Day: September 3, 2022

Gazprom piping gas to Europe via Ukraine after Nord Stream stoppage

Stock Markets Sep 03, 2022 03:30AM ET

Gazprom piping gas to Europe via Ukraine after Nord Stream stoppage© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Gazprom is seen on the facade of a business centre in Saint Petersburg, Russia, March 31, 2022. REUTERS/Reuters photographer/File Photo

(Reuters) – Russia’s Gazprom (MCX:) said it would ship 42.7 million cubic metres (mcm) of to Europe through Ukraine on Saturday, hours after it announced that flows through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany would not resume as planned.

Flows via the Sudzha entry point were up slightly compared to the 41.3 mcm Gazprom sent on Friday, but not enough to compensate for missing gas that were expected to be pumped through Nord Stream 1 on Saturday.

Gazprom announced late Friday it had detected an oil leakage on equipment during Nord Stream 1 maintenance work and would not be able to resume flows. It set no timeframe for fixing the problem.

Siemens Energy, which normally services Nord Stream 1 turbines, said such a leak should not stop the pipeline from operating. It also said the Portovaya compressor station, where the leak was discovered, has other turbines to keep Nord Stream 1 operating.

Russia keeps pipeline shut as Gazprom, Siemens Energy wrangle

Russia keeps pipeline shut as Gazprom, Siemens Energy wrangle© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Pipes at the landfall facilities of the ‘Nord Stream 1’ gas pipeline are pictured in Lubmin, Germany, March 8, 2022. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/File Photo

(Reuters) -Russia kept one of its main gas supply routes to Europe shut on Saturday, stoking fears of winter fuel shortages and spotlighting differences between Gazprom (MCX:) and Germany’s Siemens Energy over repair work on the pipeline.

Already struggling to tame soaring gas prices, European governments had expected the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to resume flows after a short maintenance this week but Russia abruptly cancelled the restart, citing an oil leak in a turbine.

Europe has accused Russia of weaponising energy supplies in what Moscow has called an “economic war” with the West over the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Moscow blames Western sanctions and technical issues for supply disruptions.

The latest Nord Stream shutdown, which Russia says will last for as long as it takes to carry out repairs, added to fears of winter gas shortages that could help tip major economies into recession and energy rationing.

The discovery of the oil leak on Friday coincided with the Group of Seven (G7) wealthy democracies proceeding with plans to impose a price gap on Russian oil, intending to shrink President Vladimir Putin’s resources to fight the war in Ukraine.

Gas shortages also prompted European Union member Sweden on Saturday to unveil a financial support package for energy firms.

“If we do not act, there is a serious risk of disruptions in the financial system, which in the worst case could lead to a financial crisis,” said Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.

“Putin wants to create division, but our message is clear: you will not succeed,” she said.

GAS PRICE RALLY EXPECTED

Gazprom said Siemens Energy was ready to carry out repairs on the pipeline but that there was nowhere available to carry out the work, a suggestion Siemens Energy denied, saying it had not been asked to do the job.

Siemens Energy has also said that sanctions do not prohibit maintenance.

Before the latest round of maintenance, Gazprom had already cut flows to just 20% of the pipeline’s capacity.

“Siemens is taking part in repair work in accordance with the current contract, is detecting malfunctions … and is ready to fix the oil leaks. Only there is nowhere to do the repair,” Gazprom said in a statement on its Telegram channel on Saturday.

Siemens Energy said it had not been commissioned to carry out the work but was available, adding that the Gazprom-reported leak would not usually affect the operation of a turbine and could be sealed on site.

“Irrespective of this, we have already pointed out several times that there are enough additional turbines available in the Portovaya compressor station for Nord Stream 1 to operate,” a spokesperson for the company said.

Flows through Nord Stream 1 were due to resume early on Saturday morning. But hours before it was set to start pumping gas, Gazprom published a photo on Friday of what it said was an oil leak on a piece of equipment.

Siemens Energy, which supplies and maintains equipment at Nord Stream 1’s Portovaya compressor station said on Friday the leak did not constitute a technical reason to stop gas flows.

“Global prices will likely rally hard on Monday as markets readjust to this latest #Gazprom development,” Tom Marzec-Manser, Head of Gas Analytics at ICIS, said on twitter.

