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January 14, 2023 – rdspinvestments

January 14, 2023

Qatar, UAE energy ministers say gas will be needed for long time

Qatar, UAE energy ministers say gas will be needed for long time© Reuters. QatarEnergy CEO and Qatar’s Minister of Energy, Saad al- Kaabi looks on during the signing ceremony of two sales and purchase agreements to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Germany, in Doha, Qatar, November 29, 2022. REUTERS/Imad Creidi/Files

By Yousef Saba and Rachna Uppal

ABU DHABI (Reuters) – The world will need for a long time and more investment is required to ensure supply security and affordable prices during the global energy transition, the energy ministers of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates said on Saturday.

Saad al-Kaabi, Qatari state minister for energy, told the Atlantic Council Global Energy Summit that a mild winter in Europe had seen prices come down, but that volatility would remain “for some time to come” given there was not much gas coming into the market until 2025.

“The issue is what’s going to happen when they (Europe) want to replenish their storages this coming year and the next year,” he said.

Kaabi later told reporters that Qatar, which is working to expand its gas output, has limited volumes going to Europe that it would not divert away, “but there is a limit to what we can do”.

Qatar is one of the world’s top producers of liquefied natural gas (LNG). The UAE is an OPEC oil producer that is sharpening its focus on the gas market as Europe seeks to replace Russian energy imports after supply cuts since Western sanctions were imposed on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

The Qatari minister said he believed that Russian gas would eventually return to Europe.

UAE Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei, speaking on the same panel in Abu Dhabi, agreed that “for a very long time, gas will be there” and that while more renewable energy would be installed, more investment was needed in gas as a base load.

“The whole world needs to think of resources and how to enable companies to produce more gas to make it available and affordable,” Mazrouei said.

Kaabi said it was unfair for some in the West as part of its green energy push to say African countries should not be drilling for oil and gas when it was important for their economies and the world needed more supply.

Mazrouei said the “unclear” strategy of many countries made it difficult for them to commit to long-term gas contracts which in turn made it hard for energy companies to secure financing to invest in developing production capacity.

As competition for LNG heated up, Germany last year struck a 15-year supply deal for Qatar LNG from 2026, the first of its kind to Europe from Qatar’s North Field expansion project. QatarEnergy had signed a 27-year deal to supply China’s Sinopec (OTC:).

Kaabi, who is also CEO of QatarEnergy, said negotiations were taking place with many players around the world.

“There are a lot of European and Asian buyers, and there is a potential that by the end of the year, the entire Qatar expansion will be sold out,” he said.

Qatar’s two-phase North Field expansion plan includes six LNG trains that will ramp up its liquefaction capacity from 77 million tonnes per annum to 126 million tonnes by 2027.

HDFC Bank, India’s biggest private lender, says net profit jumps 18.5%

Stock Markets 3 hours ago (Jan 14, 2023 03:35AM ET)

HDFC Bank, India's biggest private lender, says net profit jumps 18.5%© Reuters. People wait to enter HDFC bank in Kolkata, India November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/Files

MUMBAI (Reuters) – HDFC Bank, India’s largest private lender, on Saturday reported a 18.5% jump in net profit for the October-December quarter, aided by higher top-line and healthy loan growth.

Net profit for the quarter was 122.59 billion rupees ($1.51 billion), up from 103.42 billion rupees in the same quarter a year earlier. That was above analysts’ forecast of 118.33 billion rupees, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Net interest income, the difference between interest earned and paid, rose 24.6% to 229.88 billion rupees from 184.44 billion rupees. The core net interest margin stood at 4.1% for the quarter.

HDFC’s advances for its third fiscal quarter rose 19.5%, retail loans grew 21.4%, commercial and rural banking loans were up 30.2% and other wholesale loans rose 20.3%.

Deposits grew 19.9%, aided by higher time deposits and current and savings account deposits.

Credit offtake in India has picked up in recent months due to sustained demand for loans, causing a scramble for deposits among lenders. Loans at Indian banks rose 17.4% in the two weeks to Dec. 16 from a year earlier, while deposits rose 9.36%, the latest data from the Reserve Bank of India showed last month.

