperationThe project history started in 2006, when Gazprom and Eni entered into the Strategic Partnership Agreement entitling Gazprom to supply Russian gas directly to the Italian market starting from 2007. Under the Agreement, the existing contracts for Russian gas supplies to Italy were extended to 2035.
In June 2007 Gazprom and Eni inked the Memorandum of Understanding for the South Stream project implementation.
In January 2008 a special purpose company, South Stream AG, was incorporated in Switzerland by Gazprom and Eni on a parity basis to build the offshore section.
Between 2008 and 2011 the intergovernmental agreements on the project implementation were signed with Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Serbia and Slovenia. Gazprom signed bilateral agreements on cooperation within the project with the authorized national companies: Serbian Srbijagas, Hungarian Development Bank MFB, Bulgarian Energy Holding, Greek gas transmission system operator DESFA, Austrian OMV and Slovenian Geoplin Plinovodi.
The following joint project companies were incorporated:
in Bulgaria '' South Stream Bulgaria (Gazprom and Bulgarian Energy Holding '' 50 per cent each );in Serbia '' South Stream Serbia (51 per cent owned by Gazprom, 49 per cent '' by Srbijagas );in Hungary '' South Stream Hungary (Gazprom and Hungarian Development Bank MFB '' 50 per cent each (in 2012 MVM became a partner));in Slovenia '' South Stream Slovenia (Gazprom and Plinovodi '' 50 per cent each);in Austria '' South Stream Austria (Gazpron and OMV '' 50 per cent each);in Greece '' South Stream Greece (Gazprom and DESFA '' 50 per cent each).In September 2011 the Shareholders Agreement for the offshore section of the South Stream project was signed. Pursuant to the Agreement, German Wintershall Holding (subsidiary of BASF) and French EDF each acquired a 15 per cent stake in the offshore section of the South Stream project through a 30 per cent reduction of Eni's stake. As a result, the shareholding structure in the South Stream offshore section is as follows: Gazprom '' 50 per cent, Eni '' 20 per cent, Wintershall Holding and EDF '' 15 per cent each.
In April 2012 the first meeting of South Stream Transport Board of Directors took place. Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee, Alexander Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee, Paolo Scaroni, Chief Executive Officer of Eni, Henri Proglio, Chairman and CEO of EDF, Harald Schwager, Member of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF and Henning Voscherau entered the Board. Henning Voscherau was unanimously elected as Chairman of the South Stream Transport Board of Directors.
From October 29 to November 15, 2012 final investment decisions were made on the project in Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia and Bulgaria.
On November 14, 2012 the meeting of the South Stream Transport Board of Directors adopted the final investment decision for the offshore section. The meeting also approved the incorporation of South Stream Transport B.V. in Amsterdam (the Netherlands).
Project implementationIn December 2012 the South Stream gas pipeline construction started near Anapa in the Krasnodar Territory.
On October 31, 2013 the first joint was welded at South Stream's Bulgarian section near the Rasovo CS site. On November 24, 2013 the construction of South Stream's Serbian section started in the vicinity of Sajkas village, South Backa District.
First gas supplies via the South Stream gas pipeline are scheduled for late 2015.
OPAL pipeline - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 03:54
OPAL pipelineOPAL pipeline near WeiŸenborn, Saxony
Map of OPAL pipeline
LocationCountryGermanyGeneral directionnorth-southFromGreifswald (Lubmin)ToOlbernhauRuns alongsideGerman eastern borderGeneral informationTypenatural gasPartnersWingasE.ONOperatorOPAL NEL TRANSPORT GmbHCommissioned2011Technical informationLength470 km (290 mi)Maximum discharge35 billion cubic metres (1.2—10^12 cu ft) per yearDiameter1,400 mm (55 in)The OPAL (Ostsee-Pipeline-Anbindungsleitung) is a natural gas pipeline in Germany alongside the German eastern border. The OPAL pipeline is one of two projected pipelines connecting the Nord Stream pipeline to the existing pipeline grid in Middle and Western Europe, the other one being the NEL pipeline.
The 470-kilometre (290 mi) long pipeline runs from Lubmin near Greifswald to Olbernhau near German-Czech border.[1] It connects the Nord Stream pipeline with the JAGAL (distributes gas from the Yamal-Europe pipeline), and the STEGAL (distributes gas from the Central-European Russian gas transit system (Transgas) via Czech and Slovak republics) pipelines in Germany. On the German-Czech border the pipeline will be connected with the planned Gazela Pipeline, to connect gas export pipelines in the Czech Republic.[2]
Technical features[edit]The diameter of the pipeline is 1,400 millimetres (55 in) and it has an operating pressure up to 100 bars (10,000 kPa).[1] The capacity of the pipeline is 35 billion cubic metres (1.2 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas. The compressor station in Radeland, Brandeburg, is built by Siemens.[3]
The pipeline cost around '‚¬1 billion. The construction was completed in 2011 and in August 2011 Nord Stream was connected with the OPAL pipeline.[4]
Regulations[edit]On 25 February 2009, the Germany's energy regulator exempted the OPAL pipeline from network access and transit fees regulation for 22 years after its launch.[5] However, the exemption from competition regulations may breach EU regulations, and The Economist reports that the EU are investigating [6]
Project company[edit]The pipeline was constructed and is being operated by OPAL NEL TRANSPORT GmbH, a subsidiary of Wingas.[7] 20% of the company is owned by E.ON Ruhrgas.[5]
See also[edit]References[edit]External links[edit]
Russia sues EU over its 'Third Energy Package' - News - Politics - The Voice of Russia: News, Breaking news, Politics, Economics, Business, Russia, International current events, Expert opinion, podcasts, Video
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 03:48
Moreover, if the operating companies are governed by foreigners, the latter should receive a special certificate. Thereupon, foreign directors should complete a specific procedure.
Thus, they should prove that there is no threat to the energy safety of the EU; the EU companies don't have to do this.
Russia thinks that this principle as well as several other principles of the Third Energy Package, considering nondiscrimination and access to the market, violates the EU liabilities to the WTO. The Third Energy Package threatens the supply of Russian gas to the EU and the creation of a new pipe line within South Stream project.
Russia has been unsuccessfully trying to solve the issue for several years.
Under the WTO principles, the EU and Russia have two month to hold bilateral meetings on the issue. After that, Russia can demand that the WTO creates a board of judges to entertain the action.
Russia's representative noted that the issue could be solved during the upcoming meetings.
"The aim of such meetings is to find solutions," the source says.
"We don't want to have legal proceedings with Brussels, we want to ensure predictable conditions for export of Russian gas to the EU in compliance with the rules of the WTO," the source said.
At the same time, the source denies any connection of the suit with the crisis in Ukraine. "We started prepearing the law suit last year, when it became clear that there was no other way of solving the problem," the source said.
The Third Energy Package is a set of regulations for an internal gas and electricity market in the European Union. Its purpose is to further open up the gas and electricity markets in the European Union. The package was proposed by the European Commission in September 2007, and adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union in July 2009. It entered into force on 3 September 2009.
Read also:
Euro Commission claims against South Stream may be solved by year end - Russia's EU envoy
Ukraine refuses to pay gas debt to Russia if price rises - Naftogaz
Third Energy Package - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 03:38
The European Union's Third Energy Package is a legislative package for an internal gas and electricity market in the European Union. Its purpose is to further open up the gas and electricity markets in the European Union. The package was proposed by the European Commission in September 2007, and adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union in July 2009. It entered into force on 3 September 2009.
Core elements of the third package include ownership unbundling, which stipulates the separation of companies' generation and sale operations from their transmission networks,[1] and the establishment of a National regulatory authority (NRA) for each Member State,[2] and the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators which provides a forum for NRAs to work together.[3]
The EU energy market[edit]The European Commission and the Parliament wants to reach the goals of ''Europe 2020 Strategy'' through a secure, competitive and sustainable supply of energy to the economy and the society.[4] The correct transposition of the European electricity and gas legislation in all Member States is still not complete. Because of this, the Third Internal Energy Market Package was adopted in 2009 to accelerate investments in energy infrastructure to enhance cross border trade and access to diversified sources of energy.[5] There is still a market concentration on the energy market in the European Union, where a small number of companies control a large part of the market. Together, the three biggest generators of each country hold more than two thirds of the total generating capacity of 840,000 MW.[6] The EU advises three options to weaken the market power of the biggest electricity firms: ownership unbundling, independent system operator (ISO) and independent transmission operators (ITO).
Legislation[edit]The Third Energy Package consists of two Directives and three Regulations:
Directive 2009/72/EC concerning common rules for the internal market in electricity and repealing Directive 2003/54/EC[7]Directive 2009/73/EC concerning common rules for the internal market in natural gas and repealing Directive 2003/55/EC[8]Regulation (EC) No 714/2009 on conditions for access to the network for cross-border exchanges in electricity and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1228/2003[9]Regulation (EC) No 715/2009 on conditions for access to the natural gas transmission networks and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1775/2005[10]Regulation (EC) No 713/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 establishing an Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators[11]Potential options for member states[edit]Ownership unbundling[edit]Ownership unbundling is advocated by the European Commission and the European Parliament. This option is intended to split generation (production of electricity) from transmission (of electricity from electrical generating station via a system to a distribution system operator or to the consumer).[12] The purpose of this system is to ensure that the European energy market does not suffer from vertical integration. The proposal is controversial, with questions as to who can buy the transmission networks, whether such a system will regulate the market-place and who will pay possible compensation to the energy firms.[13] Moreover, some economists also argue that the benefits will not exceed the costs.[14] Some further problems have to do with possible inequalities that may arise during the implementation of the framework between undertakings from Member States with a different organisation of the market structure. A suggested solution refers to the better development of the level playing field clause.[15]
Independent system operator (ISO)[edit]The Art. 13 '' 16 of directive 2009/72/EC give the member states also the opportunity to let the transmission networks remain under the ownership of energy groups, but transferring operation and control of their day-to-day business to an independent system operator. Investments on the network will be accomplished, not only by the owner's funding but also by the ISO's management.[16] It is also a form of ownership unbundling, but with a trustee. In theory, this would allow transmission and generation to remain under the same owner, but would remove conflicts of interest.
Independent transmission operator (ITO)[edit]Austria, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, Latvia and the Slovak Republic presented at the end of January 2008 a proposal for a third option. This model, the ITO, envisages energy companies retaining ownership of their transmission networks, but the transmission subsidiaries would be legally independent joint stock companies operating under their own brand name, under a strictly autonomous management and under stringent regulatory control. However, investment decisions would be made jointly by the parent company and the regulatory authority. In order to exclude discrimination against competitors, one prerequisite is the existence of a compliance officer, who is assigned to monitor a specific programme of relevant measures against market abuse.[17] It is also named a legal unbundling.[18]
ITO+[edit]There are also provisions for an alternative fourth choice for Member States. This option that may be referred as ITO+ or unbundling a la carte as States may keep their own system, provided it already existed in 2009, concerned a vertically-integrated transmission system and it included provisions that ensure a higher independence status for the operation of the system than that of ITO[19]
National Regulatory Authorities[edit]Establishment[edit]Chapter IX of Directive 2009/72/EC requires each Member State to designate a single National Regulatory Authority (NRA).[20] Member States may designate other regulatory authorities for regions within the Member State, but there must be a senior representative at national level.[21] Member States must ensure that the NRA is able to carry out its regulatory activities independently from government and from any other public or private entity.[22]
Functions[edit]The Directive sets out eight general objectives of NRAs[23] and 21 specific duties.[24] In addition to a duty to fix or approve tariffs, NRAs have a number of monitoring and reporting duties, and are granted information rights and investigative and enforcement powers to enable them to carry out their duties.[25]
Agency for Cooperation of Energy Regulators[edit]Regulation 713/2009 establishes an Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators. The purpose of the Agency is to assist NRAs to exercise their duties and to provide means of coordingating their actions where necessary.[26]
Significance[edit]The now repealed Directive 2003/54/EC gave member states three possible ways to unbundle. One of them has to be transposed into national law. The United Kingdom, for example, has already implemented ownership unbundling.
References[edit]^Art. 9 of directive 2009/72/EC^Chapter IX of Directive 2009/72/EC^Regulation (EC) No 713/2009^European Commissioner G¼nther Oettinger: http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/10/264&format=HTML&aged=1&language=EN&guiLanguage=en^The correct transposition of the European electricity and gas legislation in all Member States is still not complete. Because of this, the Third Internal Energy Market Package was adopted in 2009 to accelerate investments in energy infrastructure to enhance cross border trade and access to diversified sources of energy^http://ec.europa.eu/energy/gas_electricity/legislation/doc/20100609_internal_market_report_2009_2010.pdf under 2.3^http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2009:211:0055:0093:EN:PDF^http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2009:211:0094:0136:en:PDF^http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2009:211:0015:0035:EN:PDF^http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2009:211:0036:0054:en:PDF^http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2009:211:0001:0014:EN:PDF^Art. 9-12 of directive 2009/72/EC^Michael Politt (The arguments for and against ownership unbundling of energy transmission networks) in Energy Policy) (Volume 36, Issue 2, February 2008, Pages 704 - 713^Johann-Christian Pielow (Legal and economic aspects of ownership unbundling in the EU) in Journal of World Energy Law § Business (Volume 2, Issue 2, February 2009, Pages 96 - 116^Michael Diathesopoulos. "Ownership Unbundling in European Energy Market & Legal Problems under EU Law" Piraeus Case-Law.3/2011 (2011): 248-262, p. 261 Available at: http://works.bepress.com/michael_diathesopoulos/2 8^Michael Diathesopoulos. 2011. "Competition Law and Sector Regulation in the European Energy Market after the Third Energy Package: Hierarchy and Efficiency" UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE FACULTY OF LAW, p. 46 Available at: http://works.bepress.com/michael_diathesopoulos/5^Michael Diathesopoulos. "Competition Law and Sector Regulation", p. 46, 88^Art. 17-23 of directive 2009/72/EC^Michael Diathesopoulos "Competition Law and Sector Regulation", p. 46^Article 35.1 of Directive 2009/72/EC^Article 35.2 of Directive 2009/72/EC^Article 35.4 of Directive 2009/72/EC^Article 36 of Directive 2009/72/EC^Article 37.1 of Directive 2009/72/EC^Article 37.4 of Directive 2009/72/EC^Article 1.2 of Regulation 713/2009
South Stream-South Stream would be able to replace almost entirely the volume of gas that currently transits Ukraine '' planned at 70bcm this year,- gas pipeline to Europe divides EU - FT.com
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 03:36
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NORD STREAM-27.5 billion cubic meters-Gazprom Export
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 03:35
The Nord Stream pipeline directly links Russia and Germany and plays an important role in ensuring reliable supplies of Russian natural gas to meet the additional demand in Europe. This route will make it possible to bypass the not always predictable transit countries.
This pipeline consists of two lines with a capacity of 27.5 billion cubic meters/year each. Its route lies under the Baltic Sea from Portovaya Bay near the city of Vyborg to the German coast near Greifswald, stretching 1224 km.
The Nord Stream AG (Switzerland) gas transmission company was established for planning, construction, ownership, financing and the operation of the gas pipeline.
Equity share of the Nord Stream AG company is as follows: Gazprom (51%), E.ON (15.5%), Wintershall (15.5%), Gasunie (9%) and GDF Suez (9%).
Chronology:
On 8 October, 2012 the second line of the Nord Stream gas pipeline was put into operation, which increased the capacity to 55 billion cubic meters of gas.
In April 2012, the pipe-laying operation of the second line of Nord Stream on the whole route from Portovaya Bay to Greifswald was completed.
On 8 November, 2011 the first line of the Nord Stream gas pipeline became operational. After four years planning and 18 months of intensive constructions Russian gas began to flow into gas-transportation system of Europe.
On 25 August 2011 the last joint that connects the first line of Nord Stream gas pipeline to the European OPAL gas pipeline has been welded in Lubmin (German land of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern).
Welding of the ''golden seam'' '' the last one '' of the first line of the Nord Stream gas pipeline in the Russian sector has taken place on 22 August 2011.
In August 2011, the pipe-laying operation of the second line of Nord Stream in the Gulf of Finland was completed.
In April 2010, construction of the first line of the Nord Stream project in the Baltic Sea began.
In spring 2010, the Nord Stream consortium attracted external funding from a syndicate of 26 banks amounting to 3.9 billion euros for the first phase of the project. Of this amount, guarantees of export credit agencies SACE and Hermes were received for the sum of 3.1 billion euros.
In September 2006 the final Shareholder's Agreement was signed, as well as the Agreement on the basic conditions of gas transportation.
Press-Releases:Nord Stream Pipeline Inaugurated '' Major Milestone for European Energy SecurityCommercial gas deliveries through Nord Stream started
UKRIANE-178.5 bcm of output capacity-Natural Gas Transportation
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 03:34
Today Ukraineis the largest natural gas transit country in the world. Ukrainian natural gas transportation system that links the regions of the world's largest reserves of natural gas with European countries that have significant amounts of natural gas consumption, allows our country to be one of the key players in the natural gas business.
Ukrainetransports Russian natural gas to 18 European countries:Austria, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Greece, Italy, Macedonia, Moldova,Romania, Germany, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary,France,Turkey,Croatiaand Czech Republic.
The transit of Russian natural gas through Ukraineis performed according to the long-term contract between the National Joint-Stock Company Naftogaz of Ukraine and OJSC Gazprom concerning the volume and terms of transit for the period 2009 '' 2019 and addendum signed April 21, 2010.
The company provides reliable transit of natural gas at the technical level due to the implementation of a program of reconstruction and technical upgrading of natural gas pipelines and compressor stations, introduction of international standards of operation and use of energy saving technologies and equipment.
The reliability of natural gas transit and its supply to domestic consumers is ensured by reserves and intersystem natural gas pipelines, as well as developed system of underground storage facilities, the largest of which are located in the western region of the country.
The Ukrainian natural gas storage network has extensive capacity which may soon be deployed to increase the natural gas storage capacity of foreign companies.
Ukrainian natural gas transportation system is a link of natural gas supplies on the Eurasian continent288 bcm of input capacity178.5 bcm of output capacity142.1 bcm '-- including to the countries of Central and Western Europe andTurkey39 800 kmof pipelines13 900 km- diameter 1000-14005 000 km- diameter 700-80020 900 km- diameter 500 and less74 natural gas compressor stations112 compressor plants713 compressor units5450 MW capacity of compressor stations13 underground storage facilities32 bcm of total working capacity of natural gas storage facilities367 000 kmof natural gas distribution networks
Competitive advantages of Ukrainian natural gas transportation system:
the shortest way for Russian and Central Asian natural gas to reach European natural gas market;substantial potential to increase transit capacity with minimal investment.
Taking into account the existing technological capacity, Naftogaz of Ukraine without significant investment could increase the volume of transit of natural gas by 47 bcm a year. And with the construction of the Novopskov-Uzhgorod pipeline (total length about1500 km), and the addition of compressor stations on the Torzhok-Dolina pipeline, the increasing capacity of the GTS could be 53 bcm a year.
The Potential of Ukrainian Gas Transport System:Construction of compressor stations on Torzhok - Dolyna natural gas pipeline allows for transit capacity increase up to 24 bcm per yearConstruction of Novopskov'' Uzhgorod natural gas pipeline with project capacity up to approximately 29 bcm per yearTotal expected increase in transit volumes - up to 195 bcm per year
Naftogaz of Ukraine constantly arranges events and conducts measures for modernization of Ukrainian natural gas pipeline network and underground natural gas storages. Compressor and natural gas metering stations, implementation of energy effective and energy saving technologies and equipment.
Today within the realization of Common declaration, signed on March 23, 2009, based on results of Common EU and Ukraine International Conference regarding modernization of natural gas transport system of Ukraine, the Company worked out separate technical and economical statements for the near-term projects of GTS reconstruction and modernization.
Within agreements with EU regarding realization of short-term projects of GTS modernization, Naftogaz of Ukraine initiated the project Reconstruction of linear structures of Urengoy '' Pomary '' Uzhgorod natural gas pipeline (the first strage) that will involve investments of international organizations.
During this event Naftogaz of Ukraine, EBRD and EIB signed Agreements regarding the financing of the project.
The project capacity of gas transport system of Ukraine towards Western Europe and Turkey is 142 bcm per year, while the real transit in 2010 was 95.4 bcm. The existing potential of transit growth is about 47 bcm per year.
Realization of the new natural gas pipeline Novopskov '' Uzhgorod project on Ukrainian territory will allow to increase transit on additional 29 bcm per year.
If the planned compressor stations on the natural gas pipeline Torzhok '' Dolyna are finished, the system capacity will increase on additional 24 bcm per year.
As a result the realization of these projects will allow increasing Ukrainian GTS capacity up to 200 bcm per year.
Also there is a possibility to increase the capacity of natural gas transportation system not only in Western but also in Southern direction. On condition of building the natural gas pipeline Talne '' Ananiiv '' Izmail and additional compressor stations, the company will be able to increase transit to Balkans and Turkey till 30 bcm per year.
Netherlands opens war crimes investigation into airliner downing - Yahoo News
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 03:32
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch prosecutors have opened an investigation into the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH-17 on suspicion of murder, war crimes and intentionally downing an airliner, a spokesman said on Monday. Based on the Law on International Crimes, the Netherlands can prosecute any individual who committed a war crime against a Dutch citizen. The 298 people who were killed when the plane was downed over Ukraine included 193 Dutch citizens.
The spokesman said that a Dutch public prosecutor was in Ukraine as part of the investigation.
The Dutch prime minister meanwhile threatened tough action against Russia if it did not do more to help.
Western governments have pointed the finger of blame at pro-Russian rebels and at Moscow itself over the downing of the plane. Russia has denied involvement and blamed the Ukrainian military for the disaster.
"It is clear that Russia must use her influence on the separatists to improve the situation on the ground," Prime Minister Mark Rutte told a committee of the Dutch parliament.
"If in the coming days access to the disaster area remains inadequate, then all political, economic and financial options are on the table against those who are directly or indirectly responsible for that," he said.
His comments reflected a change in tone from previous days, when he had stressed the importance of ascertaining the facts of the crash before considering a response.
Rutte on Monday promised lawmakers "measures would not be lacking" if it was confirmed who was responsible for bringing down the airliner.
Rutte's remarks followed days of mounting pressure calling on the government to take a harder line against Russia.
"In the Netherlands we are inclined to approach our opponents in a fair and socially acceptable way in hope that opponents will respond in kind," said Dick Berlijn, a former head of the Dutch armed forces who has been outspoken in calling for a tougher approach.
"What we have seen, especially with the Russian administration is this didn't impact at all, they saw this as a weakness," he said in an interview with Reuters.
Russia, is the Netherlands' second-largest oil supplier and a major export destination for Dutch manufacturers. But growing consternation over the fate of flight MH-17 and its passengers may be forcing the government into taking a harder line.
On Monday afternoon, relatives of some of the passengers who lost their lives met Rutte alongside the Dutch King and Queen to be briefed on efforts to recover their bodies and to allow them to give their views on what sort of a memorial service should be held.
(Reporting By Thomas Escritt, editing by Angus MacSwan)
Politics & GovernmentSociety & CultureMark RutteNetherlands
Bulgaria Prepares Government Backed Funding for South Stream
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 03:29
July 19th, 201411:58pmPosted In: Pipelines, Natural Gas, News By Country, South Stream Pipeline, Bulgaria, Energy SecurityDespite proclaiming that is has suspended all work on the South Stream pipeline, the Bulgarian government have been moving ahead to ensure that funding is in place to start construction on the portion on the pipeline which will cross through its territory after emerging from the Black Sea at Varna.
Earlier this month, the European Commission launched an infringement procedure to launch a procedure against Bulgaria for non-compliance of the South Stream pipeline section with EU legislation and requested the Bulgarian authorities halt construction of the pipeline.
Brussels believes that the project has issues of public procurement, competitiveness and incompatibility with Europe's Third Energy Package, as Bulgarian draft bills could prevent third-party access to the pipeline.
However, Capital newspaper reports that government agencies Bulgarian Development Bank (BDB) and Bulgarian Export Insurance Agency (BAEZ) are to undertake guarantees in case of litigation and financial claims against the project.
BDB is expected to issue a guarantee on the amount of approximately EUR 100 million, representing the Bulgarian part of the initial downpayment. The risk will be insured by BAEZ, although Capital points out that in this case, no question of an export of goods or services or for securing receivables from foreign customers.
EC Recommends To Serbia To Suspend Work on South Stream Pipeline
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 03:29
The EC has recommended to Serbia to suspend construction of the South StreamPipeline until it is fully in line with European law, reports BTA quoting the Serbian daily Politika.
''The EC is not against the South Stream project in principle, as it is important to diversify the natural gas deliveries in the Western Balkans,'' said the newspaper. ''South Stream is a new way of delivery, but not a new source. The EC is not against the pipeline, but against the manner the project is carried out.''
According to the EC, the South Streampipeline, just like any other large infrastructure project in Europe, must have strict and clear legal framework, which in this case is still lacking.
''The EC position on South Stream in Serbia is no exception,'' said the EC statement, quoted by Politika. ''Furthermore, not a single intergovernmental agreement on South Stream, signed by Russia, complies with EU law. Our position is uniform both for EU member states and for third countries, such as Serbia. It is in the best longterm interest of Serbia, as a candidate EU member, to comply with EU law with regard the South Stream pipeline.''
Oproep tot demonstratie bij dochter Poetin | Mh17 | Telegraaf.nl
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 15:38
Exclusieve artikelen van de Telegraaf redactie
ma 21 jul 2014, 13:34
VOORSCHOTEN - Oekra¯nse Twitteraars hebben afgelopen weekeinde Nederlanders opgeroepen vreedzaam te protesteren bij het huis van de dochter van de Russische president Poetin, Maria. Die woont in het Nederlandse Voorschoten.
In de wijk in Voorschoten is volgens Omroep West niets te merken van het eventuele protest.
De Twitteraars leggen een direct verband met het neerhalen van vlucht MH17 en de steun van de Russische president aan de separatisten.
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LATimes: U.S. officials believe attack against Malaysian plane was mistake
NYTimes: U.N. Council, With Russia in Accord, Tells Insurgents to Open Wreckage Site
Service Ceiling is not the same as Max Operating Altitude
The version of the SU25 the Ukranian state sells has a MOA of 10k meters, which 33k feet.
http://en.uos.ua/produktsiya/aviakosmicheskaya-tehnika/84-cy-25
Exactly the altitude of MH17
And this solves another piece of the puzzle; as to why Ukraine ATC requested MH17 descend from their planned 35k feet altitude to 33k feet.
http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/ukraine-traffic-controllers-instructed-mh17-to-fly-lower-mas-says
The Aviationist >> ''All flights, including Malaysian B777, were being escorted by Ukrainian Su-27 Flanker jets over Eastern Ukraine''
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:27
There are still too many unanswered questions about the downing of Malaysia Airlines MH17 over eastern Ukraine on Jul. 17, 2014. Among them, one of the most important deals with the possible error made by the operator inside the SA-11 ''Gadfly'' (''Buk'') TELAR (transporter erector launcher and radar) who did fire one or more missiles against a civilian plane.
Indeed, the operators inside the Buk could ''read'' the Boeing 777'²s altitude and transponder and could easily identify the civilian plane enroute from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur flying at FL300 inside the eastern Ukraine's airspace.
Why did they mistake a large civilian plane for a smaller Ukrainian Air Force surveillance plane?
Just a matter of poor training?
Iranian defense expert Babak Taghvaee believes the mistake was caused by the fact the Malaysian Boeing 777 was escorted over eastern Ukraine. Taghvaee is always very well informed and an extremely reliable source. Therefore, after he provided some details about this activity of the Ukrainian Air Force on ACIG forum thread about the war in Ukraine, we contacted him for some more insight.
Here's what he wrote to us.
''When the Crimea crisis began, the Ukrainian Air Force air command center quickly forward deployed six Su-27s to the Kulbakino AB. Since beginning of the crisis and the Russia intervention, the 831st TAB has the important task to provide air defense as well as security of whole country. Six fully armed Flankers have always been in the sky especially when the other Ukrainian Air Force airplanes such as transporters and attackers like Fulcrums and Rooks were in the East of Ukraine,'' explains Taghvaee.
''But when the Su-25M1 was shot down by the Russia Air Force 6969th AB's MiG-29 on Jul. 16, the situation and condition became more critical than previous days and more Su-27 sorties were conducted to confront Russian MiG-29s. I believe those two Su-27s were not in sky just for standard practice in that day [Jul. 17], I believe they were involved in HAVCAP (High Asset Value Combat Air Patrol) mission sortie in that day.''
In other words: since the Russian interceptors had downed a Su-25 on the previous days, the Ukrainian escorted all military and civil flights over eastern Ukraine on Jul. 17. Including MH17.
''During the UEFA 2012, the 831st TAB and its Flankers had same role, during those competitions they had duty to escort the airliners in FL330 and other routes in case emergency. They played same role during the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia. They were airborne and they even escorted a hijacked airplane. They were also ready to provide security of all passenger airplanes over Ukraine. They are now following same procedure and they could protect all of the airplanes over Ukraine in-front of Russians since Jul 16.''
Provided the Su-27s were really escorting or (more likely) watching from their CAP station many, if not all, civil flights over Eastern Ukraine for the first time ever on Jul. 17, in the wake of the downing of the Su-25, the operators inside the Buk may have mistaken the Boeing 777 shadowed by/near two Flankers for a high-value plane of the Ukrainian Air Force. On their radar screens, the sight of a large plane with two accompanying (or circling in CAP not too far away) fighter jets was completely new and may only mean the Ukrainians were escorting an important plane. And that would be the reason why they downed it without spending too much time analysing its transponder code and altitude.
Image credit: Ukraine MoD
H/T Babak Taghvaee and ACIG.info
Related articles
MH17 victims begin grimmest journey with chilling echo of Nazi death trains.
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 10:46
International inspectors have examined bodies in a refrigerated train carriage nine miles from the crash site Undignified scene with swarms of flies buzzing around train sparked international outrage but militia defended actionsBodies have lain on street in summer heat for two days after a missile shot down Flight MH17 over eastern UkraineBy Ian Birrell
Published: 18:47 EST, 20 July 2014 | Updated: 03:25 EST, 21 July 2014
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The stench of death is thick in the air as onlookers peer inside a freight train containing the bodies of some 200 victims of the MH17 massacre.
The scene, a grim echo of the mechanised slaughter of millions in the Second World War, has been created by Russian separatists who have collected piles of corpses from the plane crash and put them in refrigerated rail carriages.
There was international outrage over the undignified scene last night '' with swarms of flies buzzing around the train '' although defiant local militia men insisted they were doing what they could for the dead.
Scroll down for video
Lined-up: More than 40 body bags wait to be taken away from the station which is nine miles away from the crash site in Grabovo, eastern Ukraine
Transport: Rescue workers wearing face masks remove the corpses from trunks before they are put onto the train
Rescue workers at the crash site in the village of Grabovo carry a body bag containing the corpse of a passenger of flight
Horrifying: The international community has expressed outrage over the undignified scene - with swarms of flies buzzing around the train
Horrifying: The bodies are dumped in rubbish trucks by rescue workers. Despite criticism, militiamen insist they are doing everything they can for the dead
Onlookers: A mother and her young daughter walk alongside the refrigerated trains on the platform at Torez railway station in eastern Ukraine
The bodies had been lying spread out over fields for two days in the summer heat, before being removed from a large swathe of the crash site by yesterday.
Workers from local mines were bussed in to clear the corpses.Once the bodies had gone, only bloodstained military stretchers were left along the side of the road.
Controversy is now raging over not only the conditions in which the corpses are being kept, but also fears that vital evidence of exactly what caused the tragedy is being lost.
It risks becoming a gruesome tussle over the dead.
Ukrainian sources said they feared the piles of corpses might be moved to Russia or used as a bargaining tool by rebel leaders.
The bodies, each inside individual body bags, were last night still on the stationary train at Torez station nine miles from the crash site.
Ukrainian officials in the city of Kharkiv, about four hours' drive away, said there had been an agreement with rebel leaders for the bodies to next be taken there so they could be visited by grieving families.
Aftermath: Black bags are still being taken from the crash site by rescue workers
Collection: Flowers are laid on some of the corpses which are being arranged in the back of a truck
Cleared: Two workers prepare the vehicle for the corpses at a crash site in Grabovo
Macabre: The stench of death hangs in the air as the 298 victims' bodies are loaded into a refrigerated train after lying in the summer heat for two days
The international investigators, who are wearing body armour, were allowed to photograph some of the victims who had been removed nine miles from the crash site
The bodies had been lying spread out over fields for two days in the summer heat, before being removed from a large swathe of the crash site by yesterday
Criticism: The scenes, with flies swarming around the carriages, sparked international outrage but Russian militia have defended the procedure
Controversy is now raging over not only the conditions in which the corpses are being kept, but also fears that vital evidence of exactly what caused the tragedy is being lost
The bodies of flight MH17 victims are being retrieved
Though most of the bodies have been recovered, workers could be seen inspecting the exploded aircraft for further remains late into the night
Negotiations: World leaders are working to repatriate the bodies, many of which remain along the streets of eastern Ukraine
Moment black box recorder from flight MH17 is recovered
But there was last night no sign of that happening.
A spokesman for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is monitoring the operation, said rebels had told the team that 167 bodies were in the train, and added that the monitors had checked three of the refrigerator wagons.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, meanwhile, told a news conference 192 bodies and eight fragments of bodies had been placed in the train.
But he said the local rebels had yet to give permission for the train to set off.
The rebels responded by suggesting the pro-Western Ukrainian government was delaying the train's departure, and arguing they could do nothing until the arrival of the international experts pledged by several countries to help determine what and who caused the crash.
A senior official of the pro-Russian rebels' self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, Sergei Kavtaradze, said: 'They will stay there for now, until the issue is resolved. We are waiting for the experts.'
A Ukrainian worker passes body bags at the main crash site of the Boeing 777 near Grabovo, 100km east of Donetsk
Workers continue to search the wreckage of flight MH17 in the search of additional bodies as approximately 100 are still unaccounted for
Progress: Identifiable bodies have been placed in refrigerated trains as plans are under way to transport them to morgues and eventually to the families
Political: After three days of negotiations, Russia has agreed to hand over the black box and the bodies that have been recovered
Another rebel leader, Andrei Purgin, said with heavy sarcasm that the investigators must be 'walking from Kiev' as it had taken so long for them to arrive.
Mr Groysman denied Kiev had put up barriers to the investigators.
He also said that as far as he knew 38 bodies, which local media said had been seized at gunpoint from rescue workers late on Friday and taken to a local hospital, were now among those on the train.
In the city of Kharkiv, where the bodies were due to be taken, local government officer Natalia Yakovleva said they had been expecting the remains since Saturday.
The town had prepared a special refrigerated warehouse to receive the bodies and had 312 hotel rooms on standby for relatives.
'We have everything ready,' she said. 'But despite the agreement the bodies have not arrived.'
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'Doema donderdag in spoedzitting bijeen' | Mh17 | Telegraaf.nl
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 06:33
Exclusieve artikelen van de Telegraaf redactie
wo 23 jul 2014, 18:19
MOSKOU - Het Russische parlement, de Doema, komt donderdag voor een spoedzitting bijeen. Althans, dat meldt de Oekra¯ense nieuwssite Ukrinform die zich baseert op een anonieme bron bij de Doema.
,,Er staat iets te gebeuren, want veel volksvertegenwoordigers komen, misschien voor een quorum", aldus de bron die niet kan vertellen waarover precies gestemd gaat worden. Hij vermoedt dat de spoedzitting te maken heeft met de situatie in het oosten van Oekra¯ne.
Op de website van de Doema staat vooralsnog geen aankondiging van de spoedvergadering.
(C) 1996-2014 TMG Landelijke Media B.V., Amsterdam.Alle rechten voorbehouden.e-mail: redactie-i@telegraaf.nlGebruiksvoorwaarden | Privacy | Cookies | Cookie-voorkeuren
Commando's klaar voor Oekra¯ne | Mh17 | Telegraaf.nl
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 06:30
AMSTERDAM - Als Nederland samen met Australi militairen naar Oost-Oekra¯ne stuurt om de crashsite van vlucht MH17 te beveiligen, zullen dat naast marechaussees voor het politieonderzoek ook leden van de Luchtmobiele Brigade, een van de pantserinfanteriebataljons of het Korps Commandotroepen (KCT) zijn.
Samenwerken met Australische eenheden deed ons land jarenlang in Uruzgan, waar beide ISAF-deelnemers zij aan zij in de Zuid-Afghaanse provincie patrouilleerden. Die missie verliep optimaal. Zo opereerde het KCT als Special Taskforce Unit Viper samen met Australische Special Air Service (SAS) eenheden. Daarbij vond veelvuldig vuurcontact plaats, waarbij onder andere kapitein Marco Kroon een sleutelrol speelde.
InterventieAls Nederland en Australi onder VN-mandaat troepen sturen ligt het voor de hand dat ook een contraterreurteam van het KCT naar Oekra¯ne wordt overgevlogen. Leden zijn gespecialiseerd om 'hoog risico interventies' uit te voeren, zoals het bevrijden van ontvoerde staatsburgers in vijandelijk gebied of het arresteren van oorlogsmisdadigers. Chinook helikopters, een C-130 Hercules of een Boeing C-17 Globemaster zullen achter de hand worden gehouden voor een exitstrategie. Het contraterreurteam van het KCT is in staat de mogelijk verantwoordelijken voor het neerhalen van de Boeing 777 '' bijvoorbeeld overste Igor Girkin '' aan te houden en naar Nederland over te brengen. Zo'n operatie zal in het strikte geheim worden voorbereid en uitgevoerd. Of het ooit zover komt is zeer de vraag. Het internationaal recht maakt volgens hoogleraren en generaals b.d. een dergelijke actie onvoorspelbaar en juridisch gevaarlijk.
Maar dat Nederland mannen en middelen heeft om zo'n klus te klaren, werd tijdens de Balkanoorlog al eens bewezen. Eind 1997 lichtte een gespecialiseerd team van mariniers op verzoek van het Joegoslavitribunaal de van misdaden tegen de menselijkheid verdachte Bosnische Kroaat Vlatko Kupreskic van zijn bed.
Gevaarlijke klusEen kapitein op het SAS regimentshoofdkwartier in Hereford zegt dat als Groot-Brittanni 193 onderdanen had verloren, de hoofdverdachte zou worden opgehaald. Australi voert eenzelfde politiek. Westerse geheime diensten volgen sinds de crash de gangen van de hoofdverdachten. Naast satellieten en onbemande vliegtuigen die de CIA op een luchtmachtbasis in Oekra¯ne heeft gestationeerd, wordt gebruik gemaakt van J-Stars.
It's time for The Netherlands to man up to Russia - nrc.nl
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 05:33
Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte shakes Russian president Vladimir Putin's hand during a meeting in the Netherlands last year. Photo ANP/ Jerry Lampen
The downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 marks the moment for the Dutch to finally stop 'cuddling' Russia and man up, Bas Heijne writes.