“The closure of #NordStream1 reduces overall Russian pipeline flows yet further and will make balancing supply & demand this winter all the more difficult.”

Asked about the halt on Saturday, Economic Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said that the European Union expects Russia to respect its agreed energy contracts but is prepared to meet the challenge if Moscow fails to do so.

The German network regulator said that the country’s gas supply was currently guaranteed but the situation was fragile and further deterioration could not be ruled out.

“The defects alleged by the Russian side are not a technical reason for the halt of operations,” it said.

Wholesale gas prices have rocketed more than 400% since August 2021, squeezing households already gripped by a cost-of-living crisis and forcing some energy hungry industries, such as fertiliser and aluminium makers, to scale back production.

The European Commission has said a full cut-off of Russian gas supplies to Europe, if combined with a cold winter, could reduce average EU gross domestic product by up to 1.5% if countries did not prepare in advance.

Fuel leak to delay first launch of NASA’s Artemis moon rocket for weeks

Fuel leak to delay first launch of NASA's Artemis moon rocket for weeks© Reuters. NASA’s next-generation moon rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS) with the Orion crew capsule perched on top, stands on launch complex 39B as rain clouds move into the area before its rescheduled debut test launch for the Artemis 1 mission at Cape Canaver

By Joey Roulette and Steve Gorman

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) -For the second time in a week, NASA on Saturday aborted an attempt to launch its giant, next-generation rocketship, citing a stubborn fuel leak that the space agency said could delay the debut mission of its moon-to-Mars Artemis program by at least several weeks.

Preflight operations were called off for the day about three hours before the 2:17 p.m. EDT (1817 GMT) liftoff time targeted for the 32-story-tall Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and its Orion capsule from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The uncrewed test flight, aimed at launching the capsule out to the moon and back, was to have marked the inaugural voyage of both the SLS and Orion a half century after the last lunar mission of Apollo, forerunner of the Artemis program.

The countdown was scrubbed after Kennedy Space Center technicians made three failed attempts to fix a “large” leak of supercooled liquid hydrogen propellant being pumped into the rocket’s core-stage fuel tanks, agency officials said.

The initial launch try on Monday was likewise foiled by technical problems, including a different leaky fuel line, a faulty temperature sensor and cracks found in insulation foam.

Mission managers proceeded with a second launch attempt on Saturday once the earlier issues had been resolved to their satisfaction. And NASA had reserved another backup launch time, for either Monday or Tuesday, in case a third try was needed.

But after a review of data from the latest difficulties, NASA concluded the new hydrogen leak was too tricky and time-consuming to finish troubleshooting and fix on the launch pad before the current launch period allotted to the mission expires on Tuesday.

The delay means the earliest opportunity to try again would come during the next launch period that runs Sept. 19-30, or during a subsequent October window, an associate NASA administrator, Jim Free, told reporters at a late-afternoon briefing.

He said the postponement also would involve rolling the spacecraft back into its assembly building, under Cape Canaveral “range” rules limiting how long a rocket may remain at its launch tower before undergoing a new round of safety checks indoors.

Mike Sarafin, NASA’s Artemis mission manager, said efforts to resolve the latest technical snag would entail “several weeks of work.”

NASA chief Bill Nelson said earlier in the day that a rollback would postpone the next launch attempt at least until mid-October, in part to avoid a scheduling conflict with the next International Space Station crew due for launch early that month.

Launch-day delays and malfunctions are not uncommon in the space business, especially for new rockets such as NASA’s Space Launch System, a complex vehicle with a set of pre-liftoff procedures that have yet to be fully tested and rehearsed by engineers without a hitch.

On average, the odds of scrubbing a launch on any given day for any reason, including foul weather, are about one-in-three.

“We’re not going to launch until it’s right, and that is standard operating procedure, and will continue to be,” Nelson said at the briefing.

The last-minute setbacks on the launchpad came at the tail end of a development program more than a decade in the making, with years of delays and billions of dollars in cost overruns under NASA’s respective SLS and Orion contracts with Boeing (NYSE:) Co and Lockheed Martin Corp (NYSE:).

MOON TO MARS

Apart from its technical challenges, Artemis I signals a major turning point for NASA’s post-Apollo human spaceflight program, after decades focused on low-Earth orbit with space shuttles and the International Space Station.