HDFC Bank’s asset quality was stable from the previous three months, with its gross non-performing assets (NPA) ratio unchanged at 1.23% and net NPA ratio unchanged at 0.33%.

Provisions and contingencies fell slightly to 28.06 billion rupees from 29.94 billion rupees last year.

The bank’s credit cost ratio declined to 0.74% from 0.87% in the prior quarter and 0.94% a year earlier.

($1 = 81.2800 Indian rupees)

Russia’s war on Ukraine latest: Dnipro death toll reaches 40, German defence minister resigns

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Russia's war on Ukraine latest: Dnipro death toll reaches 40, German defence minister resigns© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A satellite view shows a closer view of exploding munitions, in Bakhmut, Ukraine, January 3, 2023. Satellite image 2023 Maxar Technologies./Handout via REUTERS

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(Reuters) – The death toll from a Russian missile strike in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro rose to 40 on Monday with dozens more missing, making it the deadliest civilian incident of Moscow’s three-month campaign of hurling missiles at cities far from the front.

DNIPRO AND FIGHTING

* At least 40 people were killed in the attack in the central city, with 30 still unaccounted for, city official Gennadiy Korban said. He said 75 people were wounded including 14 children.

* Ukrainian officials acknowledged little hope of finding anyone else alive in the rubble of Saturday’s attack, but President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said rescue efforts in the central Ukrainian city would go on “as long as there is even the slightest chance to save lives”.

* The Kremlin said Russian forces do not strike residential buildings in Ukraine, and suggested Ukraine’s air defences had knocked the Russian missile off course, which Kyiv denies.

* The Russian-installed governor of Sevastopol in Crimea said on Monday that air defences had downed 10 drones over the city in what he called a “failed Ukrainian attack”.

* The Kremlin on Monday denied any conflict between the Defence Ministry and the Wagner mercenary group fighting for Russia in Ukraine, calling it an invention of the media.

UKRAINE’S PARTNERS

* The German government said Chancellor Scholz accepted the resignation of Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht and would soon appoint a replacement, the culmination of growing scepticism about her ability to bring the German army into shape against the backdrop of the Ukraine war.

* Her decision to step down comes as Germany is under pressure to approve an increase in international military support for Kyiv, including allowing Ukraine to use German-made Leopard tanks owned by Eastern and central European NATO allies.

* Poland and Finland said last week they would like to send them. Finland said that would require Berlin’s permission.

* U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is expected in Berlin on Thursday and will attend a conference on Friday at the U.S. military base in Ramstein to discuss further support for Ukraine.

* At the weekend, Britain broke the West’s taboo on sharing tanks with Ukraine, pledging 14 of its main battle tanks.

* The Kremlin responded that Britain’s tanks “will burn.” and such support would not change the outcome of the war.

* Sweden is in a “good position” as regards the process to gain Turkish ratification of the Nordic country’s membership in NATO, Swedish Prime Minister Kristersson said.

* British foreign minister James Cleverly said he had been sanctioned by the Russian government. “Good,” he wrote on Twitter.

BELARUS DRILLS

* Belarus began air force drills with Russia that it said were defensive in nature, but the move comes as concerns grow that Moscow is pushing Minsk to join the war in Ukraine. Russian President Putin visited Belarusian leader Lukashenko in December in a rare trip to Minsk, prompting speculation it preceded an attack on Ukraine.

* The Kremlin has denied that it has been pressuring its neighbour to take a more active role in the conflict in Ukraine. Minsk has said it will not enter the war.

Russian strikes hit targets across Ukraine, at least 12 dead in Dnipro

Russian strikes hit targets across Ukraine, at least 12 dead in Dnipro© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Rescuers work at a site of private houses heavily damaged by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine, in this handout picture released December 29, 2022. Press service of the State Emergency Service of Ukrai

By Herbert Villarraga and Olena Harmash

DNIPRO/KYIV (Reuters) – Russia unleashed a new wave of major attacks on Ukraine on Saturday, hitting energy infrastructure across the country and killing at least 12 people in a missile strike on a nine-storey apartment building in the city of Dnipro, officials said.

Rescue teams toiled through the night in freezing temperatures in the aftermath of the Dnipro attack, in east-central Ukraine, with local officials saying people were still alive underneath the massive pile of wreckage.