The Netherlands is a small country, so the horrific deaths of 193 of its citizens when Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down in Ukrainian airspace on Thursday will have an impact on Dutch society that will last for years, if not decades. So many Dutch people have ties to the victims or their relations. Quite a few people I know have lost a dear friend or colleague '-- among the victims that I moved in the same circles with in Amsterdam were Pim de Kuijer, the energetic parliamentary lobbyist and AIDS campaigner, and Karlijn Keijzer and Laurens van der Graaff, a young couple starting off on their holidays (Laurens was once editor of an irreverent student magazine that has become a kind of national treasure). Over the last two days, Dutch Twitter and Facebook accounts have filled up with outcries of unbelief and naked grief and heartbreaking testimonies of loss, friendship and love. This is truly a national tragedy.
Yet the official government reaction to this act of terror initially seemed overtly cautious or even strangely muted. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte refused to be drawn into speculation about the perpetrators and spoke only of a great ''disaster,'' stressing that before he could say anything about it, the facts should all be known first'--a fairly typical response. Rutte is not a man to use grand words; in one of his defining speeches he prided himself on his lack of vision, which he seemed to confuse with ideology. In his brand of liberalism, Dutch citizens are on their own; the state should neither pamper nor unite them. Only when critics in the media judged his timid, legalistic reaction to the air disaster to be spineless did he speak up. At a later press conference, perhaps overreacting to his widespread image of an ever-smiling, ever-flexible politician suffering from a vital lack of gravitas, Rutte made a grandiose promise to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice. On Saturday, after having seen the images of Ukrainian separatists occupying the crash site and refusing to permit access to the bodies'-- behaving in a way he called ''completely disrespectful'''--Rutte finally showed real anger and frustration. He had had, he said, ''an intense conversation'' with Russian President Vladimir Putin. If it was not too little, it still seemed rather late.
Prime minister Mark Rutte before his briefing of the Dutch Tweede Kamer about the plane disaster. Photo ANP/ Martijn Beekman
Yes, the Netherlands is a small country, but we have powerful friends, and we are part of the strongest alliance in history. The truth is that for too long the Dutch government has coddled the dictator in Moscow, looking past Putin's blatant offenses against human decency. The Russian president, in his letter of condolence to Rutte over the air disaster, agreed to the Dutch demand for an independent inquiry. But if the Dutch government's past behavior toward Putin is any guide, there will be little follow-up.To many Dutch, any promise by Putin sounds ominous. The last time the Russian government promised a thorough inquiry was last October, when an elderly Dutch diplomat, Onno Elderenbosch, was surprised and manhandled by a gang of thugs in his private Moscow apartment, an incident that followed suspiciously close on the arrest of a drunken Russian diplomat in The Hague after neighbors complained that he dragged his crying children by their hair through his garden, which caused an vindictive anti-Dutch campaign among Russian nationalists. Nothing was ever heard about the inquiry. So far no one has been arrested.
This incident was one of many during a year that was meant to be festive. The Netherlands struggled through 2013 officially celebrating 400 years of ''friendship'' with Russia. Though there were many smiles and toasts on both sides, the year proved to be a disaster. At the start of the festivities the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs confessed itself very much in love with the idea of ''cultural diplomacy'''--the belief that you can promote trade relationships as well as human rights by exchanging artists and exhibitions with another country. This may work in a staunchly democratic country like, say, Austria, where the government shares the accepted notion of promoting tolerance and diversity trough the arts, but with an illiberal democracy like Russia it is sure to backfire. In Putin's Russia there is no ''dialogue,'' only propaganda.
In April 2013, on a visit to the Netherlands, Putin countered protests against his infamous anti-gay law by accusing the Dutch of tolerating a political party of pedophiles (which is nonsense). By creating an uproar about the arrest of the drunken diplomat and by arresting some Dutch Greenpeace activists for coming too close to a Russian oil platform, the Russians efficiently silenced virtually all Dutch protests against the deteriorating civil rights in Putin's Russia, so the festivities seemed in the end to celebrate the current state of affairs. To put it bluntly, the Dutch let themselves be bullied into submission. Though there was a lot of talk among activists about mounting political and artistic protests during the final event of the ''Friendship Year'''--a dinner held by the new Dutch king and queen with Putin and a performance of the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Moscow'--there was none. The only thing that could be heard as the sounds of the orchestra faded was a sigh of relief among the diplomats that it was finally over.
But apparently no lessons were learned. When Putin tried to legitimize his regime to the world with the Sochi Olympics, most Western governments shied away from being seen too much present at the megalomaniacal affair. Not so the Dutch, who sent a preposterously heavy delegation consisting of the king and queen, Prime Minister Rutte and Minister of Sports Edith Schippers. When Rutte was pressured by Dutch parliamentarians to bring up the issue of gay rights during his scheduled talk with Putin, the Russian president remarked that this was really not the time for such a discussion; it was all about sports now.During the opening ceremony, the Dutch prime minister sat next to Aleksander Lukashenko, the autocratic president of Belarus. When the Dutch sports minister was asked by a journalist about the arrest and maltreatment of the punk band Pussy Riot in Sochi, she speculated that the group might have come only to seek publicity for their new album. After the Dutch team won their first of their many gold medals, they were visited by Putin in the Holland Heineken House, where the Russian president was photographed informally toasting with the Dutch king and queen. When Putin reclaimed Crimea by force shortly after, this picture was seen as nothing less than a publicity disaster in Holland.
Russian president Vladimir Putin meets with Dutch king Willem-Alexander and queen Mxima during the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. Foto EPA/ Mikhail Klimentiev
King Willem Alexander is not known for his political acumen, but the oddly ingratiating attitude of Dutch government officials toward the Russians has raised eyebrows even in circles where realpolitik is held in high esteem. Apart from political naivete, the only possible explanation is a persistent fear of harming trade relations. Almost 4,000 Dutch companies do business in Russia, which puts the Netherlands in eighth place on the list of exporting countries. Holland imports mostly oil and gas from Russia, enough to put Russia in sixth place of countries from which the Dutch import.
So when the ''Friendship Year'' threatened to end in political scandal, Dutch companies like Unilever and Philips publicly demanded an end to any kind of activism. The Concertgebouw Orchestra, which before its visit to Russia had left open the possibility of protesting against the dismal state of human rights there, complied immediately. Shortly after, Bernard Wientjes, chairman of the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers, which represents ''the common interests of Dutch business,'' asked the government to do away with any moral preaching as part of foreign policy. In the past, Dutch foreign policy had always been two-faced, traditionally symbolized by the odd couple of the Dutch merchant and the Protestant preacher. From now on, Wientjes said, the merchant should rule alone. Taking the moral high ground, he added, was costing us a lot of money. In April of this year, when the crisis over Crimea was at its height, one of the top executives of Royal Dutch Shell, Ben van Beurden, made a point of visiting Putin and saying that no matter the political situation, Shell and Russia had great plans for the future.
As the tragedy of flight MH17 sinks in and the search for the guilty seems to lead indirectly or even directly to Putin's Russia, it remains to be seen how much this will change the Dutch government's seemingly compliant attitude toward Putin's blatant disregard for Dutch sensibilities. One of the effects of globalization is surely that the Dutch have realized that they are of tiny importance on the world stage. Dutch hectoring about human rights all over the globe in the past is now seen by many in Holland mostly as a form of narrow-minded self righteousness. But perhaps it is not; after all, we are also part of the united front of the West, of NATO, and of the civilized world. When the issue is no longer the mistreatment of Russian gays and local human right activists but the loss of almost 200 Dutch lives in a conflict that has been cynically fueled by our friend of 400 years, this kind of self-abasing relativism, which has become the dominant strain in our relations with Russia, will be of no use whatsoever.
Lees meer over:airplane disasterBas HeijneMalaysia AirlinesMark RutteMH17RussiaUkraineVladimir Putin
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EU delays decision on Russian access to Opal gas pipeline
Thu, 17 Jul 2014 14:51
Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:23am EDT
* Commission cites technical reasons, gives no date
* Russian ministry says decision delayed to mid-September
* Latest in a series of delays
By Barbara Lewis
BRUSSELS, July 16 (Reuters) - The European Commission said it had delayed indefinitely a decision on whether to allow Russia greater access to the Opal gas pipeline in northeastern Germany, even though its approval would improve the security of gas supply to Central Europe.
Russian gas giant Gazprom has limited access to the pipeline because of an EU law that seeks to prevent energy suppliers from dominating infrastructure.
But no-one else has taken up the spare capacity, and western analysts as well as Russian officials say giving Russia more access could play a major role in improving EU energy security because it connects to Russia's Nord Stream pipeline.
Citing technical reasons, Commission spokeswoman Sabine Berger said on Wednesday the Commission had agreed with German regulator (BNetzA) to prolong the deadline for a decision on Opal.
"It is difficult to specify the exact timing of the decision," she added in an emailed statement.
The Russian Energy Ministry said in a separate statement, however, that the decision on Opal had been extended till mid-September.
Introduced in 2011, Nord Stream pumps gas from Russia via the Baltic Sea into Germany, bypassing traditional transit state Ukraine.
Nord Stream's capacity is 55 billion cubic metres a year, but Gazprom, which heads the consortium of shareholders, has been pumping only half that.
Opal provides a link from Nord Stream where it makes landfall in northeastern Germany to the Czech Republic. It has a capacity of 36 bcm but has also been operating at half that for the past three years.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in January the Commission had agreed to allow Russia 100 percent access to Opal, but the Commission subsequently said a decision had been delayed, again citing the need for technical clarifications.
NORTH AND SOUTH
Gazprom, which has been pressuring the European Commission to lift the restrictions, is also locked in conflict with the EU authorities over its even bigger pipeline project, South Stream.
South Stream would carry gas from Russia across the Black Sea to Bulgaria and other EU states. Like Nord Stream, it bypasses Ukraine.
The Commission says South Stream breaks various pieces of EU law, including rules on third-party access and intergovernmental agreements.
Following Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region, the Commission suspended talks aimed at bringing South Stream into line with EU legislation.
Dominique Ristori, head of the Commission's energy department, said this week the suspension remained firmly in place.
"In the present context our position is very clear. South Stream has no place when we are still in such difficulties with Russia," he told a Brussels meeting on Tuesday.
Talks could resume only on the basis of "clear principles and in particular one principle is crystal clear: the full implementation of EU legislation", he said.
Russia is locked in conflict with the European Union and Ukraine over Ukraine's decision to sign a partnership agreement with the European Union and over Moscow's annexation of Crimea.
The dispute has been aggravated by a row between Ukraine and Russia over how much Ukraine pays for its gas, which has led Russia to cut off gas supplies.
Because Ukraine is a transit state for around half of the gas the EU receives from Russia, there is a risk of knock-on effects for EU nations if the cut-off is prolonged.
The European Commission has brokered talks between Kiev and Moscow, but the last round collapsed without a deal. EU diplomats said this week they did not expect new tripartite talks before the end of August. (additional reporting by Vera Eckert in Frankfurt and Katya Golubkova, Denis Pinchuk in Moscow; editing by Jane Baird)
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Trans Adriatic Pipeline - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 04:41
Trans Adriatic PipelineLocation of Trans Adriatic Pipeline
LocationCountryGreeceAlbaniaItalyGeneral directioneast''westFromKipoi, EvrosPasses throughAlbaniaAdriatic SeaToSan FocaGeneral informationTypeNatural gasPartnersBP (20%)SOCAR (20%)Statoil (20%)Fluxys (16%)Total S.A. (10%)E.ON (9%)Axpo (5%)OperatorTrans Adriatic Pipeline AGExpected2018Technical informationLength867 km (539 mi)Maximum discharge10''20 billion cubic metres per annum (350—10^9''710—10^9 cu ft/a)Diameter48 in (1,219 mm)Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP; Albanian: Gazsjellsi Trans-Adriatik, Greek: ΑδριαÏικός ΑÎ"ωÎ"ός Î...υσικÎύ ΑερίÎυ, Italian: Gasdotto Trans-Adriatico) is a pipeline project to transport natural gas from the Caspian sea (Azerbaijan), starting from Greece via Albania and the Adriatic Sea to Italy and further to Western Europe.
History[edit]Trans Adriatic Pipeline project was announced in 2003 by Swiss energy company EGL Group (now named Axpo). The feasibility study was concluded in March 2006. Two options were investigated: a northern route through Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia and Albania, and a southern route through Greece and Albania, which finally was considered to be more feasible. In March 2007, the extended basic engineering for the pipeline was completed.[1]
On 13 February 2008, EGL Group and the Norwegian energy company Statoil signed an agreement to set up Trans Adriatic Pipeline AG, a joint venture to develop, build and operate the pipeline.[2] In June 2008, the project company filed an application with the Greek authorities to build a 200 kilometres (120 mi) section of the pipeline from Thessaloniki to the Greek-Albanian border.[3] In January 2009, the TAP project carried out a marine survey in the Adriatic Sea to verify the offshore route for the future gas pipeline.[4] A route assessment survey in Albania started in July 2009.[5] In March 2009, an intergovernmental agreement between Italy and Albania on energy cooperation mentioned TAP as a project of common interest for both countries. In January 2010, TAP opened country offices in Greece, Albania and Italy.[6] In March 2010, TAP submitted an application to Italian authorities for inclusion into the Italian gas network.[7]
On 20 May 2010, it was announced that E.ON becomes a partner in the project.[8] The deal was successfully closed on 7 July 2010.[9]
In March 2010, TAP submitted an application to Italian authorities for inclusion into the Italian gas network.[7] In November 2010, TAP started a route refinement survey in northern Greece in preparation for the environmental impact assessment.[10] On 7 September 2011, the Trans Adriatic Pipeline AG (TAP AG) submitted its EU Third Party Access Exemption applications in all three host countries. Exemption will allow TAP AG to enter into long term ship-or-pay gas transportation agreements with the shippers of Shah Deniz II gas.[11][12] The exemptions were granted on 16 May 2013.[13][14]
In February 2012, the Trans Adriatic Pipeline was the first project to be pre-selected and to enter exclusive negotiations with the Shah Deniz Consortium.[15] In August 2012, consortium partners BP, SOCAR and Total S.A. signed a funding agreement with TAP's shareholders, including an option to take up to 50% equity in the project.[16] On 22 November 2012, the TAP consortium and Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline's partners signed a memorandum of understanding that establishes a cooperation framework between the two parties.[17] In June 2013, the project was chosen as a route for gas from Shah Deniz II over the competing Nabucco West project.[18] Later this year, BP, SOCAR, Total, and Fluxys became shareholders of the project.[19]
Political support[edit]Since it will enhance energy security and diversify gas supplies for several European markets, the TAP project is supported by the European institutions and seen as a "Project of Common Interest" and a part of the Southern Gas Corridor.[20][21] On 28 September 2012, Albania, Greece and Italy confirmed their political support for the pipeline by signing a memorandum of understanding.[22] In February 2013, Greece, Italy and Albania signed an intergovernmental agreement.[23]
Technical description[edit]The pipeline starts at the Greece''Turkey border at Kipoi, Evros, where it will be connected with the Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline. It will cross Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea and come ashore in Italy near San Foca. The total length of the pipeline will be 867 kilometres (539 mi), of which 547 kilometres (340 mi) in Greece, 211 kilometres (131 mi) in Albania, 104 kilometres (65 mi) in offshore, and 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) in Italy. The offshore leg will be laid at a maximum depth of 810 metres (2,660 ft).[24]
The initial capacity of the pipeline will be about 10 billion cubic metres (350 billion cubic feet) of natural gas per year, with the option to expand the capacity up to 20 billion cubic metres (710 billion cubic feet).[2] It will use 48-inch (1,200 mm) pipes for pressure of 95 bars (9,500 kPa) on the onshore section and 36-inch (910 mm) pipes for pressure of 145 bars (14,500 kPa) on the offshore section.[24]
TAP also plans to develop an underground natural gas storage facility in Albania and offer a reverse flow possibility of up to 8.5 billion cubic metres (300 billion cubic feet). These features will ensure additional energy security for the Southeastern Europe.[25][26] Total construction costs are expected to be about '‚¬1.5 billion.[2] TAP is ready to commence pipeline operations in time for first gas exports from Shah Deniz II (expected in 2017''2018).[11][27]
Supply sources[edit]The pipeline would be supplied by natural gas from the second stage of the Shah Deniz gas field development in the Azerbaijani section of Caspian Sea through the South Caucasus Pipeline and the planned Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP).[28][29]
Project company[edit]Trans Adriatic Pipeline AG is a joint venture company registered in Baar, canton Zug, Switzerland, with a purpose of planning, developing and building the TAP pipeline. [30] Managing Director of the company is Kjetil Tungland.[31]
Shareholders of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline are BP (20%), SOCAR (20%), Statoil (20%), Fluxys (16%), Total (10%), E.ON (9%) and Axpo (5%).[19]
See also[edit]References[edit]^"Natural gas pipeline through Adriatic achieves major milestone" (Press release). EGL. 2007-03-13. Archived from the original on 2012-03-08. Retrieved 2010-07-16. ^ abc"StatoilHydro takes place at TAP table". Upstream Online (NHST Media Group). 2008-02-13. Retrieved 2008-02-16. ^"TAP lays groundwork in Greece". Upstream Online (NHST Media Group). 2008-06-19. Retrieved 2008-08-18. ^"Marine survey in the Adriatic Sea to verify offshore route of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline" (Press release). Trans Adriatic Pipeline AG. 2009-01-22. Retrieved 2009-06-16. ^"Route assessment survey begins in Albania for Trans Adriatic Pipeline". Balkans.com Business News. 2009-07-13. Retrieved 2009-07-18. ^"Trans-Adriatic Gas Pipeline Co. Opens Offices in Albania, Italy, Greece". SeeNews. 2010-01-20. Retrieved 2010-07-16. ^ ab"Trans Adriatic Pipeline taps into Italy's gas grid". Pipelines International. 2010-03-17. Retrieved 2010-07-16. ^"E.ON Ruhrgas joins Trans Adriatic Pipeline". Oil and Gas Journal (PennWell Corporation). 2010-05-21. (subscription required). Retrieved 2010-05-25. ^"E.ON firms TAP stake". Upstream Online (NHST Media Group). 2010-07-07. Retrieved 2010-07-07. ^"Trans-Adriatic Pipeline begins route refinement study in northern Greece". European Energy Review. 2010-11-23. Retrieved 2010-12-01. ^ ab"Trans Adriatic Pipeline submits Third Party Access Exemptions in Albania, Greece & Italy". Greece. Energia.gr. 2011-09-13. Retrieved 2011-09-13. ^"Trans Adriatic Pipeline submits Independent Natural Gas application to Greek regulator". Offshore Magazine (PennWell Corporation). 2011-09-15. Retrieved 2011-09-16. ^"Commission decision of 16.5.2013 on the exemption of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline from the requirements on third party access, tariff regulation and ownership unbundling laid down in Articles 9, 32, 41(6), 41(8) and 41(10) of Directive 2009/73/EC". European Commission. 2013-05-16. Retrieved 2013-07-11. ^Gloystein, Henning (2013-05-17). "TAP gas pipeline project gets vital legal approval" (PDF). Reuters. Retrieved 2013-07-11. ^Geropoulos, Kostis (2012-02-21). "TAP, Nabucco and SEEP still in EU pipeline race". New Europe. Retrieved 2013-03-14. ^Lewis, Barbara (9 August 2012). "BP, Socar, Total pledge to fund gas pipeline-TAP". Reuters. Retrieved 10 March 2013. ^"TAP Managing Director: Cooperation with TANAP is milestone for Southern Gas Corridor progress". Trend News Agency. 2013-03-07. Retrieved 2013-03-15. ^O'Cinneide, Eoin (2013-06-28). "TAP confirmed as Shah Deniz 2 winner". Upstream Online (NHST Media Group). Retrieved 2013-07-11. ^ abSocor, Vladimir (15 January 2014). "SCP, TANAP, TAP: Segments of the Southern Gas Corridor to Europe". Eurasia Daily Monitor11 (8) (Heritage Foundation). Retrieved 18 January 2014. ^(PDF) >>Gas Regional Investment Plan Southern Corridor 2012 - 2021. Annex B: Infrastructure Projects>> (Report). ENTSOG. 2012-01-30. p. 46. http://www.entsog.eu/public/uploads/files/publications/GRIPs/2012/GRIP_SC_AnnexB.pdf. Retrieved 2013-02-27.^"Trans Adriatic Pipeline EU status". Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) AG. Retrieved 2013-03-14. ^Agayev, Zulfugar (28 September 2012). "TAP Gas Pipeline Project Gains Support of Italy, Greece, Albania". Bloomberg. Retrieved 13 March 2013. ^"Commissioner Oettinger welcomes the signature of an intergovernmental agreement on TAP" (Press release). European Commission. 2013-02-13. Retrieved 2013-03-14. ^ ab"Connecting Caspian Gas to European Markets. A summary of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline's Decision Support Package proposal to the Shah Deniz Consortium" (PDF). Trans Adriatic Pipeline AG. Retrieved 2013-07-11. ^"Europe's southern gas corridor: The great pipeline race". EurActiv. 2010-10-11. Retrieved 2010-12-01. ^Grgic, Borut (2010-05-11). "Getting natural gas to the Balkans". Hurriyet Daily News. Retrieved 2010-12-01. ^"Turkey, Azerbaijan sign long-awaited gas deal". Azerbaijan. News.az. 2010-06-07. Retrieved 2010-07-15. ^"Time to act on diversifying EU gas supplies". New Europe. Retrieved Jan 20, 2013. ^"Adriatic pipeline to tap into Azeri gas". EurActiv. 2010-09-15. Retrieved 2010-09-15. ^"Trans Adriatic Pipeline AG, Baar" (in German). itonex ag. Retrieved 2010-01-12. ^"Pipeline director: Gas race will have a winner in April". EurActiv. 2010-11-23. Retrieved 2010-01-12. External links[edit]
Public relations contest around European pipeline projects heats up | Reuters
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 04:36
Thu Jul 17, 2014 7:46am EDT
* Russia prints pro-South Stream supplement in Italian paper
* Tony Blair to be appointed to support Azeri gas to Europe
By Henning Gloystein
LONDON, July 17 (Reuters) - Russia is stepping up a public relations effort in support of its controversial South Stream gas pipeline project to supply southern Europe, but a rival project to bring gas from Azerbaijan is also upping its game.
Russia is Europe's biggest supplier of natural gas, meeting almost a third of the region's demand. Almost half of that gas is piped to the European Union via Ukraine.
South Stream is designed to carry 63 billion cubic metres of gas per year, equivalent to almost 15 percent of EU demand, from Russia via the Black Sea into central and southern Europe. It would bypass Ukraine and help Russia cement its position as Europe's dominant gas supplier.
La Repubblica, one of Italy's biggest daily newspapers, carried a full-page article on Thursday, part of an eight-page supplement provided by RBTH (Russia Beyond The Headlines), an information service owned by the Russian government, headlined 'South Stream on its way to going ahead'.
The article said that "new countries have confirmed their participation in the project intended to change the (gas) supply landscape of EU".
Against the backdrop of conflict in Ukraine, the pipeline plan has become a focus of tensions between Russia and the European Union. The EU Commission has suspended the approval process for the project and has put pressure on member states to freeze any work on the pipeline until the conflict is resolved.
"In the present context our position is very clear. South Stream has no place when we are still in such difficulties with Russia. Accordingly, we proposed to suspend South Stream," said Dominique Ristori, director-general of the energy branch (DG Energy) of the Commission in Brussels.
Despite the Commission's opposition to South Stream, the energy industry and most countries in southern and central Europe including Italy, Germany, Austria and Bulgaria support South Stream, saying the region needs new supply routes to avoid future transit risk through Ukraine.
Moscow has been wooing EU governments to support South Stream. Last month during a rare visit by President Vladimir Putin to Vienna, Austria gave its final approval to South Stream in defiance of Brussels.
South Stream's main partners are Russia's Gazprom, Italy's Eni, France's EDF, Austria's OMV and Germany's Wintershall
COMPETITION FOR RUSSIA
Aware of Russia's efforts to push South Stream ahead, competitors are not sitting idle either.
Azerbaijan plans to begin exporting 16 bcm of gas to Turkey and from there on to Italy towards the end of the decade via the Trans-Anatolian pipeline (TANAP) and Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), competing directly with Russian gas.
The Azeri Shah Deniz 2 gas export project is part of the so-called Southern Gas Corridor project aimed at bringing new central Asian gas supplies to Europe.
Shah Deniz 2 is led by Britain's energy major BP, which is, together with its partners, setting up the Southern Corridor Advisory Panel.
"An external panel set up voluntarily and jointly by... the Southern Corridor projects' participants to advise on political, environmental, reputational and societal challenges that may be faced by the Shah Deniz 2, TANAP and TAP projects during their early years," a BP spokesman.
The Energy Intelligence Group reported that the panel had created a three-member advisory board of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher and Peter Sutherland, chairman of Goldman Sachs International, but BP would not confirm this.
Shah Deniz 2 and TAP are losing some partners with stakes of 10 percent or less. France's Total is withdrawing from both, and Germany's E.ON is leaving TAP. (Additional reporting by Francesco Guarascio and Barbara Lewis in Brussels and Oleg Vukmanovic in Milan; editing by Jane Baird)
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Russia, Serbia sign USD 2.9bn South Stream deal and the Italian presidency is in favour of the pipeline
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 04:36
A contract on constructing a gas pipeline for the South Stream project in Serbia worth 2.1 billion euros ($2.9 billion) has been signed in Belgrade last Tuesday. Another favourable development for the project is that the Italian EU presidency is in favour of the pipeline.
"We think South Stream should go ahead, as it would improve the diversification of gas routes to Europe," Italy's state secretary for EU affairs Sandro Gozi said on Thursday (10 July) during a press event in Brussels. He echoed statements made by Italian foreign minister Federica Mogherini who visited Moscow on Wednesday and met with her Russian counterpart. She said the pipeline was "very important for the energy security of our country, as well as that of the entire European area", but stressed that the project should comply with EU law.
The Serbian contract was inked by co-director of South Stream Serbia and Srbijagas CEO Dusan Bajatovic, a deputy head of department on Gazprom projects management, Aleksander Syromyatin, and Centrgaz CEO Stanislav Anikeev.The first gas supplies through the Serbian section of the pipeline are due to begin before the end of 2016.
Russia's Centrgaz won a tender for the pipeline construction in Serbia, which had been launched in March.
Sources: EUobserver, The Voice of Russia
bulgaria south stream - Google Search
Sat, 19 Jul 2014 18:24
About 10,200,000 results
South Stream: BulgariaInformation about partners of South Stream. Personal page of bulgarian gaspipeline, photos, news, map, opinions and key events.Bulgaria: South Stream doesn't breach EU laws '-- RT Businessrt.com/business/168552-bulgaria-southstream-eu-legislation/- CachedJun 26, 2014 ...Bulgarian officials say the construction of the Russian-led South Stream gaspipeline does not breach EU legislation. The European ...South Stream Pipeline Project in Bulgaria Is Delayed - NYTimes.comwww.nytimes.com/.../south-stream-pipeline-project-in-bulgaria-is-delayed. html
Jun 30, 2014 ... A Russian metalworker attending to pipes made for the $22 billion South Streamnatural gas pipeline, which is currently stalled by European ...South Stream - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaSouth Stream (Russian: Южный Поток, Bulgarian: Южен Ðоток, Serbian/Slovene: Južni tok, Hungarian: D(C)li ramlat, Italian: Flusso Meridionale) is aplanned ...Russia, Bulgaria Seek Quick Resumption of South Stream...www.bloomberg.com/.../russia-bulgaria-seek-quick-resumption-of-south- stream.html- CachedJul 7, 2014 ...Bulgaria and Russia are seeking to soon resume the construction of the SouthStream pipeline designed to ship natural gas via the Black Sea ...Bulgaria Freezes Work on Russia-Backed South Stream Pipeline ...online.wsj.com/.../bulgaria-freezes-work-on-russia-backed-south-stream- pipeline-1402367680
Jun 9, 2014 ... The Bulgarian government said it suspended construction of the Russian-backedSouth Stream natural-gas pipeline through its territory at the ...South Stream Bulgaria - Wall Street Journalonline.wsj.com/.../eu-tells-bulgaria-to-stop-work-on-gazproms-south-stream- project-1401811829
Jun 3, 2014 ... The European Union has demanded Bulgaria suspend construction work onRussia's South Stream natural-gas pipeline project while it ...South Stream - Gazpromwww.gazprom.com/about/production/projects/.../south-stream/- Cached - SimilarSouth Stream's offshore section with the total length of 930 kilometers will rununder the Black Sea through the exclusive economic zones of Russia, Bulgaria ...Russian FM Lavrov to visit Bulgaria, discuss South Stream - News ...voiceofrussia.com/.../Russian-FM-Lavrov-to-visit-Bulgaria-discuss-South- Stream-6944/- CachedJul 7, 2014 ... The upcoming talks are expected to focus on the South Stream gas pipelineproject following Bulgaria's recent suspension of its section of the ...Bulgaria's government to collapse over South Stream | EurActivwww.euractiv.com/.../bulgarias-government-collapse-over-south-stream- 302702- CachedJun 10, 2014 ...Bulgaria's government will be the first in the European Union to fall after the EUelections, against the background of the unfolding controversy ...Searches related to bulgaria south stream
Bulgarian National Assembly will be dissolved on August 6: Bulgarian President
Sat, 19 Jul 2014 18:25
29 June 2014 | 21:54 | FOCUS News Agency
Rosen Plevneliev - President of the Republic of Bulgaria
Rosen Plevneliev: Allow me to introduce you the position of political parties and institutions which took part in consultations with the president on Sunday. The political parties and institutions involved in the consultations with the head of state, gathered around the following:First - the political parties and institutions involved in today's consultation declare their determination and willingness to provide the necessary resources and implement all necessary measures to ensure banking stability of the country. Money of individuals and companies invested in banking institutions in Bulgaria is secure and guaranteed. Banks will continue to operate in its normal course. Bulgaria is a member of the European Union. The Currency Board is strong and will be retained until the entry of Bulgaria into the Eurozone. BGN 1.95583 will be equal to 1 euro, until Bulgaria shift to euro. We have enough reserves, resources and mechanisms to deal with any attempts to destabilization, and we stand behind any bank subject to attack. Political forces represented in the Bulgarian and the European Parliament put public interest and financial stability as part of national security over political differences and join forces to achieve stability and confidence in the institutions and the economy. We take all necessary measures to support the banking stability. There are ongoing legislative changes to support the banking stability. International markets believe us. It is good we to believe in ourselves. Bulgaria's banking system is stable, well regulated and capitalized. There is no reason for panic and no reason to succumb to panic. There is no banking crisis in Bulgaria, but there is a crisis of confidence and there is a criminal attack, which have to be overcome, and the guilty - prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Political parties condemn strongly the spread of rumors and false statements to financial institutions in Bulgaria. We expect law enforcement bodies to demonstrate decisiveness and at short notice to show results. Urgent action is needed to punish the perpetrators and sponsors of this malicious phenomenon. We urge people to be calm, not to withdraw unnecessary their money from banks, but who wants to do so, can be sure that banks have the resources.Second - early parliamentary elections for 43rd National Assembly will be held on October 5, 2014.Third - parliamentary political forces declared that within the 42nd National Assembly it is impossible to form another government.Fourth - the resignation of Oresharki Cabinet will be consistent with the time required by the Constitution for consultation and the formation of a caretaker government. The 42nd National Assembly will be dissolved on August 6, 2014 by a presidential decree and a caretaker government will be appointed.Fifth - According to the Bulgarian Constitution, the responsibility for the formation of an interim government rests on the president. Before the formation of the interim government, the president will consult with the political parties represented in the national and the European Parliament.Sixth - Consultations between the president, parliament, government and political forces ensuring coordination, ensuring continuity and a smooth transition to the next administration will continue.Ladies and gentlemen, I'm proud of the constructive approach to the dialogue, with the determination and responsibility with which today's leaders of parliamentary political forces in the Bulgarian and the European Parliament responded to their mission. Once again, allow me to all of you and to all the people to thank them and wish them success. They are different, have different causes - some left, some right, but what they did today was important for Bulgaria. I thank them and wish them success. Thank you!
(C) 2014 All rights reserved. Citing Focus Information Agency is mandatory!All opinions, assessments, and statements, expressed in interviews, are personal and Focus Information Agency bears no responsibility for them.
Bulgaria Seeks Corporate Bank Rescue With Shareholders - Bloomberg
Sat, 19 Jul 2014 18:24
Bulgaria will let the shareholders of Corporate Commercial Bank AD seek ways to rescue it from bankruptcy after parliament shot down a cabinet proposal to recapitalize the bank.
Bulgarian Finance Minister Petar Chobanov discussed ''finding a working solution'' for Corp Bank by phone with Abdulsalam Al Murshidi, executive director of the State General Reserve Fund of Oman, the Finance Ministry in Sofia said in an e-mailed statement today. The fund holds a 30.35 percent stake in Corp Bank through its Luxembourg-registered Bulgarian Acquisition Co.
''State institutions will intervene'' in rescuing the Balkan state's fourth-largest lender ''if the shareholders don't succeed,'' the ministry said. ''Finding a private solution to the problem that doesn't engage public resources is the most desired outcome.''
Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski's minority cabinet is trying to stabilize the banking system before resigning at the end of this month. Bulgaria will hold early elections on Oct. 5, three years ahead of schedule, after opposition politicians won European Parliament elections and accused the ruling Socialists of bringing the country to the brink of ruin.
Lawmakers in the Budget and Finance Committee didn't approve a government plan to revise the state spending plan by raising the deficit to 2.7 percent of economic output, which would have let the next government bail out the bank with new debt sales of as much as 3.4 billion lev ($2.35 billion).
Extra SpendingThe extra spending also envisaged covering a state health-fund deficit and boosting reserves. The 240-seat assembly hasn't convened for two days for lack of a quorum. President Rosen Plevneliev will dissolve the chamber on Aug. 6.
Bulgaria is grappling with its worst bank crisis since 1997, when one third of the country's lenders were closed. The central bank placed Corp Bank under supervision for three months on June 20 after a big depositor withdrew funds.
The European Commission gave the government approval to extend a 3.3 billion-lev credit line to lenders after police arrested men they said triggered a run on the third-largest lender, First Investment Bank AD, a week later. The run on First Investment, which paid 800 million lev in deposits to clients in one day, was contained, Oresharski said on July 4.
Audit, ShareholdersLawmakers failed to agree on a draft law proposed by the central bank and the government to insure deposits in Corp Bank for more than the legal limit of 100,000 euros ($135,000). The cabinet was seeking ways to repay the deposits of Bulgarian companies that employ about 75,000 people. It was also considering repayment of Corp Bank's $150 million bond, which matures on Aug. 8, Chobanov said on July 16.
An audit at Corp Bank found missing files for 3.5 billion lev in loans, out of its total credit portfolio of 5.4 billion lev, which are linked to its majority shareholder Tsvetan Vassilev, the central bank said on July 11. It was unclear how many of the 3.5 billion loans were nonperforming, the bank said.
Vassilev holds 50.66 percent of the bank through his brokerage, Bromak EOOD. VTB Group, Russia's second-biggest lender, holds a 9.9 percent stake.
The Sofix index rose 1.4 percent to 538 at 2:18 p.m. in Sofia. The yield on Eurobonds maturing in July 2017 rose 20 basis points, or 0.2 percentage point, to 1.718 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Konstantinova in Sofia at ekonstantino@bloomberg.net
To contact the editors responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net Michael Winfrey
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David Cameron urges France to axe Vladimir Putin arms deal.
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 05:24
Embargo defence, banking, energy and air deals, Prime Minister saidCalled to freeze assets of Putin's 'crony' allies, blamed Russian PM for crashVows to agree tough sanctions on Moscow at emergency Brussels talksBy James Chapman
Published: 17:51 EST, 21 July 2014 | Updated: 22:13 EST, 21 July 2014
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David Cameron yesterday urged France to abandon a contract to sell warships to Vladimir Putin.
Calling for an economic cold war, the Prime Minister urged other EU leaders to agree tough sanctions against Moscow.
He insisted there should be an embargo on commercial dealings with Russian defence, banking, energy and aviation firms.
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Anger: David Cameron vows to bring tough sanctions on Moscow after emergency talks in Brussels
Sanctions: Putin, pictured examining aviation equipment yesterday, was at the receiving end of a stern 30-minute rant from David Cameron on Sunday. He now faces tough embargoes levied by the EU
David Cameron: Pressure mounting on Putin over MH17
Ahead of emergency talks in Brussels today, he insisted the EU should also freeze the assets of the Russian president's allies, whom he referred to as cronies and oligarchs.
Mr Cameron told MPs it had been shown beyond doubt that Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by an SA11 missile fired by separatists trained and armed by Moscow in a conflict 'fomented' by Russia.
Evoking the spectre of Nazi aggression in the 1930s and 40s, he added: 'Those of us in Europe should not need to be reminded of the consequences of turning a blind eye when big countries bully smaller countries.
'We will lose diplomatic and economic security if we do not confront the fact that one country in Europe is now being destabilised by Russia, and if we let this happen, others will follow.'
Earlier this year, Prince Charles prompted controversy by likening Mr Putin to Adolf Hitler.
Mr Cameron questioned France's plan to sell Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia, suggesting it was 'unthinkable' after the downing of the Malaysian jet.
From France with love: This is part of the Sevastopol ship under construction in Saint-Nazaire, western France, for the Russian navy. It was pictued arriving from the Baltic on July 15
Close: Putin and billionaire Arkady Rotenberg who has been been blacklisted by US sanctions
Asked about France's plan to press ahead with a £1billion contract, the Prime Minister said: 'Frankly in this country it would be unthinkable to fulfil an order like the one outstanding that the French have.
'We cannot go on doing business as usual with a country when it is behaving in this way.
'Russia cannot expect to continue enjoying access to European markets, European capital, European knowledge and technical expertise while she fuels conflict in one of Europe's neighbours.'
His remarks will embarrass France's socialist president Francois Hollande, who has refused to intervene to cancel the delivery of the vessels to Moscow, despite pressure to do so from the US even before the downing of MH17.
Former Cabinet minister Kenneth Clarke said: 'If this outrageous [Russian] behaviour is not met with truly effective sanctions, the West faces very grave problems in the next few years from Russian behaviour across the rest of central and eastern Europe, including the Balkan states and the Baltic states inside the [European] Union itself.'
Conservative MP Colonel Bob Stewart, ex-commander of UN forces in Bosnia, said Nato should now position troops in the Balkan republics and Poland.
Anne Marie Morris, another Tory MP, suggested Russia should be stripped of the right to hold the 2018 World Cup.
Grim cargo: Ukrainian rescue workers remove bagged bodies of the 298 MH17 victims from the village of Grabovo in eastern Ukraine where the plane came down. The area is controlled by pro-Russian separatists
Safety: Emergency workers put on protective gear to handle the victims, many of whom were badly burned
Ed Miliband, in Washington for a brief meeting with US president Barack Obama, said Europe faced a moment of reckoning.
'We know enough about this disaster to know that this is a moment when Europe needs to show its strength as well as its sorrow,' he added.
'EU foreign ministers meeting this week must take the first decisive steps to tighten and extend sanctions, not just against specific individuals, but against Russian commercial organisations, unless and until President Putin ceases all support for the separatists in eastern Ukraine and halts the supply of arms across the Russian border.'
Despite Mr Cameron's rhetoric, diplomatic sources played down the prospect of a major escalation of sanctions at today's meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels.
Separatist leader hands over black boxes to Malaysia officials
It was not immediately known what the Malaysian team would do with the black boxes, but there was speculation they would pass the boxes on to experts with experience of reading the data
A Malaysian investigator, left, takes a black box as it is handed over by a Donetsk People's Republic official in the city of Donetsk
Other member states are said to be nervous about the economic impact of cutting Russia off.