Named for the goddess who was Apollo’s twin sister in ancient Greek mythology, Artemis aims to return astronauts to the moon’s surface as early as 2025, though many experts believe that time frame will likely slip.

Twelve astronauts walked on the moon during six Apollo missions from 1969 to 1972, the only spaceflights yet to place humans on the lunar surface. But Apollo, born of the U.S.-Soviet space race during the Cold War, was less science-driven than Artemis.

The new moon program has enlisted commercial partners such as SpaceX and the space agencies of Europe, Canada and Japan to eventually establish a long-term lunar base of operations as a stepping stone to even more ambitious human voyages to Mars.

Getting the SLS-Orion spacecraft launched is a key first step. Its first voyage is intended to put the 5.75-million-pound vehicle through its paces in a rigorous test flight pushing its design limits and aiming to prove the spacecraft suitable to fly astronauts.

If the mission succeeds, a crewed Artemis II flight around the moon and back could come as early as 2024, to be followed within a few more years with the program’s first lunar landing of astronauts, one of them a woman, with Artemis III.

Billed as the most powerful, complex rocket in the world, the SLS represents the biggest new vertical launch system NASA has built since the Saturn V of the Apollo era.

Although no humans will be aboard, Orion will carry a simulated crew of three – one male and two female mannequins – fitted with sensors to measure radiation levels and other stresses that real-life astronauts would experience.

Nuclear plant loses power line as Moscow, West energy row escalates

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Nuclear plant loses power line as Moscow, West energy row escalates© Reuters. A view shows the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant during a visit by members of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) expert mission, in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict outside Enerhodar in the Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine,

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By Tom Balmforth

KYIV (Reuters) – A critical nuclear power plant in Ukraine again lost external power, international energy officials said on Saturday, heightening concerns as the energy battle between Moscow and the West ramped up in recent days amid the ongoing war.

Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia plant — the largest in Europe — saw its last remaining main external power line cut off even as a reserve line was able to continue supplying electricity to the grid, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said.

Only one of the six reactors remained in operation at the station, the agency said in a statement posted on its website.

The plant, controlled by Moscow since Russian troops invaded Ukraine in late February, has become a focal point of the conflict, with each side blaming the other for nearby shelling.

Meanwhile, the standoff over Russian gas and oil exports ramped up this week as Moscow vowed to keep its main gas pipeline to Germany shuttered and G7 countries announced a planned price cap on Russian oil exports.

The energy fight is a fallout from President Vladimir Putin’s six-month invasion of Ukraine, underscoring the deep rift between Moscow and Western nations as Europe steels itself for the cold months ahead.

“Russia (is) preparing a decisive energy blow on all Europeans for this winter,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his nightly address on Saturday, citing the Nord Stream 1 pipeline’s continued closure.

Zelenskiy earlier blamed Russian shelling for the nuclear plant’s cutoff last week that narrowly avoided a radiation leak.

Moscow has cited Western sanctions and technical issues for energy disruptions, while European countries have accused Russia of weaponizing supplies as part of its military invasion.

NUCLEAR CONCERNS

Kyiv and Moscow have traded accusations about attacks on the Zaporizhzhia plant, which was captured by Russian forces in March but is still operated by Ukrainian staff and connected to the Ukrainian power grid.

An IAEA mission toured the plant on Thursday and some experts have remained there pending the release of a report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog in coming days.

Last week, Zaporizhzhia was severed from the national grid for the first time in its history after transmission lines were cut, prompting power cuts across Ukraine, although emergency generators kicked for vital cooling processes.

Meanwhile, the IAEA on Saturday said remaining inspectors noted one reactor was “still operating and producing electricity both for cooling and other essential safety functions at the site and for households, factories and others through the grid.”

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, in a statement, said the fifth reactor was switched off “as a result of constant shelling by Russian occupation forces” and that there was “insufficient capacity from the last reserve line to operate two reactors.”

Deteriorating conditions amid the shelling have prompted fears of a radiation disaster that the International Red Cross has said would cause a major humanitarian crisis.

Ukraine and the West accuse Russia of storing heavy weapons at the site to discourage Ukraine from firing on it. Russia, which denies the presence of any such weapons there, has so far resisted international calls to relocate troops and demilitarise the area.