“They keep sending SMS-es,” Mikhailo Lysenko, deputy mayor of Dnipro said in a social media video. “We stop our work now and then to keep silence and we hear people scream from underneath the rubble.”

Russian strikes also hit critical infrastructure in Kyiv and other places, with Ukraine’s energy minister saying the coming days would be “difficult” with threats to the supply of electricity, running water and central heating at the height of winter.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the number of those killed in the Dnipro apartment attack was likely to rise and he issued a fresh appeal to his Western allies for more weaponry to end “Russian terror” and attacks on civilian targets.

U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink and Kyiv’s other allies condemned Saturday’s Russian attacks.

“More security assistance is coming to help Ukraine defend itself,” Brink said on Twitter, calling the strike on Dnipro “horrifying.”

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of Zelenskiy’s office, said 37 people had been rescued from the building and a total of 64 were injured. Zelenskiy said the second to ninth floors of the building’s damaged section had collapsed.

Pictures posted on Dnipro Mayor Borys Filatov’s Telegram account showed residents with no equipment desperately removing what remained of a wrecked car and combing through rubble against the background of a large pile of metal and concrete. Wounded people were carried away on stretchers.

“You used to come to our city! We treated you as normal people, as relatives. What have you done to my son?” a woman, restrained by rescuers, shrieked in a video from the scene.

Another person was killed and one wounded in the steel-making city of Kryviy Rih where six houses were damaged in Zelenskiy’s hometown, mayor Oleksandr Vilkul said.

FIGHTING FOR SOLEDAR

Further east in Ukraine’s Donbas region – the focal point of Russia’s drive to capture more territory – Ukraine’s forces were battling to hold onto control of the small town of Soledar. Russia has sacrificed large numbers of troops and resources to try to secure a gain after months of setbacks.

In Soledar, where Russian forces have refocused attacks after failing to take the larger nearby centre of Bakhmut, Ukraine insisted that its forces were battling to hold the town.

Russia said on Friday that its forces had taken control of the town with a pre-war population of 10,000, in what would be a minor advance, but one holding psychological importance for Russian forces who have suffered months of battlefield setbacks.

But officials acknowledged the situation was difficult, that street fighting was raging and Russian forces were advancing from various directions.

“Our soldiers are constantly repelling enemy attacks, day and night,” Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar said on Saturday. “The enemy is sustaining heavy losses but is continuing to carry out the criminal orders of their command.”

Reuters could not immediately verify the situation in Soledar.

ZELENSKIY: WE NEED MORE WEAPONS

In his nightly video address, Zelenskiy appealed to the West to supply more weapons and repeated Kyiv’s stance that the only way to end the war was on the battlefield.

“What’s needed for this? The kind of weapons that our partners have in stockpiles and that our warriors have come to expect. The whole world knows what and how to stop those who are sowing death,” he said.

Saturday’s attack comes as Western powers consider sending battle tanks to Kyiv and ahead of a meeting of Ukraine’s allies in Ramstein in Germany next Friday where governments will announce their latest pledges of military support.

Russia, which invaded Ukraine last February, has been pounding its energy infrastructure with missiles and drones since October, causing sweeping blackouts and disruptions to central heating and running water. Ukraine shot down on Saturday 25 of 38 Russian missiles of different types, the Air Force said.

Missiles struck infrastructure in Kharkiv in the east and Lviv in the west, officials said. Zelenskiy said Kyiv region and Kharkiv regions had suffered the worst power disruptions.

President Maia Sandu of Moldova, the ex-Soviet state to the west of Ukraine, denounced the strikes, which left missile debris strewn just inside the country’s border.

“We strongly condemn today’s intensified attacks of Russia & stand with those who lost loved ones in Dnipro & across Ukraine,” Sandu, strongly backed by Western nations, said on Twitter. “Peace must prevail.”

Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nausėda called Russia a “terrorist state” that brings destruction, death and suffering.

“Atrocities, mass killings, attacks on residential buildings – like today in Dnipro – will never be forgiven& forgotten,” Nausėda said on Twitter. “The time for accountability will come.”