Stefan Hedlund, an expert on Russia based at Uppsala University in Sweden, said a full-scale economic confrontation between the West and Russia could be devastating.
'The Russian economy would be thrown into severe recession, the Ukrainian economy would collapse, and all hopes for a recovery in the eurozone would be put off for several years,' he said.
Last night the UN Security Council adopted a resolution calling for a full and independent investigation into the MH17 disaster.
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Sanctions Against Russia Affect Quarter of German Exporters '' German Industrialists Union | Business | RIA Novosti
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 15:26
MOSCOW, July 21 (RIA Novosti) - United States and European Union sanctions against Russia, introduced in several stages over the past few months, affected a quarter of German companies working abroad, deputy head of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) Volker Treier said, in an interview to Rheinische Post.
''These [sanctions] affected about a quarter of German companies conducting activities abroad,'' Treier stated, as quoted by Rheinische Post.
The most affected are the companies that have business interactions with both Russia and the United States, since their activities now have to undergo numerous checks because of the sanctions, he added.
''Business contacts of German companies conducting activities in Russia and the United States. They have to go through checks to determine whether they comply with various sanctions of the United States and European Union,'' Treier said.
The United States and the European Union have already imposed packages of targeted sanctions against dozens of Russian officials and companies in response to the country's reunification with Crimea and Moscow's position toward the situation in Ukraine.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly stated that the language of sanctions is counterproductive to all parties and could have a boomerang effect on European economies.
OFAC FAQs: Question Index
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 02:39
Full List of OFAC Frequently Asked Questions
(Organized by Topic)
1What is OFAC and what does it do?2How long has OFAC been around?3What does one mean by the term "prohibited transactions"?4Are there exceptions to the prohibitions?5How do I determine if I have a valid OFAC match?6Where can I find the specific details about the embargoes?7Can I get permission from OFAC to transact or trade with an embargoed country?8What must I do to get permission to trade with an embargoed country?9What do you mean by "blocking?"10What countries do I need to worry about in terms of U.S. sanctions?11Who must comply with OFAC regulations?12How much are the fines for violating these regulations?13Is there a mechanism for a company to report its past undetected violations of OFAC regulations for completed transactions? Is any type of "amnesty" available for inadvertent failure to comply prior to the company becoming aware of the OFAC regulations?14Can I regard previously issued and published opinion letters, regulatory interpretations, or other statements as guidance for my transactions?15
Can OFAC change its previously stated, non-published interpretation or opinion without first giving public notice?126I tried to ship a package and it was returned to me "due to OFAC sanctions." Why?127I tried to ship a package and it was "blocked" by the shipping company "due to OFAC sanctions." Why? And how can I get the package unblocked? Questions about Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs) 18What is an SDN?19How do I get a copy of this list?20How often is the SDN list updated?21How do I know what specific changes have been made to OFAC's SDN list?22Does OFAC maintain or can it create a country-by-country list of SDNs?23What do I do if I have a match to the SDN list?24What is the Control list? Who do I call about the Control list? What is the difference between the Control list and OFAC's SDN list?122What are weak aliases (AKAs)?123Where can I find weak aliases (AKAs)?124Am I required to screen for weak aliases (AKAs)?125Will I be penalized for processing an unauthorized transaction involving a weak alias (AKA)? Questions from Financial Institutions 25Does OFAC itself require that banks set up a certain type of compliance program?26How do I get the OFAC Starter Kit?27What do I need to do to comply? Do I have to buy expensive software?28How often do I need to scan my customer database for SDNs?29How do I setup a compliance program for my bank?30How do I know if my compliance program is adequate?31What are the features and benefits that banks should be looking for when selecting an OFAC compliance software package?32How do I block an account or a funds transfer?33How much interest do I have to pay on the blocked funds?34Can my bank deduct service charges from the account?35Do all OFAC programs involve blocking transactions?36I understand blocking a transaction, but what is meant by rejecting a transaction? When should a transaction be rejected rather than blocked?37My bank operates accounts for individuals living in Iran. OFAC has told us that these accounts cannot be operated. Does this mean that the accounts are blocked?38Are U-Turn payments for Iran still permitted?118I have a client that is in Iran to visit a relative. Do I need to restrict the account?39What do I do if I have a blocked account that needs to be escheated to the state?40If my financial institution receives a wire going to an embassy in a sanctioned country, can we process the transaction?41Should an institution tell its customer that it blocked their funds, and, if so, how does the institution explain it to them?42What do I do if a person tries to open an account and the person's name is on OFAC's SDN list? Do I open the account and then block the funds?43Does a financial institution need to scan names against OFAC's list of targets upon account opening or can it wait for 24 hours to receive a report from its software vendor on whether or not there is a hit?44Is there a dollar limit on which transactions are subject to OFAC regulations?45Does my bank need to check the OFAC list when selling cashier's checks and money orders? In the case of cashier's checks, do I need to check both the purchaser and the payee? As a mortgage lender, do I need to check both the purchaser and the seller's name against the SDN list?46If a loan meets underwriting standards but is a true "hit" on the OFAC list, what do we use as a denial reason on the adverse action notice?47Through corporate giving programs, many banks contribute toward charities and other non-profits. To what extent does a bank need to review the recipients of these gifts or the principals of the charities?48I just received an interdiction "alert." What do I do?49When a transaction is rejected or blocked, I have ten days to report it. Do I have to do it in writing or can I call OFAC Compliance and report it that way?50Is there a requirement for annual reporting of blocked property? Is there a required format?51How do I apply for a license to get my money unblocked?52Can U.S. financial institutions open correspondent accounts for Iraqi financial institutions, or process funds transfers to and from Iraqi financial institutions?53How do I differentiate between an "inquiry" and a "payment instruction" when a customer wants to send a wire transfer to a sanctioned party or country?54I have an account with a W-8 showing an address in Iran. Is the account automatically restricted?95Does a financial institution have the obligation to screen account beneficiaries for compliance with OFAC regulations?116On February 14, 2008, OFAC issued guidance stating that the property and interests in property of an entity are blocked if the entity is owned, directly or indirectly, 50% or more by a person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to an Executive Order or regulations administered by OFAC. We act as an intermediary bank in wire transfers between other banks. Does OFAC expect banks that are acting as financial intermediaries to research non-account parties that do not appear on the SDN List, but are involved with or referenced in transactions that are processed on behalf of correspondents?335Firms operating in the securities industry as custodians and securities intermediaries often face the question of how to accurately identify the beneficial owner of assets within an account or transaction. What can these firms do to protect themselves from the risk of directly or indirectly providing services to'--or dealing in property in which there is an ownership or other interest of'--parties subject to sanctions?Questions from Exporters & Importers 55Does OFAC have an exporter assistance phone line?56What is the difference between the SDN List and the Commerce Department's List of Denied Parties? Why can't they be integrated into one list? Questions related to NGO Registration Numbers 57How do I get an NGO registration number?58What are the chances that my application will be approved?59Do I need a registration number or license to donate goods? Questions from the Insurance Industry 61State insurance statutes regulate an insurer's ability to withhold claim payments, cancel policies or to decline to enter into policies. In some cases, insurers must commit an ostensible violation of state insurance regulations to comply with OFAC regulations. Does OFAC have a position as to whether OFAC regulations preempt state insurance regulations in this context?62At what point must an insurer check to determine whether an applicant for a policy is an SDN?63What should an insurer do if it discovers that a policyholder is or becomes an SDN--cancel the policy, void the policy ab initio, non-renew the policy, refuse to pay claims under the policy? Should the claim be paid under a policy issued to an SDN if the payment is to an innocent third-party (for example, the injured party in an automobile accident)?64A workers' compensation policy is with the employer, not the employee. Is it permissible for an insurer to maintain a worker's compensation policy that would cover a person on the SDN List, since the insurer is not transacting business with the SDN, but only with his/her employer?65How frequently is an insurer expected to scrub its databases for OFAC compliance?66Is it sufficient if my company screens life insurance policies only prior to policy issuance?67If my policyholder, who is a U.S. person, requests a change of beneficiaries and designates a cousin living in Cuba as a beneficiary under the life insurance policy, what shall I do?68If my screening efforts uncover a policyholder who became an SDN after policy issuance, can I notify the policyholder that the policy is ''blocked''?69In my letter to the policyholder whose policy is ''blocked,'' may I also instruct the policyholder not to send any more premium or that we will not accept additional premium under this account?102How can an insurer participate in worldwide insurance markets through global insurance policies if, by definition, coverage extends to potential countries? 103What if the commercial setting and/or market circumstances of a global insurance policy does not permit the use of an OFAC exclusion such as the one noted above?104Can an insurer offer global travel insurance and worldwide travel assistance without violating U.S. sanctions? 70What Is This OFAC Information On My Credit Report?71How Can I Get The OFAC Alert Off My Credit Report? 72Can I send money to a sanctioned country using a third-country company's website? Can I buy gifts for someone in a sanctioned country over the internet? The websites tell me that it's o.k. because they themselves are not sanctioned parties.73My company provides money remittance and account services via the Internet. Does OFAC have any compliance guidance for this type of business? 74What is a license?75Do I have to fill out a particular form to get a license to engage in a transaction?76Can I appeal a denial of my license application?77How can I find out the status of my pending license application?78What agencies other than Treasury review OFAC license applications and what are the roles of these other agencies?94Is a license required to enter into an over flight permit agreement with the Cuban Civil Air Authority, even if there is no cost?97What format options are permitted for submitting license applications pursuant to the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (TSRA)? 98How should I present my TSRA license application?99What is the procedure for submitting multiple copies of the same TSRA license application?
100If I am submitting multiple TSRA license applications at the same time, should I send them under a single cover letter?101Should I send a sample of the proposed export product as an attachment to my TSRA license application? 117I hold a specific license to sell agricultural goods, medicine, or medical devices to Iran. The terms of the license allow me to accept a letter of credit issued by a bank in Iran which has not been named a Specially Designated National under any of the programs administered by OFAC. The license, however, also states that a U.S. financial institution may not advise, confirm or otherwise deal in that credit. How am I supposed to know if/when a letter of credit has been issued for my sale and how do I get paid? My bank accounts are all at U.S. financial institutions.119The US exporter has a valid, one-year specific license issued pursuant to the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (TSRA) by the U.S. Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), to enter into contracts during the one-year period of the license for the export/reexport of medical devices and to ship these medical devices within the 12-month period beginning on the date of signing of the contract (the "validity period"). Out of the box, the medical device has a defective component, or a component breaks within the validity period of the license. Can the US exporter send a replacement part pursuant to its valid OFAC license as a transaction that is ordinarily incident and necessary to the sale of the medical device as a whole? 120The US exporter exports a medical device pursuant to a valid OFAC TSRA license. After a few years, some components break. The US exporter wants to send replacement parts. What is the US exporter required to do?121The US exporter has a valid OFAC TSRA license to export/reexport a medical device. The US exporter has exported a medical device pursuant to this license. The medical device breaks during the validity period of the license. Can the US exporter import the item back into the US pursuant to the original license? Technology Questions^ TOP 79Does OFAC provide its SDN List in a format that can be easily imported into a database?80Does OFAC provide its SDN List in a spreadsheet format?105OFAC says it has updated its SDN list, but when I download the appropriate SDN files from the OFAC website, they appear to be out-of-date. Where can I get the latest SDN information?81What is the delimiter in OFAC's delimited files?83How are OFAC's delimited files structured?84Does OFAC maintain its files in locations other than on its website?85Is there a version of the delimited archive that works with UNIX?86Does OFAC have an email service that will notify me when there are updates to the SDN list?87Your FTP site has gone offline. Who should I contact to remedy this problem?88I am a systems administrator looking to design an automated process that will download the SDN list without human intervention. How can I do this given that changes to the SDN list can be sporadic?89I am a database administrator at a bank and responsible for keeping my company's SDN data current. Is the SDN list comprehensive or do I need to download some kind of supplement to the list every time there is an update?90Do you offer a SDN changes file or "delta file" in a data format?91I am looking for the terrorist list on your web site so I can bring my company in compliance with U.S. law. Where can I find this list?92I'm a subscriber to OFAC's e-mail notification services. For some reason I have stopped receiving the broadcast messages when OFAC updates its website. Why is this?93I recently attempted to subscribe to one of OFAC's e-mail list services and I have not yet received my confirmation e-mail. Why is this? Sanctions List Search Questions^ TOP 82Does OFAC have a web-based SDN or FSE search engine?246How does Sanctions List Search work?247What does the Sanctions List Search Score mean?248How do I use the Minimum Name Score field and score slider bar?249How is the Score calculated?250Does OFAC recommend a specific match threshold score?251What fields influence the score?252What fields use fuzzy logic?253When conducting a search using the ID field, does Sanctions List Search account for variations in non-alphanumeric characters?287Who may use Sanctions List Search? Can we configure our automated system to utilize Sanctions List Search on a continual basis?369Does Sanctions List Search look for potential matches on all of the various sanctions lists that OFAC has published on its website? Questions Regarding Private Relief Efforts in Somalia'‹'‹129Can I make a private donation to a charity that is delivering humanitarian assistance in Somalia?130Can my organization provide humanitarian assistance in Somalia?131What if, in delivering humanitarian assistance, my organization unintentionally provides food or medicine to members of al-Shabaab?132What if, in delivering humanitarian assistance, my organization unintentionally provides cash to members of al-Shabaab?133I have heard that certain U.S. humanitarian assistance organizations are exempted from the prohibition on making certain cash payments to al-Shabaab. Is that correct?134I have family members or friends in Somalia and would like to send remittances to them. Can I do that without violating OFAC sanctions? Questions Regarding Syria'‹'‹135Are travel-related transactions permissible under the new Syria Executive order 13582? Questions Related to OFAC Syria General License No. 4: Exports or reexports to Syria of items subject to the Export Administration Regulations: 136What does the term "items" cover, and what is meant by items subject to the Export Administration Regulations?137Regarding OFAC Syria General License No. 4A, will I need a specific license from OFAC to export or reexport food or medicine to the Government of Syria? 138Does General License No. 4A authorize U.S. persons to export or reexport from a third country to Syria or the Government of Syria a foreign-made item with either no U.S. content or de minimis U.S. content? OFAC Syria General License No. 6: Personal Remittances 140May I continue to send money to family or friends in Syria? 141May I send personal remittances through the Commercial Bank of Syria, the Syrian-Lebanese Commercial Bank, or the Syria International Islamic Bank (SIIB) to family or friends in Syria? General License No. 11: Authorizing Services in Support of Nongovernmental Organizations' Activities in Syria
205Who is authorized to send money to support certain nongovernmental organizations' activities?206As an individual, may I transfer funds directly to Syria in support of authorized NGO activities under General License No. 11? Questions Regarding the Central Bank of South Sudan 142Is the new Bank of South Sudan still considered to be part of or linked to the Central Bank of Sudan or the Government of Sudan? Questions Regarding Activities in the Republic of South Sudan 143Can I export equipment for use in South Sudan's oil sector?144Can I transship equipment through Sudan to use in South Sudan?145Do I need any additional authorization from OFAC to engage in particular activities related to South Sudan's oil sector, such as paying pipeline or port fees?146Can I participate in the refining of Southern Sudanese crude oil in refineries located in Sudan?147Does this mean I can do business in Sudan's oil sector now?148Can I use a bank that is owned by the Government of Sudan to facilitate a payment for oil-related activities in South Sudan? Question on Executive Order 13664, "Blocking Property of Certain Persons with Respect to South Sudan" 368Are humanitarian aid groups prohibited from making payments to or otherwise transacting with non-designated individuals or entities in South Sudan, including militias and armed groups under the command or control of a designated individual? Questions Regarding CISADA (Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010) 149What activities by foreign financial institutions can subject them to CISADA sanctions?150Where can I find a list of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) affiliates and Iran-linked financial institutions ''blocked pursuant to IEEPA''?151How do the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations define ''U.S. financial institutions''?152How do the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations define ''foreign financial institutions''?153How do the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations (IFSR) define the term ''knowingly''?154How does the Treasury Department determine whether a transaction or financial service is ''significant'' for purposes of the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations?155When are the prohibitions and strict conditions on foreign financial institutions' correspondent accounts or payable-through accounts in the United States effective?156How will U.S. and foreign financial institutions know that the Treasury Department has made such a finding?157How will the Treasury Department enforce the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations (IFSR) with respect to U.S. entities?158Can the application of any part(s) of the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations be waived by the Department of the Treasury?159Where can I find the text of the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations? Questions Regarding Executive Order 13599 (Blocking Property of the Government of Iran and Iranian Financial Institutions)On February 5, 2012, the President signed Executive Order 13599 to implement section 1245(c) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, Public Law 112-81 (''NDAA'') and to take additional steps with respect to Iran. Effective as of 12:01 a.m. eastern standard time on February 6, 2012, the order blocks all property and interests in property of the Government of Iran (including the Central Bank of Iran), all Iranian financial institutions, and all persons determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to the order.
160Section 1 of E.O. 13599 blocks all property and interests in property of the Government of Iran, including the Central Bank of Iran, and of all Iranian financial institutions, that are in the United States, that come within the United States, or that come within the possession or control of U.S. persons (including overseas branches). Can you provide further clarification about this provision of E.O. 13599?161If all property and interests in property of the Government of Iran, including the Central Bank of Iran, and of all Iranian financial institutions are blocked, can I conduct transactions involving the Government of Iran that have been previously authorized by OFAC?162Are U.S. persons still required to comply with the Iranian Transactions Regulations?163What are the differences and similarities between E.O. 13599 and the Iranian Transactions Regulations? 164The Iranian Transactions Regulations authorize U.S. depository institutions and U.S. registered brokers or dealers in securities to process transfers of funds to or from Iran if the transfer is a non-commercial, personal remittance. Are U.S. depository institutions and U.S. registered brokers or dealers in securities still authorized to process such payments to or from a Government of Iran-owned bank that is not otherwise designated pursuant to another part of 31 C.F.R. Chapter V?165To what extent are U.S. persons expected to conduct enhanced due diligence to determine if transactions contain a Government of Iran interest?166OFAC's SDN List contains a list of entities identified by OFAC as being the Government of Iran. Should U.S. persons now block the property and interests in property of those entities? 167OFAC has granted my company a license under the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (''TSRA'') and the ITR. Can I continue to conduct the licensed transaction? 168OFAC has issued me a (non-TSRA) specific license related to Iran, or the Government of Iran. Can I continue to conduct the licensed transactions? Questions Regarding the NDAA (Section 1245 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012)On December 31, 2011, the President signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, Public Law 112-81 (''NDAA''). Section 1245 of this statute requires the President to block the property and interests in property subject to U.S. jurisdiction of all Iranian financial institutions, including the Central Bank of Iran (''CBI''). It also aims to reduce Iranian oil revenues and discourage transactions with the CBI by providing for sanctions on foreign financial institutions that knowingly conduct or facilitate certain significant financial transactions with the CBI. Although the sanctions on foreign financial institutions authorized by section 1245 are similar to the financial sanctions under the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (22 U.S.C. 8513(c)) (''CISADA'') (i.e., prohibiting and/or imposing strict conditions on opening or maintaining correspondent accounts or payable-through accounts in the United States), there are differences in the scope and operation of the two statutes.
169What is the NDAA?170What activities can trigger sanctions on a foreign financial institution under the NDAA?171Does the NDAA repeal or amend Section 104(c) of CISADA?172How does Executive Order 13599, ''Blocking Property of the Government of Iran and Iranian Financial Institutions,'' and the blocking of all Iranian financial institutions affect the financial sanctions provisions in CISADA? Do CISADA sanctions now apply to financial transactions with any Iranian financial institution?173Are there any exceptions to the sanctions provisions in the NDAA?174What are definitions for the following NDAA terms: ''significant financial transaction,'' ''knowingly,'' ''owned or controlled by the government of a foreign country,'' ''food, medicine, and medical devices,'' ''foreign financial institution,'' ''Iranian financial institution,'' ''significantly reduced,'' and ''whether the price and supply of petroleum and petroleum products produced in countries other than Iran is sufficient''?175What is the scope of ''petroleum products'' under the law? 176If oil is being provided as payment for an outstanding debt, is such a transfer considered a ''financial transaction''? 177If the CBI is involved in providing settlement services for a transaction, or is otherwise acting solely as an intermediary in a transaction between a non-designated Iranian bank and a foreign financial institution, is the foreign financial institution deemed to be engaging in a transaction with the CBI?178Are barter trades involving the CBI considered ''financial transactions'' under Section 1245? 179Does the definition of ''significant financial transaction'' exclude the passive holding of CBI reserves? Is the U.S. willing to give assurances that this will not be a basis for sanctions?180Are payments made under contracts existing prior to the date of enactment of the NDAA statute (December 31, 2011) exempted from the definition of ''significant transactions''?181Will the U.S. refrain from sanctioning foreign financial institutions that receive funds from the CBI to repay loans? What if these loans were granted for projects that might be subject to the food, medicine, and medical device exemptions under the NDAA?182Is there a difference between entities that have been designated by the United States Government for illicit conduct, such as proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or support for terrorism, and those that are being blocked under E.O. 13599? How can I tell which entities appear on the SDN List for which reasons? Questions Regarding Executive Order 13606 (the GHRAVITY E.O.)On April 22, 2012, the President signed Executive Order 13606 Blocking The Property And Suspending Entry into the United States of Certain Persons with Respect to Grave Human Rights Abuses by the Governments of Iran and Syria Via Information Technology (the ''GHRAVITY E.O.''). Effective 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on April 23, 2012, the GHRAVITY E.O. blocks all property and interests in property of persons listed in its Annex, and all persons determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with or at the recommendation of the Secretary of State, to meet the criteria in the order.
183Why did the President issue the GHRAVITY E.O.?184What does the GHRAVITY E.O. do?185What type of activities does the GHRAVITY E.O. target?186How do I know that a person has been designated under the GHRAVITY E.O.?187Does the GHRAVITY E.O. prohibit me from exporting technology to companies that do business with Iran or Syria?188If I am a non-U.S. company that exports information and communications technology to Iran or Syria, will I be designated under the GHRAVITY E.O.?189Would I need authorization from OFAC or BIS if I wanted to export goods or technology to persons blocked under the GHRAVITY E.O.?190Are existing licenses issued by the U.S. Government involving persons designated under the GHRAVITY E.O. still valid? Questions Regarding Executive Order 13608 ''Prohibiting Certain Transactions with and Suspending Entry into the United States of Foreign Sanctions Evaders with Respect to Iran and Syria'' 191What does Executive Order 13608 ''Prohibiting Certain Transactions with and Suspending Entry into the United States of Foreign Sanctions Evaders with Respect to Iran and Syria'' do?192Why was this authority needed?193What are the repercussions of an individual or entity being identified under Executive Order 13608?194Are U.S. persons required to block the property of individuals and entities identified under Executive Order 13608? 336How do I know whether a person is identified under E.O. 13608?195I am a financial institution. What do I do if I receive a wire transfer involving a listed party?196I am a financial institution and I hold an account for a listed person. What do I do with the funds?197What are U.S. persons obligated to do with property of a person listed under Executive Order 13608?198May a U.S. person deal with an Executive Order 13608-listed person so long as the dealing does not involve Iran or Syria? 199How is an identification or listing under Executive Order 13608 different from a designation?200How is this different from lists maintained by the Department of Commerce?201May a U.S. person deal with a person listed under Executive Order 13608 in a transaction that was previously licensed by OFAC?
202What if the transaction is already underway?203Can a U.S. person use a listed person to facilitate personal remittances to or from Iran or Syria?204Will Treasury pursue an enforcement action before identifying or listing a person pursuant to Executive Order 13608.? Questions Related to Treasury CISADA Findings Against Bank of Kunlun 207What were the criteria for this finding? How many other institutions were you looking at and why did you decide to take action against Bank of Kunlun?208How are you defining ''significant'' transactions and financial services?209What happens to the correspondent and payable-through accounts held by Bank of Kunlun in the United States? 210What are the consequences for a U.S. financial institution that maintains or opens a new correspondent or payable-through account for Bank of Kunlun? 211If a foreign financial institution continues to do business with Bank of Kunlun, could that lead to a CISADA finding against the other institution212Does this finding affect Bank of Kunlun's branches or subsidiaries around the world? Does this finding affect any holding companies?213Are United States financial institutions that do not hold correspondent or payable-through accounts for Bank of Kunlun required to block or reject transactions that otherwise involve Bank of Kunlun?214What is the licensing process for U.S. financial institutions that need to conduct transactions in order to close correspondent or payable-through accounts with a foreign financial institution sanctioned pursuant to CISADA? 215What is the difference, in practical effect, between this and a designation under one of your other authorities, like E.O. 13382? Questions Related to Executive Order 13622, ''Authorizing Additional Sanctions With Respect to Iran'' On July 30, 2012, the President signed Executive Order 13622 to authorize additional sanctions with respect to Iran. Effective as of 12:01 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on July 31, 2012, the order provides additional sanctions authorities to the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of State. The order builds, in part, on prior authorities set forth in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (''NDAA'') and in the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996, as amended (''ISA'').
216What does E.O. 13622 ''Authorizing Additional Sanctions With Respect to Iran'' do?217Why was this authority needed?218What constitutes a ''significant'' financial transaction under the new E.O. 13622? Is there a certain dollar threshold?219Does E.O. 13622 mean that Iranian trade partners should no longer buy petroleum products from Iran? How will this affect exports of Iranian oil?220Does E.O. 13622 mean you are designating NIOC and NICO? Can countries that have been excepted from NDAA sanctions still purchase oil through these companies without facing sanctions?221E.O. 13622 targets transactions between foreign financial institutions and NIOC or NICO. What about a NIOC or NICO subsidiary? Are transactions with those entities also sanctionable under this E.O.?222Does E.O. 13622 make sanctionable activities related to the pipeline project to supply natural gas from the Shah Deniz gas field in Azerbaijan to Europe and Turkey, given that NICO reportedly has a 10 percent stake in the project?223Are barter arrangements or other non-cash trade transactions involving petroleum, petroleum products, or petrochemical products originating from Iran sanctionable under the terms of the new E.O. 13622?224What are the definitions of ''petroleum products'' and ''petrochemical products''? Questions Related to Humanitarian Assistance to SyriaThe United States government is working with the international community to provide urgently needed humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people while applying comprehensive sanctions against the Government of Syria and targeted sanctions on key individuals and entities supporting the Assad regime, in order to continue pressuring the Syrian government to stop its human rights abuses and other illicit activities. The following frequently asked questions provide an overview of the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Syria sanctions program and guidance to the public on sending remittances, goods and services, and charitable assistance to Syria.
For additional Treasury guidance on protecting charitable donations from abuse, please view this document or visit this website: www.treasury.gov/resource-center/terrorist-illicit-finance/Documents/Treasury%20Charity%20FAQs%206-4-2010%20FINAL.pdf. Additional questions may be directed to Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) hotline at (800) 540-6322 or (202) 622-2490.
225Why does the United States have sanctions against Syria and what does that mean for me? 226How can I help the Syrian people while making sure to abide by the U.S. sanctions? 227May I continue to send money to family or friends in Syria? 228May I send personal remittances through the Commercial Bank of Syria, the Syrian-Lebanese Commercial Bank, or the Syria International Islamic Bank (SIIB) to family or friends in Syria? 229Do I need a specific license from OFAC to send U.S.-origin food or medicine to Syria? 230Can I give donations to NGOs to help the Syrian people? 231Can U.S. NGOs deliver humanitarian assistance directly to Syria? 232As an individual, can I send financial donations directly to Syria in support of charitable activities under General License No. 11? Questions Related to Determination Pursuant to Section 312 of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights ActSection 312 of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (ITRSHRA) requires the Secretary of the Treasury, no later than 45 days after the date of the enactment of ITRSHRA, to determine whether the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) or the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) is an agent or affiliate of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and to report to Congress on these determinations and the reasons for them. On September 24, 2012, the Department of the Treasury made a determination that NIOC is an agent or affiliate of the IRGC. Based on the information currently available, Treasury is not able to determine at this time whether NITC is an agent or affiliate of the IRGC.
233 Isn't NIOC already subject to sanctions?234What is the effect of the NIOC determination? Are there CISADA implications?235What are the implications for petroleum purchase transactions involving NIOC by financial institutions and entities in countries that have received a significant reduction exception from the Secretary of State?236Does the determination regarding NITC mean that there is no affiliation between NITC and the IRGC?237How does the effect of this determination compare to the effect of section 1(a) of Executive Order 13622 as to transactions with NIOC? Questions Related to Section 4 of Executive Order "Authorizing the Implementation of Certain Sanctions Set Forth in the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 and Additional Sanctions with Respect to Iran"An Executive Order of October 9, 2012, ''Authorizing the Implementation of Certain Sanctions Set Forth in the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 and Additional Sanctions with Respect to Iran,'' (the ''Order'') implements certain statutory requirements of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (the ''TRA''), including amendments to the Iran Sanctions Act and the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010. Specifically, the Order implements the requirements of Sections 204, 402, and 403 of the TRA. In addition, consistent with Section 218 of the TRA, Section 4 of the Order prohibits foreign subsidiaries (defined below) of United States persons from knowingly violating the Iranian Transactions Regulations, E.O. 13599, section 5 of E.O. 13622, or Section 12 of the Order, and provides for civil penalties on the U.S. parent company for any such violations.
238What is the new prohibition on foreign subsidiaries of U.S. persons, and how does it work?239Are foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies covered under OFAC general licenses and/or permitted to apply for specific licenses from OFAC?240Is there a wind-down or safe harbor provision in Section 4 of the Order? Questions Related to the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations and the Statement of Licensing Procedure on Support Of Human Rights-, Humanitarian-, and Democracy-Related Activities With Respect to IranThe Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") issued a final rule in the Federal Register on October 22, 2012, changing the heading of the Iranian Transactions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 560 (the "ITR"), to the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 560 (the "ITSR"), and amending the renamed ITSR to implement Executive Order ("E.O.") 13599 (other than section 11) and sections 1245(c) and (d)(1)(B) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (the "NDAA"). These new regulations implement the blocking of the Government of Iran and all Iranian financial institutions pursuant to E.O. 13599 and the NDAA.
OFAC is adding numerous new sections to the ITSR, including prohibitions, definitions, interpretations, and licensing provisions. OFAC also is revising many existing sections of the ITSR in order to take account of the new government-wide blocking as well as the blocking of all Iranian financial institutions. Due to the extensive nature of these and other amendments described below, OFAC is reissuing the ITSR in their entirety.
In addition, OFAC is publishing on the Iran section of its Web site a Statement of Licensing Procedure on Support of Human Rights-, Humanitarian-, and Democracy-Related Activities with Respect to Iran. The Statement of Licensing Procedure reflects procedures established pursuant to the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (the "TRA"), which was signed into law by the President on August 10, 2012.
241What are the major changes that the ITSR implement in superseding the ITR?242The ITSR includes revisions to the ITR pertaining to the transfer of funds to or from Iran. Accordingly, how may I transfer funds to or from Iran that arise from, and are ordinarily incident and necessary to give effect to, an underlying transaction that is authorized under the ITSR?243How can I send personal remittances to or from Iran under the ITSR?
244What effect will the ITSR have on Iranian-Americans and the people of Iran?
245What does the Statement of Licensing Procedure on Support of Human Rights-, Humanitarian-, and Democracy-Related Activities with Respect to Iran do? Questions Relating to the Implementation of Section 504 of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012On August 10, 2012, the President signed into law the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012, Public Law 112-158 (''TRA''). Section 504 of the TRA amends section 1245(d)(4)(D) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, Public Law 112-81 (''NDAA''), which the President signed into law on December 31, 2011. The section 504 amendments to the NDAA took effect February 6, 2013. Amendments to the Iranian Financial Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 561 (the ''IFSR'') were published on March 15, 2013, to implement sections 503 and 504 of the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012 (the ''TRA'') and certain provisions of Executive Order 13622 of July 30, 2012.
254What does section 504 of the TRA do?255Do the section 504 modifications restrict any other dealings with Iran?256What transactions are impacted by section 504 of the TRA?
257To which jurisdictions does the significant reduction exception apply?
258What is meant by section 504's requirement that bilateral trade consist of trade in goods and services between the country with primary jurisdiction over the FFI and Iran?259What can a FFI do with the funds resulting from the import of Iranian-origin goods or services once the funds are credited to an account? Can funds be transferred to other accounts?260What is a SPECIAL PURPOSE ACCOUNT for purposes of the NDAA's significant reduction exception?261Are there any circumstances in which funds can be transferred to third-country financial institutions?262Can funds be withdrawn from the RECIPIENT ACCOUNT or a SPECIAL PURPOSE ACCOUNT?263Who can receive payments from funds credited to a RECIPIENT ACCOUNT or SPECIAL PURPOSE ACCOUNT?264Can funds be remitted to Iran or the GOI without exposure to sanctions?265Can the funds be used for sales made under the Humanitarian Exception?314Can an exporter of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, or medical devices get paid out of a Central Bank of Iran (CBI) account at a foreign financial institution (FFI) in a country with a significant reduction exception, even though the exporter is located in a third-country? Can the third-country exporter's bank handle this transaction?266Does the November 8, 2012 designation of NIOC under E.O. 13382 impact the scope of permissible transactions by FFIs in significantly reducing countries?267What are definitions for the following NDAA terms: ''significant financial transaction,'' ''knowingly,'' ''food, medicine, and medical devices,'' ''foreign financial institution,'' and ''country with primary jurisdiction over the FFI,''? Questions Related to Burma Sanctions268What recent steps has the United States taken to ease U.S. economic and trade sanctions against Burma?269What U.S. economic and financial sanctions remain on Burma?359Which banks in Burma are available to U.S. persons?270Can U.S. financial institutions enter into direct correspondent relationships with Burmese financial institutions that are not blocked?271Does Burma GL 16 authorize U.S. persons to open accounts at blocked Burmese banks?272Does Burma GL 19 authorize new investment with the four banks?273Does Burma GL 19 unblock property of the four banks?274Is the exportation of financial services to the Burmese Ministry of Defense, state or non-state armed groups, or entities owned 50 percent or more by any of the foregoing only prohibited in connection with the provision of security services?275What is meant by ''any state or non-state armed group''? Does this include private security firms?276''Any state or non-state armed group'' is not limited to armed groups in Burma, but applies globally?277What about prohibitions in the JADE Act on dealing with the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) or any entity owned, controlled, or operated by the SPDC? Is there a chance that we could accidentally do business with the SPDC and be subject to enforcement measures?278Does Burma GL 17 authorize U.S. persons to facilitate new investment by foreign persons?279Does Burma GL 17 authorize investment in a third-country company whose main business activity is in Burma?280Who needs to report on their activities in Burma?281Is the $500,000 threshold an annual threshold, or do you accumulate investments over several years, with reporting triggered when you finally reach $500,000?282What happens if you sell all or part of your investment?283Does leasing office space constitute a new investment if the office is used for sales of goods or services?284Are U.S. persons who are employed by or otherwise work for foreign persons engaged in new investment subject to the Reporting Requirements?285If a Burmese Government minister is an SDN, how does that impact the ministry he leads?286What are the plans to update the SDN list for Burma?360Can U.S. persons sell goods or services to Burmese persons who are not on the SDN list or blocked? Questions Related to the Issuance of the Executive Order ''Authorizing the Implementation of Certain Sanctions Set Forth in the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 and Additional Sanctions With Respect to Iran'' and the Implementation of Certain Provisions of the Iran Freedom And Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 (IFCA) On June 3, 2013, the President signed an Executive Order (E.O.) ''Authorizing the Implementation of Certain Sanctions Set Forth in the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 and Additional Sanctions With Respect to Iran.'' The E.O. implements certain statutory provisions of the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 (IFCA) and authorizes the imposition of additional sanctions with respect to Iran. Most of the IFCA provisions target conduct occurring on or after July 1, 2013. The E.O. becomes effective on July 1, 2013.
General Questions 313What is the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 (IFCA)?288What is the purpose of the Executive Order of June 3, 2013 entitled ''Authorizing the Implementation of Certain Sanctions Set Forth in the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 and Additional Sanctions With Respect to Iran'' (E.O.)? Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 289How will the following IFCA terms be interpreted: ''Iran,'' ''knowingly,'' ''significant,'' ''transfer,'' ''Iranian person included on the SDN List ''?290Are payments or deliveries that are made on or after July 1, 2013, for contracts that existed prior to July 1, 2013, exempted from IFCA provisions?291How does the Executive Order relate to the IFCA provisions?292What are the implications of IFCA on the provision of humanitarian goods to the people of Iran? Sanctions Relating to Iran's Energy, Shipping, and Shipbuilding Sectors IFCA provides for sanctions involving activities or transactions related to Iran's energy, shipping, and shipbuilding sectors. 293What will the ''energy, shipping, and shipbuilding sectors of Iran'' mean for the purposes of IFCA?294How will I know if someone is part of Iran's energy, shipping, or shipbuilding sectors or is a port operator in Iran?295What are goods or services used in connection with Iran's energy, shipping, or shipbuilding sectors for purposes of section 1244(d)(3)?296Will payment for bunkering of third-country ships carrying non-sanctionable goods to or from Iran be subject to sanctions?297Are there any exceptions to the sanctions provisions of section 1244 of IFCA?315Will routine payments or fees be subject to sanctions if they are made to a person determined to be a port operator in Iran and if the vessel is carrying non-sanctioned goods? Sanctions Relating to the Sale, Supply, or Transfer of Certain Materials to or from Iran IFCA provides for sanctions involving the sale, supply, or transfer of certain materials to or from Iran. 298What materials are considered graphite, raw or semi-finished metals?299What are considered precious metals?300For purposes of sanctions under section 1245, how will I know which sectors are controlled by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps?301How will the determination be made as to whether materials are used in a manner that would make them subject to sanctions under section 1245 of IFCA? 302Are there any exceptions to section 1245 of IFCA? Sanctions Relating to Insurance, Reinsurance, or Underwriting 303Which insurance, reinsurance, or underwriting activities are potentially subject to sanctions under section 1246(a)(1)?304Are there exceptions to insuring, reinsuring, or underwriting sanctioned activities? Sanctions Relating to FFIs that Facilitate Transactions with SDNs 305Sanctions under section 1247 of IFCA apply to FFIs that facilitate financial transactions on behalf of an Iranian person on the SDN List. How does the Executive Order relate to section 1247? Executive Order 306How does the Executive Order relate to the IFCA provisions?307In addition to implementing certain IFCA provisions, what else does the Executive Order do? Sanctions Relating to the Provision of Material Assistance to Certain Persons 308What are the implications of the material assistance provision of the Executive Order? Sanctions Relating to Certain Transactions Involving the Iranian Rial 309What transactions involving the Iranian rial will be subject to sanctions? Sanctions Relating to Iran's Automotive Sector 310What is considered Iran's automotive sector for purposes of the Executive Order?311What are goods or services used in connection with Iran's automotive sector for purposes of the E.O.?316Is the sale, supply, or transfer of finished vehicles or ''auto kits'' to Iran sanctionable under the E.O.?317Is the sale, supply, or transfer of goods or services for the maintenance of finished vehicles sanctionable under the E.O.? Financial Sanctions Relating to Financial Transactions on Behalf of Certain Persons 312How does the Executive Order tighten the financial sanctions applicable to FFIs under section 1247 of IFCA? Questions regarding the general licenses (GL) for agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices in the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations 318 Does the GL for basic medical supplies authorize the export of all medical devices? 319 Does the GL for basic medical supplies authorize the export of these items to all entities in Iran? 361What items and persons are excluded from the agricultural commodities general license in the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations? 362Is the export or reexport of non-U.S.-origin agricultural commodities, medicine, or medical devices to Iran authorized? 363Is the export or reexport by non-U.S. persons of agricultural commodities, medicine, or medical devices to Iran authorized? 364Who can apply for a specific license if an export or reexport to Iran is not authorized by general license? 365What is authorized with respect to brokerage services related to exports or reexports of agricultural commodities, medicine, or medical devices to Iran? 366Do I still need to come in to OFAC for a license to export certain types of agricultural commodities to Iran? 367What is the definition of a ''bioactive peptide''? Questions Relating to the Temporary Sanctions Relief to Implement the Joint Plan of Action between the P5 + 1 and the Islamic Republic of Iran320What types of sanctions relief are provided to Iran pursuant to the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), reached on November 24, 2013, between the P5 + 1 and the Islamic Republic of Iran? 321How does the JPOA impact U.S. sanctions on Iran? 322Are U.S. persons able to engage in any of the transactions with Iran outlined in the JPOA?323The JPOA stipulates that U.S. sanctions on Iran's petrochemical exports, as well as sanctions on associated services, will be suspended for six months. What does the suspension entail and which petrochemicals are covered? 324Does the petrochemical sanctions relief in the JPOA extend to dealings with any SDNs?325The JPOA stipulates that U.S. sanctions related to gold and other precious metals will be suspended for six months. What does the suspension entail? 326The JPOA stipulates that U.S. sanctions related to Iran's automotive industry will be suspended for six months. What does the suspension entail? 327The JPOA provides that the P5+1 will enable the repatriation of $4.2 billion of Iranian revenue held abroad. How will this provision be implemented?328What does the channel to facilitate humanitarian-related transactions do? 329The JPOA provides that the U.S. will license (i) the supply and installation in Iran of spare parts for safety of flight for Iranian civil aviation and associated services and (ii) safety related inspections and repairs in Iran as well as associated services. What does this entail?330What does the pause in the reduction of imports in Iranian crude oil mean?331If contracts related to activities for which sanctions relief has been provided pursuant to the JPOA are entered into during the six-month period, and such contracts terminate after the period ends, will transactions or other activities undertaken pursuant to those contracts after the end of the six months be sanctionable?332Will payment received during the six-month period of the JPOA for activity covered by the JPOA that took place prior to start of the suspension of sanctions benefit from the sanctions relief?333How does the temporary relief provided by the JPOA affect the provision of insurance for transactions involving Iran?334Are transactions with Tidewater Middle East Co. still sanctionable? Questions Relating to Iranian General License D-1On May 30, 2013, the Department of the Treasury, in consultation with the Departments of State and Commerce, issued General License D (''GL D'') authorizing the export and reexport to Iran of certain hardware, software, and services incident to personal communications. On February 7, 2014, the Department of the Treasury, in consultation with the Departments of State and Commerce, issued amended Iranian General License D-1 (''GL D-1''), which clarifies certain aspects of GL D and adds certain new authorizations. Effective February 7, 2014, GL D-1 replaces and supersedes in its entirety GL D.