Russia’s defence ministry on Saturday accused Ukrainian forces of mounting a failed attempt to capture the plant, but Reuters was unable to verify the report.

Turkey on Saturday also offered to facilitate the situation.

GAS AND OIL

In its announcement on Friday that it would not resume shipments through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline as had been expected, Russia’s state-controlled energy giant Gazprom (MCX:) blamed a technical fault.

Gazprom said on Saturday that Siemens Energy was ready to help repair broken equipment but that there was nowhere available to carry out the work. Siemens said it has not been commissioned to carry out maintenance work for the pipeline but it is available.

Nord Stream 1, which runs under the Baltic Sea to supply Germany and others, had been due to resume operating after a three-day halt for maintenance on Saturday at 0100 GMT.

The indefinite delay to resuming gas deliveries will deepen Europe’s problems securing fuel for winter with living costs already surging, led by energy prices.

Finance ministers from the Group of Seven wealthy democracies – Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States – on Friday said a cap on the price of Russian oil aimed to “reduce … Russia’s ability to fund its war of aggression whilst limiting the impact of Russia’s war on global energy prices”.

The Kremlin said it would stop selling oil to any countries that implemented the cap.

The Ukrainian armed forces’ general staff on Saturday said its forces had repelled Moscow’s advancements in various areas, particularly in eastern Ukraine as Russian forces sought to push through the Donetsk region.

Fighting also continued in the Kharkiv region and the south, Zelenskiy said on Saturday.

Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 in what it calls “a special military operation.” Kyiv and the West have said it was an unprovoked aggressive war against a former part of the Soviet Union.

More than six months later, Russia has pressed ahead as the United States and other countries have pledged fresh military aid for Kyiv.

Ukraine had launched a counter offensive earlier this week after several weeks of relative stalemate in the conflict that has seen thousands killed and millions displaced. It targets the south, particularly the Kherson region, occupied by Russians early in the conflict.

Plane safely lands after pilot threatened to crash into Mississippi Walmart

Stock Markets 16 hours ago (Sep 03, 2022 03:06PM ET)

Plane safely lands after pilot threatened to crash into Mississippi Walmart© Reuters.

(Reuters) – The pilot of a small plane who threatened to crash it into a Walmart (NYSE:) in Mississippi landed without any injuries, local officials said on Saturday.

Earlier, the police department in Tupelo, Mississippi, said they had been talking directly to the pilot and had evacuated the Walmart and a gas station.

Tupelo Police Chief John Quaka said the suspect, Cory Wayne Patterson, had been responsible for fueling aircraft.

While Patterson appeared to have had some flight instruction, he was not a licensed pilot, Quaka said at a news conference.

Patterson was in custody and was being charged with grand larceny and making terrorist threats, Quaka said, adding that he expected federal charges as well.

Explainer-Indonesia bites the bullet on fuel prices as subsidies soar

Explainer-Indonesia bites the bullet on fuel prices as subsidies soar© Reuters. Motorcycle drivers wait in line to buy subsidised fuel at a petrol station of the state-owned company Pertamina after the announcement of a fuel price hike, in Bekasi, on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia, September 3, 2022. REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana

By Fransiska Nangoy

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Saturday raised some fuel prices by around 30% to contain ballooning spending on energy subsidies in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy.

The move risks sparking protests and further fanning price pressures, though analysts saw a need to act to ensure fiscal discipline.

WHAT HAS BEEN DECIDED ON FUEL PRICES?

Indonesia raised the price of its most popular 90-octane gasoline, known as Pertalite, to 10,000 rupiah ($0.6714) per litre, up from 7,650 rupiah. The finance ministry said state energy firm Pertamina’s production costs for this type of fuel was 14,450 rupiah per litre.

The price of diesel rose to 6,800 rupiah per litre, from 5,150 rupiah, compared with a production cost of 13,950 rupiah.

Jokowi, as the president is popularly known, also hiked the price of 92-octane gasoline, known as Pertamax, to 14,500 rupiah per litre, from 12,500 rupiah. Pertamina does not receive compensation for losses in Pertamax sales.

WHY RAISE FUEL PRICES NOW?

The government has already tripled its energy subsidy spending this year from the original budget to 502.4 trillion rupiah ($33.83 billion) to keep subsidised fuel prices and some power tariffs unchanged amid high global energy prices.