Iran executes British-Iranian accused of spying, prompts Western condemnation

Iran executes British-Iranian accused of spying, prompts Western condemnation© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Alireza Akbari, Iran’s former deputy defence minister, speaks during an interview with Khabaronline in Tehran, Iran, in this undated picture obtained on January 12, 2023. Khabaronline/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS

DUBAI/LONDON (Reuters) – Iran has executed a British-Iranian national who once served as its deputy defence minister, its judiciary said, defying calls from London and Washington for his release after he was handed the death sentence on charges of spying for Britain.

Britain, which had declared the case against Alireza Akbari politically motivated, condemned the execution, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak calling it “a callous and cowardly act carried out by a barbaric regime”.

Akbari, 61, was arrested in 2019.

The Iranian judiciary’s Mizan news agency reported the execution without saying when it had taken place. Late on Friday, British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly had urged Iran not to follow through with the sentence.

Also condemned by the United States and France, the execution looks set to further worsen Iran’s long-strained relations with the West, which have deteriorated since talks to revive its 2015 nuclear deal hit deadlock and after Tehran unleashed a deadly crackdown on protesters last year.

In an audio recording purportedly from Akbari and broadcast by BBC Persian on Wednesday, he said he had confessed to crimes he had not committed after extensive torture.

“Alireza Akbari, who was sentenced to death on charges of corruption on earth and extensive action against the country’s internal and external security through espionage for the British government’s intelligence service … was executed,” Mizan said.

The Mizan report accused Akbari of receiving payments of 1,805,000 euros ($1.95 million), 265,000 pounds ($323,989.00), and $50,000 for spying.

Cleverly said in a statement the execution would “not stand unchallenged”. He later announced Britain had summoned the Iranian Charge d’Affaires, imposed sanctions on Iran’s prosecutor general, and temporarily withdrawn its ambassador from Tehran for further consultations.

It marks a rare case of the Islamic Republic executing a serving or former senior official. One of the last occasions was in 1984, when Iranian navy commander Bahram Afzali was executed after being accused of spying for the Soviet Union.

British statements on the case have not addressed the Iranian charge that Akbari spied for Britain.

Iran’s foreign ministry summoned the British ambassador over what it called London’s “meddling in Iran’s national security realm”, the state news agency IRNA reported.

Iranian state media, which have portrayed Akbari as a super spy, broadcast a video on Thursday which they said showed he played a role in the 2020 assassination of Iran’s top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, killed in an attack outside Tehran which authorities blamed at the time on Israel.

In the video, Akbari did not confess to involvement in the assassination but said a British agent had asked for information about Fakhrizadeh.

Iran’s state media often airs purported confessions by suspects in politically-charged cases.

Reuters could not establish the authenticity of the state media video and audio, or when or where they were recorded.

Akbari was a close ally of Ali Shamkhani, now the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, who was defence minister from 1997 to 2005. Akbari fought during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s as a member of the Revolutionary Guards.

Ramin Forghani, a nephew of Akbari, told Reuters the execution had come as a shock.

“I don’t think a person who spent all his life, from an early age, to serve the country – since the Iran-Iraq war – would spy for any country,” he said, noting Akbari had the rank of colonel in the Revolutionary Guards.

Speaking by phone from Luxembourg, he said Akbari’s wife, who lives in London, had tried but failed to persuade Iranian officials to spare his life. Reuters was unable to reach her.

‘DESPICABLE AND BARBARIC’

The U.S. State Department described the execution as politically motivated and unjust. The U.S. ambassador to London called it “appalling and sickening”. French President Emmanuel Macron called it a “despicable and barbaric act”.

Iran’s ties with the West have also been strained by its support for Russia in Ukraine, where Western states say Moscow has used Iranian drones.

Along with other Western states, Britain, which has a long history of fraught ties with Iran, has been fiercely critical of Tehran’s crackdown on anti-government protests, sparked by the death in custody of a young Iranian-Kurdish woman in September.

Iran has issued dozens of death sentences as part of the crackdown, executing at least four people.

A British minister said on Thursday Britain was actively considering proscribing the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organisation but had not reached a final decision.

In the recording broadcast by BBC Persian, Akbari said he had made false confessions due to torture.