General Questions337What are key changes made by amended General License D-1?338With respect to the authorizations in paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2), what services and software are covered?339With respect to the authorization in paragraph (a)(3), do exporters need to make a determination as to whether an export of an item or service listed in the Annex to GL D-1 is ''incident to personal communications''?340What should I do if I am unsure whether an item or service is covered by GL D-1? 341May a non-U.S. person export, reexport, or provide to Iran hardware and software that is subject to the EAR pursuant to GL D-1?342 Does GL D-1 authorize U.S. persons located outside the United States to export or reexport to Iran certain specified hardware or software that is not subject to the EAR? 343 Does GL D-1 authorize the exportation to Iran and importation into the United States of personal communication devices by persons travelling from the United States to Iran and back to the United States?344How do the authorizations in paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(2), and (a)(6) of GL D-1 compare to the previously existing general license in 31 C.F.R. § 560.540 authorizing certain services and software incident to Internet-based communications? 345 How can U.S. companies arrange for payment from Iran for exports authorized under GLD-1?346 What kind of due diligence is required for the exportation of fee-based services, software, or hardware authorized by GL D-1? 347 Are there any restrictions as to the use of the Farsi language in authorized advertising or software?348May U.S. persons employ agents in Iran to facilitate sales, create or fund a physical sales presence on the ground in Iran, or utilize Iranian commercial marketing services in furtherance of exports authorized under GL D-1? Questions as to Specific Software, Hardware, and Services349Are all applications designed to run on mobile operating systems (''apps'') covered by GL D-1?350 Is the exportation of anti-virus, anti-malware, anti-tracking, and anti-censorship software authorized?351 What do Secure Socket Layers (SSLs), listed in the Annex to GL D-1, encompass?352 Are mobile phone accessories and computer accessories and peripherals authorized for export under GL D-1?353Is the exportation of parts or components for authorized hardware, such as microprocessors, authorized under GL D-1?354Does GL D-1 authorize the export of bundled software that includes both software authorized by GL D-1 and software that is not authorized by GL D-1? 355 Does GL D-1 authorize the exportation to Iran of fee-based desktop publishing software and productivity software suites used to publish documents, presentations, spreadsheets, charts, music, movies, and digital images?356Does GL D-1 authorize the exportation of fee-based cloud computing services to Iran?357For purposes of category (5) of the Annex to GL D-1, what would be considered ''software required for effective consumer use'' of personal computing devices, laptops, and tablets?358What are ''residential consumer'' satellite terminals and transceiver equipment? Questions Related to Sectoral Sanctions under Executive Order 13662 370What is this prohibition under Executive Order (E.O.) 13662? Is it a blocking action?371What does OFAC interpret to be debt and equity? Are there other prohibited activities under these directives? Can U.S. financial institutions continue to maintain correspondent accounts and process U.S. dollar-clearing transactions for the entities identified by this order?372Does today's action prohibit U.S. persons from entering into derivatives contracts linked to debt or equity issued on or after July 16, 2014 by the entities identified today?373Do the prohibitions under E.O. 13662 also extend to debt and equity issued by entities owned 50 percent or more by the entities identified by this order, as per guidance OFAC issued on February 14, 2008?374If I own a Kalashnikov product, is that product blocked by sanctions? Am I able to resell a Kalashnikov product at a gun show or other secondary market?375If I have Kalashnikov products in my inventory, can I sell them?
U.S. Sanctions Finally Hit Russia Where It Counts - Businessweek
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 02:01
The U.S. just punched the Russian economy in the gut. Four months after the Obama administration first hit members of President Vladimir Putin's inner circle with travel bans and asset freezes over Russia's incursion into Ukraine and Crimea, the U.S. has finally done what so many people always thought it would take to get Russia's attention: target the country's state-owned banks, energy companies, and defense firms that make up the core of its resource-driven economy.
In an announcement on Wednesday afternoon, the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) added some of Russia's biggest and most important institutions to its sanctions list (PDF). Among them are Rosneft, Russia's state-owned oil giant; Gazprombank, the finance arm of Russia's largest natural gas company; Novatek, a private company that competes with Gazprom; and Vnesheconombank, or VEB, the state economic development bank that facilitates Russian companies exports overseas.
Though the language isn't precisely clear, it appears these companies will no longer be able to do business in U.S. dollars. Nor will they have access to American debt markets for loans lasting longer than three months. Cutting off a giant investment-intensive company like Rosneft from the world's deepest capital markets is a big blow. It'll likely raise its operating costs and make Rosneft less competitive. That could affect ExxonMobil (XOM), which has long-standing business ties with Rosneft, including a joint venture that includes plans to drill for oil together in the Arctic, frack shale fields in Siberia, and start construction on a natural gas export terminal in eastern Russia.
Indeed, the new round of sanctions comes as U.S. business groups were ratcheting up their opposition to just this sort of thing. Last month the Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers announced plans to run ads in U.S. newspapers warning that further sanctions will have consequences for U.S. workers and companies that do business in Russia.
Pre-existing contracts appear to be exempt from the sanctions. In April, Bloomberg reported that executives at Gazprombank and VEB were preparing for possible sanctions against them.
''This is what everyone thought should have happened in the first place,'' says William Taylor, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. ''It definitely raises things several notches. Taylor says the sanctions could end up increasing the cost of borrowing for Russian businesses and slow the economy there.
In the hours after the sanctions were announced, the ruble fell by the most in two weeks. ''[Russia] is teetering on the edge now and this will be enough to push it over,'' David Riedel, president of Riedel Research Group, wrote in an e-mail to Bloomberg News.
These new sanctions come amid reports that Russian troops are again gathering at the border with Ukraine. While the first round had an impact on the economy, sparking $74.6 billion to leave Russia during the first six months of the year, it's not clear it truly altered Putin's strategy over Ukraine.
''The real question is to what extent do these measures isolate these companies and whether they begin to feel the costs of the Kremlin's decisions,'' says Sarah Mendelson, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, who was until May the lead person at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) responsible for democracy, human rights, and governance.
This time it appears as though the Europeans are more in step with the U.S. than they were this spring. EU leaders are meeting in Brussels to come up with their own response, which could include limiting Russian access to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank, along with sanctioning more Crimean individuals and institutions, according to Bloomberg.
''This is certainly a major escalation,'' says Samuel Charap, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies and a State Department official during President Obama's first term. The question, he says, is how far the U.S. is willing to go to keep Russia from trying to exert control over Ukraine. ''I'm not sure we can inflict enough pain to make losing Ukraine palatable to Moscow,'' he says. ''It's hard for us to imagine how important Ukraine is to them and how far they're willing to go. The question on a strategic level is 'How far is the U.S. willing to go?'''
MH17: Tony Blair calls for EU defence plan to stand up to Putin - Telegraph
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 01:17
''If you look at any of the crises that are happening, whether it's in Syria on the doorstep of Europe, Libya on the doorstep of Europe, Ukraine on the doorstep of Europe, we are completely dependent on the United States.
''I'm a great fan of the US and it's important we remain strong allies of the US, but it's important we develop the capability to be able to handle the problems on our own doorstep.
''What I would like to see us develop, and Britain can play a central role in this, is how we make sure that Europe as a commercial market and political union today exercises the power that manages to shape the events on our doorstep rather than having to turn to the US for their help. When the US is unable to, we are powerless.''
Putin must realise that if pro-Russian separatists are proven to be responsible for the ''hideous'' shooting down of MH17, he must ''take responsibility.''
Mr Blair told an event to mark 20 years since he was elected Labour leader that in the face of Russia, Europe and the US must ''stay together'' in challenging Putin.
''Whatever gaps and differences there are in their position, those gaps should be bridges. It's absolutely essential that Russia gets a strong and united message, and it has to get with America and Europe standing together.''
Britain should be ''leading in Europe'' instead of considering a referendum which will create two years of uncertainty if the Conservatives win the next election, Mr Blair said.
The comments will reignite the row over what '' if any '' military co-operation should happen in Europe outside of Nato.
The EU has a small standing Army of 6,000 soldiers in the Eurocorps, made up of nine nations, mainly France and Germany.
As Prime Minister, Mr Blair faced a furious backlash over proposals for British troops to join a 60,000-strong EU defence force. Mr Blair insisted Britain would retain command over any troops it committed by the Tories warned it was the beginning of a ''Euro-Army'' and an unacceptable level of integration.
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Organizers: Russian Grand Prix to go ahead
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 05:15
MOSCOW (AP) -- Organizers insist Russia's first Formula One Grand Prix will go ahead as planned despite an airliner being shot down in the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine.Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed Thursday in eastern Ukraine. All 298 people on board are believed to have been killed.Ukraine accused pro-Russian separatists of shooting the plane down, something the rebels deny.The promoters of the Oct. 12 Russian Grand Prix in Sochi told The Associated Press in a statement Friday that "all the preparations are on track and run according to the schedule," and that "organisers are confident that the inaugural Russian Grand Prix will be comfortable for all."Sochi's Olympic Park circuit is located in southern Russia, around 540 kilometers (335 miles) from the crash site.
Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova to obtain non-NATO ally status
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 05:01
Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova to obtain non-NATO ally status[ 17 July 2014 11:51 ]
Baku '' APA. The U.S. Congress passed in two readings a Russian aggression prevention bill that provides major non-NATO ally status for Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova (during the period in which each of such countries meets specified criteria) for purposes of the transfer or possible transfer of defense articles or defense services. The bill was submitted to the competent commission for being prepared for the final reading, APA reports, quoting the official website of the U.S. Congress.
The bill directs President Barack Obama to increase U.S. Armed Forces interactions with the armed forces of Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia; and U.S and NATO security assistance to such states. Armenia is not included in the list.
The bill also amends the Natural Gas Act to apply the expedited application and approval process for natural gas exports to World Trade Organization members, and urges the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Trade and Development Agency, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the World Bank Group, and the European Bank for Reconstruction to promote assistance to Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova in order to exploit natural gas and oil reserves and to develop alternative energy sources.
The document prohibits any federal department or agency from taking any action that recognizes Russian Federation sovereignty over Crimea or otherwise endorses the Russian Federation's illegal annexation of Crimea, and directs the Secretary of State to strengthen democratic institutions, the independent media, and political and civil society organizations in countries of the former Soviet Union; and increase educational and cultural exchanges with countries of the former Soviet Union.
Russia 'to reopen Lourdes spy base in Cuba'.
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 04:13
16 July 2014Last updated at 18:30 ET Russia has made a deal with Cuba to reopen an electronic listening post on the Caribbean island that was used by the Soviets to spy on the US during the Cold War, Russian officials say.
The Lourdes base near Havana lies 250km (150 miles) from the US coast.
The agreement with Cuba came during a visit to the Communist-run island by Russian President Vladimir Putin last week, the Kommersant newspaper says.
Mr Putin closed the base in 2001, citing concerns over its cost.
A Russian security source quoted by Reuters news agency confirmed the Kommersant report, saying "a framework agreement has been agreed".
Russia-US relations have plummeted over the Ukraine conflict and Russia's annexation of Crimea.
During his visit to Cuba last Friday Mr Putin agreed to write off 90% of Cuba's $32bn (£19bn) Soviet-era debt, Kommersant reported.
The Lourdes base began operations in 1967 and provided intelligence for Soviet state security bodies. It also handled secret communications for the Soviet navy.
In Soviet times some 3,000 specialists worked there, then in the 1990s Russia reduced the staff by about half. Kommersant says staffing on that level would not be required now, because of improvements in technology.
When Russia shut the base in 2001 the annual cost - the rent paid to Cuba - was $200m.
Cuba was a Cold War hotspot. The crisis over Soviet missiles in Cuba in 1962 almost escalated into nuclear war.
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Russia Seeks to Cut Dependence on IBM, Microsoft Amid Sanctions
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 03:17
July 21 (Bloomberg) -- Bloomberg's Ryan Chilcote reports on mounting international pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin over the downing of flight MH17 in Ukraine. He speaks on ''Bloomberg Surveillance.''
Russia's parliament is preparing new rules in a bid to cut its reliance on foreign technology suppliers after U.S. sanctions against some of the country's largest companies, a move that could hurt sales at vendors such as Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and International Business Machines Corp. (IBM)
The State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, is drafting a bill to require government agencies and state-run enterprises to give preference to local providers of software and hardware, according to a document from the commission for strategic information systems obtained by Bloomberg News. The paper addresses criteria for tender processes such as favoring products that don't have imported, licensed components.
''This all has to do with sanctions,'' Andrey Chernogorov, executive secretary of the commission, said in a phone interview. ''Given the current international tensions, substituting imports with local software and hardware becomes the key to ensuring self sufficiency.''
The Obama administration on July 16 tightened sanctions on Russian banks, energy and defense companies to punish the country over its interference in Ukraine. On the following day, the downing of a Malaysia Airlines jet caught in the military conflict, killing all 298 people on board, sent the Ukraine crisis into a new phase and raises the prospect of further sanctions.
H-P, OracleHewlett-Packard Co. (HP), IBM, Microsoft, Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO), Oracle Corp. (ORCL) and Germany's SAP SE had combined revenue of 285 billion rubles ($8.1 billion) from Russia last year, according to estimates by the Russian Academy of Sciences that are included in the commission's document. Hewlett-Packard and IBM together accounted for almost 78 percent of the figure. About 77 percent of the total sales were contracts from the government and state-controlled companies, it said.
Spokesmen for IBM and Oracle in the U.K. declined to comment on the planned law. Representatives for Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, SAP and Cisco didn't immediately return phone calls and e-mails seeking comment.
Hewlett-Packard slipped 0.5 percent at 9:48 a.m. in New York trading. IBM fell 1.2 percent, Microsoft lost 0.5 percent, Cisco dropped 0.1 percent and Oracle rose 0.3 percent. SAP lost 0.5 percent in Frankfurt trading.
The commission accelerated preparation for the bill after reports that American technology companies may cut off services to Russian banks and companies to comply with U.S. sanctions, Chernogorov said. The proposal may be submitted for a parliamentary vote in September, he said.
Rosneft, VEBAmong Russian companies the U.S. imposed lending curbs on last week are energy giants OAO Rosneft (ROSN) and OAO Novatek (NVTK) as well as Vnesheconombank and OAO Gazprombank. Since sanctions against Russia were first announced in March, President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly called for substituting imports with domestic production to limit the threat to Russia's economic growth.
With the lack of regulations in post-Soviet Russia that govern the award of technology contracts, foreign vendors account for 67 percent of software used in the country and about 90 percent of hardware, according to the commission. Foreign software may have hidden capabilities such as ''bugs'' and ''backdoors,'' giving suppliers access to confidential data, Chernogorov said.
Russia's Communications Ministry is among agencies seeking to cut dependence on foreign vendors as it develops its e-government initiative, a unified database of personal data used to provide online services such as granting a license permit or assigning a child to school.
Local Production''The idea of supporting local IT production is justified,'' said Nikolay Komlev, executive director of the Russian Association of Computer and IT Enterprises, which represents multinationals such as IBM and Hewlett-Packard as well as Russian vendors. ''Still, its implementation proposed by State Duma may give a competitive advantage to not the most efficient companies.''
Russia's largest IT companies with annual revenue exceeding $1 billion include NCC, Lanit, Technoserv, NVision Group and IBS Group Holding Ltd. (IBSG), according to CNews Analytics.
To contact the reporter on this story: Ilya Khrennikov in Moscow at ikhrennikov@bloomberg.net
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net Torrey Clark
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Ukraine-related Sanctions; Publication of Executive Order 13662 Sectoral Sanctions Identifications List
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 12:43
'‹Today, OFAC is introducing the Sectoral Sanctions Identifications List to identify persons operating in sectors of the Russian economy identified by the Secretary of the Treasury pursuant to Executive Order 13662. Directives found within the list describe prohibitions on dealings with the persons identified.
Please see the following frequently asked questions for more information on sectoral sanctions.
Specially Designated Nationals List Update
In addition, the following individuals have been added to OFAC's SDN List:
BESEDA, Sergey (a.k.a. BESEDA, Sergei; a.k.a. BESEDA, Sergei Orestovoch); DOB 1954; Commander of the Fifth Service of the FSB; Commander of the Service for Operational Information and International Communications of the FSB; FSB Colonel General; Colonel-General (individual) [UKRAINE2].
BORODAI, Aleksandr (a.k.a. BORODAI, Alexander); DOB 25 Jul 1972; nationality Russia (individual) [UKRAINE].
NEVEROV, Sergei Ivanovich (a.k.a. NEVEROV, Sergei; a.k.a. NEVEROV, Sergey); DOB 21 Dec 1961; POB Tashtagol, Russia; Deputy Chairman of the State Duma of the Russian Federation; Member of the State Duma Committee on Housing Policy and Housing and Communal Services (individual) [UKRAINE2].
SAVELYEV, Oleg Genrikhovich; DOB 27 Oct 1965; POB St. Petersburg, Russia; Minister for Crimean Affairs (individual) [UKRAINE2].
SHCHEGOLEV, Igor (a.k.a. SHCHYOGOLEV, Igor Olegovich); DOB 10 Nov 1965; POB Vinnitsa, Ukraine; alt. POB Vinnytsia, Ukraine; Aide to the President of the Russian Federation (individual) [UKRAINE2].
The following entities have been added to OFAC's SDN List:
DONETSK PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC, Donetsk Region, Ukraine [UKRAINE].
FEDERAL STATE UNITARY ENTERPRISE STATE RESEARCH AND PRODUCTION ENTERPRISE BAZALT (a.k.a. FEDERAL STATE UNITARY ENTERPRISE, STATE RESEARCH AND PRODUCTION ENTERPRISE BAZALT; a.k.a. FSUE SRPE BAZALT; a.k.a. STATE RESEARCH AND PRODUCTION ENTERPRISE BAZALT), 32 Velyaminovskaya, Moscow 105318, Russia; Website www.bazalt.ru; Email Address moscow@bazalt.ru [UKRAINE2].
FEODOSIYA ENTERPRISE (a.k.a. FEODOSIA OIL PRODUCTS SUPPLY CO.; a.k.a. FEODOSIYA ENTERPRISE ON PROVIDING OIL PRODUCTS; a.k.a. FEODOSIYSKE COMPANY FOR THE OIL; a.k.a. THEODOSIYA OIL TERMINAL), Feodosiya, Geologicheskaya str. 2, Crimea 98107, Ukraine; Feodosia, Str. Geological 2, Crimea 98107, Ukraine [UKRAINE].
JOINT STOCK COMPANY CONCERN RADIO-ELECTRONIC TECHNOLOGIES (a.k.a. CONCERN RADIO-ELECTRONIC TECHNOLOGIES; a.k.a. "KRET"), 20/1 Korp. 1 ul. Goncharnaya, Moscow 109240, Russia; Website http://www.kret.com; Registration ID 1097746084666 [UKRAINE2].
JOINT STOCK COMPANY CONCERN SOZVEZDIE (a.k.a. JSC CONCERN SOZVEZDIE), 14 Plekhanovskaya Street, Voronezh, Russia; 14 ul. Plekhanovskaya, Voronezh, Voronezhskaya obl. 394018, Russia; Registration ID 1053600445337 [UKRAINE2].
JOINT STOCK COMPANY MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL CORPORATION NPO MASHINOSTROYENIA (a.k.a. JOINT STOCK COMPANY MILITARY INDUSTRIAL CONSORTIUM NPO MASHINOSTROYENIA; a.k.a. JSC MIC NPO MASHINOSTROYENIA; a.k.a. MIC NPO MASHINOSTROYENIA JSC; a.k.a. MIC NPO MASHINOSTROYENIYA JSC; a.k.a. MILITARY INDUSTRIAL CORPORATION NPO MASHINOSTROENIA OAO; a.k.a. OPEN JOINT STOCK COMPANY MILITARY INDUSTRIAL CORPORATION SCIENTIFIC AND PRODUCTION MACHINE BUILDING ASSOCIATION; a.k.a. VOENNO-PROMYSHLENNAYA KORPORATSIYA NAUCHNO-PROIZVODSTVENNOE OBEDINENIE MASHINOSTROENIYA OAO; a.k.a. VPK NPO MASHINOSTROENIYA), 33, Gagarina St., Reutov-town, Moscow Region 143966, Russia; 33 Gagarin Street, Reutov, Moscow Region 143966, Russia; 33 Gagarina ul., Reutov, Moskovskaya obl 143966, Russia; Website www.npomash.ru; Email Address export@npomash.ru; alt. Email Address vpk@npomash.ru; Registration ID 1075012001492 (Russia); Tax ID No. 5012039795 (Russia); Government Gazette Number 07501739 (Russia) [UKRAINE2].
JOINT-STOCK COMPANY CONCERN ALMAZ-ANTEY (a.k.a. ALMAZ-ANTEY CORP; a.k.a. ALMAZ-ANTEY DEFENSE CORPORATION; a.k.a. ALMAZ-ANTEY JSC; f.k.a. OTKRYTOE AKTSIONERNOE OBSHCHESTVO KONTSERN PVO ALMAZ ANTEI), 41 ul.Vereiskaya, Moscow 121471, Russia; Website almaz-antey.ru; Email Address antey@almaz-antey.ru [UKRAINE2].
KALASHNIKOV CONCERN (a.k.a. CONCERN KALASHNIKOV; a.k.a. IZHEVSKIY MASHINOSTROITEL'NYI ZAVOD OAO; f.k.a. IZHMASH R&D CENTER; f.k.a. JSC NPO IZHMASH; f.k.a. NPO IZHMASH OAO; a.k.a. OJSC CONCERN KALASHNIKOV; f.k.a. OJSC IZHMASH; f.k.a. SCIENTIFIC PRODUCTION ASSOCIATION IZHMASH JOINT STOCK COMPANY), 3, Derjabin Pr., Izhevsk, Udmurt Republic 426006, Russia; Registration ID 1111832003018 [UKRAINE2].
KONSTRUKTORSKOE BYURO PRIBOROSTROENIYA OTKRYTOE AKTSIONERNOE OBSHCHESTVO (a.k.a. INSTRUMENT DESIGN BUREAU; a.k.a. JSC KBP INSTRUMENT DESIGN BUREAU; a.k.a. KBP INSTRUMENT DESIGN BUREAU; a.k.a. KBP INSTRUMENT DESIGN BUREAU JOINT STOCK COMPANY; a.k.a. "KBP OAO"), 59 Shcheglovskaya Zaseka ul., Tula 300001, Russia; Website www.kbptula.ru; Email Address kbkedr@tula.net; Registration ID 1117154036911 (Russia); Government Gazette Number 07515747 (Russia) [UKRAINE2].
LUHANSK PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC (a.k.a. LUGANSK PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC; a.k.a. PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF LUHANSK), Luhansk Region, Ukraine [UKRAINE].
URALVAGONZAVOD (a.k.a. NAUCHNO-PROIZVODSTVENNAYA KORPORATSIYA URALVAGONZAVOD OAO; a.k.a. NPK URALVAGONZAVOD; a.k.a. NPK URALVAGONZAVOD OAO; a.k.a. OJSC RESEARCH AND PRODUCTION CORPORATION URALVAGONZAVOD; a.k.a. RESEARCH AND PRODUCTION CORPORATION URALVAGONZAVOD; a.k.a. RESEARCH AND PRODUCTION CORPORATION URALVAGONZAVOD OAO; a.k.a. URALVAGONZAVOD CORPORATION; a.k.a. "UVZ"), 28, Vostochnoye shosse, Nizhni Tagil, Sverdlovsk region 622007, Russia; 28 Vostochnoe shosse, Nizhni Tagil, Sverdlovskaya oblast 622007, Russia; 40, Bolshaya Yakimanka Street, Moscow 119049, Russia; Vistochnoye Shosse, 28, Nizhny Tagil 622007, Russia; Website http://www.uvz.ru/; alt. Website http://uralvagonzavod.com/; Email Address web@uvz.ru [UKRAINE2].
Sectoral Sanctions Identifications List Update
The following entities have been added to OFAC's Sectoral Sanctions Identifications List:
GAZPROMBANK OAO (a.k.a. GAZPROMBANK GAS INDUSTRY OJSC; a.k.a. GAZPROMBANK OJSC; a.k.a. GAZPROMBANK OPEN JOINT STOCK COMPANY; a.k.a. GAZPROMBANK OTKRYTOE AKTSIONERNOE OBSHCHESTVO; a.k.a. GPB, OAO; a.k.a. GPB, OJSC), 16, Building 1, Nametkina St., Moscow 117420, Russia; 63, Novocheremushkinskaya St., Moscow 117418, Russia; SWIFT/BIC GAZPRUMM; Website www.gazprombank.ru; Email Address mailbox@gazprombank.ru; Registration ID 1027700167110; Tax ID No. 7744001497; Government Gazette Number 09807684 [UKRAINE-EO13662].
OAO NOVATEK (a.k.a. FINANSOVO-INVESTITSIONNAYA KOMPANIYA NOVAFININVEST OAO; a.k.a. NOVATEK), 2, Udaltsova Street, Moscow 119415, Russia; 22 A, Pobedy Street, Tarko-Sale, Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District 629580, Russia; 22a Pobedy ul., Tarko-Sale, Purovski raion, Tyumenskaya Oblast 629850, Russia; Email Address novatek@novatek.ru; Registration ID 1026303117642 (Russia); Government Gazette Number 33556474 (Russia) [UKRAINE-EO13662].
OPEN JOINT-STOCK COMPANY ROSNEFT OIL COMPANY (a.k.a. OAO ROSNEFT OIL COMPANY; a.k.a. OIL COMPANY ROSNEFT; a.k.a. OJSC ROSNEFT OIL COMPANY; a.k.a. ROSNEFT; a.k.a. ROSNEFT OIL COMPANY), 26/1 Sofiyskaya Embankment, Moscow 115035, Russia; Website www.rosneft.com; alt. Website www.rosneft.ru; Email Address postman@rosneft.ru; Registration ID 1027700043502 (Russia); Tax ID No. 7706107510 (Russia); Government Gazette Number 00044428 (Russia) [UKRAINE-EO13662].
VNESHECONOMBANK (a.k.a. BANK FOR DEVELOPMENT AND FOREIGN ECONOMIC AFFAIRS (VNESHECONOMBANK) STATE CORPORATION; a.k.a. BANK RAZVITIYA I VNESHNEEKONOMICHESKOI DEYATELNOSTI (VNESHEKONOMBANK) GOSUDARSTVENNAYA KORPORATSIYA; a.k.a. "VEB"), 9 Akademika Sakharova prospekt, Moscow 107996, Russia; SWIFT/BIC BFEA RU MM; Website http://www.veb.ru; Email Address info@veb.ru; BIK (RU) 044525060 [UKRAINE-EO13662].
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Kiev Man Finds Dog That 'Looks Like Putin' (Photo) | News | The Moscow Times
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 14:13
kremlin.ru / obozrezatel.comPutin's official Kremlin photo, right, and the dog that some say resembles Putin.
A man in Ukraine has found a canine whose piercing gaze is strangely reminiscent of President Vladimir Putin's.
The dog, found in central Kiev and first reported by the website Obozrevatel.com, is thought to be a mix between a Staffordshire terrier and a German shepherd.
The canine even appears dressed to be a head of state, with white markings on its chest seemingly forming a furry tie.
Further details about the dog '-- and the man who found it '-- were not immediately available.
Internet commentators were quick to joke about the dog, saying that Putin looks more like the dog than the dog looks like Putin and making references to Mikhail Bulgakov's "Heart of a Dog," in which a dog turns into a man.
Other Internet users were also amused by the dog photo. A Russian blogger on LiveJournal cautioned, "Just don't make this dog angry," while other people expressed fears '-- albeit half-jokingly '-- that the dog's owner might have already been arrested.Putin, whose press service had no immediate comment about the photo, would perhaps like meeting his doppelganger dog, as the president is an avid dog-lover and owns several of his own.
Little is known about this dog, whose photo was first published by the website oborezatel.com.
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Follow the Pipe$
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South Stream Pipeline Map
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TAPI Deal
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 05:04
News Detail
AT News Report
KABUL: An operational agreement on Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pas pipeline (TAPI) project was signed on Friday, said media reports.
Pipeline stretching 700 kilometers will transfer gas from oil-rich Turkmenistan to the energy-starved South Asian countries. While supporting the gas supply project, Washington has hailed it as an ideal scheme to tackle energy shortages in Pakistan.
Dawn News reported Pakistan and India would each receive about 42 percent of the gas and Afghanistan the remainder. The pipeline will deliver up to 33 billion cubic meters of gas annually.
Ministers of petroleum from the four countries attended the 18th meeting of the TAPI Steering Committee in Turkmenistan on July 10.
According to experts, TAPI is not only a regional project envisaging the transportation of Turkmen gas, but also a global project. They believe that the implementation of the project will strengthen the independence of Turkmenistan and its gas supplies to world markets will increase significantly.
Furthermore, observers say that the main benefit of the project is an opportunity to contribute to the stabilization of Afghanistan, and its implementation could contribute to the rehabilitation process in the post-war country as it will create jobs and provide Afghanistan with guaranteed income from transit.
Iran-PakistanIndia Pipeline
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 04:30
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Indian oil ministry urged the revival of Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project that is due to take natural gas from Iran to the two countries.
''Iran is keen and India needs energy. The (Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline) project can be revived,'' the Economic Times quoted an unnamed government official as saying.
The official stated that the pipeline project, stalled in 2008, could be revived amid hopes for a relief of sanctions on Iran as part of a nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers.
The Indian government is also looking for alternatives to oil imports from Saudi Arabia and crisis-stricken Iraq.
''There has been turmoil in Syria, Iraq and other oil producing countries in the Middle East. We can't keep all eggs in one basket,'' another Indian official said, adding, ''Russia is one such potential supplier. We may import natural gas from the country either in liquid form or through a pipeline.''
Iran has already built 900 kilometers of the pipeline on its own soil and is waiting for the 700-kilometer Pakistani side of the pipeline to be constructed.
The IP pipeline is designed to help Pakistan overcome its growing energy needs at a time when the country of over 180 million people is grappling with serious energy shortages.
In February, Iran announced that it will send a delegation to Islamabad soon to pursue the construction of IP gas pipeline project in a bid to help the neighboring Muslim country overcome its energy crisis.
The Urdu-language Donya newspaper reported that the Iranian government has assured that Tehran will give a positive response to Islamabad's request for extending the deadline for completion and implementation of the project of Iran-Pakistan gas transfer pipeline.
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Shah Deniz gas field - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 04:41
Shah Deniz gas field is the largest natural gas field in Azerbaijan. It is situated in the South Caspian Sea, off the coast of Azerbaijan, approximately 70 kilometres (43 mi) southeast of Baku, at a depth of 600 metres (2,000 ft). The field covers approximately 860 square kilometres (330 sq mi). The Shah Deniz gas and condensate field was discovered in 1999. Stretching out over 140 square kilometres, the reservoir is similar in size and shape to Manhattan Island .
It is to bring gas into Europe without having to traverse countries like Russia or Iran, deemed to be politically unreliable[3] by some.
Shareholders[edit]The Shah Deniz field is operated by BP which has a share of 28.8%. Other partners include TPAO (19%), SOCAR (16.7%), Statoil (15.5%), LUKoil (10%) and NIOC (10%). Eni sold its 5% share to LUKOIL in June 2004. Later divestitures included pre-FID in December 2013 sales of %10 shares by Statoil to BP and SOCAR who shared them at %3.3 and %6.7 respectively.[1] as well as sale by Total SA in May 2014 its %10 share to Turkish TPAO[4]
Statoil reported sales price as 1.45 billion USD.[1] Although the sales price of Total shares to TPAO wasn't disclosed, the analysts estimate it to be very close to Statoil's price.
Reserves[edit]The Shah Deniz reserves are estimated at between 1.5 billion barrels (240,000,000 m3) to 3 billion barrels (480,000,000 m3) of oil equivalent from 50 to 100 billion cubic meters of gas. Gas production to date at the end of 2005 was estimated to be approximately 7 billion cubic meters (600 mmcf/day avg). The Shah Deniz field also contains gas condensate in excess of 400 million cubic meters.
Pipeline[edit]The 692 kilometres (430 mi) South Caucasus Pipeline, which began operation at the end of 2006, transports gas from the Shah Deniz field in the Azerbaijan sector of the Caspian Sea to Turkey, through Georgia.
The associated condensate is mixed with the oil from the ACG field and is transported to Turkey through Georgia, along the Baku''Tbilisi''Ceyhan pipeline.
Recent developments[edit]The Shah Deniz scheme started to produce gas at the end of December 2006, three months later than expected, but was forced to close briefly in January 2007. Azerbaijan then announced that the field had resumed output only to admit that it had been forced to shut down for a few weeks due to start up technical issues.The shutdown forced Georgia to buy emergency gas supplies from Russia at a market price. Georgia hoped that production from Shah Deniz will allow the country to decrease its energy '-- and political '-- dependence on Russia.[3]
By July 2007, the Shah Deniz gas plant at Sangachal Terminal was fully operational, with all buyers of Shah Deniz taking gas.
Shah Deniz Phase-2[edit]Shah Deniz-2 discussions have started around in 2008 with main discussion topic being the selection of transportation routes for additional gas volumes. 5 year long intense negotiations finalized with signing of Final Investment Decision (FID) on 17 December 2013 in Baku, Azerbaijan.
9 companies agreed to sign GSA (Gas Sales Agreement) with the consortium:[5]
Out of total 10 bcm intented for Europe, 1 bcm will go to Bulgria and Greece and the rest will go to buyers in other countries, mainly Italy.
This project will include two additional bridge-linked offshore gas platforms, sub sea wells and expansion of the gas plant at Sangachal Terminal, at an estimated cost of at least $10 billion.[6]
Overall cost of Phase-2 expansion including upstream and midstream stages (TANAP and TAP pipelines) is estimated to be around $45 billion.
See also[edit]References[edit]External links[edit]
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Trans Adriatic Pipeline - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 04:41
Trans Adriatic PipelineLocation of Trans Adriatic Pipeline
LocationCountryGreeceAlbaniaItalyGeneral directioneast''westFromKipoi, EvrosPasses throughAlbaniaAdriatic SeaToSan FocaGeneral informationTypeNatural gasPartnersBP (20%)SOCAR (20%)Statoil (20%)Fluxys (16%)Total S.A. (10%)E.ON (9%)Axpo (5%)OperatorTrans Adriatic Pipeline AGExpected2018Technical informationLength867 km (539 mi)Maximum discharge10''20 billion cubic metres per annum (350—10^9''710—10^9 cu ft/a)Diameter48 in (1,219 mm)Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP; Albanian: Gazsjellsi Trans-Adriatik, Greek: ΑδριαÏικός ΑÎ"ωÎ"ός Î...υσικÎύ ΑερίÎυ, Italian: Gasdotto Trans-Adriatico) is a pipeline project to transport natural gas from the Caspian sea (Azerbaijan), starting from Greece via Albania and the Adriatic Sea to Italy and further to Western Europe.