This has resulted in a widening price disparity between subsidised and non-subsidised fuel, prompting consumers to switch to cheaper fuels.

Some economists have said raising fuel prices this year would reduce the risk of spending overruns in 2023 when the government must lower its fiscal deficit to below 3% of GDP.

WHY IS HIKING FUEL PRICES CONTROVERSIAL?

Fuel prices are a politically sensitive issue in Indonesia and with subsidised fuels making up more than 80% of Pertamina’s sales, the changes will have major implications for households and small businesses.

Big companies are not allowed to buy subsidised fuels for their operations.

Previous price increases had led to mass protests across the archipelago, including when Jokowi last raised fuel prices in 2014.

The current price hike comes at a time when food prices are already trending up. August inflation was 4.69%, above the central bank’s target range for three months in a row.

The government has this week started to distribute cash from a $1.6 billion additional social protection fund to cushion price pressures for the poor.

Elections are set to be held in 2024.

HOW WILL THE MEASURES IMPACT INFLATION, GDP?

Pertamina has estimated a 30% to 40% increase in fuel prices could add 1.9 percentage point to inflation in 2022, but this assumed a bigger increase in some prices.

Some economists and business groups think inflation could pick up to around 6% by the end of the year, putting pressure on the central bank to tighten monetary policy more quickly.

Bank Indonesia (BI) raised interest rates on Aug. 23 for the first time since 2018 in a move analysts said was to pave the way for the fuel price hike announcement. BI is still well behind most peers in its roll back of pandemic-era stimulus and economists expect more hikes.

The potential reduction in purchasing power and higher interest rates could hurt economic growth. The government targets 2022 GDP growth at 5.2%.

WHAT HAPPENS TO SUBSIDY BUDGET NOW?

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said even with the fuel prices increase, the government’s energy subsidy spending would still swell.

She estimated energy subsidy allocation this year will range between 591 trillion rupiah to 649 trillion rupiah after the price hike, assuming the Indonesia Crude Price moves between $85 to $100 per barrel for the remainder of the year.

The government may shift about 100 trillion rupiah of subsidy payments to 2023, pending parliamentary approval, Sri Mulyani said.

She did not give any assessment on how the price hike would affect the 2022 budget deficit outlook. Her latest forecast was for a fiscal gap equivalent to 3.92% of GDP.

($1 = 14,895.0000 rupiah)

Toyota unit Hino to freeze truck production for two models for a year – Nikkei

Stock Markets 5 hours ago (Sep 03, 2022 05:40PM ET)

Toyota unit Hino to freeze truck production for two models for a year - Nikkei© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Hino Motors’ logo is pictured at the 45th Tokyo Motor Show in Tokyo, Japan October 27, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

(Reuters) -Japan’s Toyota Motor (NYSE:) Corp’s truck and bus unit Hino Motors will halt production of some medium and heavy-duty trucks for at least another year after a widespread data falsification scandal, Asia reported on Sunday.

The medium-duty Ranger and the heavy-duty Profia truck will not be produced until August 2023, the report added https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Automobiles/Toyota-unit-Hino-to-freeze-truck-production-for-some-models-for-a-year.

Halting production of some truck models is the latest sign of the scandal worsening for Hino since it first announced the data falsification affecting some of its bigger trucks in March.

Since then, it has said it falsified data on some engines going back as far as 2003, at least a decade earlier than originally indicated. All told, about 640,000 vehicles have been affected, or more than five times the figure initially revealed.

Hino said last month it would suspend shipments of small trucks after a transport ministry investigation revealed that some 76,000 of its small trucks sold since 2019 had not been subject to the required number of engine tests.

Toyota and others involved in a commercial vehicle partnership have since expelled Hino from the group over falsification of engine data by the truckmaker.

The widening scandal at Japan’s Hino Motors over falsification of engine data has become a headache that will not go away for parent Toyota which has a controlling 50.1% stake in Hino.

Hino became Toyota’s subsidiary in 2001 and nearly all Hino presidents since then previously worked for Toyota.

Toyota did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and Hino could not immediately be reached.