“With more than 3,500 hours of torture, psychedelic drugs, and physiological and psychological pressure methods, they took away my will. They drove me to the brink of madness… and forced me to make false confessions by force of arms and death threats,” he said.

Amnesty International said the execution displayed again Tehran’s “abhorrent assault on the right to life”. In Akbari’s case, “it is particularly horrific given the violations he revealed he was subjected to in prison”.

The Iranian authorities have not responded to accusations Akbari was tortured.

An Iranian state TV report – details of which Reuters could not independently verify – said he was arrested on espionage charges in 2008 before he was freed on bail and left Iran.

In an interview with BBC Persian broadcast on Friday, Akbari’s brother Mehdi said he had returned to Iran in 2019 based on an invitation from Shamkhani.

($1 = 0.9235 euros)

($1 = 0.8179 pounds)

Why The Crypto Market Is Up Today? Here Are Top Reasons

Cryptocurrency Jan 14, 2023 09:00AM ET

Why The Crypto Market Is Up Today? Here Are Top ReasonsWhy The Crypto Market Is Up Today? Here Are Top Reasons

  • climbed above $21,000 for the first time since November 2022.
  • Cryptocurrencies added $86 billion in 24 hours to reach $992 billion in market capitalization.
  • The crypto market surged in response to improved inflation figures correlating with the macro sector.

Bitcoin climbed above $21,000 in the early hours of Saturday. It did so in response to market sentiments and improved consumer price index. That was the highest it had reached since early November. A combination of investors’ expecting a bottom and signs of peaked inflation is believed to be behind the surge.

Data from Coinmarketcap shows that Bitcoin rose to $21,047 in the early hours of the day. It climbed above $20,000 for the first time since November 8, 2022. Along with Bitcoin, surged above $1,500, dragging other altcoins like and with them. Both altcoins added more than 11% within 24 hours as Cardano climbed to $0.366, and Dogecoin rose to $0.089.

Today’s price surge rippled across the entire cryptocurrency market which swelled by $86 billion in market capitalization. At the time of writing, the cryptocurrency market capitalization was over $992 billion. A value that it had not achieved since early November.

The consumer prices report released in the U.S. shows declining inflation from December 2022 to January 2023. According to economic analysts, the impact of this report should see the Feds slow down on interest rate spikes. That has helped to boost risk assets like cryptocurrencies. These assets were already riding the wave of improved jobs data for the past week.

Cryptocurrencies surged alongside other risk assets like the stock index, which has registered profit for six straight days. That supports the growing belief that there is a correlation between cryptocurrencies and the macroeconomy. Unlike in the past, when crypto served as an alternative to mainstream stocks, both entities now follow each other. Perhaps, the influx of institutional investors in recent years has had a lot to do with this.

Sean Farrell, head of digital asset strategy at Fundstrat, explained that crypto assets performed well following the soft CPI print. In his opinion, crypto’s correlation to macro is not going away anytime soon. He expressed delight over how market price action has responded in the past week, noting that the absolute bottom might be in already for crypto prices.

The post Why The Crypto Market Is Up Today? Here Are Top Reasons appeared first on Coin Edition.

See original on CoinEdition

China reports huge rise in COVID-related deaths after data criticism

China reports huge rise in COVID-related deaths after data criticism© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Passengers of a plane from Dalian in China, head to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test area, upon their arrival at Narita international airport in Narita, east of Tokyo, Japan January 12, 2023. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

By Tony Munroe

BEIJING (Reuters) -China said on Saturday nearly 60,000 people with COVID-19 had died in hospital since it abandoned its zero-COVID policy last month, a huge increase from previously reported figures that follows global criticism of the country’s coronavirus data.

In early December, Beijing abruptly dismantled its strict three-year anti-virus regime of frequent testing, travel curbs and mass lockdowns after widespread protests in late November, and cases have surged since then across the nation of 1.4 billion.

A health official said on Saturday that COVID fever and emergency hospitalisations had peaked and the number of hospitalised patients was continuing to decline.

Between Dec. 8 and Jan. 12, the number of COVID-related deaths in Chinese hospitals totalled 59,938, Jiao Yahui, head of the Bureau of Medical Administration under the National Health Commission (NHC), told a media briefing.