History[edit]Trans Adriatic Pipeline project was announced in 2003 by Swiss energy company EGL Group (now named Axpo). The feasibility study was concluded in March 2006. Two options were investigated: a northern route through Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia and Albania, and a southern route through Greece and Albania, which finally was considered to be more feasible. In March 2007, the extended basic engineering for the pipeline was completed.[1]
On 13 February 2008, EGL Group and the Norwegian energy company Statoil signed an agreement to set up Trans Adriatic Pipeline AG, a joint venture to develop, build and operate the pipeline.[2] In June 2008, the project company filed an application with the Greek authorities to build a 200 kilometres (120 mi) section of the pipeline from Thessaloniki to the Greek-Albanian border.[3] In January 2009, the TAP project carried out a marine survey in the Adriatic Sea to verify the offshore route for the future gas pipeline.[4] A route assessment survey in Albania started in July 2009.[5] In March 2009, an intergovernmental agreement between Italy and Albania on energy cooperation mentioned TAP as a project of common interest for both countries. In January 2010, TAP opened country offices in Greece, Albania and Italy.[6] In March 2010, TAP submitted an application to Italian authorities for inclusion into the Italian gas network.[7]
On 20 May 2010, it was announced that E.ON becomes a partner in the project.[8] The deal was successfully closed on 7 July 2010.[9]
In March 2010, TAP submitted an application to Italian authorities for inclusion into the Italian gas network.[7] In November 2010, TAP started a route refinement survey in northern Greece in preparation for the environmental impact assessment.[10] On 7 September 2011, the Trans Adriatic Pipeline AG (TAP AG) submitted its EU Third Party Access Exemption applications in all three host countries. Exemption will allow TAP AG to enter into long term ship-or-pay gas transportation agreements with the shippers of Shah Deniz II gas.[11][12] The exemptions were granted on 16 May 2013.[13][14]
In February 2012, the Trans Adriatic Pipeline was the first project to be pre-selected and to enter exclusive negotiations with the Shah Deniz Consortium.[15] In August 2012, consortium partners BP, SOCAR and Total S.A. signed a funding agreement with TAP's shareholders, including an option to take up to 50% equity in the project.[16] On 22 November 2012, the TAP consortium and Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline's partners signed a memorandum of understanding that establishes a cooperation framework between the two parties.[17] In June 2013, the project was chosen as a route for gas from Shah Deniz II over the competing Nabucco West project.[18] Later this year, BP, SOCAR, Total, and Fluxys became shareholders of the project.[19]
Political support[edit]Since it will enhance energy security and diversify gas supplies for several European markets, the TAP project is supported by the European institutions and seen as a "Project of Common Interest" and a part of the Southern Gas Corridor.[20][21] On 28 September 2012, Albania, Greece and Italy confirmed their political support for the pipeline by signing a memorandum of understanding.[22] In February 2013, Greece, Italy and Albania signed an intergovernmental agreement.[23]
Technical description[edit]The pipeline starts at the Greece''Turkey border at Kipoi, Evros, where it will be connected with the Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline. It will cross Greece, Albania and the Adriatic Sea and come ashore in Italy near San Foca. The total length of the pipeline will be 867 kilometres (539 mi), of which 547 kilometres (340 mi) in Greece, 211 kilometres (131 mi) in Albania, 104 kilometres (65 mi) in offshore, and 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) in Italy. The offshore leg will be laid at a maximum depth of 810 metres (2,660 ft).[24]
The initial capacity of the pipeline will be about 10 billion cubic metres (350 billion cubic feet) of natural gas per year, with the option to expand the capacity up to 20 billion cubic metres (710 billion cubic feet).[2] It will use 48-inch (1,200 mm) pipes for pressure of 95 bars (9,500 kPa) on the onshore section and 36-inch (910 mm) pipes for pressure of 145 bars (14,500 kPa) on the offshore section.[24]
TAP also plans to develop an underground natural gas storage facility in Albania and offer a reverse flow possibility of up to 8.5 billion cubic metres (300 billion cubic feet). These features will ensure additional energy security for the Southeastern Europe.[25][26] Total construction costs are expected to be about '‚¬1.5 billion.[2] TAP is ready to commence pipeline operations in time for first gas exports from Shah Deniz II (expected in 2017''2018).[11][27]
Supply sources[edit]The pipeline would be supplied by natural gas from the second stage of the Shah Deniz gas field development in the Azerbaijani section of Caspian Sea through the South Caucasus Pipeline and the planned Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP).[28][29]
Project company[edit]Trans Adriatic Pipeline AG is a joint venture company registered in Baar, canton Zug, Switzerland, with a purpose of planning, developing and building the TAP pipeline. [30] Managing Director of the company is Kjetil Tungland.[31]
Shareholders of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline are BP (20%), SOCAR (20%), Statoil (20%), Fluxys (16%), Total (10%), E.ON (9%) and Axpo (5%).[19]
See also[edit]References[edit]^"Natural gas pipeline through Adriatic achieves major milestone" (Press release). EGL. 2007-03-13. Archived from the original on 2012-03-08. Retrieved 2010-07-16. ^ abc"StatoilHydro takes place at TAP table". Upstream Online (NHST Media Group). 2008-02-13. Retrieved 2008-02-16. ^"TAP lays groundwork in Greece". Upstream Online (NHST Media Group). 2008-06-19. Retrieved 2008-08-18. ^"Marine survey in the Adriatic Sea to verify offshore route of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline" (Press release). Trans Adriatic Pipeline AG. 2009-01-22. Retrieved 2009-06-16. ^"Route assessment survey begins in Albania for Trans Adriatic Pipeline". Balkans.com Business News. 2009-07-13. Retrieved 2009-07-18. ^"Trans-Adriatic Gas Pipeline Co. Opens Offices in Albania, Italy, Greece". SeeNews. 2010-01-20. Retrieved 2010-07-16. ^ ab"Trans Adriatic Pipeline taps into Italy's gas grid". Pipelines International. 2010-03-17. Retrieved 2010-07-16. ^"E.ON Ruhrgas joins Trans Adriatic Pipeline". Oil and Gas Journal (PennWell Corporation). 2010-05-21. (subscription required). Retrieved 2010-05-25. ^"E.ON firms TAP stake". Upstream Online (NHST Media Group). 2010-07-07. Retrieved 2010-07-07. ^"Trans-Adriatic Pipeline begins route refinement study in northern Greece". European Energy Review. 2010-11-23. Retrieved 2010-12-01. ^ ab"Trans Adriatic Pipeline submits Third Party Access Exemptions in Albania, Greece & Italy". Greece. Energia.gr. 2011-09-13. Retrieved 2011-09-13. ^"Trans Adriatic Pipeline submits Independent Natural Gas application to Greek regulator". Offshore Magazine (PennWell Corporation). 2011-09-15. Retrieved 2011-09-16. ^"Commission decision of 16.5.2013 on the exemption of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline from the requirements on third party access, tariff regulation and ownership unbundling laid down in Articles 9, 32, 41(6), 41(8) and 41(10) of Directive 2009/73/EC". European Commission. 2013-05-16. Retrieved 2013-07-11. ^Gloystein, Henning (2013-05-17). "TAP gas pipeline project gets vital legal approval" (PDF). Reuters. Retrieved 2013-07-11. ^Geropoulos, Kostis (2012-02-21). "TAP, Nabucco and SEEP still in EU pipeline race". New Europe. Retrieved 2013-03-14. ^Lewis, Barbara (9 August 2012). "BP, Socar, Total pledge to fund gas pipeline-TAP". Reuters. Retrieved 10 March 2013. ^"TAP Managing Director: Cooperation with TANAP is milestone for Southern Gas Corridor progress". Trend News Agency. 2013-03-07. Retrieved 2013-03-15. ^O'Cinneide, Eoin (2013-06-28). "TAP confirmed as Shah Deniz 2 winner". Upstream Online (NHST Media Group). Retrieved 2013-07-11. ^ abSocor, Vladimir (15 January 2014). "SCP, TANAP, TAP: Segments of the Southern Gas Corridor to Europe". Eurasia Daily Monitor11 (8) (Heritage Foundation). Retrieved 18 January 2014. ^(PDF) >>Gas Regional Investment Plan Southern Corridor 2012 - 2021. Annex B: Infrastructure Projects>> (Report). ENTSOG. 2012-01-30. p. 46. http://www.entsog.eu/public/uploads/files/publications/GRIPs/2012/GRIP_SC_AnnexB.pdf. Retrieved 2013-02-27.^"Trans Adriatic Pipeline EU status". Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) AG. Retrieved 2013-03-14. ^Agayev, Zulfugar (28 September 2012). "TAP Gas Pipeline Project Gains Support of Italy, Greece, Albania". Bloomberg. Retrieved 13 March 2013. ^"Commissioner Oettinger welcomes the signature of an intergovernmental agreement on TAP" (Press release). European Commission. 2013-02-13. Retrieved 2013-03-14. ^ ab"Connecting Caspian Gas to European Markets. A summary of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline's Decision Support Package proposal to the Shah Deniz Consortium" (PDF). Trans Adriatic Pipeline AG. Retrieved 2013-07-11. ^"Europe's southern gas corridor: The great pipeline race". EurActiv. 2010-10-11. Retrieved 2010-12-01. ^Grgic, Borut (2010-05-11). "Getting natural gas to the Balkans". Hurriyet Daily News. Retrieved 2010-12-01. ^"Turkey, Azerbaijan sign long-awaited gas deal". Azerbaijan. News.az. 2010-06-07. Retrieved 2010-07-15. ^"Time to act on diversifying EU gas supplies". New Europe. Retrieved Jan 20, 2013. ^"Adriatic pipeline to tap into Azeri gas". EurActiv. 2010-09-15. Retrieved 2010-09-15. ^"Trans Adriatic Pipeline AG, Baar" (in German). itonex ag. Retrieved 2010-01-12. ^"Pipeline director: Gas race will have a winner in April". EurActiv. 2010-11-23. Retrieved 2010-01-12. External links[edit]
Public relations contest around European pipeline projects heats up | Reuters
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 04:36
Thu Jul 17, 2014 7:46am EDT
* Russia prints pro-South Stream supplement in Italian paper
* Tony Blair to be appointed to support Azeri gas to Europe
By Henning Gloystein
LONDON, July 17 (Reuters) - Russia is stepping up a public relations effort in support of its controversial South Stream gas pipeline project to supply southern Europe, but a rival project to bring gas from Azerbaijan is also upping its game.
Russia is Europe's biggest supplier of natural gas, meeting almost a third of the region's demand. Almost half of that gas is piped to the European Union via Ukraine.
South Stream is designed to carry 63 billion cubic metres of gas per year, equivalent to almost 15 percent of EU demand, from Russia via the Black Sea into central and southern Europe. It would bypass Ukraine and help Russia cement its position as Europe's dominant gas supplier.
La Repubblica, one of Italy's biggest daily newspapers, carried a full-page article on Thursday, part of an eight-page supplement provided by RBTH (Russia Beyond The Headlines), an information service owned by the Russian government, headlined 'South Stream on its way to going ahead'.
The article said that "new countries have confirmed their participation in the project intended to change the (gas) supply landscape of EU".
Against the backdrop of conflict in Ukraine, the pipeline plan has become a focus of tensions between Russia and the European Union. The EU Commission has suspended the approval process for the project and has put pressure on member states to freeze any work on the pipeline until the conflict is resolved.
"In the present context our position is very clear. South Stream has no place when we are still in such difficulties with Russia. Accordingly, we proposed to suspend South Stream," said Dominique Ristori, director-general of the energy branch (DG Energy) of the Commission in Brussels.
Despite the Commission's opposition to South Stream, the energy industry and most countries in southern and central Europe including Italy, Germany, Austria and Bulgaria support South Stream, saying the region needs new supply routes to avoid future transit risk through Ukraine.
Moscow has been wooing EU governments to support South Stream. Last month during a rare visit by President Vladimir Putin to Vienna, Austria gave its final approval to South Stream in defiance of Brussels.
South Stream's main partners are Russia's Gazprom, Italy's Eni, France's EDF, Austria's OMV and Germany's Wintershall
COMPETITION FOR RUSSIA
Aware of Russia's efforts to push South Stream ahead, competitors are not sitting idle either.
Azerbaijan plans to begin exporting 16 bcm of gas to Turkey and from there on to Italy towards the end of the decade via the Trans-Anatolian pipeline (TANAP) and Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), competing directly with Russian gas.
The Azeri Shah Deniz 2 gas export project is part of the so-called Southern Gas Corridor project aimed at bringing new central Asian gas supplies to Europe.
Shah Deniz 2 is led by Britain's energy major BP, which is, together with its partners, setting up the Southern Corridor Advisory Panel.
"An external panel set up voluntarily and jointly by... the Southern Corridor projects' participants to advise on political, environmental, reputational and societal challenges that may be faced by the Shah Deniz 2, TANAP and TAP projects during their early years," a BP spokesman.
The Energy Intelligence Group reported that the panel had created a three-member advisory board of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher and Peter Sutherland, chairman of Goldman Sachs International, but BP would not confirm this.
Shah Deniz 2 and TAP are losing some partners with stakes of 10 percent or less. France's Total is withdrawing from both, and Germany's E.ON is leaving TAP. (Additional reporting by Francesco Guarascio and Barbara Lewis in Brussels and Oleg Vukmanovic in Milan; editing by Jane Baird)
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Russia, Serbia sign USD 2.9bn South Stream deal and the Italian presidency is in favour of the pipeline
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 04:36
A contract on constructing a gas pipeline for the South Stream project in Serbia worth 2.1 billion euros ($2.9 billion) has been signed in Belgrade last Tuesday. Another favourable development for the project is that the Italian EU presidency is in favour of the pipeline.
"We think South Stream should go ahead, as it would improve the diversification of gas routes to Europe," Italy's state secretary for EU affairs Sandro Gozi said on Thursday (10 July) during a press event in Brussels. He echoed statements made by Italian foreign minister Federica Mogherini who visited Moscow on Wednesday and met with her Russian counterpart. She said the pipeline was "very important for the energy security of our country, as well as that of the entire European area", but stressed that the project should comply with EU law.
The Serbian contract was inked by co-director of South Stream Serbia and Srbijagas CEO Dusan Bajatovic, a deputy head of department on Gazprom projects management, Aleksander Syromyatin, and Centrgaz CEO Stanislav Anikeev.The first gas supplies through the Serbian section of the pipeline are due to begin before the end of 2016.
Russia's Centrgaz won a tender for the pipeline construction in Serbia, which had been launched in March.
Sources: EUobserver, The Voice of Russia
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Afghanistan
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Afghan presidential vote audit halted over which ballots to throw out.
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 10:46
Ballot boxes unloaded for transfer to Kabul for the audit of the presidential runoff. Less than 2% of 22,000 boxes have been checked so far by audit teams. Photograph: Jalil Rezayee/EPA
Afghanistan's tenuous deal to resolve its presidential election crisis fell into jeopardy over the weekend when an ambitious audit was halted just days after it began.
Election workers began looking for irregularities before agreeing rules about which ballots should be thrown out, but a dispute over invalidation led one audit team to walk out of the recount on Saturday afternoon, Afghan and foreign sources said.
The team agreed to go back to work nearly 24 hours later, but still do not have a deal on what constitutes fraud. Progress has been slow for a country that has been in a dangerous political limbo for months.
After three days of counting, the audit teams of election workers, international and Afghan observers and agents for the two presidential candidates, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, had only made their way through 435 boxes of ballot papers.
With more than 22,000 boxes to be checked in the unprecedented recount of all votes cast, the teams must speed up dramatically or Afghanistan will not have a new president until 2015.
The economy has been left on hold by months of election wrangling, and foreign security support vital to holding off the Taliban will only be available if there is a new leader by the autumn.
Hamid Karzai, the outgoing president, has refused to sign a long-term security deal with the US, despite widespread backing from senior Afghans and Washington's clear warning that without it all forces will leave by the end of this year.
The two candidates are feuding over how many votes to throw out. Ghani, a former World Bank technocrat who is leading in preliminary results, wants a cautious approach to elimination, arguing that the young democracy cannot afford to disenfranchise voters.
Abdullah, a former mujahideen doctor, has called for more aggressive rules to root out what he says are 2m fraudulent ballots cast for his rival.
The debate is complicated by a lack of reliable demographic data and registration rules that allow any Afghan to vote in any polling station.
This makes it hard to assess if some dramatic leaps in turnout during the second round of voting were a realistic reflection of greater enthusiasm or a warning sign of fraud.
Also, the country's voting patterns are driven in many rural areas by tribal, ethnic or other group loyalties that can make it harder to spot or isolate fraud.
So while in most elections observers would be highly suspicious of a ballot box with perhaps 95% of votes cast for one candidate and just 5% for the other, in many areas of Afghanistan this could be a legitimate reflection of local sentiment.
Mokhtar Amiri contributed reporting
NYTimes Headline: Afghans to Alter the Government
KABUL, Afghanistan — The deal that Secretary of State John Kerry
brokered to ease the Afghan election crisis with a sweeping audit of
the vote was quietly built on an even more profound reshaping of the
entire government system, American and Afghan officials confirmed
Sunday: The sides have agreed to gradually create an empowered prime
minister post after years of an all-encompassing presidency.
Nearly
a decade after American officials pushed a Constitution that enshrined
near-dictatorial powers for the president, it is a tacit admission that
changing to a more parliamentary system — a fraught undertaking at any
time — is now seen as crucial to holding the country together after
years of mounting political crises and ethnic and factional hostilities,
officials said.
The change was a central goal for the candidate
Abdullah Abdullah, who has brought the entire political system to the
brink with accusations of rampant fraud and threats to form a breakaway government, according to officials who were close to the negotiations.
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BRICS to Help Russia Eliminate Drug Production in Afghanistan | Politics | RIA Novosti
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 05:23
MOSCOW, July 19 (RIA Novosti) - The world's top five emerging economies, BRICS, will participate in the elimination of Afghani drug production together with the Russian Federal Drug Control Service (FSKN), Russia's anti-narcotics chief Viktor Ivanov told RIA Novosti Saturday.
"I'm satisfied with the decision taken by the heads of the BRICS countries, to establish a working group ... to fight against drugs. I think this is a milestone event that will allow to utilize the enormous political and economic potential of the BRICS countries," Ivanov said.
This cooperation can be very productive, and one of its priorities is the elimination of drug production in Afghanistan, as well as in South America. Such actions will help to deal with more than 50 percent of the global financial flows emerging from drug trafficking, according to Ivanov.
The head of the department also said that in the near future FSKN plans to dispatch liaison agents to South Africa, Brazil and India to increase the efficiency of cooperation and reduce the decision-making time.
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Afghans want oil project to create 'energy corridor' | Economy | Worldbulletin News
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 04:27
World Bulletin / News Desk
Afghanistan could become an ''energy corridor'' in the next two years as the country could part-host a $17 billion pipeline project to transfer Turkmen gas to Pakistan and India, according to a senior Afghan official.
The Turkmenistan Afghanistan Pakistan India '' TAPI '' natural gas pipeline project was first proposed in the early 1990s with the purpose of transporting natural gas from Turkmenistan to India through Afghanistan and Pakistan.
However, ongoing security problems and a lack of upstream development opportunities have seen investors' interest wane in recent years.
The pipeline would run for nearly 1,735 kilometers, including 735 kilometers across Afghanistan and another 800 kilometers through Pakistan. The pipeline will be designed to carry 33 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Turkmen gas annually.
''Afghanistan is a potential energy corridor. If TAPI is successful, there might be other similar projects going to India and Gwadar Port of Pakistan'' says Shafiq Shahrani, advisor to the Afghan Minister of Mines and Petroleum.
''TAPI will boom the economy in energy-starved Pakistan'' Shahrani told Anadolu Agency in an interview on Tuesday. ''Meanwhile it will bring $1 billion in transit fees for Afghanistan per year. Afghanistan will buy about five billion cubic meters of gas per year'' he added.
Afghanistan's economy is dependent on external aid in order to reconstruct the state. The country has the biggest share of U.S. foreign aid, with receiving more than $100 billion since 2002.
The estimated start date for the project's gas flow is 2017 but this could be postponed, according to Shahrani. ''The estimated date is 2016 for start of pipeline construction,'' he says adding that the cost of the project is estaimted at nearly $17 billion.
SECURITY PROBLEMSSecuring such an important energy route through Afghanistan and Pakistan will present the project with many problems.
''Its not only economy, it's also security because Afghanistan and Pakistan are located in mountain areas and securing this pipeline will not be easy'' says Oktay Tanrisever, a Eurasian expert from the Middle East Technical University in Ankara.
''Partnership on security should be ensured. Pakistan, India and Afghanistan should partner for security of this pipeline.'' Tanrisever adds. ''This is more about a peacebuilding project.''
''The resolution of the conflict between Pakistan and India through this partnership will contribute to energy security of Afghanistan and the region in general,'' he said. ''This is a main challenge for Afghanistan energy security.''
So far, less interest has been displayed in the TAPI project after going to the market in 2012, but officials are hopeful for future revival in the project.
''The investors have shown less interest for building this pipeline due to not having stakes at the upstream development of this project,'' Shahrani said.
''Currently, the Asian Development Bank is the transaction advisor for this project and is working to prepare all the documentation for going to the market once again,'' he said.
''Meanwhile Turkmenistan doesn't want any foreign companies to have stakes in upstream development inside their territory which is another reason [for] less interest shown by investors in this project.''
Afghanistan is also making investments on petrol and gas research activities. The Turkish Petroleum Corporation has a licence for petrol and gas research in two different regions of Northern Afghanistan, Mazari Sharif and Sandoqli blocks. The agreement, worth $150 million, was signed in October 2013.
''Turkey can be a key partner in infrastructure development especially in the energy field. Yet Turkish companies and investors in the energy field appeared less in the Afghanistan energy market,'' Shahrani stated.
The Turkish private sector is mostly interested in costruction business in Afghanistan. In 2010, 140 of 190 Turkish companies in the country were licenced for construction, according to the Afghanistan Investment Support Agency.
Solving security issues in energy projects in Afghanistan could encourage the Turkish companies to invest more in energy business.
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China to fund infrastructure projects in Argentina
>>The deal includes hydropower and nuclear power plants in the South American country.
S.Korea endorses development plan for home-built fighters
State-run think tank Korea Institute for Defense Analyses (KIDA) reported earlier this month that a twin-engine version of the fighter jet is expected to cost around 8.5 trillion won
U.S., allies use economic scare tactics in talks with Iran
Western officials have repeatedly warned Iranian counterparts over the past six months that more economic pain is a risk for an OPEC member whose oil exports have already shrunk to a fraction of what they could have been
Microsoft to cut 18,000 jobs this year as it chops Nokia
The EU's employment commissioner said he has asked to meet with Microsoft to discuss the social impact of the layoffs.
China deepens ties to Brazil, plans to build railways
Although China has promised to invest in Brazil for years and failed to deliver, the pace of deals is picking up with a focus on deficient infrastructure.
Donors pledge 1.8 bln euros for flood-stricken Balkan states
The financial aid would be used for rebuilding houses and public buildings, the rapid restoration of water and energy supplies and urgent assistance for those still without proper shelter.
Russia condemns "primitive" US sanctions, rouble slumps
Washington and Brussels say Moscow has been fanning separatist violence in eastern Ukraine and broadened their sanctions, sending Russian shares and the rouble currency down.
China urges U.S. not to abuse trade system
Chinese Trade Minister Gao Hucheng said his country would not sit idly by while the United States harmed the rights of Chinese companies.
China studies floating gas plants for South China Sea
Beijing claims about 90 percent of the South China Sea, whose estimated energy potential varies widely. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also claim parts of the key waterway.
China seeks to build railways in Brazil for trade
Trade between China and Brazil soared to $83.3 billion last year from $3.2 billion in 2002, with iron ore, soy and oil making up the bulk of Brazilian exports.
BMW to recall 1.6 mln cars worldwide for air bag concerns
In the latest recall, about 574,000 of the affected cars were sold in the United States, about 450,000 in Germany and about 189,000 in the United Kingdom
Afghans want oil project to create 'energy corridor'
The >>$17 billion dollar Central Asian pipeline project could revive Afghanistan's economy said a state advisor, but security and political issues have deterred investors.
BRICS set up bank to counter Western hold on finances
New Development Bank will be based in Shanghai, India will preside over operations for first 5 years
China invites India's Modi for APEC summit
India has never attended an APEC summit, and has long sought to become a member to help boost its economy.
China pushes for developing world's rights as BRICS summit opens
Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa are due to sign off on a new development bank being launched by the BRICS emerging market nations.
Putin seeks BRICS moves to protect against "sanction attacks"
The Russian leader wants the emerging powers to play a bigger role in world affairs to counter U.S. influence.
Fred Starr: The Pipeline That Could Keep the Peace in Afghanistan - WSJ
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 14:54
Oct. 21, 2013 7:10 p.m. ET
One of the most ambitious and frustrating geopolitical projects on the planet is now within reach'--if the U.S. leads in its development. The project is TAPI, a proposed gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. The stakes are high. When U.S. forces withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014, the pipeline and the cooperation needed to maintain it may be the best hope for regional stability.
The future success of Afghanistan, and relations among Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and the U.S., are just the...
Afghanistan Oil Pipeline - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 14:49
The Afghanistan Oil Pipeline was a project proposed by several oil companies to transport oil from Azerbaijan and Central Asia through Afghanistan to Pakistan or India.
Central Asian Oil Pipeline Project[edit]In the 90s, the American Unocal Corporation considered in addition to the Trans-Afghanistan Gas Pipeline building also a 1,000 miles (1,600 km) long 1,000,000 barrels per day (~5.0—10^7 t/a) oil pipeline to link T¼rkmenabat (former Chardzou), Turkmenistan to Pakistan's Arabian Sea Coast. Through the Omsk (Russia) '' Pavlodar (Kasakhstan) '' Shymkent '' T¼rkmenabat pipeline, it would provide a possible alternative export route for regional oil production from the Caspian Sea. The pipeline was expected to cost US$2.5 billion. However, due to political and security instability, this project was dismissed.
Disputed theory[edit]Some critics have proposed that the motive for invading Afghanistan in 2001 was its importance as a conduit for oil pipelines from Azerbaijan to Afghanistan's neighboring countries.[1] Others have argued that the pipeline was not a significant reason for the invasion of Afghanistan because most western governments and oil companies prefer an export route that goes through the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan then to Georgia and on to the Black Sea instead of one that goes through Afghanistan. Bypassing Russia and Iran would break their collective monopoly on regional energy supplies.[2]
See also[edit]References[edit]
Iraq
Supporters - Institute for War and Peace Reporting
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 01:28
IWPR maintains a diverse international base of private foundations, individual, and government agencies, as evidenced by this list of supporters. Our Ambassadors' Circle of eminent friends and patrons provide an especially important supporter network, as well as an excellent opportunity for inside information and networking within the IWPR community. We welcome new donors and friends interested in working with us.
Friends interested in joining IWPR's Ambassadors Circles or for further information on how to support IWPR, please contact Tony Borden. See also Funding Policy and Institutional Independence.
British CouncilCanadian International Development AgencyCarnegie Corporation of New YorkCommunity Fund/Big LotteryCompton FoundationDepartment of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, CanadaDepartment for International Development, UKEuropean CommissionFord FoundationForeign and Commonwealth Office, UKHivosInternational Media SupportInternational Republican InstituteIREXMacArthur FoundationMinistry of Foreign Affairs, FinlandMinistry of Foreign Affairs, DenmarkMinistry of Foreign Affairs, The NetherlandsMinistry of Foreign Affairs, NorwayNational Endowment for DemocracyOpen Society InstitutePloughshares FoundRockefeller Family AssociatesSamuel Rubin FoundationSigrid Rausing TrustSwedish International Development Cooperation AgencySwiss Development AgencySwiss Ministry of Foreign AffairsUNESCOUS Institute of PeaceUS Agency for International DevelopmentUS Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and LaborTides Foundation/Working Assets
Islamic State uses Turkish Consulate in Mosul as headquarters
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 04:30
An undated photo shows the Turkish Consulate in Mosul before its capture by the Islamic State. (photo by Twitter/jmsardo)
Author: Amberin Zaman Posted July 17, 2014
When Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the enigmatic leader of the al-Qaeda-inspired Islamic State (IS, formerly the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS), appeared on a video posted online in early July addressing a congregation of faithful at a mosque in Mosul, pundits oozed commentary about his words and his attire. Was the self-declared caliph's watch a Rolex? If so, how did this sit with the teachings of Islam? they mused.
Summary'Ž Print The Turkish consul general and 48 other employees are still being held hostage in Mosul by the Islamic State, while the group uses the consulate building as its headquarters.But a no less significant detail escaped unnoticed. After his fiery speech, Baghdadi was whisked away to the Islamic State's new headquarters '-- the Turkish Consulate in Mosul. ''It is absolutely true that IS has been using the Turkish Consulate as its main headquarters and that Baghdadi spent several hours there,'' confirmed Atheel al-Nujaifi, the governor of Mosul, in a telephone interview with Al-Monitor. ''It is their office.''
Not that the Turkish public would ever know. Soon after IS stormed the Turkish Consulate on June 10, taking all 49 there hostage '-- including Consul General Ozturk Yilmaz '-- Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP) government passed a law that effectively bans all public debate and reporting of the crisis. The rationale for this crude display of censorship, which has become a trademark of AKP rule, is that discussing the fate of the hostages might put their lives at risk. While there is some merit to this argument, it is also true that the Mosul affair is a huge embarrassment for the AKP government, not least because of glaring lapses in security. Nujaifi had, along with Turkey's national spy agency MIT, advised that the consulate be evacuated days before the IS raid only to be vetoed by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, according to media reports. In a characteristic fit of hubris, Davutoglu is alleged to have argued that ''the Turkish flag must continue to fly.''
Not only did IS attack the Turkish Consulate '-- it is occupying it. Yet, fearful of provoking the jihadists, Turkey's often bombastic prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has not uttered a peep. To the contrary, Erdogan has lashed out at those he claims want him to "provoke" IS. And he has warned the United States against any airstrikes against IS in Iraq.
More recently, he referred to IS, which is officially designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, as ''an organization,'' with no qualifiers added. Speaking at an iftar dinner, he implored that IS free all its Turkish captives. ''A Muslim would not inflict this cruelty on another Muslim brother,'' Erdogan said. This prompted critics to claim that Erdogan was calling IS ''brothers.''
Syrian and Turkish Kurds, meanwhile, continue to accuse Erdogan of letting IS use Turkey as a logistical base to pursue its campaign against the Syrian Kurdish militia known as the People's Protection Units (YPG). Clashes between the jihadists and the Kurds have escalated around the town of Kobani, which lies opposite the Turkish township of Suruc. IS views Kobani as a strategic prize.
At least 800 Turkish Kurds are believed to have crossed the border in recent days to take up arms alongside the YPG. About a thousand more Kurds are expected to join them on July 19, which marks the second anniversary of the ''liberation'' of Kobani from Syrian regime forces. ''Kobani has become the new rallying point for the Kurds,'' Ahmet Sumbul, a veteran Kurdish journalist based in Diyarbakir, told Al-Monitor. ''And most believe that Turkey is helping [IS],'' he added. All of this imperils the peace negotiations between Turkey and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the Turkish rebel group that is closely linked to the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the YPG.
Nujaifi declined to comment on possible collusion between Turkey and IS in Syria. ''I am unaware of what is happening in Syria,'' he said.
And what of the Turkish hostages? ''[IS] said they would release them 'soon,' but that was many weeks ago,'' Nujaifi said. It is more likely that IS will hold on to them ''for a while because IS wants to keep Turkey out of Iraq,'' Nujaifi explained. Senior Western officials who are closely monitoring the situation agree that IS has no incentive to release the Turks, as this is their best way of ensuring that Turkey does not carry out any kind of military action against the jihadists. ''Turkey apparently believed that it had some kind of entente cordiale with them,'' said one. ''Whether it did or not, after Mosul it has been forced into one,'' the official concluded.
As for Turkey's flag, Nujaifi noted that it no longer flew over the consulate building, but he added that IS had not yet raised its own colors.
Editor's Note: This article has been updated since its initial publication
Read More: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/07/zaman-isis-turkeys-mosul-consulate-headquarter-iraq.html
AQ Inc
Terror threat against Norway | PST
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:49
24. JULI 2014av Hanne
In PST's threat assessment for 2014, which we made public in the beginning of March, we state the following among other things:The terror threat against Norway is considered to be aggravated. Extreme Islamism is still the most serious terror threat against Norway. Also, we state that it has for a long time been a strategy to recruit extreme Islamists in war and conflict zones to carry out terrorist actions in Europe, and that Syria at the time being is considered to be the one of the leading arenas for this recruitment.
During the past two or three years, PST has through our threat assessments, communicated that the terror threat from extreme Islamists against Norway and Norwegian interests is increasing.
The situation we are now facing is serious, but is still an expected development, in view of the trends and developments we have seen in the course of the last two or three years.
PST handles a great amount of threats each year. The majority of these threats are threats that it would be neither correct nor possible for us to comment openly on. In the current situation however I believe that to inform the public is the right thing to do. Both the 22 of July Commission and the Traavik Committee have emphasized the importance of PST being as open as possible about threats to our society.
PST recently received information that individuals affiliated with an extreme Islamist group in Syria may have the intention of carrying out a terrorist action in Norway. PST receives this sort of information from partner services from time to time, but it often turns out not to be correct after we have carried out our investigations to be able to confirm or deny the information.
In our preliminary investigations in this case, the credibility of the information was however strengthened. We also have information indicating that a terrorist action against Norway is planned to be carried out shortly '' probably in a few days.
We have no information about who is behind such an attack, how it will be carried our, the target or in what way such an attack will be carried out.
PST is currently working on verifying the information we have received, in close cooperation with the Norwegian Intelligence Service. The Joint Counter Terrorism Centre is in this relation important in order to ensure a rapid and good flow of information between the services. PST also has a close dialogue with the Ministry of Justice and Public Security and the Police Directorate in this matter, and the National Police Commissioner will inform in more detail about the measures to be undertaken by the police.
PST will to the greatest possible extent inform the public about further developments in this matter.
In the last few years, several countries have chosen to inform the public about threats that the individual country considers it may be facing. This will always be a difficult choice to make, which it also is for us in this case. However, when we choose to make this information public after all, it is because we believe it can have a preventive and a deterrent effect.
As the information is not specific and not very concrete but at the same time credible, it is difficult to give advice to the citizens of this country on how to act in this situation. I still believe that to inform about the situation is the right thing to do and at the same time assure that PST, in collaboration with the Norwegian Intelligence Service, the Ministry of Justice and Public Security and our other national and international partners, will do our outmost to determine whether the threat is real or not '' in order to prevent it.
Tips oss dersom du ser eller vet om noe du tror kan v...re viktig for oss ¥ vite om.
Unspecified>> terror threat against Norway - Aftenposten
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 12:49
This morning the Norwegian department of justice, the Norwegian police and the Norwegian police security service (Norwegian abbreviation: PST) announced that they have recieved information of an unspescified but plausible>> attack against Norway in the coming days.
The attack could happen in three, five or seven days - or not at all. They hope reaching out to the public with this information will deter the terrorists from moving forward with their plan.
Islamist threatAccording to the information the Norwegian government has acquired, the threat is connected to islamist groups in Syria. They do not know which group in particular the threat comes from or whether or not the threat comes from Norwegian citizens or people who have previously lived in Norway who have fought on the ground in Syria.
Several Norwegians and people with a relation to Norway have gone to Syria to fight in the Syrian civil war.
The government says that according to their information the threat is directed at Norway in general, not Norwegian interests, institutions or businesses abroad.
No flight restrictionsThe authorities have very little information regarding this threat. They do not know who has made the threat, their motive or if a particular group, place or person has been targeted.
- We do not usually reach out to the public like this, but in the current situation we have reason to believe that the threat is real. Our intelligence and investigations point to the threat being plausible. We do not have any further information at this point, says Benedicte Bj¸rnland of the Norwegian police security service.
At the moment, there is no indication that the threat is directed at flights or other transports. No flight or movement restrictions will be enforced unless new information points to this becoming necessary.
Armed police will be stationed at airports, ports, train stations and other transport hubs.
The police security service have released a press release in English about the threat, found here.
Publisert: 24.jul. 2014 12:44
Ottomania
Flash - Turkey arrests more than 50 senior police officers - France 24
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 05:25
AFP
Turkish authorities on Tuesday arrested 55 senior police officers in a criminal probe over alleged corruption and abuse of office, the latest apparent crackdown on opponents of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan ahead of presidential polls.
Forty serving and former top police officers were arrested in Istanbul, including the former head of the anti-terrorism unit of Istanbul police, Omer Kose, television reports said.
Fifteen others were arrested elsewhere, in what the reports said was a new sweep against the movement of Erdogan's former ally Fethullah Gulen in the wake of a vast corruption scandal implicating the prime minister and his inner circle.
In the huge operation conducted in the early morning, police in Istanbul alone raided almost 200 addresses. Television pictures showed the senior police officers being led outside in handcuffs.
The Hurriyet daily said on its website that simultaneous raids were conducted in 22 cities across Turkey.
The suspects are accused of espionage, illegal wire-tapping, forgery in official documents, violation of privacy, fabricating evidence, and violation of secrecy of investigation, the reports said.
Erdogan has accused supporters of Gulen of holding excessive influence in the country's police and judiciary and concocting a graft scandal to unseat his government ahead of March local polls.
Erdogan's Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) scored a decisive victory in those local polls and the prime minister is now standing in elections for president to be held on August 10.
Date created : 2014-07-22
Dude Named Ben
Marketing video email
Hey there, this is NOT Ben, it is HeyIdiot. But I feel like a typical "...dude named Ben" as I report on the further spread of the Dude Named Ben meme.
While doing an advisory panel survey for ITPro.tv, I was asked to view some marketing videos, one of which hilariously starts with the words: "This is Ben." I captured the audio of the beginning of the clip, attached. The video is one of those horrible fast-whiteboard-drawing things...
Thought you might be interested and amused.
ITM, and thank you for your courage.
HeyIdiot of Atlas-McDowell - Exec. Producer NA Show #579
Six Week Cycle?
Human Rights Watch: 'All of the high-profile domestic terrorism plots of the last decade, with four exceptions, were actually FBI sting operations' - Hit & Run : Reason.com
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 23:48
Some remarkable statistics in a new report from Human Rights Watch and Columbia Law School's Human Rights Institute:
Universal PicturesAll of the high-profile domestic terrorism plots of the last decade, with four exceptions, were actually FBI sting operations'--plots conducted with the direct involvement of law enforcement informants or agents, including plots that were proposed or led by informants. According to multiple studies, nearly 50 percent of the more than 500 federal counterterrorism convictions resulted from informant-based cases; almost 30 percent of those cases were sting operations in which the informant played an active role in the underlying plot.
The four exceptions are the Boston Marathon bombing, an attempted car bombing at Times Square, a plan to bomb the New York subways, and a shooting at Los Angeles International Airport. (The last of those took place in 2002, so it isn't really "of the last decade.")
For a pdf of the full report, click here. To sample Reason's coverage of these stings, go here and here.
Israel / Palestine
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Bloomberg defies FAA
Nana Bloomberg, who loved nothing more than shutting down the entire NYC MTA subway system because there might be snow or it might be windy...who closed landmarks because he heard the Tsarnaev's might be on their way to NYC...is telling Brolf that the US government is overreacting by not allowing commercial flights into Israel.
Bloomberg to travel to Israel on El Al | Capital New York
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:16
Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg is heading to Israel Tuesday night, flying on El Al in a show of unity with the Jewish state while U.S. and European airlines are canceling flights amid deadly fighting in Gaza.
"This evening I will be flying on El Al to Tel Aviv to show solidarity with the Israeli people and to demonstrate that it is safe to fly in and out of Israel," Bloomberg said in a prepared statement emailed by former City Hall spokesman Marc La Vorgna shortly after 8 p.m.
"Ben Gurion is the best protected airport in the world and El Al flights have been regularly flying in and out of it safely," Bloomberg continued. "The U.S. flight restrictions are a mistake that hands Hamas an undeserved victory and should be lifted immediately. I strongly urge the FAA to reverse course and permit US airlines to fly to Israel."
Bloomberg will be accompanied by one aide and, during his brief stay, plans to meet with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, La Vorgna said.
MORE ON CAPITALADVERTISEMENTDelta Air Lines rerouted one of its jets mid-flight and canceled future air travel between the U.S. and Israel after a rocket fired from Gaza landed near Ben Gurion Airport, according to published reports.