Tennis-Williams ready to find new Serena after U.S. Open exit

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Tennis-Williams ready to find new Serena after U.S. Open exit© Reuters. Tennis – U.S. Open – Flushing Meadows, New York, United States – September 2, 2022 Serena Williams of the U.S. after losing her third round match against Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic REUTERS/Mike Segar

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By Steve Keating

NEW YORK (Reuters) -A defiant Serena Williams bid an emotional good-bye to the U.S. Open with a third-round loss to Ajla Tomljanovic on Friday, in what may have been the last singles match of her glittering career.

Defeat has always been hard to swallow for the fiercely competitive Williams and no doubt the 7-5 6-7 (4) 6-1 loss to the 46th ranked Australian stung her to her core.

But after a joyous run into the third round there was no shame in a loss to the gritty Tomljanovic, allowing the 23-times Grand Slam winner to exit with dignity intact and head held high.

Her three matches, highlighted by a second-round win over world number two Anett Kontaveit, were a gift to her fans, the relentless never-surrender attitude that made her tennis’ dominant player for over two decades on display right until the very final point.

“Clearly I’m still capable,” Williams told reporters. “But it takes a lot more than that.

“I’m ready to be a mom, explore a different version of Serena.

“Technically in the world I’m still super young, so I want to have a little bit of a life while I’m still walking.

“I have such a bright future ahead of me.”

Always up for a fight, the 40-year-old came out swinging, forcing Tomljanovic to go the distance.

The Australian needed six match points to deliver the knockout punch and bring an end to an engrossing three-plus-hour slugfest.

Without a WTA Tour title and never before going beyond the quarter-finals of any Grand Slam, Tomljanovic has spent most her career as one of tennis’ lesser-known names.

But now the 29-year-old will live on forever in tennis history and at sport trivia pub nights, as the answer to the question; “Who was the last player to beat Serena Williams”.

“No one’s going to pronounce my name right,” laughed Tomljanovic. “That’s going to suck.

“I don’t think I’ve been part of tennis history, so that’s pretty cool.”

Williams had signalled her intention to retire in a Vogue article in early August, saying she was “evolving away from tennis” but never confirming the U.S. Open as her final event.

Given the opportunity to put speculation to rest that the U.S. Open may not be the end, Williams left the door open just a crack.

Asked whether she might be tempted to return to tennis, she responded: “I don’t think so but you never know.”

“I always did love Australia, though,” she later told reporters, hinting at a tilt at the Australian Open in January.

For fans, however, the message was clear, the U.S. Open would be where Williams would take her final bow.

The raucous New York crowd that had backed her from the very beginning and over the years, fuelling her runs to six U.S. Open titles, was in her corner once again but could not lift her to one more win.

“I BELONG HERE NOW”

Tomljanovic, who is yet to win a WTA Tour tournament, appeared to have had little chance against Williams, winner of 73 career titles, but would not be intimidated.

Before stepping out onto center court Tomljanovic paused for a moment and touched the plaque quoting Billie Jean King that hangs at the entrance: “Pressure is a Privilege”.

“I liked the quote,” explained Tomljanovic. “I felt pressure, from myself, where I’m at in my career.

“I feel like I belong here now. That’s why I expect myself to perform well in these circumstances. When I saw that, yeah, just felt right.”

Despite an electric atmosphere the match got off to a sluggish start with the players trading breaks before settling in.

Williams had looked to seize control when she broke Tomljanovic to go ahead 5-3 and serving for the set.

But with Williams two points from a 1-0 lead Tomljanovic dug in, breaking back and sweeping four straight games to steal the set, leaving the stadium stunned.

A defiant Williams, as she has done so many times, lifted her game hitting back in ruthless style in the second and breaking the Australian twice on the way to 4-0.

Playing her fourth match in five nights, Williams suddenly seemed to run out of gas and Tomljanovic, showing some steel of her own, pulled level at 5-5 as the set moved to a tie-break.

Everyone inside Arthur Ashe, now on their feet, knew Williams was not going to exit without a fight, and running on fumes dug into her reserves to take the tie-break 7-4.

Williams had the crowd roaring again when she broke Tomljanovic to start the third but simply had nothing left in the tank. The Australian put the former-world number on the ropes, storming through the next four games for a 4-1 lead.

But Williams was not going to hand Tomljanovic the win, she would have to earn it, needing six match points to get the job done.