Of those fatalities, 5,503 were caused by respiratory failure due to COVID and the remainder resulted from a combination of COVID and other diseases, she said.

The World Health Organization, which earlier this week said that China was heavily under-reporting deaths from the virus and called for more information, on Saturday welcomed Beijing’s announcement, while renewing its plea for more detailed data.

The U.N. agency said its Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had spoken with Ma Xiaowei, director of China’s National Health Commission, about the latest outbreak, which the WHO said was similar to what had been seen in other countries.

“The reported data indicate a decline in case numbers, hospitalizations, and those requiring critical care,” it said, commenting on Beijing’s numbers.

While international health experts have predicted at least 1 million COVID-related deaths this year, China had previously reported just over 5,000 deaths since the pandemic began, one of the lowest death rates in the world.

Authorities had been reporting five or fewer deaths a day over the past month – figures inconsistent with long queues seen at funeral homes and body bags seen leaving crowded hospitals.

China, which last reported daily COVID death figures on Monday, has repeatedly defended the veracity of its data on the disease.

On Saturday, Jiao said China divides COVID-related deaths between those from respiratory failure due to coronavirus infection and those from underlying disease combined with the infection.

“The standard is basically in line with those adopted by the World Health Organization and other major countries,” she said.

Last month, a Chinese health expert at a government news conference said only deaths caused by pneumonia and respiratory failure after contracting COVID would be classified as COVID deaths. Heart attacks or cardiovascular disease causing the death of infected people would not get that classification.

Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, said the tenfold increase in deaths announced on Saturday suggested China’s COVID policy reversal “is indeed associated with” a sharp rise in severe cases and deaths, especially among older people.

However, he said, it was unclear whether the new data accurately reflected actual fatalities because doctors were discouraged from reporting COVID-related deaths and the numbers included only deaths in hospitals.

“In the countryside, for example, many elderly people died at home but were not tested for COVID due to the lack of access to test kits or their unwillingness to get tested,” he said.

‘DECLINING TREND’

Jiao, the Chinese health official, said the number of patients needing emergency treatment was declining and the share of patients at fever clinics who tested positive for COVID-19 was steadily falling as well. The number of severe cases had also peaked, she added, though they remained at a high level, and patients were mostly elderly.

Officials said China would strengthen supplies of drugs and medical equipment in rural areas and beef up training of front-line medical staff in those regions.

“The number of fever clinic visitors are generally in a declining trend after peaking, both in cities and rural areas,” Jiao said.

A sharp rise in travel ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, when hundreds of millions return home from cities to small towns and rural areas, has fuelled worry that it will bring a surge in cases during a celebration that begins on Jan. 21.

This week, the WHO warned of risks stemming from holiday travel. China reopened its borders on Jan. 8.

Despite worries about infections, air passenger volumes in China have recovered to 63% of 2019 levels since the annual travel season began on Jan. 7, the industry regulator said on Friday.

The transport ministry has predicted passenger traffic volumes to jump 99.5% on the year during the festival migration, which runs until Feb. 15, or a recovery to 70.3% of 2019 levels.

In the Chinese gambling hub of Macau, Friday’s 46,000 daily inbound travellers were the highest number since the pandemic began, the majority from the mainland, the city government said. It expects a Spring Festival boom in tourism.

($1=6.7010 renminbi)

Thunberg joins march on German village in protest against coal mine expansion

Stock Markets 12 hours ago (Jan 14, 2023 08:15PM ET)

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Thunberg joins march on German village in protest against coal mine expansion© Reuters. Climate activist Greta Thunberg joins the activists protesting against the expansion of the Garzweiler open-cast lignite mine of Germany’s utility RWE to Luetzerath, in Keyenberg, Germany, January 14, 2023. REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen

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LUTZERATH (Reuters) – Around 6,000 protesters – including climate activist Greta Thunberg – marched through mud and rain to the German village of Luetzerath on Saturday, according to a police estimate, demonstrating against the expansion of an opencast lignite mine.

The clearing of the village in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia was agreed between RWE and the government in a deal that allowed the energy giant to demolish Lutzerath in exchange for its faster exit from coal and saving five villages originally slated for destruction.