The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a 24-hour ban on flights to Israel.
Several European airline enterprises also canceled flights.
Bloomberg, who is Jewish, has long been a strong defender of Israel.
He citied the country while serving as mayor and vociferously defended it against international criticism at various points during his 12-year tenure.
His successor, Bill de Blasio, is on a family vacation in Italy this week.
De Blasio has voiced unequivocal support for Israel. He recently said he does not have immediate plans to travel there.
MORE:Author: Sally Goldenbergfollow this reporter
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Israel buys tweets to promote Gaza escalation.
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 03:57
PM Netanyahu steps up PR efforts on social media.
Using public relations efforts to build public support for military action is not a new idea. But spending money on tweets to shape global perceptions may be the next frontier for such efforts. Hayes Brown, Editor at ThinkProgress, posted this screenshot of a promoted tweet from the official Twitter account of the Prime Minister of Israel, seeking to build support for an escalation of Israeli military operations in Gaza.
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Why More of Israel's Iron Dome Will Be Made in the U.S.
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 04:24
Most of the funding for Israel's highly effective Iron Dome rocket-defense system has come from the U.S. In exchange for more funds, the Pentagon is now requiring Israel to buy more of the parts of the missile-defense system from American contractors, including Raytheon (RTN).
The Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee approved on Tuesday a draft 2015 defense spending bill that would double'--to $350 million'--current levels of U.S. funding of Iron Dome. The full appropriations panel will consider the bill on Thursday.
Iron Dome has saved the lives of Israelis by exploding Hamas rockets in the air before they have a chance to land and deliver their lethal payloads. I saw the interceptors in action during a recent vacation in Israel.
But countering the spray of rockets from Gaza is using up a lot of Tamir interceptor missiles. Israel is getting supplementary funds from the Defense Department to replenish its inventory of interceptors and to build new mobile launch batteries. Meanwhile, the quid pro quo of more U.S. sourcing is starting to go into effect.
As Bloomberg's Tony Capaccio reported in May, before the latest barrage of rockets from Hamas:
''The Israeli government has agreed to spend more than half the funds the Pentagon provides for its Iron Dome system in the U.S., bolstering the political appeal of the missile-defense system in America.''
A report to Congress by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, a report Bloomberg News obtained at the time, said funds going to U.S. contractors for components of Iron Dome will jump to 30 percent this year and 55 percent next year. That's up from just 3 percent in the past.Raytheon, which is in Waltham, Mass., is the world's biggest missile maker. It's under contract with Iron Dome's Israeli maker, government-owned Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, to find suitable U.S. suppliers, the Missile Defense Agency said in the report.
Israel has expressed concern that sourcing parts in the U.S. could cost more. So there's a provision allowing production of any part to revert to Rafael if its U.S. price exceeds what it would cost to make in Israel by 5 percent or more, according to the documents.
Foreign Policy magazine reported on its website Tuesday that House committee members have ''a long list of questions for the Israelis about how they plan to spend the money'' and won't turn over the funds until the questions are answered to the satisfaction of the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency. It said that's not expected to be a problem.
Israel gets more military funding from the U.S. than any other nation. It's also allowed to spend more of it on non-U.S. sources than other recipient nations. A Congressional Research Service report in April said that the U.S. had provided more than $700 million to Israel for Iron Dome. The latest bill would lift that to about $1 billion.
Senate Approves Funding Boost for Iron Dome - News from America - News - Arutz Sheva
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 04:23
A U.S. Senate panel on Tuesday approved a 50 percent funding boost for the Iron Dome anti-missile system, AFP reported.
The measure, if it becomes law, would provide $621.6 million for Israeli missile defense programs for the 2015 fiscal year starting in October, including $351 million for the short-range Iron Dome system that has been put to the test over the past eight days amid a raging conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Congress appropriated $235 million to Iron Dome last year, the report noted.
The White House had requested about $176 million for the system for 2015, but lawmakers doubled the amount. Congress often increases funding for Israeli security projects sought by the president.
The funding is part of the administration's request of $3.1 billion for military assistance to Israel, the world's largest beneficiary of U.S. foreign aid.
In May, the House of Representatives adopted its own National Defense Authorization Act, which matches the Senate's Iron Dome funding proposal.
The Senate measure is part of an overall Defense Department spending bill backed by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Tuesday that commits $549.3 billion to military operations for 2015.
In March, the U.S. Defense Department announced it was providing $429 million to Israel for further development of its aerial defenses, specifically the Iron Dome system.
The Iron Dome, which is designed to intercept rockets that are fired towards populated area, has proven very effective and its success rate was listed as 90% in 2012.
Last week, the IDF received an eighth Iron Dome battery and on Tuesday it received a ninth battery, in an effort to improve its ability to defend Israelis against rocket attacks.
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France become first country in world to ban pro-Palestine demos | Mail Online
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 05:55
Move follows violence at protests in Paris last weekendInterior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said there was a 'threat to public order'Thousands across France were set to march again this weekendAnyone who breaks the ban faces a year in prison and a 15,000 euro fine.If they hide their faces the sentence can be increased to three years jail, and a 45,000 euro fine
By Peter Allen
Published: 05:56 EST, 18 July 2014 | Updated: 07:30 EST, 19 July 2014
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France's Socialist government provoked outrage today by becoming the first in the world to ban protests against Israeli action in Palestine.
In what is viewed as an outrageous attack on democracy, Socialist Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said mass demonstrations planned for the weekend should be halted.
Mr Cazeneuve said there was a 'threat to public order', while opponents said he was 'criminalising' popular support of the Palestinian people.
Scroll down for video
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators take to the streets of Paris on Sunday. France's socialist government has sparked uproar after it banned protests against Israeli action in Palestine
Thousands were set to march against the ongoing slaughter in Gaza, calling for an immediate end to hostilities in which civilians including many children have been killed.
But Mr Cazeneuve fears there might be a repeat of the fights between 'ultra' Jewish vigilantes and pro-Palestinians which happened after a demonstration last Sunday.
Referring to the main Paris march, Mr Cazeneuve said: 'I consider that the conditions are not right to guarantee security.'
Socialist Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve fears there might be a repeat of the fights between Jewish vigilantes and pro-Palestinians which happened after a demonstration last Sunday
He welcomed a legal procedure instigated by the Paris police prefecture to ban the march, despite it already being widely advertised.
Anyone who turns up to an illegal demonstration now faces up to a year in prison, and a 15,000 euro fine.
If they hide their faces to avoid being identified, this sentence can be increased to three years, and a 45,000 fine.
Even those who publish details of an illegal rally on social media face up to a year in prison, and a 15,000 euro fine.
This can be increased to seven years and a 100,000 fine if the postings lead to violence.
Mr Cazeneuve also advised other prefects across France to examine planned marches on a 'case by case' basis, and to ban 'if appropriate'.
But Michele Sibony, of the Jewish Union for Peace, said: 'By outlawing free speech by pro-Palestinian demonstrators, France puts itself in a unique position in the world and Europe.'
And Youssef Boussoumah, of the Party of the Indigenous of the Republic (PIR) said: 'France is criminalising any show of solidarity with the Palestinian people.
'This is an absolute outrage, it is a continuation of attempts to muzzle the Palestinian people and to get them and their supporters in France to surrender absolutely to Israel's oppression.'
Sylvie Perrot, another pro-Palestine activist from Paris, said: 'Fascist states stop people demonstrating against wars '' it is beyond belief that French Socialists are following their example.'
There were false claims made last week that synagogues in Paris had been targeted by pro-Palestinian demonstrators.
In fact videos showed armed vigilantes from a group called the Jewish Defence League (LDJ) baiting demonstrators into fights.
INCREDIBLE FOOTAGE of Israeli/Palestinian violence in Paris
A protester wearing a gas mask holds a fake rocket during protests in Paris over the weekend
A pro-Palestinian demonstrator shouts anti Israeli slogans in Paris on Sunday. The French government is attempting to prevent planned marches this weekend from going ahead
There were no arrests among the LDJ, despite them fighting and smashing up property in full view of the police.
Six pro-Palestine protestors were arrested for a variety of public order offences, but none had been anywhere near Paris synagogues, which remained undamaged.
A judicial enquiry is set to be launched into the false allegations made about the synagogue attacks '' ones which people claim were made up to demonise supporters of Palestine by associating them with anti-Semitism.
On Friday night lawyers for a number of groups hoping to campaign on behalf of Palestine on Saturday lodged an appeal against the ban in a Paris court.
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Israel Grants Golan Heights Oil License - Business Insider
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 22:52
Feb. 22, 2013, 2:45 PM39,138Israel has granted a U.S. company the first license to explore for oil and gas in the occupied Golan Heights, John Reed of the Financial Times reports.
A local subsidiary of the New York-listed company Genie Energy '-- which is advised by former vice president Dick Cheney and whose shareholders include Jacob Rothschild and Rupert Murdoch '-- will now have exclusive rights to a 153-square mile radius in the southern part of the Golan Heights.
That geographic location will likely prove controversial. Israel seized the Golan Heights in the Six-Day War in 1967 and annexed the territory in 1981. Its administration of the area '-- which is not recognized by international law '-- has been mostly peaceful until the Syrian civil war broke out 23 months ago.
"This action is mostly political '' it's an attempt to deepen Israeli commitment to the occupied Golan Heights," Israeli political analyst Yaron Ezrahi told FT. "The timing is directly related to the fact that the Syrian government is dealing with violence and chaos and is not free to deal with this problem.''
Earlier this month we reported that Israel is considering creating a buffer zone reaching up to 10 miles from Golan into Syria to secure the 47-mile border against the threat of Islamic radicals in the area.
The move would overtake the UN Disengagement Observer Force Zone that was established in 1973 to end the Yom Kippur War and to provide a buffer zone between the two countries.
Reed notes that recent natural gas finds off Israel's coast in the Mediterranean have made the country's offshore gas reserve one of the largest of its kind in the world, meaning Israel may become a significant energy exporter in its region.
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SnowJob
Apple Denies Security Researcher's Claims of iOS 'Backdoor'
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 12:41
What's This?
Image: Mashable composite. Getty Creative, , neyro2008By Karissa Bell2014-07-22 17:22:27 -0400
For the second time in less than two weeks, Apple is defending itself against claims that call into question the security of iOS.
The company has denied a security researcher's claims that iOS has a "backdoor" that enables third parties to potentially gain access to users' personal data.
The researcher, Jonathan Zdziarski, detailed the alleged security flaws in a presentation at the Hope X security conference and in a journal paper. The problem, he explains, arises from the way Apple encrypts '-- or fails to encrypt '-- data from the iPhone's native apps, leaving personal data vulnerable to third parties.
"Once the device is first unlocked after reboot, most of the data-protection encrypted data can be accessed until the device is shut down," he wrote in his Hope X presentation. "Your device is almost always at risk of spilling all data, since it's almost always authenticated, even while locked."
The data at risk, according to Zdziarski, is some of the most personal information stored on your phone. It includes Twitter, iCloud, and email accounts; contacts information, including deleted contacts; and data caches, including screenshots of pages you've viewed, keyboard typing history, and location information.
Although actually extracting this data requires a fairly advanced level of expertise, this information can potentially be obtained by anyone who has access to a computer, iPhone dock or any other device that has previously been paired to the iOS device.
He stops short of accusing Apple of putting these backdoors in place to intentionally aid the NSA or other organizations, but the researcher does say he believes the NSA could have exploited the vulnerabilities. As he explains on his blog:
I have NOT accused Apple of working with NSA, however I suspect (based on released documents) that some of these services MAY have been used by NSA to collect data on potential targets. I am not suggesting some grand conspiracy; there are, however, some services running in iOS that shouldn't be there, that were intentionally added by Apple as part of the firmware, and that bypass backup encryption while copying more of your personal data than ever should come off the phone for the average consumer.
Apple did not respond to Mashable's request to comment but told iMore in a statement that iOS is not designed to compromise users' security.
We have designed iOS so that its diagnostic functions do not compromise user privacy and security, but still provides needed information to enterprise IT departments, developers and Apple for troubleshooting technical issues. A user must have unlocked their device and agreed to trust another computer before that computer is able to access this limited diagnostic data. The user must agree to share this information, and data is never transferred without their consent.
As we have said before, Apple has never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services.
On his part, Zdziarski has already responded to Apple's comments, saying the statement actually confirms there is, in fact, a backdoor. "It looks like Apple might have inadvertently admitted that, in the classic sense of the word, they do indeed have back doors in iOS, however claim that the purpose is for 'diagnostics' and 'enterprise,'" he wrote in his blog.
The issue, he says, is that these services that send out users' data are always on and consumers have no way of turning them off or otherwise opting out '-- even if the "Send Diagnostics to Apple" setting is disabled.
"I don't buy for a minute that these services are intended solely for diagnostics," he writes. "The data they leak is of an extreme personal nature. There is no notification to the user. A real diagnostic tool would have been engineered to respect the user, prompt them like applications do for access to data, and respect backup encryption."
The latest security concerns come less than two weeks after Apple published a lengthy statement defending the security of iOS, following a report on China's state-run television station that quoted security researchers who claimed the iPhone was a potential risk to the country's national security.
Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.
Topics: apple, Apps and Software, iOS, iPhone, Mobile, privacy, security, Tech
HOPE X - Serpico on Livestream
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 23:35
Non-Profit & Activism Event ·
DateAboutHOPE X will take place on July 18, 19, and 20, 2014 at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City. H.O.P.E. stands for Hackers On Planet Earth, one of the most creative and diverse hacker events in the world. It's been happening since 1994. Join us for three full days and nights of activities, including more of the provocative and enlightening speakers that the HOPE conferences are known for.
Links
EUROLand
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Anthem from producer Pierre
If the European national anthem is a movement from Beethoven's ninth ode to Joy I find it very interesting. This piece was used in A Clockwork Orange to brainwash and control Alex in the film.
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EU is serious: Spain raises compulsory levy on savings deposits | GERMAN ECONOMIC NEWS
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 13:24
Spanien macht in Europa den Anfang und erhebt eine Steuer auf Bankguthaben. Ab sofort m¼ssen alle Sparer eine Zwangsabgabe von 0,03 Prozent ihres Kontoguthabens entrichten. Bemerkenswert: Die Steuer wird r¼ckwirkend eingef¼hrt.
Spanien machen den Anfang in Europa: Die Regierung besteuert die Sparguthaben '' und das sogar r¼ckwirkend. (Foto: dpa)
Die spanische Regierung hat ein Gesetz zur Einrichtung einer festen Steuer von 0,03% auf Bankeinlagen in ganz Spanien verabschiedet. Einige Regionen hatten die Abgabe bereits zuvor erhoben, die das Finanzministerium jetzt auf das gesamte spanische Territorium ausweitet. EU-weit ist Spanien damit Vorreiter als erstes Land mit einer generellen Abgabe auf Bankguthaben.
Die Steuer wirkt r¼ckwirkend bis zum 1. Januar 2014, eine Steuerflucht ist damit praktisch ausgeschlossen. Laut Kabinett k¶nnte die Abgabe mehr als 340 Millionen einbringen. Die Einlagen des Privatsektors in Spanien wuchsen im Jahr 2013 um 3,1% auf 1,14 Billionen, wie El Mundo berichtet.
Ziel der Steuer sei es 'ždie Markteinheit zu st¤rken und zu garantieren.'' Bisher f¤llt die Abgabe kaum ins Gewicht, einmal eingef¼hrt kann der Prozentsatz leicht erh¶ht werden. Der spanische Finanzminister de Guindos, der im Gespr¤ch f¼r den Posten des Euro-Gruppen-Chefs ist, hat damit jedenfalls sein Versprechen von 2013 gebrochen, als er w¤hrend der Zypern-Krise die Sparguthaben unter 100.000 Euro noch als 'žheilig'' '' also unantastbar bezeichnet hatte (mehr hier).
***
Das neue Buch von Michael Maier ist bereits die dritte Woche in Folge auf der Spiegel-Bestsellerliste.
Diese Zwangsabgabe ist erst der Anfang. Sie wird auch nicht auf Spanien beschr¤nkt bleiben. Die finanzielle Repression folgt dem Drehbuch der Pl¼nderung der Welt: Die Schulden-Politiker haben ein gewaltiges Waffenarsenal vorbereitet, um die Sparer in Europa zu zwingen, f¼r die Schulden der vergangenen Jahre aufzukommen. Wenn Sie genau wissen wollen, wo die Gefahren f¼r Deutschland liegen, lesen Sie das neue Buch von DWN-Herausgeber Michael Maier.
Michael Maier, 'žDie Pl¼nderung der Welt. Wie die Finanz-Eliten unsere Enteignung planen''.
Das Buch ist ¼berall im Buchhandel erh¤ltlich. Beim Verlag kann es hier bestellt werden.
Das Buch ist auch bei Amazon erh¤ltlich '' hier.
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Amsterdamse ondernemers pleiten voor fietsbelasting | nu.nl/economie | Het laatste nieuws het eerst op nu.nl
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 15:24
Amsterdam City denkt hierbij onder meer aan het herinvoeren van een fietsbelasting. "Het is gek dat automobilisten wel moeten betalen voor openbare voorzieningen en fietsers niet", zegt de voorzitter van de vereniging in Metro.
Nu auto's steeds vaker schoner en elektrisch zijn vindt Amsterdam City de tijd rijp voor een nieuwe ideologie.
"Amsterdam heeft een enorme fietsdichtheid. De stad komt letterlijk ruimte tekort. Een mobiliteitsvraagstuk dat roept om een serieuze aanpak en forse investeringen waar de fietser aan mee zal moeten betalen", stelt de organisatie.
Dat zou kunnen in de vorm van een soort fietsplaatje, een vooroorlogse sticker die belastingbetalers als bewijs op hun fiets konden plakken.
Er zou in de gemeente Amsterdam worden gesproken over een soort fietschip, waarmee de gemeente de eigenaar kan identificeren. "Op die manier kan de gemeente contact opnemen met de fietseigenaren over de belasting", zegt de voorzitter.
Amsterdam City vertegenwoordigt ondernemers in het centrum van de hoofdstad, waaronder de Bijenkorf, Euronext, Hema en Heineken.
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Court acquits Berlusconi in sex case appeal - RT‰ News
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 14:23
An Italian appeals court has overturned former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's conviction on charges of abuse of office and paying for sex with a minor.
The Milan court unexpectedly threw out the guilty verdict handed down by a lower tribunal last year, which had sentenced Mr Berlusconi to seven years in jail.
Mr Berlusconi was accused of paying for sex with former nightclub dancer Karima El Mahroug, better known under her stage name "Ruby the Heart stealer", when she was under 18.
He was also accused of abusing his authority to get her released from police custody over unrelated theft accusations.
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Espirito Santo: Watch and weep as it turns into a bailin. | The Slog.
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 02:47
Now that the ''technical glitch nothing to worry about'' Espirito Santo bank in Portugal is (along with its group owner) filing for ''creditor protection'' we would all do well to remember that in 2014 that's us, you and I. They want protection from, not for. Big difference.
It's supplicant plea for protection from we nasty folks who deliberately brought ES down by entrusting our money to them at 0% interest was of course accepted by a court in Luxembourg, the offshore tax evasion centre masquerading as an EU nation'....from which emerged the newly unelected EU President, unser geliebte Betrunken, Jean-Claude Juncker.
I could go on for hours writing in this sarcastically ironic tone, but it would become tedious'....and yet still impossible to do justice to the brass neck involved in every aspect of the contemporary EU and its banking system. As the family owners of the group face prosecutor investigations, one is left wondering why investigators worldwide seem only able to, er, investigate, as such, after there is a certainty that We The Accused will be paying for the crimes and misdemeanours of others.
I wonder where London's Mayor Johnson is today, and what he's up to. He keeps on telling us to stop knocking bankers (or Newscorp, or Tim Yeo) but then they keep on demonstrating why they deserve to be not so much knocked as locked up.
Related from earlier today at The Slog: How the taxpayer-owned RBS became a byword for fraud
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Portugal's Espirito Santo Family Sells Swiss Bank Assets - Bloomberg
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 02:46
July 22 (Bloomberg) ''- Sparring Partners Founder Bernhard Bauhofer discusses the future of the Swiss banking industry, the falling off of the banking secrecy law and its impact on investors with Mark Barton, Anna Edwards and Caroline Hyde on Bloomberg Television's ''Countdown.'' (Source: Bloomberg)
Debt woes at two companies affiliated with Portugal's Espirito Santo family have prompted the financial dynasty to sell part of its Swiss private banking business.
Banque Privee Espirito Santo SA said it would sell its Iberian and Latin American customer assets to CBH Cie. Bancaire Helvetique SA. The two Swiss private banks didn't provide details in their e-mailed statement disclosing the transaction late yesterday.
Banque Privee Espirito Santo, based in Pully, Switzerland, had 5.6 billion Swiss francs ($6.2 billion) of client assets at the end of December, according to a 2013 annual report. It's owned by Luxembourg-based holding company Espirito Santo Financial Group SA, which is 49 percent-owned by Rioforte Investments SA. Rioforte, in turn, is fully owned by Espirito Santo International SA.
The Swiss sale is the latest twist in efforts by the Espirito family to untangle affiliated interests after both Rioforte and Espirito Santo International requested protection from creditors under Luxembourg law after they were unable to meet debt obligations. The debt repayments have roiled different companies bearing the Espirito Santo family name, including Portuguese lender Banco Espirito Santo SA, based in Lisbon. The stock of the Portuguese bank has plunged 66 percent since this year's high on April 3.
Graphic courtesy BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research Close
Graphic courtesy BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research
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OpenGraphic courtesy BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research
''We are impacted indirectly by the difficulties facing the group,'' Stephane Haefliger, a spokesman for Banque Privee Espirito Santo, said by telephone. Banque Privee Espirito Santo said on July 8 that payments of some of the last maturities of short-term debt securities issued by Espirito Santo International were delayed. The delays affect ''only a few clients,'' the bank said at the time.
Swiss MergersThe Swiss financial market regulator, Finma, was in close contact with Banque Privee Espirito Santo in the weeks before the sale was announced, Vinzenz Mathys, a spokesman for the regulator known as Finma, said today by telephone. Finma has no reservations about the deal as it intends to protect the bank's clients and the transaction took place under civil law, Mathys said.
The Swiss private bank deal with CBH follows a number of exits by foreign banks from the Swiss wealth management market. The industry is ripe for mergers, Boris Collardi, chief executive officer of Julius Baer Group Ltd., the country's third-largest wealth manager based in Zurich, said on July 21.
Julius Baer earlier said it will acquire the Swiss and Luxembourg wealth operations of Tel Aviv-based Bank Leumi Le-Israel BM. In April, Morgan Stanley agreed to sell its private banking business in Switzerland to J. Safra Sarasin Holding AG. HSBC Holdings Plc last month sold some client assets to LGT Group, the bank owned by the family of the Prince of Liechtenstein. Standard Chartered Plc is seeking a buyer for its Geneva private bank.
Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/BloombergJulius Baer Group Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Boris Collardi said on July 21, the industry is ripe for a wave of mergers. Close
Julius Baer Group Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Boris Collardi said on July 21, the... Read More
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OpenPhotographer: Matthew Lloyd/BloombergJulius Baer Group Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Boris Collardi said on July 21, the industry is ripe for a wave of mergers.
Tax ComplianceSome Swiss banks are re-thinking their business model after a crackdown on offshore tax evasion from foreign governments persuaded them to ask clients from countries such as the U.S. and France to report undeclared assets to their home authorities, or face their accounts being closed. The burgeoning cost of regulatory compliance and low interest rates have also crimped profits in the industry.
CBH said it took precautions regarding the tax compliance of clients being transferred, including analyzing whether any clients were liable for tax in the U.S., Cedric Zimmermann, a spokesman for the bank, said by telephone yesterday. He declined to disclose the exact amount of assets being transferred.
To contact the reporter on this story: Giles Broom in Geneva at gbroom@bloomberg.net
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net Cindy Roberts, Steve Bailey
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Bank$ters
RBS CEO Says Currency-Rigging Scandal Could Top Libor - Bloomberg
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 05:55
Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc Chief Executive Officer Ross McEwan said the foreign-exchange market scandal could be more expensive to the banking industry than Libor or improperly sold loan insurance.
''Unfortunately it has the hallmarks,'' he said in a radio interview with LBC today. ''I have the feeling that it is a sort of a Libor case again.''
U.S. and U.K. authorities are investigating potential manipulation in the $5.3 trillion-a-day global currency market by banks around the world. It comes amid penalties for misconduct ranging from helping clients to evade taxes to money laundering. At least nine firms have been fined more than $6 billion for manipulating benchmark interest rates such as the London interbank offered rate.
Britain's biggest government-owned bank, bailed out by taxpayers amid the global banking crisis, is checking ''millions and millions of e-mails, chat-rooms, conversations'' to see ''what actually went wrong, if anything in this area,'' in relation to foreign-exchange markets, McEwan said.
RBS was fined $612 million by U.S. and U.K. authorities in 2013 for manipulating Libor, while it has set aside 3.1 billion pounds ($5.3 billion) to cover the cost of compensating clients who were sold insurance on loans they didn't require.
The U.K. banking industry has paid out 15.1 billion pounds to customers who were unhappy with the way they were sold payment protection insurance, according to the Financial Conduct Authority.
''The difference this time is that we haven't sat back and denied it,'' said McEwan who succeeded Stephen Hester as CEO in October. ''We've gone into it and doing the investigation hand-in-hand with the authorities. And again, I'd like to see it cleaned up as quickly as we can.''
To contact the reporter on this story: Richard Partington in London at rpartington@bloomberg.net
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.net Jon Menon
Shut Up Slave!
Journalists will face jail over spy leaks under new security laws in Australia ~ Orrazz
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 04:19
Australian journalists could face prosecution and jail for reporting Snowden-style revelations about certain spy operations, in an ''outrageous'' expansion of the government's national security powers, leading criminal lawyers have warned.A bill presented to parliament on Wednesday by the attorney general, George Brandis, would expand the powers of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (Asio), including creation of a new offence punishable by five years in jail for ''any person'' who disclosed information relating to ''special intelligence operations''.The person would be liable for a 10-year term if the disclosure would ''endanger the health or safety of any person or prejudice the effective conduct of a special intelligence operation''.Special intelligence operations are a new type of operation in which intelligence officers receive immunity from liability or prosecution where they may need to engage in conduct that would be otherwise unlawful.The bill also creates new offences that only apply to current and former intelligence operatives and contractors in a move which appeared to directly address the risk of documentary disclosures being made following revelations by the US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden '' who Brandis has previously labelled as a ''traitor''.The leading criminal barrister and Australian Lawyers Alliance spokesman Greg Barns said the ''troubling'' legislation could be used to prosecute and jail journalists who reported on information they received about special intelligence operations.''I thought the Snowden clause [in the bill] was bad enough but this takes the Snowden clause and makes it a Snowden/Assange/Guardian/New York Times clause,'' he said.''It's an unprecedented clause which would capture the likes of Wikileaks, the Guardian, the New York Times, and any other media organisation that reports on such material.''Barns, who has worked on terrorism cases and has also advised Wikileaks, said Asio could secretly declare many future cases to be special intelligence operations. This would trigger the option to prosecute journalists who subsequently discover and report on aspects of those operations.
Grits for Breakfast: All Ten: DPS now fingerprinting every driver at renewal
Fri, 18 Jul 2014 20:50
Reversing a decade long policy implemented after the Texas House shot down the idea in 2003, the Texas Department of Public Safety earlier this year began taking all ten fingerprints of drivers when they apply for a license or a renewal. Previously they required only a thumbprint or an index finger if for some reason a thumbprint couldn't be taken.But the Dallas News' Dave Lieber reported (June 7) that DPS license facilities now require drivers to give them all ten fingerprints, a policy change that took effect earlier this year with no publicity from the agency.
Long-time readers may recall that DPS sought similar authority back in 2003 and was smacked down by the Texas House. In 2004, Grits wrote a post titled "Why would they want all ten fingerprints?," and the question remains. Surely no more than a thumbprint would be required to prevent license fraud?
No, the real issue is they want to run fingerprints against state and national criminal databases. At first, DPS spokesman Tom Vinger told Lieber ''As a point of clarification, fingerprint information collected at driver's license offices is not run against the national fingerprint database. This is not authorized by the federal government or state statute.'' But soon he changed his tune. A month later, Lieber quoted "DPS spokesman Vinger say[ing] the system has already led to the capture of three individuals wanted for crimes."
At The Watchdog.org, Jon Cassidy assessed this development in a way that jibed with my own recollection of where this issue had been left: All ten fingerprints is overreach. Did they think no one would notice? This idea was shot down in the Texas House 111-26 back in 2003 and I doubt it'd fare any better now. The Lege should take the opportunity next spring to reverse this decision, if DPS doesn't, and order the agency to expunge all but a thumb or index fingerprints for each driver.
That took a lot of chutzpah.
Police to doorstep sex crime suspects | Herald Scotland
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 03:35
POLICE are to issue their first ever warnings to men they suspect of sex crimes but cannot find enough evidence against to prosecute.
In a revolutionary new prevention tactic, officers will doorstep individuals who repeatedly come to their attention and who they believe - but cannot yet prove - pose a serious danger to women.
Senior Police Scotland officers hope such visits will have a chilling effect on persistently predatory men, in what they stress is a preventative move that does not mean they have given up ­criminal investigations.
Louise Raphael, the detective ­superintendent who leads Scotland's new national rape task force, said: "If there are people who we are not able to get a sufficiency of evidence against, because of the challenging nature of the crimes they are suspected of, then until now the only alternative we have had has been to do nothing.
"We either take them through the criminal process or we do nothing. Well, I don't think doing nothing is acceptable given we have a fundamental responsibility to prevent crime."
The new scheme - called Persons of Interest - will be launched shortly as a pilot in one of Scotland's 14 divisions. It will see officers visit such suspects and issue them with letters, but only on the authority of Ms Raphael or, in the future, another officer of her rank. The fact an individual has been targeted in such a way will not be shared with his employer or family, in a bid to stay on the right side of human rights legislation. Such suspects would almost certainly already have been spoken to by the police, often under caution while detained for questioning.
Police Scotland has overhauled ­attitudes to rape and sex offences since it came in to being 15 months ago - Ms Raphael is eager to tackle under­reporting, to see more victims come forward and to help build up the real picture of the crime. Nearly 1700 rapes were recorded in 2013-14, up one-quarter from a year before. Almost one-third took place more than 12 months before they were reported.
More reports, and information from other agencies and individuals on suspicious behaviour, can build up solid intelligence profiles.
She said: "We have been very keen to tap in to under-reporting of rapes. We can't encourage people to come forward to the police without putting in place a prevention strategy. We can't physically prevent sex crimes in the way we can physically prevent disorder. So we have to move our prevention upstream."
The Persons of Interest scheme is designed to chime with recent Police Scotland anti-rape messages, which are aimed firmly at raising the understanding of consent among men. Of particular concern are those who target drunk or otherwise vulnerable women who are incapable of agreeing to sex. "Some men might think they are just taking advantage of women who are drunk or have been separated from their friends on a night out," said Ms Raphael. "They need to realise that if a women can't consent they are committing rape."
Those likely to find the police at their door are the kind of ­predatory nightclub "sleazy" ­individuals for whom bouncers and bar staff are now trained to look out, sources said.
Similar warning tactics have already been put in place to deal with those whose behaviour with their partners has caused concern about domestic violence.
But QC Brian McConnachie, who has defended and prosecuted rape cases, is far from convinced by the tactic. "There is a risk that this could be abused," he said. "You know what communities are like, and word can quickly go round the police have been at somebody's door. The police should focus on gathering evidence for a prosecution. I should have thought interviewing somebody under caution would have a much more chilling effect than visiting them. So I don't see the point."
Sandy Brindley, of Rape Crisis Scotland, who has campaigned for better rape conviction rates, said: "Prevention should be a big part of what the police do."
Vaccine$
Chinese city sealed off after bubonic plague death | World news | theguardian.com
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 22:55
Bubonic plague bacteria. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
A Chinese city has been sealed off and 151 people have been placed in quarantine since last week after a man died of bubonic plague, state media said.
The 30,000 residents of Yumen, in the north-western province of Gansu, are not being allowed to leave, and police at roadblocks on the perimeter of the city are telling motorists to find alternative routes, China Central Television (CCTV) said.
A 38-year-old man died last Wednesday, the report said, after he had been in contact with a dead marmot, a small furry animal related to the squirrel. No further plague cases have been reported.
CCTV said officials were not allowing anyone to leave. The China Daily newspaper said four quarantine sectors had been set up in the city.
"The city has enough rice, flour and oil to supply all its residents for up to one month," CCTV added. "Local residents and those in quarantine are all in stable condition." No further cases have been reported.
Bubonic plague is a bacterial infection best known for the Black Death, a virulent epidemic that killed tens of millions of people in 14th-century Europe. Primarily an animal illness, it is extremely rare in humans.
The US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) says modern antibiotics are effective in treating plague, but that without prompt treatment the disease can cause serious illness or death.
Germany implements Ebola emergency plan | Germany | DW.DE | 14.07.2014
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 10:19
The deadly Ebola virus spreading through West Africa has already killed more than 500 people, according to the World Health Organization. Germany has contingency plans in place in case the pathogen makes it to Europe.
The virus travels unnoticed on an airplane. A group of young adventurers lands in Germany after a backpacking trip through the West African jungle. A few days later, most of them return to work, but one of the backpackers has a high fever.
At first he thinks it's just a normal case of the flu, but then he begins bleeding from all of his bodies' cavities, and his girlfriend calls the ambulance. She's beginning to suffer from headaches herself, and can feel a fever coming on.
Meanwhile, one of the fellow travelers, who works as a nurse for the elderly, is also starting to notice similar symptoms. By the time doctors issue a diagnosis of Ebola, dozens of people in Germany have been infected with the virus, and a few have already died.
This scenario is purely hypothetical. It sounds just like something from a disaster movie a la "Outbreak." Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit, a specialist at the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg, says that while the risks shouldn't be underestimated, this scenario is far from reality: "It would be very, very rare for a virus from the affected areas to be brought to Europe." So far there hasn't been a single case of the Ebola virus disease in Germany.
Highly contagious pathogen
Health workers, like these assistants in Sierra Leone, must avoid contact with bodily fluids
There are several reasons for this, says Schmidt-Chanasit. "The Ebola virus can't spread over large distances by way of small droplets."
Person-to-person transmission can only take place when someone has close contact with excretions from infected patients, he added. Doctors and nurses therefore face a high risk of infection, especially if they don't have the proper protection.
In West Africa, local customs play a big role, says Schmidt-Chanasit. "They keep many people at the ceremonies there, and they come into close contact with the secretions of ill patients and the deceased - and so they get infected with this virus."
Humans can also contract Ebola from infected animals, especially primates and bats. Meat from these animals is sometimes sold at markets in West Africa, and should be avoided at all costs.
People who've been infected usually don't travel over large distances because the incubation period - the time between infection and onset of the disease - only takes a few days. "The normal population in these remote areas actually has no way to travel to Europe. That means they can only really affect the on-site support staff, who usually come from Europe or other countries."
Quarantine is crucial
Ebola: small but deadly
Nevertheless, Germany would be well prepared in the unlikely event of a virus infection in Europe. There are contingency plans in place at all major airports in case a patient carrying the relevant symptoms lands in the country.
At the beginning of July, there was a practice drill held at the Cologne/Bonn Airport in collaboration with the Cologne-Holweide Hospital. "It was really a coincidence that the exercise happened at the same time as this outbreak, because it had been planned for months," said Michael Krakau, a senior physician at the hospital.
The clinic has an isolation ward just a few minutes drive from the airport. "The patient would be taken to the hospital in a special isolation ambulance, and driven right up to the room," said Krakau. "The station is hermetically sealed off from the rest of the hospital. The air pressure in the room is lower than outside, so no air can escape. And any waste is specially collected and disposed of."
Beware the mosquito
Schmidt-Chanasit: Tropical diseases spread by mosquitoes pose a greater threat
But why is such a huge effort necessary to seal the room if the disease doesn't even spread through the air? "We would treat the patient in a special isolation ward because the virus is so dangerous for those affected," said Krakau.
Effective medication to combat the virus doesn't exist. And symptoms can only be treated in intensive care, in some cases preventing the disease from taking a deadly course.
But experts say there are other tropical diseases that pose a greater risk to Germany than the possibility of an Ebola infection at one of the country's airports.
"There are pathogens transmitted by mosquitoes, and they have a completely different capability," said tropical medicine expert Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit. These mosquito-borne diseases could certainly affect Germany, he says.
"We have around 1,000 registered cases of the dengue virus each year in Germany, and there's also a high number of unreported cases. There's a real risk that these viruses could be here at home - at least for a short period this summer."
New article by US bioweapons scientists working at Kenema hospital fuels fears | Case About Bird Flu
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 10:19
US bioweapons scientists working at Kenema Government Hospital yesterday published an article, saying the Zaire Ebola virus strain has been in circulation in West Africa since 2006.
http://www.sciencecodex.com/sierra_leone_samples_ebola_evidence_in_west_africa_in_2006-137467
This raises the question: what made the Zaire Ebola virus so deadly all of a sudden? How come hundreds of People have died from it in West Africa the space of a few weeks when there was not a single death from it in all the preceding eight years? Where did this deadly variation suddenly come from?
http://healthmap.org/site/diseasedaily/article/ebola-continues-spread-liberia-guinea-sierra-leone-61614
Did the ''novel'' variant of the Zaire Ebola virus come, in fact, from a US bioweapons laboratory? Did US bioweapons scientists working at Kenema Hospital give a particularly lethal, bioengineered, weaponized strain of the Ebola virus to local people as part of the Tekmira clinical trials, which started in January, involve a Zaire Ebola virus, which seem to have a missing cohort of healthy humans and which were funded by the Department of Defense?
http://biotechnologyfocus.ca/tekmira-doses-first-subject-in-human-clinical-trial-of-tkm-ebola/
Read the US bioweapon scientist's new report here:
http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/20/7/13-1265_article
''These serologic results provide evidence that ebolaviruses are circulating and infecting humans in West Africa. All of the ebolavirus-reactive samples demonstrated only IgM and no evidence of IgG, suggesting acute infection. PRNT results indicated that the infecting virus was most closely related to EBOV, except for 1 SUDV-reactive patient sample. This finding was unexpected because our assumption was that any ebolavirus would more likely be TAFV, the only species described in West Africa. Although the serum samples were able to neutralize EBOV only at a low level (1:40 dilution), it is possible that the virus is an EBOV genetic variant. This presumptive diagnosis of EBOV infection extends the ebolavirus geographic region to Sierra Leone and the surrounding region. The MBGV-reactive samples, similar to the ebolavirus samples, had evidence only of IgM, suggesting acute infection. Unfortunately, we were unable to determine whether the samples could neutralize any MBGV because we were unable to acquire a known neutralizing serum to use as a positive control.
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NA-Tech
Students hack Tesla Model S, make all its doors pop open IN MOTION ' The Register
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 03:24
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Zhejiang University students have hacked the Tesla Model S with an attack that enabled them to open its doors and sun roof, switch on the headlights and sound the horn - all while the car was driving along.
The hack was part of a competition at the annual Syscan conference in Beijing, where a prize of $US10,000 was offered to anyone who could pop the smartcar's doors and engine.
Tesla welcomed but did not officially support the competition and said it would investigate any exploits developed against the Model S.