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Italy’s costs to import energy will double to 100 billion euros

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Economy 3 hours ago (Sep 04, 2022 07:00AM ET)

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Italy's costs to import energy will double to 100 billion euros© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A gas burner is pictured on a cooker in a private home in Bordeaux, soutwestern France, December 13, 2012. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File Photo

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CERNOBBIO, Italy (Reuters) -Italy’s net energy import costs are set to more than double this year to nearly 100 billion euros ($99.5 billion), the economy minister said, warning Rome could not spend indefinitely to cushion the blow on the economy.

Italy relies on imports for three-quarters of its power consumption, increasing its vulnerability to Europe’s current energy crisis.

Addressing the annual Ambrosetti business forum on Saturday, Economy Minister Daniele Franco said Italy’s high debt reduced its room for manoeuvre going forward.

Measures to help firms and consumers cope with high energy bills will be approved next week, following six aid packages so far worth in total 52 billion euros, Franco said.

“To keep offsetting, at least in part, rising energy prices through public finances is very costly and we could never do enough,” he said.

Franco said it was key to address the functioning of Europe’s energy market, where soaring gas prices amid shrinking Russian exports have driven power prices higher.

“What matters is to bring the price of gas and energy back to sustainable levels,” Franco said.

Speaking at the same conference on Saturday, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said it was necessary to severe any links between the price of gas and that of electricity, moving to “a total decoupling” of gas and power prices.

Italy’s net energy imports cost 43 billion euros in 2021, broadly in line with previous years barring 2020 which was affected by the COVID-19 virus outbreak, Franco said.

The increase of around 60 billion euros expected in 2022 amounts to roughly three percentage points of gross domestic product and will wipe out the net surplus in exchanges with the rest of the world Italy recorded in recent years, Franco warned.

“We are transferring abroad a significant part of our purchasing power,” he added.

($1 = 1.0049 euros)

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Australia government favours boosting temporary skilled migrants’ pay

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Economic Indicators 5 hours ago (Sep 04, 2022 12:35AM ET)

Australia government favours boosting temporary skilled migrants' pay© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A sales assistant is seen through the window of a retail store displaying a job vacancy sign in central Sydney, Australia, December 5, 2016. Picture taken December 5, 2016. REUTERS/Steven Saphore

SYDNEY (Reuters) -The Australian government favours lifting the income threshold for some temporary migrants, Skills and Training Minister Brendan O’Connor said on Sunday, as it works to tackle widespread shortages of workers.

The issue of skilled migration was a focus at this week’s government jobs summit where Prime Minister Anthony Albanese urged compromises between employers and unions to tackle the country’s key economic challenges.

The government announced on Friday it would lift its intake of permanent migrants to 195,000 this financial year, up by 35,000, to help businesses with staff shortfalls and ease reliance on short-term workers https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/australia-raises-permanent-migration-numbers-amid-labour-squeeze-2022-09-02.

Staff shortages have been exacerbated recently by a blowout in visa processing times in Australia, which has left about a million prospective workers stuck in limbo https://www.reuters.com/business/australia-needs-workers-million-are-stuck-door-2022-08-31.

Speaking on ABC television, O’Connor said the government would examine raising the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold, which has been at A53,900 since 2013.

“I think there has to be a lifting of that measure,” he said, without commenting on whether the cap should be hiked to A$65,000 in line with the centre-left Labor Party’s policy before it took government following May’s general election.

“These are complex issues and we need to work out how we deal with each sector,” O’Connor added.

Staff shortages, in both high-skilled and lower pay industries like aged care, bit hard after COVID-19 pandemic closed Australia’s borders for nearly two years, and a lot of holiday workers and foreign students left.

Australia’s jobless rate now stands at a near 50-year-low of 3.4% and labour shortages have contributed to surging inflation that has reduced real wages.

Also on Sunday, O’Connor rejected claims that a move to so-called multi-employer industrial bargaining would lead to more strikes in Australia.

Labor has previously backed a union proposal to consider multi-employer bargaining, which could enable workers across sectors to band together to push for better pay and conditions.

“The breathless hysteria about massive disputation happening because we use a new vehicle to bargain is not borne out by the facts,” O’Connor said. “That doesn’t happen where there’s sector bargaining or multi-employer bargain.”

Australia is competing with other developed economies, like Germany and Canada, to attract more high-skilled immigrants, as the country’s ageing population heightens demand.

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