“This is a betrayal of present and fuure generations… Germany is one of the biggest polluters in the world and needs to be held accountable,” Thunberg said on a podium, after she marched with a cardboard sign saying in German “Luetzi stays”, using a shortened name of the village.

As the protesters neared the village, they were confronted by police in riot gear, and some used batons to push the protesters back.

Regional police said on Twitter it had used force to stop people from breaking through barriers an nearing the danger zone at the edge of the excavation area.

Earlier this week, police cleared out protesters from buildings they have occupied for almost two years in attempt to stop the nearby mine’s expansion.

On Saturday, only few remained camping out in treehouses and an underground tunnel, but thousands turned up to protest against the mine, which activists say symbolises Berlin’s failing climate policy.

The president of North Rhine-Westphalia told German radio Deutschlandfunk on Saturday that energy politics was “not always pretty” but that the coal was needed more than ever in light of the energy crisis confronting Europe’s biggest economy.

Earlier Economy Minister Robert Habeck told Spiegel on Friday that Lutzerath was the “wrong symbol” to protest against.

“It is the last place where brown coal will be mined – not a symbol for more-of-the-same, but for the final frontier.”

But activists have said Germany should not be mining any more lignite and focus on expanding renewable energy instead.

Twitter’s laid-off workers cannot pursue claims via class-action lawsuit-judge

Stock Markets 14 hours ago (Jan 14, 2023 01:50PM ET)

Twitter's laid-off workers cannot pursue claims via class-action lawsuit-judge© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Twitter logo is seen outside the offices in New York City, U.S., November 9, 2022. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid//File Photo

(Reuters) -Twitter Inc has secured a ruling allowing the social media company to force several laid-off workers suing over their termination to pursue their claims via individual arbitration than a class-action lawsuit.

U.S. District Judge James Donato on Friday ruled that five former Twitter employees pursuing a proposed class action accusing the company of failing to give adequate notice before laying them off after its acquisition by Elon Musk must pursue their claims in private arbitration.

Donato granted Twitter’s request to force the five ex-employees to pursue their claims individually, citing agreements they signed with the company.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The San Francisco judge left for another day “as warranted by developments in the case” whether the entire class action lawsuit must be dismissed, though, as he noted three other former Twitter employees who alleged they had opted out of the company’s arbitration agreement have joined the lawsuit after it was first filed.

The lawyer who represents the plaintiffs, Shannon Liss-Riordan, said on Monday that she had already filed 300 demands for arbitration on behalf of former Twitter employees and would likely file hundreds more.

Those workers all claim they have not received the full severance package promised by Twitter before Musk took over. Some have also alleged sex or disability discrimination.

Last year, Donato had ruled that Twitter must notify the thousands of workers who were laid off after its acquisition by Musk following a proposed class action accusing the company of failing to give adequate notice before terminating them.

The judge said that before asking workers to sign severance agreements waiving their ability to sue the company, Twitter must give them “a succinct and plainly worded notice”.

Twitter laid off roughly 3,700 employees in early November in a cost-cutting measure by Musk, and hundreds more subsequently resigned.

In December last year, Twitter was also accused by dozens of former employees of various legal violations stemming from Musk’s takeover of the company, including targeting women for layoffs and failing to pay promised severance.

Twitter is also facing at least three complaints filed with a U.S. labor board claiming workers were fired for criticizing the company, attempting to organize a strike, and other conduct protected by federal labor law.

Bitcoin rises 5.6% to $21,044

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Forex 7 hours ago (Jan 14, 2023 07:00PM ET)

Bitcoin rises 5.6% to $21,044© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Bitcoin are seen in this illustration picture taken September 27, 2017. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

(Reuters) – Bitcoin rose 5.58% to $21,044 at 2344 GMT on Saturday, adding $1,113 to its previous close.

Bitcoin, the world’s biggest and best-known cryptocurrency, is up 27.6% from the year’s low of $16,496 on Jan 1.

Ether, the coin linked to the ethereum blockchain network, surged 7% to $1,552.6 on Saturday, adding $101.6 to its previous close.

Bitcoin rises 5.6% to $21,044

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