An entrant named team 'yo' exploited an unspecified flaw in the flow design of the car gaining access to the Model S allowing them to alter the car functions while it was in motion.
Tesla hacking at Syscan
Security company Qihoo 360, which sponsored the competition, said on a Weibo social media post it would publish more details of the hack in due course.
Tesla said in a statement it supported "the idea of providing an environment in which responsible security researchers can help identify potential vulnerabilities" and hoped "security researchers will act responsibly and in good faith".
Billionaire Tesla head Elon Musk announced last month its patents would be 'open source' to promote the adoption of electric cars. ®
Mobile application security vulnerability report
Determining Ad ROI, Attribution Is Nearly Impossible
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 03:22
What's This?
Jim Sterne for ClickZ 2014-07-21 11:15:45 UTCYes, you always knew it and now there's proof - from Google and Microsoft no less.
The paper is called "On the Near Impossibility of Measuring the Returns to Advertising" and is about a year and a half old.
For those of you who do not have the time (I'm looking at you '-- all of you!) here's the TL;DR version:
Using 25 online ¬eld experiments, representing $2.8 million in ad spend, Randall A. Lewis (economic research scientist, Google) and Justin M. Rao (economic researcher, Microsoft) showed that you cannot measure the causal impact of choice variables on profit even given access to reliable signals.
Attribution? Fuhgettaboutit.
In their own words:
"We ¬nd that even when ad delivery and consumer purchases can be measured at the individual level, linked across purchasing domains, and randomized to ensure exogenous exposure, forming reliable estimates on the returns to advertising is exceedingly di¬ƒcult, even with millions of observations. As an advertiser, the data are stacked against you."
There's just too much noise in the system. To arrive at statistical significance, you'd need to run so many ads that marketplace conditions will have changed between start and finish. You'd need millions of person-weeks of trials to "reliably distinguish disparate hypotheses such as 'the ad had no e¬ect' (-100% ROI from 'the ad was pro¬table for the ¬rm' (ROI>0%)."
Even worse, "Answering questions such as 'was the ROI 15% or -5%' ... or 'was the annualized ROI at least 5%,' ... typically require at least hundreds of millions of independent person-weeks '-- nearly impossible for a campaign of any realistic size."
And that's just for return on investment (ROI). "Determining the pro¬t maximizing level of ROI is far harder, as it requires one to estimate the shape of the underlying pro¬t function. We brie¬‚y discuss the (rather incredible) di¬ƒculties of this enterprise."
The paper has gratifying graphs to occupy your left and right brains, such as this figure depicting an ROI model where, "c* gives the optimal spend level, and ch (h for 'high') gives the spend level where ROI is exactly 0%. Any point past ch and the ¬rm has negative earnings on the spend whereas any point to the left of c'— the ¬rm is under-advertising."
There are scads of equations and pages of scholarly references, but the conclusion is that old John Wannamaker is plumb out of luck: "The advertising market as a whole may have incorrect beliefs about the causal impact of advertising on consumer behavior."
So What's a Digital Analyst to Do?The same thing professionals in other industries do: We make it up as we go along.
People practice medicine. There is no definitive definition of "healthy."People practice law. You may win a case, but it can be appealed.People practice accounting. Everybody is open to an audit.People practice coding. There is no ideal program.
We have Marketing Mix Modeling at the top of the food chain and Optimization at the bottom. At the high end, you can get rather sophisticated juggling budgeted buckets of money to shift a little more from television to search pay-per-click (PPC) or from online display to retargeting. At the bottom, you can employ complex testing tools and tweak user experience design for incremental improvements in outcomes.
But in the middle, there is attribution, where the goal is to create a model that can account for so many variables, it simply tells you where, when and how to spend your money.
This assumes that if we learn how to stir this alphabet soup well enough and stir it long enough, it will eventually spell out all the works of Shakespeare.
In the words of Lewis and Rao, this is not impossible, but exceedingly di¬ƒcult.
In the words of George Box, "All models are wrong, but some are useful."
If you find a useful model, congratulations! Use it as long as it remains useful, but no longer. And please heed that other piece of good advice, "In statistics, as in art, never fall in love with your model."
If I have gored your ox, please let me know. There are mathematicians, software vendors, book writers, and pundits who have helped us reach this moment of great expectation and Big Data enchantment. If you are among them, I would love to understand if there is a LaGrange Point between Marketing Mix Modeling and Optimization that I just don't see at the moment.
This article originally published at ClickZ here
Topics: Advertising, analysts, Business, challenge, digital advertising, Jobs, Microsoft, Work & Play
Lerner Hard Drive Was "Scratched" | House Committee on Ways & Means
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 02:29
Washington, DC '' Despite early refusals to make available IT professionals who worked on Lois Lerner's computer, Ways and Means Committee investigators have now learned from interviews that the hard drive of former IRS Exempt Organizations Director Lois Lerner was ''scratched,'' but data was recoverable. In fact, in-house professionals at the IRS recommended the Agency seek outside assistance in recovering the data. That information conflicts with a July 18, 2014 court filing by the Agency, which stated the data on the hard drive was unrecoverable '' including multiple years' worth of missing emails.''It is unbelievable that we cannot get a simple, straight answer from the IRS about this hard drive,'' said Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI). ''The Committee was told no data was recoverable and the physical drive was recycled and potentially shredded. To now learn that the hard drive was only scratched, yet the IRS refused to utilize outside experts to recover the data, raises more questions about potential criminal wrong doing at the IRS.''
It is also unknown whether the scratch was accidental or deliberate, but former federal law enforcement and Department of Defense forensic experts consulted by the Committee say that most of the data on a scratched drive, such as Lerner's, should have been recoverable. However, in a declaration filed last Friday by the IRS, the agency said it tried but failed to recover the data, but is not sure what happened to the hard drive afterwards other than saying they believe it was recycled, which, according to the court filing means ''shredded.''
Further complicating the situation, the Committee's investigation has revealed evidence that this declaration may not be accurate. A review of internal IRS IT tracking system documents revealed that Lerner's computer was actually once described as ''recovered.'' In a transcribed interview on July 18, IRS IT employees were unable to confirm the accuracy of the documents or the meaning of the entry ''recovered.''
''It is these constant delays and late revelations that have forced this investigation to go on so long,'' Camp added. ''If the IRS would just come clean and tell Congress and the American people what really happened, we could put an end to this. Our investigators will not stop until we find the full truth.''
Background:
After the Supreme Court released its January 2010 decision in Citizens United, the IRS spent three years responding to Democrat complaints and calls to stop activities of conservative groups. The IRS in Washington, DC took these complaints as marching orders to subject Americans to harassment for their beliefs by subjecting applicants to extraordinary delay and inappropriate questions, audits, and by making their confidential tax information public.
At a May 10, 2013 legal event, Lerner admitted that the IRS had targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny based on their names and policy positions. Initially, President Obama vowed to work with Congress to ''get this thing fixed.'' Likewise, upon assuming leadership of the agency, IRS Commissioner Koskinen said his goal was to ''find problems quickly, fix them promptly, make sure they stay fixed, and be transparent about the entire process.'' Unfortunately, the Administration's professed eagerness to help Congress investigate the targeting quickly waned and it began obstructing the Committee's investigation.
The most egregious recent example is the delay in notifying Congress of Lerner's lost emails. On June 13, 2014, over 13 months into the investigation, and one month after the Committee was promised it would receive all Lerner emails without qualification, Congress learned that potentially thousands of Lerner emails were destroyed by the IRS. The IRS purportedly notified Congress in a letter sent to provide an update on the pace of production. Buried in the third attachment of the 27-page letter was the revelation that over two years' worth of Lerner's emails to and from individuals outside the IRS were lost due to an apparent computer crash that occurred in mid-2011. In later correspondence with the Committee, Treasury and the White House admitted learning of the lost emails in April 2014, two months before the IRS informed Congress.
The Committee immediately began investigating the matter. On the following Monday, the IRS' Deputy CIO told staff that the agency was unable to retrieve information from Lerner's malfunctioning hard drive, even after sending it to experts at the IRS's Criminal Investigations unit. When pressed by investigators about any other computer issues, the IRS admitted that six other IRS employees involved in the political targeting also experienced computer crashes.
Check Out The World's First 3D Printing Record Store | Pulse Radio
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 14:04
Chandler Shortlidge, Ibiza - Spain - 5 hours, 41 minutes ago
It's no secret that vinyl is on a comeback.
Be it collectors or DJs, the look, feel, sound and artwork of vinyl keeps people coming back no matter what the latest technological boom.
Now the vinyl revolution looks to be intersecting with the 3D printing revolution.
As part of the Bacardi Beginnings project, songwriter Bobbie Gordon and producer Kele Okereke wrote "Down Boy," the world's first track released on 3D printed vinyl.
They also performed the track live at the launch party, where the track was sold, creating the world's first 3D printed vinyl store.
Check out highlights from the show, along with more information on the 3D printed vinyl creation process, below
[Via 3DPrint.com]
Listen to Pulse Radio.
Super Food!
Kale suppliers say rapid rise of vegetable's popularity is leading to worldwide shortage - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 03:36
Green curly kale is one of the most popular varieties of the trendy vegetable which used to be primarily used as a garnish.
One of the world's major kale seed suppliers says it has run out of every variety of the trendy vegetable.
"You could describe it as embarrassing to us, but it's just one of those things that's happened on a global basis," Tony Hubbard from Bejo Seeds, which is based in the Netherlands, said.
"It's caught us out well and truly, we put our hands up to that."
Mr Hubbard runs the company's Australian office and has been in the seed business for 44 years.
He says while he has seen individual vegetable varieties take off, he has never seen a whole crop boom like kale has.
Farmers have also been struggling to keep up with demand for kale, which is a member of the cabbage family.
Fifth generation growers Deborah and Darren Corrigan planted 1,500 seedlings a couple of years ago as a trial, after watching the vegetable take off in the United States.
They are now putting in 150,000 every week at their Clyde property, south-east of Melbourne.
"It was crazy," Ms Corrigan said.
"I was ringing around Australia to try and get plants to bring back into Victoria to grow."
Ms Corrigan says they have been going to extreme efforts to ensure a healthy supply of the vegetable known as a "superfood".
"We were adding extra fertiliser, we were doing everything we can," she said.
"It was really exciting but really scary at the same time."
Australia's biggest kale growers says its popularity is off the chartsThe Corrigans are among the biggest growers of kale in the country, supplying both the major supermarkets.
Photo Kale farmer Deborah Corrigan checking on her crops. Ms Corrigan says the prospect of running out of crops is "scary".ABC LandlineThey grow three types - green curly kale, red curly kale and the flatter-leaved Tuscan kale.
Brad Gorman, who runs the Coles Fresh Produce division, says he has also been surprised by the response.
"Kale's growth has been off the charts. It is by far our fastest growing product," he said.
"Kale's been around for three years and for a product to be growing at this rate after that amount of time I think is almost unprecedented."
While kale is a novelty for many Australians, it is not a new crop.
Until the Middle Ages the frost tolerant green was the most widely eaten vegetable in much of Europe and has remained a staple in some countries including the Netherlands and Germany.
"It's one of the main vegies in the winter," long-time kale grower Joh Bruynen said.
"It can be harvested right through the winter. You take the snow off the bush and shake it and then you cut it off."
Kale pioneer waited for decades for the vegetable's health benefits to be confirmedJoh Bruynen is one of the pioneers of kale in Australia importing his first seeds from the Netherlands, where he was born, in 1956.
"I had trouble selling it because they didn't know what it was," the 83-year-old said.
"I brought it to the market and the butchers bought it to decorate their shops because it looked like parsley which they used in between the meat."
His son Steve Bruynen has taken over the family's market garden at Pearcedale in Victoria and has no such trouble finding buyers.
"I've had to drop growing red cabbage and leeks have gone because I need the ground to grow the kale," he said.
While the Bruynens have been fans of kale for decades, they did not know how rich the vegetable is in anti-oxidants and important minerals until a few years ago.
And it is kale's reputation as a very healthy food that has sparked the current boom and shortage of seeds.
Mr Hubbard says he hopes more seeds will be available by September or October.
For more on this story watch Landline at noon on ABC.
VIDEO-CLIPS-DOCS
VIDEO-Air Algerie plane 'crashes' with 116 on board after going missing over Mali: live - Telegraph
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:52
Aircraft damaged beyond repair after botched landing at Pohang, South Korea.
Jan 31 2000 - Alaska Airlines
All 88 people on board killed when plane nosedives into sea off California because of stabiliser problem. Attributed to poor lubrication.
Jan 8 2005 - Aero Republica
Plane written off after aircraft overruns runway on landing in Colombia
Oct 11 2007 - AMC airlines
Plane written off after overshooting runway during emergency landing in Istanbul.
Nov 30 2007 - Atlasjet airlines
All 57 people on board killed when plane crashes into a Turkish mountain
June 3 2012 - Dana Air
All 153 people on board killed along with 10 on the ground when plane on domestic flight in Nigeria loses power in both engines
14.18 A fuller passenger list has been published by official Algerian news agency APS.
The list of passengers includes 51 French, 27 Burkina Faso nationals, eight Lebanese, six Algerians, five Canadians, four Germans, two Luxemburg nationals, one Swiss, one Belgium, one Egyptian, one Ukrainian, one Nigerian, one Cameroonian and one Malian, Burkina Faso Transport Minister Jean Bertin Ouedraogo reportedly said.
However, AFP is reporting that "at least 20" passengers were Lebanese.
The six crew members are Spanish, according to the Spanish pilots' union.
14.14 Fiona Govan reports from Madrid, Spain with the latest on the fate of AH5017, which was owned and staffed by the Spanish firm Swiftair:
Swiftair confirmed that the two pilots and four cabin crew are all Spanish, and said that contact had been lost with the plane 50 minutes after it took off from Burkina Faso this morning for Algiers.
The company said it was trying to establish the nationalities of those on board and were coordinating with the Spanish foreign ministry.
"At this moment we have emergency teams and company personnel working 'Žto establish what happened and as soon as we know more details we will release new statements," it said in a statement, according to Spanish websites.
According to Algeria media reserves of kerosene on the plane could have run out after an hour.
Spain's ministry for development and transport 'Žhas called a crisis cabinet and is in touch with the company and authorities in Burkino Faso, Mali and Algeria.
Jose Manuel Margallo, Spain's foreign minister described the situation as "confusing" and is in touch with his Algerian counterpart Ramatane Lamama, as well as the Spanish prime minister.
Speaking on an office visit to Tunisia he said "the situation is very confused."
14.11 "I can confirm that it has crashed," the unnamed Algerian official who spoke to Reuters has said, declining to give details of where the plane was or what caused the accident.
13.57 An Algerian aviation official has told Reuters the plane has crashed.
No more details are currently available on the location, but Niger security sources say planes are flying over its border with Mali to search for the plane.
13.51 Swiftair, which owned and staffed the plane, has a relatively clean safety record, with five accidents since 1977, two of which caused a total of eight deaths, according to the Washington-based Flight Safety Foundation.
Air Algerie's last major accident was in 2003 when one of its planes crashed shortly after take-off from the southern city of Tamanrasset, killing 102 people. In February this year, 77 people died when an Algerian military transport plane crashed into a mountain in eastern Algeria.
13.45 French fighter jets based in the region have been dispatched to try to locate the missing plane, French army spokesman Gilles Jaron has said.
Two Mirage 2000 jets based in Africa were dispatched to try to locate the Air Algerie plane that disappeared on Thursday.
They will search an area from its last known destination along its probable route.
13.42 David Millward explains why a Spanish-owned plane was being operated by an Algerian airline:
The aircraft was "wet leased" by Air Algerie from Swiftair [a Spanish airline company], which supplied both aircraft and crew. The practice of wet leasing is common in the industry. British Airways wet-leased a number of aircraft during the 2010 cabin crew dispute to maintain services.
13.30 There may have been as many as 80 French passengers on board AH5017, "airport sources" in Algeria have told EFE.
13.25 The Telegraph's David Millward, former transport editor, has been following events from the US:
David Soucie, a former investigator with the Federal Aviation Administration, has told CNN: ''There is no reason to think there is anything mechanically wrong with the plane. There is some reason that it flew over restricted airspace.''
Speaking on CNN he adds that field could have been an issue when the pilot had to make a decision what route should be taken to avoid the storm.
13.19 Mike Pflanz reports for The Telegraph from Nairobi:
A European diplomat in Ouagadougou said that there was limited information available from the country's civil aviation authorities, but that he had been briefed that the aircraft left Burkina Faso airspace and had continued as planned over Malian territory.
There were reportedly many French citizens on the flight, which was likely to be routed over territory that was in the hands of al-Qaeda's affiliates in northern Mali until France intervened to push them out in 2013.
Despite this, the European diplomat said that there was no suggestion he had heard that the aircraft could have been specifically targeted by anti-French Islamist forces from the ground.
13.07 Amid conflicting reports about the missing plane's movements, here is a roundup of what we have heard so far.
- Flight AH5017 set off from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, toward Algiers, Algeria, at 0117 local time [02.17am UK time].
- It flew northward, into Mali airspace.
- Burkina Faso air traffic control handed over to the control tower in Niamey, Niger, just across the border from Mali, at 1:38am local time [02.38 UK time].
- At around this time AH5017 was asked to change route because of a storm.
- The last contact Algerian authorities had with the missing Air Algerie aircraft was at 01.55am [02.55am UK time] when it was flying over Gao, Mali.
- Niger air traffic controllers have reportedly said their said last contact with the flight was just after 4:30am local time (04.30am UK), suggesting it may have entered Niger air space, though this is yet unconfirmed
12.58 Burkina Faso authorities have set up a crisis unit in Ouagadougou airport to provide information to families of people on the flight, reports Reuters.
A diplomat in the Malian capital Bamako said that the north of the country - which lies on the plane's likely flight path - was struck by a powerful sandstorm overnight.
Issa Saly Maiga, head of Mali's National Civil Aviation Agency, said that a search was under way for the missing flight.
"We do not know if the plane is Malian territory," he told Reuters. "Aviation authorities are mobilised in all the countries concerned - Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Algeria and even Spain."
12.56 The Air Algerie flight disappeared over northern Mali, France's transport minister has confirmed.
12.54 Fifty French people were on board according the plane's passenger list, an Air Algerie representative in Burkina Faso has told Reuters.
12.51 The missing Air Algerie flight AH5017 was asked to change route at 01.38 (02.38 UK time) because of a storm, the Burkina Faso transport minister has said.
However, it has also been reported that air traffic controllers in both Algerian and Niger had contact with it later.
12.42 "There were likely French people on board, and if there were French people on board there were certainly many of them," Frederic Cuvillier, France's transport minister, has told reporters.
12.33 The first details on the 110 passengers on board flight AH5017 - the French transport minister has said that "likely many" French citizens would have been on board the flight, which has disappeared.
12.28 More details are emerging of the final minutes of contact with the plane.
An Algerian aviation official has told Reuters that the last contact Algerian authorities had with the missing Air Algerie aircraft was at 0155 GMT (02.55am UK time) when it was flying over Gao, Mali.
Aviation authorities in Burkina Faso say they handed the flight to the control tower in Niamey, Niger, at 1:38am local time (02.38 UK time). They said last contact with the flight was just after 4:30am local time (04.30 UK).
12.22 More reports are emerging that the flight was asked to change course midflight in order to avoid the path of another plane, again unconfirmed.
12.19 Chinese state television is now reporting that the plane has crashed in Niger. It has not yet been possible to verify this information.
12.07 This map, based on information from the Federal Aviation Administration and International Civil Aviation Organisation, depicts how Mali is considered by US airlines to be one of the world's "high risk" flight zones.
Burkina Faso is the country directly south of Mali - Algeria is directly north of the country.
11.58 Following early reports of poor visibility, Mali is at the end of its dry season, during which the harmattan, a dry, hot wind that blows from the east out of the Sahara, "sweeps the soil into dusty whirlwinds and is accompanied by daytime temperatures of about 104 to 113 °F (40 to 45 °C)", accoridng to Encyclopaedia Britannica.
The weather in Mali today is described as "mostly cloudy".
11.48 Air Algerie has confirmed via its Twitter feed that contact was lost 50 minutes into the flight, and has provided a crisis contact.
The tweet translates as "The aircraft took off at 1:55. 50 minutes after we have not heard from the aircraft. Spanish plane Crisis Staff @AeroportAlger"
11.46 Flight AH5017 was in Malian air space approaching the border with Algeria when contact was lost, a source from Air Algerie has reportedly told AFP.
The plane was not far from the Algerian frontier when the crew was asked to make a detour because of poor visibility and to prevent the risk of collision with another aircraft on the Algiers-Bamako route.
Contact was lost after the change of course.
11.35 Air Algerie has tweeted the following message, which translates to "Currently we have no news of VolAH5017. Thank you"
11.32 The missing airplane is owned by Spanish private airline Swiftair, and operated by Air Algerie, according to Reuters:
Spanish private airline company Swiftair on Thursday said it had lost contact with one of its airplane operated by Air Algerie with 110 passengers and six crew members on board.
The company said in a notice posted on its website that the aircraft took off from Burkina Faso at 0117 local time [02.17am UK time] and was supposed to land in Algiers at 0510 local time but never reached its destination.
11.27 Mali - the shortest flight path for AH5017 - is currently considered a "high risk" flight zone by US airlines, according to this Wall Street Journal graphic.
However, a senior French official has told AP it is unlikely that fighters in Mali had weaponry that could shoot down a plane:
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to speak for attribution, said the fights have shoulder-fired weapons which could not hit an aircraft at cruising altitude.
General view of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso (NEIL COOPER/ALAMY)
11.25 Contact was lost with the plane some time after 01.55GMT (02.55 UK), according the official Algerian news agency.
"In keeping with procedures, Air Algerie has launched its emergency plan," the agency quoted the airline as saying.
11.22 The flight code was AH5017, according to AP, and originated in the Burkina Faso capital city of Ouagadougou.
Ougadougou is in a nearly straight line south of Algiers, passing over Mali where unrest continues in the north.
11.16 Air Algerie is the national airline of Algeria, flying to 28 countries including the United Kingdom.
It is not yet clear what route the plane was taking when it went missing, but would most likely have been flying over either Mali or Niger.
11.10 A plane carrying 110 passengers from Burkina Faso to Algeria has gone missing, according to reports. The plane was an Air Algerie aircraft, and lost contact with air traffic controllers 50 minutes after takeoff.
VIDEO-Possibly Drunk Sarah Palin Gives 30 Min. Speech On Impeaching Obama
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 06:02
At the Western Conservative Summit this last week, Sarah Palin drunkenly doubled down on her calls for impeachment after a string of word soup tailored together from past conservative talking points. Am I being critical of Palin's intelligence while she stumbles through this 30 minutes speech by calling her ''drunken''? No. I do believe that Palin is 99% moron, but this one appears to be a moron that had a few too many to drink that evening before they got up for their speaking engagement.
The speech seemed to have been written by some neo-libertarian tribute to Ayn Rand by offering a protagonist ''the forgotten man''. Her speech didn't ever cover one issue, but instead turned Tea Party talking points into a macabre poetry slam competition. Palin says absolutely nothing of substance in her speech aside from her general feelings about society and her hatred of the other side of politics.
The only thing that seems certain in Palin's world is that Obama is evil and facts are relative. Her drive towards impeachment in the drunken speech strings together random accusations as public facts (most of which have been debunked). Palin even mentions the 2008 ''loophole'' signed by former President Bush to give refugee status to children as a reason to impeach Obama. Because she is just that dumb'... and most likely drunk.
This video is 30 minutes of ''are you fucking kidding me?'' that is only topped off by the introduction to Palin which labels her as the ''most influential woman in the history of the republican party''. That doesn't help the republicans in their defense of the ''war on women'' at all.
VIDEO-Hillary Clinton Fireside Chat | Talks at Google - YouTube
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 05:30
VIDEO-'New Yorker' Editor Compares Putin to Glenn Beck on 'Andrea Mitchell Reports' | MRCTV
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 03:54
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VIDEO- "WE CAN BRING THE RUSSIAN ECONOMY TO IT'S KNEES!" Congressman Adam Schiff - YouTube
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 03:25
VIDEO- "IT'S TIME TO BOMB IRAN'S NUCLEAR CAPABILITIES!" Congressman Gohmert - YouTube
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 03:04
VIDEO- "LOCAL POLICE ARE CALLING HASH OIL THE NEW METH!" - YouTube
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 03:00
VIDEO-Madeleine Albright and Bill Richardson asked about killing 500,000 Iraqi children - YouTube
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 02:11
VIDEO-United States is providing Takfiri terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria with technical support - YouTube
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 01:23
VIDEO-CNN Video - Breaking News Videos from CNN.com
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 00:45
CNN Video - Breaking News Videos from CNN.comBourdain: 'My face is burning off'1,200 times more potent than cyanide?Dad to 911: Send an ambulanceCop's body cam shows dying toddlerGoofy wedding pic goes viralLoyal dog's act of love is rewardedCuomo challenges RT anchor on MH17TV host defends Russia's MH17 responseOutrage, but little action over MH17What will MH17 investigators look for?Does debris prove MH17 was shot down?A look at the crash of KAL007Will Russia take responsibility for MH17?Malaysia's' quiet diplomacy'U.S.: Photos implicate Russia in MH17Who leads the pro-Russian rebels?MH17 bodies arrive in KharkivWhat are the U.S. no-fly zones?Dutch honor MH17 passengersRemembering researcher killed in MH17 crashMH17 bodies one step closer to homeRemembering the victims of Flight 17Remembering a little brother killed on MH17Remembering families killed on MH17Entire family killed in MH17 crashWitness: Children crying as bodies fellMH17 bodies arrive in KharkivCheating death twice on Malaysia AirlinesA mother's regret over flight MH17Remembering the young on flight MH17Bourdain surprised by the modern SouthBourdain dives into Putin's RussiaMeet the biggest appetite in MexicoIs this the 'greatest food porn ever'?How much sin can Bourdain take?Here's what shocked Bourdain in PunjabBoat ride is Bourdain's dream come true'See Tony eat vegetables -- and like it!'Bourdain: 'Fantastically luxurious' meal1,200 times more potent than cyanide?Greens & fried okra & neck bones, oh my!Maximo mixes French and Mexican cuisineHour-by-hour timeline of hot car deathSuspicion focusing on mother's commentsNew search warrants in toddler car deathCould mom face charges in hot car death?Dad asked about collecting life insuranceCops investigate mom in hot car deathHearing reveals the good & bad in HarrisJudge denies bond in hot car death caseLatest on dad who left son in a hot car'A lot of hearsay' in hot car hearingNew details in GA child hot car deathWitness: Dead toddler looked like a dollConvicted sex offender escapes custodyChild molestation suspect on the runFull Episode: 'The Hunt' with John WalshThe horrific crime that fuels John WalshJohn Walsh on the 'Pillowcase rapist'What fueled John Walsh's crusade?Family killing suspect on the looseWanted for murder, where is he?John Walsh is back on 'The Hunt'John Walsh details new show, 'The Hunt'The Hunt with John Walsh TrailerThe Science Behind: Catching a criminalCompany limits employee bathroom breaksBrain-eating amoeba kills 9-year-oldNeighbors want 'Pillowcase Rapist' goneGun-toting woman threatened over picsNew allegations on Detroit boy's abuseAttorney: Detroit boy a troubled kidRenter learns house was used for tortureScene of three-generation shootingPet lion attacks film crew memberStray bullet hits woman in the faceMarine's pregnant wife goes missingCheerleader under fire for hunting picsRaid kills 34 in alleged Baghdad brothelISIS leader criticized for ... his watchIraqi family counts cost of ISIS conflictCould ISIS leader become a drone target?Iraqi hospital packed with ISIS victimsCould ISIS make a 'dirty bomb?'Iraqi Army braces for combatVideo emerges of purported ISIS leaderISIS releases chilling new videoMass graves and executions shock IraqIraq executions,atrocities on both sidesKidnapped boys brainwashed by ISISBloomberg: 'Devastating' to stop flightsU.N.: One child killed every hour in GazaKids find no escape from Gaza violenceGazans carry on despite years of warTeen recounts beating by Israeli policeAlbright: Israel's moral authority hurtU.N.: 70% killed in Gaza are civiliansHamas official likens Netanyahu to HitlerIsrael: We do not target civiliansTunnels cause trouble for Israeli forcesCNN anchor on diverted Tel Aviv flightU.S. airlines suspend all Israel flightsThe most dangerous train in the AmericasImmigrant or refugee?Boehner: Obama to blame for border crisisObama gets heckled during Texas eventObama: Sue, impeach me for doing my job?5 Reasons Gov. 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'shocked' at crash reportReport: Malaysia plane crashes in UkraineMalaysia flight lost contact over UkraineUndocumented teens beat MIT studentsCDC chief grilled over safety lapsesTime Warner rejects 21st Century Fox bid'Weird Al' spoofs 'Blurred Lines'Anthrax found in unlocked CDC fridgeLeBron James: 'Learn from your mistakes'Biden celebrates with U.S. soccer teamAt the World Cup with US SoccerOchocinco No MoreWill Jeter go from Captain to Boss?Temperatures may rule U.S.-Portugal gameOchocinco No MoreWill Jeter go from Captain to Boss?NBA Commissioner Adam SilverMark Messier: Follow the LeaderAdam Silver discusses Sterling's ousterNBA commissioner talks candidly to CNNU.S.: Russia 'enflaming' Ukraine conflict'Mosaic' of militias wreak havoc in LibyaIn hardship, acting in good faithMH17: Russia respondsRussia: It's decision time 'for everybody'Teen recounts beating by Israeli policeIsrael: Targeting Hamas, not PalestiniansUkraine Pres speaks out, challenges RussiaUkraine Pres gets heated over Russia claimThe crime 'is impossible to destroy'Ukraine Pres: No difference with 9/11Why did reporter quit Russian TV station?Remembering the victims of Flight 17Remembering a little brother killed on MH17Piecing together clues on Flight 17Remembering families killed on MH17Kids find no escape from Gaza violenceWill Russia take responsibility for MH17?Does debris prove MH17 was shot down?Dutch leader gives moving speech on MH17A look at the crash of KAL007AC360 Daily Podcast 7/22/2014Grandfather remembers 'lively' grandsonRemembering the victims of MH17Kids are winning by losingEmergency Landing Transmitters explainedCould this ocean robot help find missing plane?Is GM's female CEO getting short changed?Are kids taking the fun out of parenting?The battle against heroin addictionAre kids taking the fun out of parenting?Woody Allen's lawyer speaks outAC360 Later Daily Podcast 2/4/2014What does it take to succeed in America?Christie's political futureAC360 Later Daily Podcast 2/3/2014The Caipirinha manBourdain: Don't forget the hot chili oil1,200 times more potent than cyanide?Tony enjoys the East's sensory pleasuresDrunken noodles with no noodles?Anthony Bourdain visits Chiang Mai CityGreens & fried okra & neck bones, oh my!Ear ye! 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VIDEO-'Inlichtingendiensten kenden gevaar vliegen boven Oekra¯ne' | RTL Nieuws
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:01
Een klein aantal landen wist al voor 17 juli van de risico's van een raketaanval boven Oost-Oekra¯ne, maar heeft die informatie voor zichzelf gehouden en alleen aan de eigen luchtvaartmaatschappijen doorgegeven. Dat zegt Nico Voorbach, de voorzitter van de Europese pilotenvereniging ECA tegen RTL Nieuws.
Luchtvaartmaatschappijen uit de Verenigde Staten, Canada, het Verenigd Koninkrijk, Frankrijk en Australi zijn volgens de European Cockpit Association 'gewaarschuwd voor het feit dat als zij in dat gebied kwamen, op welke hoogte dan ook, dat er een gevaar was dat er oorlogshandelingen tegen hun vliegtuigen gepleegd zouden worden'.
Op grote hoogte"Het ging over wat voor luchtdefensiesystemen of raketsystemen separatisten of andere militanten daar gebruikten en dat er dus een risico was dat deze raketten commercile vluchten op grote hoogten konden bereiken", aldus Voorbach tegen de researchredactie van RTL Nieuws.
Volgens Voorbach was bekend 'dat deze in handen waren van mensen die dat zouden gebruiken tegen vliegtuigen van Oekra¯ne of Rusland en dus ook tegen passerende andere vliegtuigen, zogenaamde collateral damage'.
ZIE OOK: 'Diensten moeten informatie over luchtruim delen'
Volgens de ECA wordt dit soort informatie structureel niet gedeeld met luchtvaartmaatschappijen uit andere landen. "Als dit internationaal bekend was geweest, dan was er niet (C)(C)n vlucht overheen gevlogen." Hierdoor wisten luchtvaartmaatschappijen uit andere landen niet van deze risico's. Volgens de ECA waren KLM en Malaysia Airlines niet op de hoogte van de informatie.'‹ Voorbach vindt dat schandalig. "Omdat je hier niet praat over inlichtingen of commercile belangen, maar over mensenlevens."
De ECA baseert zich op informatie van piloten uit de eigen achterban, maar ook op contacten in de inlichtingenwereld. De vereniging wil dat er zo snel mogelijk een organisatie wordt aangewezen die wereldwijd informatie gaat verzamelen en die deelt met alle landen en luchtvaartmaatschappijen.
Niet reagerenDe Amerikaanse inlichtingendienst CIA en de Amerikaanse luchtvaartautoriteit FAA willen niet op de uitspraken van de ECA reageren. De Nederlandse Nationaal Co¶rdinator Terrorismebestrijding en laat weten dat de Onderzoeksraad voor de veiligheid alle kwesties rond de ramp onderzoekt en dus hier ook naar zal kijken. De AIVD reageert niet op de uitspraken van de ECA.
Kijk hier voor het interview met Nico Voorbach:
RTL Nieuws
VIDEO-Damage Control: Fox News mic catches Kerry criticising Israel
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 03:20
Jonathan Cook RINF Alternative News
US Secretary of State John Kerry is confronted by Fox News with a conversation with an aide that was supposed to be private but was caught by an open studio microphone. He criticises Israel's attack on Gaza, saying sarcastically: ''It's a hell of a pinpoint operation.'' That is presumably a reference to the rapidly escalating death toll over the past 24 hours from Israel's ground invasion.
Such incidents often look as though they have exposed politicians as mendacious, saying one thing in private and another in public. I think that is the wrong way to understand it. Most politicians are not cynical. They do not think of themselves as bad, deceitful or hypocritical - even if we often do. In their own minds, they believe they are doing the best possible in difficult circumstances.
Here Kerry shows that he is concerned to save lives and suffering through diplomatic action, even as the decisions he takes are guaranteed to result in many more people dying unnecessarily and in horrifying circumstances. He cares about the civilians being killed in Gaza, it's just that his political priorities '' the good fight for civilisation '' require destroying or containing ''bad guys'' like Hamas. In his mind, it is sad but unavoidable that civilians have to pay the price, as collateral damage.
In other words, the problem is not that Kerry has bad motives or intentions; it is that his ideological horizons are so limited and skewed by his education and socialisation that his judgment has been profoundly corrupted and is inherently unreliable. That, unfortunately, is the problem with most of the people who run our societies.
Jonathan Cook is an award-winning British journalist based in Nazareth, Israel, since 2001.
VIDEO-Internet rules stir passionate debate | TheHill
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 03:18
The Federal Communications Commission is being bombarded with passionate calls for a wholesale change to the way the Internet is regulated.
While reclassifying Internet providers to treat them like phone companies would be an uphill political battle, companies, lawmakers and members of the public are pressing the agency to do it anyway.
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The FCC has received more than 1 million comments about its proposed rewrite of net neutrality rules. Amid profanity-filled diatribes and threats against FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, many of the comments ask the agency to change the way it regulates Internet providers.Under the agency's old net neutrality rules, Internet providers were regulated as ''Title I'' or ''information'' services.
Phone companies, in contrast, are classified as ''Title II'' or ''telecommunications'' services, meaning they are regulated more like utility companies.
While Wheeler initially focused on rewriting the net neutrality rules under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act, he began focusing more seriously on reclassification after a backlash from Democrats on the Commission and on Capitol Hill.
The pressure from lawmakers and industry players '-- including Internet companies such as Netflix and Mozilla '-- has intensified since May, when the FCC voted to move ahead with Wheeler's plan to rewrite the net neutrality rules, which had prevented Internet providers from slowing or blocking access to websites.
This week, 13 Democratic senators '-- led by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and including Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) '-- wrote to Wheeler, pushing him to reclassify.
The agency should reclassify ''to reflect the vital role the Internet plays in carrying our most important information and our greatest ideas,'' the letter said.
Markey told The Hill that he is pushing reclassification to create certainty for the companies and users that rely on an open Internet.
''My goal is to create real predictability for the long term future'' so that companies ''understand what the rules are going to be in the years ahead,'' he said.
Franken called reclassification ''the only realistic path left.''
''The FCC already tried to create net neutrality rules without reclassification, and they were stopped by the courts,'' Franken said in a statement to The Hill.
''The FCC shouldn't make the same mistake again.''
According to one Hill Democratic aide, lawmakers fear the FCC is headed for another court defeat with its current approach to the rules.
''If they go down [the path of Section] 706, a lot of people think it's going to be d(C)j vu,'' the aide said. ''Why not try Title II?''
Supporters of reclassification also point to the mounting public interest in the net neutrality debate.
Cathy Sloan, vice president of Government Relations for the Computer and Communications Industry Association, said the first court defeat has raised the stakes for the FCC.
''When the Commission was trying to build a rule where there was none before, expectations weren't so high,'' said Sloan, whose group includes Google, Facebook and Microsoft.
As Internet becomes a more crucial part of most Americans' everyday lives, reclassification becomes less of a political issue, Sloan said.
''Beyond the Beltway, it's not a partisan issue,'' she said.
Harold Feld, senior vice president at Public Knowledge, said ''Title II'' has become a more widely accepted idea.
Reclassification ''has gone since 2010 from being what was considered to be the sort of more radical position '... to being a much more mainstream political selling point,'' he said.
Supporters of reclassification say that, as awareness of reclassification has increased, opposition has begun to soften.
One oft-cited measure is the number of Hill Democrats who oppose reclassification.
In 2010, when the FCC last mulled reclassification, Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas) organized more than 70 of his colleagues in a letter to then-FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski opposing reclassification.
''The significant regulatory impact of reclassifying broadband service is not something that should be taken lightly and should not be done without additional direction from Congress,'' the lawmakers wrote.
''We urge you not to move forward with a proposal that undermines critically important investment in broadband and the jobs that come with it.''
A similar letter Green sent this past May had fewer than half as many signatures.
Reclassification supporters also point to a recent House vote on an FCC funding bill.
Republicans could have attached a measure that would have prohibited the FCC from reclassifying Internet companies, but chose not to.
''It's sufficiently controversial that the Republicans decided that, 'We don't want to pick this fight right now,' '' Feld said.
''The political tide has changed.''
While there may be less vocal opposition from some camps, there's no guarantee that reclassification would succeed.
In filings to the FCC, the major Internet providers '-- including Comcast, Verizon and AT&T '-- warned that reclassification would hurt the Internet.
''Reclassification would mire the industry in years of uncertainty and litigation, and it would abruptly stall the virtuous circle of investment and innovation that has propelled the United States to the forefront of the broadband revolution,'' AT&T told the FCC.
Comcast warned the agency that reclassifying Internet providers ''is not only entirely unnecessary but would be unwise and likely unlawful.''
Jon Banks, senior vice president for law and policy at USTelecom, said the FCC should focus on the growth of Internet access under its current classification.
''Under Title I, we've had massive investment and innovation from broadband providers'' and websites, he said.
''Why would you want to change that?''
VIDEO-Netanyahu: Hamas Wants 'Telegenically Dead Palestinians' | Mediaite
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 03:15
Reiterating a point made in an interview on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CNN's Wolf Blitzer Sunday morning that Hamas was intentionally endangering Palestinian civilians to create gruesome images that would turn the international community against Israel.
''We're sad for every civilian casualty,'' Netanyahu said. ''They're not intended. This is the difference between us. Hamas deliberately targets civilians and deliberately hides behind civilians. They embed their rocketeers, their rocket caches, their other weaponry from which they fire, which they use to fire on us, in civilian areas. What choice do we have? We have to protect ourselves.''
''All civilian casualties are unintended by us, but actually intended by Hamas,'' Netanyahu said. ''They want to pile up as many civilian dead as they can, because somebody said they use '-- it's gruesome '-- they use 'telegenically dead Palestinians' for their cause. They want the more dead the better. ''
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VIDEO-US: Terrorism Prosecutions Often An Illusion | Human Rights Watch
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 01:00
(Washington, DC) ''The US Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have targeted American Muslims in abusive counterterrorism ''sting operations'' based on religious and ethnic identity, Human Rights Watch and Columbia Law School's Human Rights Institute said in a report released today. Many of the more than 500 terrorism-related cases prosecuted in US federal courts since September 11, 2001, have alienated the very communities that can help prevent terrorist crimes.
The 214-page report, ''Illusion of Justice: Human Rights Abuses in US Terrorism Prosecutions,'' examines 27 federal terrorism cases from initiation of the investigations to sentencing and post-conviction conditions of confinement. It documents the significant human cost of certain counterterrorism practices, such as overly aggressive sting operations and unnecessarily restrictive conditions of confinement.
''Americans have been told that their government is keeping them safe by preventing and prosecuting terrorism inside the US,'' said Andrea Prasow, deputy Washington director at Human Rights Watch and one of the authors of the report. ''But take a closer look and you realize that many of these people would never have committed a crime if not for law enforcement encouraging, pressuring, and sometimes paying them to commit terrorist acts.''
Many prosecutions have properly targeted individuals engaged in planning or financing terror attacks, the groups found. But many others have targeted people who do not appear to have been involved in terrorist plotting or financing at the time the government began to investigate them. And many of the cases involve due process violations and abusive conditions of confinement that have resulted in excessively long prison sentences.
The report is based on more than 215 interviews with people charged with or convicted of terrorism-related crimes, members of their families and their communities, criminal defense attorneys, judges, current and former federal prosecutors, government officials, academics, and other experts.
In some cases the FBI may have created terrorists out of law-abiding individuals by suggesting the idea of taking terrorist action or encouraging the target to act. Multiple studies have found that nearly 50 percent of the federal counterterrorism convictions since September 11, 2001, resulted from informant-based cases. Almost 30 percent were sting operations in which the informant played an active role in the underlying plot.
In the case of the ''Newburgh Four,'' for example, who were accused of planning to blow up synagogues and attack a US military base, a judge said the government ''came up with the crime, provided the means, and removed all relevant obstacles,'' and had, in the process, made a terrorist out of a man ''whose buffoonery is positively Shakespearean in scope.''
The FBI often targeted particularly vulnerable people, including those with intellectual and mental disabilities and the indigent. The government, often acting through informants, then actively developed the plot, persuading and sometimes pressuring the targets to participate, and provided the resources to carry it out.
''The US government should stop treating American Muslims as terrorists-in-waiting,'' Prasow said. ''The bar on entrapment in US law is so high that it's almost impossible for a terrorism suspect to prove. Add that to law enforcement preying on the particularly vulnerable, such as those with mental or intellectual disabilities, and the very poor, and you have a recipe for rampant human rights abuses.''
Rezwan Ferdaus, for example, pled guilty to attempting to blow up a federal building and was sentenced to 17 years in prison. Although an FBI agent even told Ferdaus' father that his son ''obviously'' had mental health problems, the FBI targeted him for a sting operation, sending an informant into Ferdaus' mosque. Together, the FBI informant and Ferdaus devised a plan to attack the Pentagon and US Capitol, with the FBI providing fake weaponry and funding Ferdaus' travel. Yet Ferdaus was mentally and physically deteriorating as the fake plot unfolded, suffering depression and seizures so bad his father quit his job to care for him.
The US has also made overly broad use of material support charges, punishing behavior that did not demonstrate an intent to support terrorism. The courts have accepted prosecutorial tactics that may violate fair trial rights, such as introducing evidence obtained by coercion, classified evidence that cannot be fairly contested, and inflammatory evidence about terrorism in which defendants played no part '' and asserting government secrecy claims to limit challenges to surveillance warrants.
Ahmed Omar Abu Ali is a US citizen who alleged that he was whipped and threatened with amputation while detained without charge in Saudi Arabia '' after a roundup following the 2003 bombings of Western compounds in the Saudi capital of Riyadh '' until he provided a confession to Saudi interrogators that he says was false. Later, when Ali went to trial in Virginia, the judge rejected Ali's claims of torture and admitted his confession into evidence. He was convicted of conspiracy, providing material support to terrorists, and conspiracy to assassinate the president. He received a life sentence, which he is serving in solitary confinement at the federal supermax prison in Florence, Colorado.
The US has in terrorism cases used harsh and at times abusive conditions of confinement, which often appear excessive in relation to the security risk posed. This includes prolonged solitary confinement and severe restrictions on communicating in pretrial detention, possibly impeding defendants' ability to assist in their own defense and contributing to their decisions to plead guilty. Judges have imposed excessively lengthy sentences, and some prisoners suffer draconian conditions post-conviction, including prolonged solitary confinement and severe restrictions on contact with families or others, sometimes without explanation or recourse.
Nine months after his arrest on charges of material support for terrorism and while he was refusing a plea deal, Uzair Paracha was moved to a harsh regime of solitary confinement. Special Administrative Measures (SAMs) '' national security restrictions on his contact with others '' permitted Paracha to speak only to prison guards.
''You could spend days to weeks without uttering anything significant beyond 'Please cut my lights,' 'Can I get a legal call/toilet paper/a razor,' etc., or just thanking them for shutting our light,'' he wrote to the report's researchers. After he was convicted, the SAMs were modified to permit him to communicate with other inmates. ''I faced the harshest part of the SAMs while I was innocent in the eyes of American law,'' he wrote.
These abuses have had an adverse impact on American Muslim communities. The government's tactics to seek out terrorism suspects, at times before the target has demonstrated any intention to use violence, has undercut parallel efforts to build relationships with American Muslim community leaders and groups that may be critical sources of information to prevent terrorist attacks.
In some communities, these practices have deterred interaction with law enforcement. Some Muslim community members said that fears of government surveillance and informant infiltration have meant they must watch what they say, to whom, and how often they attend services.
''Far from protecting Americans, including American Muslims, from the threat of terrorism, the policies documented in this report have diverted law enforcement from pursuing real threats,'' Prasow said. ''It is possible to protect people's rights and also prosecute terrorists, which increases the chances of catching genuine criminals.''
VIDEO-Josh Earnest media using anonymous sources | Video | C-SPAN.org
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 23:54
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VIDEO- Emotional MH17 Crash Speech By Netherlands Delegate to UN - YouTube
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 23:43
VIDEO-Zbigniew Brzezinski: Putin 'Stumbled' in Handling Plane Attack
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 23:31
Russian President Vladimir Putin "badly stumbled" in his handling of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, and is alienating Ukrainians who were already outraged by his acts in Crimea and eastern Ukraine, former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski told MSNBC's "Morning Joe."Brzezinski, who served under former President Jimmy Carter, said Ukrainians are turning away from Putin due to his "stupidity" in deflecting blame for the airstrike that brought down the jet on July 17, killing all 298 people aboard.
Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine are suspected of conducting the attack, but Putin blamed Ukrainian forces for striking the jetliner.
Story continues below video.
"Putin has badly stumbled," Brzezinski said Tuesday. "He, in fact, is steadily alienating more than 40 million Ukrainians. They are already in a state of outrage over Crimea. They are now increasingly in a state of outrage over the destabilization of the eastern parts of their country. They're now entangled in this horrible tragedy."
Russians are becoming aware that Putin's "mendacity" is "disgracing him and, derivatively, much of the country," Brzezinski said. While the United States needs to push forward with further sanctions, he said Europe also needs to step up in confronting Putin.
"More important right now is European actions. They have to line up, because that's essential," he said.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright agreed on the need for "Europeans to move" to challenge Putin. She said the European countries at some point will have to come together.
"It is stunning to me how slow [the European countries] have been in all of this. Ultimately, they will have to become unified," Albright, who served under former President Bill Clinton, told the "Morning Joe" panel Tuesday.
At the same time, she said it is important for the United States to "push" against Putin, adding the Russian president had been "caught in the web of his own lies."
"He has made up the whole story from the very beginning, and now he is trying to figure out how to explain to his people that all the things he's been saying about the Ukrainians and who started what are absolutely lies," she said.
While recognizing that sanctions already imposed against Russia "have worked in a lot of different ways," Albright called upon the need to "keep isolating Putin."
"Mostly we have to keep turning up the heat on Putin, in terms of isolating him, because he is punishing his own people, to whom he is lying, and in fact, making their lives ultimately impossible," Albright said.
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VIDEO- Proof of NATO false flag attack on MH17 - YouTube
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 23:29
VIDEO- 'Anything other than social media?' State Dept's MH17 evidence secret - YouTube
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 22:51
VIDEO-Laos - The Legacy - Foreign Correspondent - ABC
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 23:38
The women walk slowly through the undergrowth, scanning the ground with metal detectors - hunting for cluster bombs in the Lao province of Xieng Khouang.The bomb clearing teams are doing a job that will take more than a lifetime to complete - to find and destroy up to 80-million unexploded munitions. 46 year-old Phou Vong remembers the first time she found a 'bombie'.
'I was excited as well as frightened. I hesitated a bit but I thought I should be glad to see it, because in a sense I was helping my people.' PHOU VONG, de-miner, Mines Advisory Group.
Even though it was American pilots who dropped the bombs, it's Lao civilians who are risking their lives to clean them up. The de-miners want the U.S to provide more help.
'If the funding is no longer there, oh, I am afraid that we won't be able to clear them all, there are just so many of them.' PHOU VONG, de-miner, Mines Advisory Group.
More than four decades after the bombing ended, the danger continues. The unexploded 'bombies' contaminate forests and fields. They can detonate at anytime.
Children at Chomthong School in Xieng Khouang, learn about 'bombies' before they can even read and write. They sing along to a tune that sounds like a nursery rhyme, but it's a lesson that could save their lives.
'Be careful before you go out and play.If you see a bombie do not touch it.If you see a bombie do not touch it.'
Australian aid worker Colette McInerney is working with the victims of cluster bomb blasts. She says few people outside Laos know about the terror that so many civilians endured here during the war.
'It is extraordinary. I can't imagine living in that. I can't imagine living through that.' COLETTE MCINERNEY, World Education Laos.
Colette visits 33-year old Tier Keomanyseng, who lost his hands and his sight, when a cluster bomb blew up in the fields. The accident has devastated his family.
'I didn't remember anything at all I didn't feel anything.'TIER KEOMANYSENG, cluster bomb victim.
Up to twenty thousand people have been killed or injured by cluster bombs in Laos, since the bombing stopped. Many, like Tier were born years after the conflict ended, but they have to live with its devastating consequences.
'I just had to fight with brave heart. I just took it day by day.'TIER KEOMANYSENG, cluster bomb victim.
The people of Laos are trying to rebuild their country and their lives. It could take decades to clear the land of cluster bombs, but there is hope for a better future.
'What's really remarkable about the people of Laos and what gives me so much hope is their own sense of optimism, and endurance and spirit. And perseverance to be able to survive such devastating history and past and to overcome it with such an amazing sense of spirit, of good hearted spirit.' CHANNAPHA KHAMVONGSA, Executive Director, 'Legacies of War'.
Reporter: Sally SaraCamera: David MartinEditor: Garth Thomas___________________________________
SARA: It's the one day of the year, when almost anything goes '' no questions asked. There's plenty of beer and cheer. It's called Bun Bang Fai, ''the Rocket Festival''. Homemade bamboo rockets are primed and launched into the clouds. The locals hope they will bring rain for the cropping season ahead, but behind the celebrations, Laos has a past that few people know.The serrated mountains almost bite into the sky. They look untouchable. We're on our way to Xieng Khouang province. This landscape hides a terrible secret. Laos is the most heavily bombed country, per capita, in the world. During the Vietnam War, the United States dropped two million tonnes of bombs on this tiny country.
COLETTE MCINERNEY: ''It is extraordinary. I can't imagine living in that. I can't imagine living through that''.
SARA: This is what rained from the skies '' cluster bombs '' large shells containing hundreds of smaller bombs. The US dropped 260 million of these on Laos, a country only about the same size as the State of Victoria.
The target was the Ho Chi Minh trail, the supply route for communist forces in neighbouring Vietnam. It was someone else's war, officially Laos wasn't even involved, but its land and its people were blown to pieces.
''The bombing was so widespread here in Laos that the remnants of the attacks have just become part of daily life. These are shell casings which were used to hold some of the cluster bombs, but the numbers behind this bombing campaign are still staggering. It was the equivalent of one bombing mission every eight minutes for nine years. One way to get your head around it is to think that in the time that it will take you to watch this program, the people of Laos would have been bombed four times''.
The countryside looks peaceful now, but there's still danger. Imagine what it's like to be a farmer here, ploughing and planting land that's contaminated by bombs. Up to 30% of the munitions dropped on Laos didn't detonate. That means there are up to 80 million bomblets in the soil that can explode at any time.
''This is what the tiny cluster bombs look like. This one's has been made safe so that I can handle it. You can see that they are only about the size of a tennis ball, but they're deadly and the thing that's really frightening about those that haven't exploded, is that when they are on the ground, they are incredibly difficult to see''.
The families of this remote village live and farm with that danger every day.Australian aid worker, Colette McInerney is here to help one of the victims.
COLETTE MCINERNEY: [World Education, Laos] ''In Laos culture, particularly in the more remote communities where accidents tend to happen, it is sometimes considered bad luck and then that person is shunned a little bit by his or her family and by their village and community as well. So that is quite a profound impact on a person as well so they want to provide a one on one approach to the survivor and then some assistance with the family as well''.
SARA: This is where Tier Keomanyseng spends his days now. He wasn't born until after the war ended, but it's still ripped his life apart. Just 18 months ago, he lost his sight and both his hands when a cluster bomb exploded while he was working in the fields.
TIER KEOMANYSENG: ''Then I knew nothing. I didn't remember anything at all. I didn't feel anything''.
ONH KEOMANYSENG: ''I didn't even recognise him, his face was all covered in blood. I heard the explosion, so I went there''.
COLETTE MCINERNEY: ''It's not just the wife and that family, but it's also the others in the household that are affected by that. So it means that a poor family for example, is then put into more poverty because there is no one in the household that can earn an income''.
SARA: In the weeks after the accident, Tier started losing hope. He'd been transformed from a fit young farmer to an amputee who was unable to see and completely dependent on his family. He even thought about ending his life.
TIER KEOMANYSENG: ''I had no idea what to do next. I just had to fight with a brave heart. I just took it day by day''.
COLETTE MCINERNEY: ''It can be very, very traumatic and people can go inside themselves, they don't want to talk to anyone about it''.
TIER KEOMANYSENG: ''I tried to accept it. I tried to think clearly. I have to keep going. I feel that I have more hope now''.
SARA: ''What do you think about the Americans who dropped the bombies on Laos and what do you think about what they did?''
TIER KEOMANYSENG: ''I don't have hard feelings. It has already happened to me, all I can do is to maintain a brave heart and to remain calm. I have to keep fighting. It's already happened, what else can I do?''
SARA: But the reality of his maimed body is still sinking in.
TIER KEOMANYSENG: ''Yes'... I feel like'... yeah, I was just dreaming. Sometimes I feel that my hands are still there, and I try to touch my face with my hand then I realise I no longer have arms or hands''.
SARA: Now a special band of women is going where others fear to tread. Their job is to find and destroy unexploded bombs. Phou Vong joined the bomb hunting team three years ago. She desperately needed a job after her husband was killed in a road accident.
PHOU VONG: ''My husband died and left me with the children. There was no-one to help me, but myself. Everything was my responsibility and I had no money to support my children's education''.
SARA: Phou Vong and her colleagues earn $250 a month '' better than the average wage in Laos. It's a special empowerment program to give much needed opportunities to local women. But for many of them, the biggest reward was finding their first bomb.
PHOU VONG : ''I was excited as well as frightened. I hesitate a bit, but I thought I should be glad to see it, because in a sense, I was helping my people''.
SARA: The women are searching an area the size of two football ovals. They've already found almost 200 cluster bomblets here. Within minutes they find two more.
''So it's very, very hard to see isn't it? It looks like nothing''.
MAN BOMB CLEARER: ''Yes, it looks like nothing. Like a stone or something. They will prepare to blow this one up before the team leave today''.
SARA: You can see the bomblet just to the left of the red marker. It's barely visible after more than 40 years of rust and dust and rain. It's too dangerous to move so the women will use explosives to blow it up.
TEAM LEADER: ''Sister, you should all follow the points I have instructed. The first sentry, Ms Nok, you are to announce from here towards the Command Post''.
PHOU VONG: [on loud speaker] ''Attention, attention everybody! Anybody who is nearby, in the rice field or in the farm '' those of you who are near our site, please take your children to go and hide somewhere safe''.
SARA: It's taken all day just to get rid of two bombs. There are still almost 80 million just like them across Laos, yet to be cleared. It's a job which will take a lifetime.
PHOU VONG: ''Oh, I am this old now '' if the project continues non-stop until I get old, maybe it will be cleared. But if we only do this for a few more years, and then stop through lack of funding, I don't think the bombs will be cleared. I believe this, because there's so many of them''.
SARA: ''How strong are Lao women?''
PHOU VONG : ''We Lao women are now equal to men in terms of working. When the job is hard, we take the time and we try to do our best work''.
SARA: The women are heading back to the dormitories where they all live together, far from their families. They now make up 40 per cent of the clearance teams in Xieng Khouang province. Sometimes they wonder why they are risking their lives and sacrificing time with their children, when it was the Americans who dropped the bombs here.
PHOU VONG : ''Well, if we want to clear these bombs, I'd like them to continue to support more than they've done so far. This is not enough, because there are really a lot of bombs''.
CHANNAPHA KHAMVONGSA: ''When I was growing up people used to ask you know where I was from and when I used to say Laos, they would usually say, where is that? Is that a part of China? Is that in Thailand? So, the country is not really well known''.
SARA: Channapha Khamvongsa is a Lao American who spends her life lobbying the US Government for more funding to clear the bombs. She says very few Americans know that their country rained so much destruction on Laos.
CHANNAPHA KHAMVONGSA: [Exec. Director, Legacies of War] ''I think often times they are shocked at the severity of this history, that is so unknown. You know it's not in their history books. It's not something they study''.
SARA: It was called the secret war. The US carried out the bombing missions, despite signing an agreement to respect the neutrality of Laos. Even the US Congress didn't know it was happening.
CHANNAPHA KHAMVONGSA: ''These bombs were left on the ground and in the land for a good 15 years before any real effort to remove them. And more importantly the fact that, you know, 40 years later people are still being killed and maimed''.
SARA: The United States refused to sign up to the international treaty to ban cluster bombs and it only provides limited funds to clean up those it dropped on Laos.
CHANNAPHA KHAMVONGSA: ''Since the mid-90s, the US has been providing up until recently, on average about two million per year, which is really not a lot of money considering the scale of the problem''.
SARA: While that figure has now increased to twelve million dollars, it's still not enough and it's not secure. Every year the lobbyists have to go back to Congress to keep the funds flowing, but they believe that in the long term, persuasion will bring better results than confrontation. It's the Lao way.
CHANNAPHA KHAMVONGSA: ''We are providing people an opportunity to do the right thing and when there is so much wrong in the world today, who doesn't want to do the right thing and do something that is solvable, that we can work towards addressing and that we can eventually solve. This is so solvable''.
SARA: Back in Laos, the focus is also on the future. The students of Chomthong School turn on a big welcome. Most of their parents weren't even born when the war ended, but they have inherited the danger.
COLETTE MCINERNEY: ''So I guess we utilise children if you like to have those lessons at school and to take those lessons home and share it, share it with their family so that they understand the dangers of going out into fields, particularly if they know or are aware that you know that field over there could be contaminated with UXOs so please don't go out there''.
LYRICS OF SONG AT PUPPET SHOW: ''Be careful when you go out to play or go to work and find the food, you must remember well'...''.
SARA: The students are taught about the unexploded ordnance, which are nicknamed 'bombies'. Up to 40% of those who are killed or injured by bombies in Laos are children, mostly boys. Behind the melody is a life-saving message.
LYRICS OF SONG AT PUPPET SHOW: ''If you see a bombie, do not touch it. If you see a bombie, do not touch it''.
SARA: The danger is not just accidentally stepping on bombies, some of these kids go looking for them. The unexploded ordnance is worth big money as scrap metal, so children take the risk of hunting for bombs to support their families.
These lessons save lives. Since 2010, the number of people killed by UXOs in Laos has dropped from an average of 300 to less than 50. Instead of just focussing on clearing the bombs, more funding is going into education and taking care of the victims.
COLETTE MCINERNEY: ''Yeah I think it's really important. It's a conversation that needs to be had in tandem. You can't have one without the other. You can't be talking about clearance if you're not talking about victim assistance, so I think that those two definitely go hand in hand''.
SARA: This is where the survivors come to restart their lives. It takes up to 8 weeks to walk again. It's estimated that up to 20,000 people have been killed or injured by UXOs in Laos since the end of the war.
SENGTHAVY MANIPAKONE: [Prosthetic technician, COPE] ''Some people say that when they lose their leg they're saying that already they're dying'... in half'... or something like this. So they're not so strong in their mind, or they feel sad. They say, I cannot do that, I cannot do this''.
SARA: Some victims in remote areas make their own prosthetic legs with whatever they can find. It's a haunting collection. Some of the amputees spend years struggling to walk on limbs like these which can make their pain even worse.
SENGTHAVY MANIPAKONE: ''When we see the person sad, also we feel sad with them too. But, we try the best way how we can help him to be better''.
SARA: Sengthavy is one of the highly skilled prosthetic technicians. He measures down to the millimetre for a perfect fit. Kham Seng's leg was blown off by a landmine during the war in 1965. He had to wait several years before he received his first prosthetic limb.
KHAM SENG: ''I felt happy. I got a leg to walk with. It's like it's giving me a new life '' because now I can have a new life '' a wonderful life''.
SARA: These legs cost about $75 each to make and last for two years. The rehabilitation centre is funded by the Lao Government and foreign donors. Many of those who lived through the war hope that the rest of the world will learn from what happened here.
KHAM SENG: ''I feel sad'... the fact that they dropped so many bombs on us, that damaged the lives of so many people and caused so many injuries''.
SARA: No one really knows exactly how much time and money it will take to find and destroy all the bombs. Even the government acknowledges there are no quick answers.
PHOUKHIEO CHANTHASOMBOUNE: [Government Landmine Adviser] ''You know based on our current speed, it could take a hundred years to clear the land... clear the land.... all the country. You may recall that now Europe still clearing the World War II, World War I bombs. So in Lao it's more than that. It will take one or two centuries to, if it based on the current speed, the current situation''.
SARA: Despite almost 20 years of bomb hunting in Laos, less than 2% of the contaminated land has been cleared. It's the end of another tiring, dusty day for the female clearance team in Xieng Khouang province. Their livelihoods and their country are dependent on continued funding. They worry about the uncertainty of it all.
PHOU VONG: ''If the funding is no longer there, I am afraid that we won't be able to clear them all - there are just so many of them. We've done a lot, a huge amount, but there are so many areas still to do''.
SARA: The women live together, close to the minefield. They work three weeks on, one week off. There's not much space for disagreement '' they know they are here for the long haul.
PHOU VONG: ''Twenty days I have to work. I'm happy to do it, but it's hard on my children. The difficulty is that I have to leave them at home while I am working''.
[At the dormitory] ''Which site were you working at today?''
OTHER FEMALE WORKER: ''The same one'... just to finish it off''.
PHOU VONG: ''The one next to it, right?''
SARA: It's in the quiet times that Phou Vong misses her children most. She wishes she could live with them, but she knows the job of clearing bombs in Laos is far from over.
PHOU VONG: ''We're here because we are poor '' that's why we are deprived of our families. We're trying to earn money so we can raise our children, so we have something to eat. That's why we must be patient. We've gone through this together and we remind ourselves to be patient''.
SARA: The next generation is waiting for the job to be done. They need the fields to be safe so they can feed the growing population in the future. There's already a chronic shortage of land. Only 4% of the countryside is suitable for farming because Laos is so mountainous.
PHOUKHIEO CHANTHASOMBOUNE: ''That's why (we're) affected by UXO in Lao in here - not just affecting individual direct victims, but whole families and the whole community, as a whole country. So that's why government pay very, very much attention to clear the UXO''.
SARA: As an outsider, the striking thing is that there's little animosity towards the United States for the decades of devastation that it caused here. Instead the people of Laos, are busy getting on with living.
CHANNAPHA KHAMVONGSA: ''What's remarkable about the people of Laos and what gives me so much hope is their own sense of optimism, and endurance and spirit. And perseverance to be able to survive such devastating history and past but yet to overcome it with such an amazing sense of spirit, of good hearted spirit''.
VIDEO-State Department Briefing | Video | C-SPAN.org
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 23:00
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VIDEO-Malaysia Airlines MH17: Russian media says the CIA did it
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 20:52
Just one day after the horrific tragedy that left 298 people dead, Russia's Channel One ran a package telling its audience that the entire incident was orchestrated by the United States, specifically by the CIA.
A document purportedly showing that the U.S. was planning to do the same thing during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis was showing in a full-screen graphic.
Read MoreLive Blog: Global pressure mounts on Putin over MH17
Viewers then learned that the "U.S. orchestrated this because Ukrainian government is not sophisticated enough to orchestrate this," according to the broadcast, which was translated from the original Russian by CNBC.
Maxim Zmeyev | Reuters
A part of the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 is seen at its crash site, near the village of Hrabove, Donetsk region, July 20, 2014.
According to Channel One, Russia's swift economic growth and the progress of the so-called BRIC nations'--Brazil, Russia, India and China'--have inspired the United States to try to damage Russia's economy. The broadcast portrayed Russia as a leader of the BRIC states, though its economy is dwarfed by China's, is smaller than Brazil's and only slightly larger than India's, according to data from the International Monetary Fund.
The government of Russian President Vladimir Putin financially supports and editorially controls a domestic media machine that has become reminiscent of the Soviet propaganda machine, and the former KGB agent has shut down most independent news channels that may stray from the Kremlin line.
Read MoreChina: Don't rush to blame Russia for MH17
Russian TV anchors, reporters and guests still consistently use "terrorists" to refer to the demonstrators who ousted Putin ally Viktor Yanukovych as Ukraine's president, just as they did during the Crimea crisis earlier this year.
Government funding works in two ways.
Read MoreBritish, Dutch seek review of EU-Russia relations
First, the Duma provides full subsidies for cultural programs and channels that provide a positive image of Russia abroad. Secondly, channels receive funding through partial subsidies from the state and private investors like Roman Abramovich, who helps fund Russia's Channel One, and energy giant Gazprom, which helps fund NTV.
'--By CNBC's Dina Gusovsky
VIDEO-Guess Who Challenged Putin to 'Man Up' About Downed Jetliner '-- and Even Indicated U.S.-Russian Relations Are at Cold War Levels | Video | TheBlaze.com
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 10:40
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VIDEO-John Kerry Was Just Caught on a Hot Mic Saying Something 'Extraordinary' About Israel | Video | TheBlaze.com
Mon, 21 Jul 2014 10:36
During a fast-paced circuit of morning talk shows Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry took a call from one of his aides.
He might not have realized that his ''Fox News Sunday'' mic was live.
Kerry spoke with the aide about the situation developing in Gaza, saying, ''It's a hell of a pinpoint operation,'' in reference to the death toll.
Some are interpreting his blunt remarks as a condemnation of Israeli tactics; here's the Washington Post's take:
Kerry's comments are clear. ''It's a hell of a pinpoint operation,'' he says, then repeats it. ''It's a hell of a pinpoint operation.'' It's an apparent reference to Israel's insistence that its incursion into the region would be limited. ''It's escalating significantly,'' the person on the phone replies, and Kerry then says, ''We've got to get over there. I think we ought to go tonight.'' He then calls it ''crazy'' to be ''sitting around.''
Shortly afterwards during their interview, Fox News' Chris Wallace described the exchange as an ''extraordinary moment of diplomacy.''
Wallace played the clip for Kerry and asked him if he thought Israel was taking the strikes into Gaza too far.
''We support Israel's right to defend itself,'' Kerry said. ''It's tough. It's tough to have this kind of operation. I reacted obviously in a way that anybody does with respect to young children and civilians.''
'--
Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter
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VIDEO-Zionist Oligarchs Behind the Malaysian Airlines Crash Hoax | NODISINFO
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 23:15
The purported crash of a Malaysian Airlines 777, that of the so-called Flight MH17, is a Zionist plot. This plot was concocted by the arch-Zionist cabal for malicious intent. The purpose is to distract world attention from the criminal acts of the Apartheid Zionist entity as it launches its invasion of Gaza.
There was no spontaneous downing of a jumbo jet by anti-government militias. The scheme for this event was put into play by the opposite forces, those Zionist corrupt ones who are in control of the Ukrainian government apparatus.
Moreover, as in other so-called democratic states the people in control are not government officials but are, rather, power-brokers '' the extremely wealthy and well-positioned.
One key such Ukrainian power-broker is arch-Zionist extremist and terrorism promoter Ihor Kolomoisky. At the time of this inane hoax his murderous plots and schemes for the Zionist conquest of Ukraine were not going well.
Too, he and his corrupt ones had murdered a number of Ukrainians, including those slaughtered in the Odessa massacre.
The timing was ripe for this multi-billionaire to launch this false flag hoax. What a great distraction it would be for his crimes. Moreover, what a way it is to attack and undermine his enemy, the government of Russia, notably its President, Vladmir Putin.
Clearly, Kolomoisky is a treacherous one to the extreme, who is capable of committing such vile acts routinely:
Ihor Kolomoisky, the governor of Dnipropetrovsk region in eastern Ukraine since the coup regime was installed and the oligarch behind the Odessa Massacre, has Israeli citizenship and runs the European Jewish Forum which will control the 'fascist narrative' amongst the world Jewish community.
***
In Odessa this criminal mind committed vast atrocities, where some 120 Ukrainian activists were burned and butchered to death. This is well established. Kolomoisky bank-rolled the criminals, paying his thugs over-and-above any 'salary' a bounty of $5000 for every activist and/or resistance fighter killed.
It is the Zionists who are behind this wretched event. The fake crash is an act of dire desperation. One of their key agents for orchestrating this is Interior Ministry agent, Anton Gerashchenko.
Conveniently, he has the Ukraine Crisis Media Center fully in place to manipulate public consciousness '' on behalf of Kolomoisky and other embedded arch-Zionist moles.
Fixing it is right, but not for any public service cause but, rather, on behalf of the arch-Zionist billionaires. It is Gerashchenko's job to lay the blame on Russia, particularly President Putin. He is doing so viciously and relentlessly. It is also his role to scandalize this staged event, making the local guerillas appear as if blood-thirsty monsters.
Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor to the Kiev government, said: ''I have received information that terrorist death-hunters were collecting not only cash and jewellery of the crashed Boeing dead passengers, but also the credit cards of the victims.
''Currently, they might as well try to use them in Ukraine or pass them on to Russia. My humble request to the relatives of the victims to freeze their credit cards, so that they won't lose their assets to terrorists.''
Gerashchenko uploaded this image as evidence, claiming it was proof of the launching of a missile. This missile, he says, is the one that struck the airliner. How is it even remotely possible that such an image could be captured? Was he there to take the photograph?
~
Note the date of the upload, the same one as the actual acclaimed missile-based crash. There is no possibility that this man could procure such an image, surely not from rebel forces. Was he there himself to take the picture? The image and its time of upload alone are proof of staging. It also proves that it is Gerashchenko and his clique who are behind this event, not the local fighters.
Immediately, he used the crisis to launch false blame, attempting to create a great scandal based on mere lies:
It can be seen by his reference to the joint cabal of Europe, the United States, and Canada that he is nothing other than a Zionist agent. This is Zionism's plot against the Ukrainian people, that is this so-called European-North American axis which is calling for armed conflict '' the good vs. evil proclamation is yet further proof of his role as a Zionist mole.
Gerashchenko claims he created the Crisis Center in partnership with an individual known as Semein Semenchenko. Despite being in his own country he is a man who doesn't like to show his face.
Semenchenko is the ultimate tie to the Zionists. He is a mere hired hug of arch-pro-Israeli Zionist Ihor Kolomoisky. This ruffian is yet another reason which explains the role of Kolomoisky in this fraud.
It has not yet been confirmed if he is truly captured, but there was a fire-fight and his men were defeated. It is merely further reason for the Zionists to stage the plane crash hoax as pay-back to the local fighters.
Yet, he is not the only Zionist agent operating in the Ukraine on behalf of the Israelis. Chief among them is this murderous Zionist extremist, known by the moniker Delta.
Under the title ''In Kiev, an Israeli army vet led a street-fighting unit'',the Jewish News Agency JTA confirms that soldiers from the IDF were involved in the EuroMaidan protest movement under the direct command of the Neo-Nazi Svoboda Party. The Svoboda Party follows in the footsteps of World War II Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera.
OUR ADDITION; Does it need to be said more clearly? The Zionists are behind this coup against the Ukrainian people, with the so-called Neo-Nazi groups, mere thugs, being their proxy militias.
The leader of the ''Blue Helmets of Maidan'' is Delta ''the nom de guerre of the commander of a Jewish-led militia force that participated in the Ukrainian revolution.''
***
This was no revolution but was, rather, a destructive coup orchestrated by local Zionist extremists in collaboration with Israeli mercenaries. The involvement of so-called white racists and Neo-Nazi fanatics is also proof of Zionist schemes. The Israelis are working directly with such groups. What more proof is needed of their role in committing the violence on the streets?
It is the Jews who are behind the treachery and bloodshed in the Ukraine, both local and foreign:
Yet, back to Kolomoisky. The depth of his depravity is so great that it is impossible to quantify. To perpetrate his murderous acts he has essentially hired local Jewish thugs, along with foreign Israeli infiltrators, to do his dirty work. In relation to the atrocities at Odessa. According to http://orientalreview.org:
Kolomoisky temporarily delivered his private ''Dnieper-1'' Battalion under the command of law-enforcement officials in Odessa and also authorized a cash payment of $5,000 for ''each pro-Russian separatist'' killed during the special operation.
The blog continues:
Some of them went down to the basement from which no one emerged alive '' there they were tortured, killed, and butchered with machetes. Others headed upstairs. Gasoline was mixed with napalm to form deadly, acrid carbon monoxide. The recipe for these deadly cocktails was created by chemists from Independence Square, but they were not used there. In Odessa, the mixture was employed for the first time and this was no accident: a massacre with a large number of fatalities was needed in order to terrorize the entire country.
In all some 120 people were tortured, massacred, and burned alive. Many were hacked to death. This is the standard Israeli pattern, which is to commit an act of such a high degree of brutality so as to completely terrorize the population.
The MH17 issue, among other terror acts in the Ukraine, is a Zionist plot. This is proven by Gerashchenko's own words:
Then, here is the final proof that the great acts of terror and debauchery in the Ukraine are Zionist in origin. Gerashchenko pulls the anti-Semitic canard, touting the comparison of the entity with the fabricators of the Holocaust. Incredibly, he leverages none other than the Simon Wiesenthal Center.This proves that the plane crash hoax is the basis of a witch hunt, meant to exterminate any Ukrainian resistance to Zionist plots.
Then, too, Washington, D.C.'s favorite for the new rulership of the Ukraine is a hard-core Zionist Jew Vitali Klitschko (far-left).
Therefore, clearly, regarding this staged airplane crash hoax it is the Zionist cabal which is completely responsible for orchestrating it.
The fake plane crash has only served one entity. That entity is the murderous, racist, demonic Zionist cabal.
Sources:
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-07-17/fingerpointing-begins-ukraine-accuses-rebels-shooting-down-airplane-rebels-deny
http://m.theepochtimes.com/n3/805272-anton-gerashchenko-buk-missile-photo-ukranian-official-accuses-putin-of-sponsoring-terrorists/
http://uacrisis.org/anton-gerashhenko/
http://maidantranslations.com/2014/06/15/the-chronicles-of-donbas-battalion-dfd/
http://www.globalresearch.ca/ukraine-israeli-special-forces-unit-under-neo-nazi-command-involved-in-maidan-riots/5371725
http://orientalreview.org/2014/05/14/bloodbath-in-odessa-guided-by-interim-rulers-of-ukraine/
www.facebook.com/TruthfromUkraine/posts/1503648933191787
VIDEO-Jill Dando 'tried to investigate alleged paeodphile ring inside BBC but no one wanted to know' | Mail Online
Sun, 20 Jul 2014 20:57
Retired BBC worker claims that 'big names' were involved in abuseDando 'handed a file to management but nothing was done about it'The BBC said it had not seen anything to substantiate the claimsBy Daily Mail Reporter
Published: 04:31 EST, 20 July 2014 | Updated: 12:41 EST, 20 July 2014
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Murdered Crimewatch presenter Jill Dando tried to get BBC bosses to investigate an alleged paedophile ring in the corporation, it has today been claimed.
A former friend and retired BBC worker has claimed that the television host was told that 'big name stars' and BBC staff were involved in abuse.
But when she tried to get her superiors to investigate, and handed a file to senior management, no action was taken, the source claims.
Scroll down for video
Murdered Crimewatch presenter Jill Dando tried to get BBC bosses to investigate an alleged paedophile ring in the corporation, it has today been claimed
The former staff member, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Daily Star Sunday that she raised the claims with management in the mid 1990s.
The source said that the names were 'surprisingly big'.
She said: 'I think she was quite shocked when told about images of children and that information on how to join this horrible paedophile ring was freely available.'
They added that Ms Dando had also been told that female work colleagues told her they had been groped or assaulted, and that nothing had been done.
A former friend and retired BBC worker has claimed that the television host was told that 'big name stars' and BBC staff were involved in abuse
'She compiled a file of complaints but she was not really an investigative journalist, just a presenter.
'She passed the information to someone else and they gave it back. No one wanted to know.'
The BBC said it had not seen anything to substantiate the claims.
Miss Dando, 37, was gunned down outside her home in Fulham, west London, on April 26, 1999, moments after stepping out of her car.
Dando was killed with a single muffled bullet to the skull and neighbours found her in a pool of blood on her doorstep in a crime that shocked Britain.
Part-time stuntman Barry George was jailed for the killing in 2001, but his conviction was overturned in August 2008 following the emergence of fresh evidence.
Her killer has never been found.
Barry George says he wants justice for Jill Dando's family
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