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Danish ex-PM attacks Trump for comments on defense spending

Danish ex-PM attacks Trump for comments on defense spendingA former Danish prime minister on Thursday lashed out at U.S. President Donald Trump for his tweet about military spending, saying defense willingness is not just about the amount of money spent. Lars Loekke Rasmussen's comment is the latest in an escalating spat between the U.S. and Denmark after Trump scrapped a visit to the country, saying current Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen was "nasty" when she rejected his idea of buying Greenland as an absurdity. Loekke Rasmussen, who led the country until June, tweeted Thursday to Trump: "We have had (proportionally) exactly the same numbers of casualties in Afghanistan as US.



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Half of Venezuela's Oil Rigs May Disappear If U.S. Waivers Lapse

Half of Venezuela's Oil Rigs May Disappear If U.S. Waivers Lapse(Bloomberg) -- A looming U.S. sanctions deadline is threatening to clobber Venezuela?s dwindling oil-rig fleet and hamper energy production in the nation with the world?s largest crude reserves.Almost half the rigs operating in Venezuela will shut down by Oct. 25 if the Trump administration doesn?t extend a 90-day waiver from its sanctions, according to data compiled from consultancy Caracas Capital Markets. That could further cripple the OPEC member?s production because the structures are needed to drill new wells crucial for even maintaining output, which is already near the lowest level since the 1940s.A shutdown in the rigs will also put pressure on Nicolas Maduro?s administration, which counts oil revenues as its main lifeline. The U.S. is betting on increased economic pressure to oust the regime and bring fresh elections to the crisis-torn nation, a founding member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and Latin America?s biggest crude exporter until recent years.Venezuela had 23 oil rigs drilling in July, down from 49 just two years ago, data compiled by Baker Hughes show. Ten of those are exposed to U.S. sanctions, according to calculations by Caracas Capital Markets. The Treasury Department extended waivers in July for service providers to continue for three more months, less than the six months the companies had sought.Most other government agencies involved in the deliberations opposed any extension, a senior administration official said last month, adding that another reprieve will be harder to come by.?Almost half the rigs are being run by the Yanks, and if the window shuts down on this in two months, then that?s really going to hurt Venezuela unless the Russians and the Chinese come in,? said Russ Dallen, a Miami-based managing partner at Caracas Capital Markets.Output RiskA U.S. Treasury official said the department doesn?t generally comment on possible sanctions actions.More than 200,000 barrels a day of output at four projects Chevron Corp. is keeping afloat could shut if the waivers aren?t renewed. That would be debilitating to Maduro because the U.S. company, as a minority partner, only gets about 40,000 barrels a day of that production.The departure of the American oil service providers would hurt other projects in the Orinoco region, where operators need to constantly drill wells just to keep output from declining. The U.S.-based companies are also involved in state-controlled Petroleos de Venezuela SA?s joint ventures in other regions such as Lake Maracaibo.Limiting ExposureHalliburton Co., Schlumberger Ltd. and Weatherford International Ltd. have reduced staff and are limiting their exposure to the risk of non-payment in the country, according to people familiar with the situation. The three companies have written down a total of at least $1.4 billion since 2018 in charges related to operations in Venezuela, according to financial filings. Baker Hughes had also scaled back before additional sanctions were announced earlier this year, the people said.Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, Weatherford, PDVSA and Venezuela?s oil ministry all declined to comment.Halliburton has adjusted its Venezuela operations to customer activity, and continues operating all of its product service lines at its operational bases, including in the Orinoco Belt, it said in an emailed response to questions. It works directly with several of PDVSA?s joint ventures, and timely payments from customers are in accordance with U.S. regulations, it said.Hamilton, Bermuda-based Nabors Industries Ltd. has three drilling rigs in Venezuela that can operate for a client until the sanctions expire in October, Chief Executive Officer Anthony Petrello said in a July 30 conference call, without naming the client.The sanctions carry geopolitical risks for the U.S. If Maduro manages to hang on, American companies would lose a foothold in Venezuela, giving Russian competitors such as Rosneft Oil Co. a chance to fill the void. Chinese companies could also benefit. Even if the waivers get extended, the uncertainty hinders any long-term planning or investments in the nation by the exposed companies.Rosneft?s press office didn?t respond to phone calls and emails seeking comment on operations in Venezuela.\--With assistance from David Wethe, Debjit Chakraborty and Dina Khrennikova.To contact the reporters on this story: Peter Millard in Rio de Janeiro at pmillard1@bloomberg.net;Fabiola Zerpa in Caracas Office at fzerpa@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tina Davis at tinadavis@bloomberg.net, Pratish Narayanan, Joe RyanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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Tears, fear as Russian students jailed over opposition protests

Tears, fear as Russian students jailed over opposition protestsIn a court on the outskirts of Moscow, fellow students of Yegor Zhukov started weeping as he delivered a speech via a video link from jail. The 21-year-old is among a group of young protesters with bright futures risking criminal convictions and life-changing jail terms as Russia attempts to quell dissent. Zhukov is the most prominent among them thanks to his popular YouTube clips where he criticises President Vladimir Putin's regime and backs the anti-corruption campaign of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.



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Brexit Held at the Border

Brexit Held at the BorderIn the last two days Prime Minister Boris Johnson has proposed that Ireland temporarily leave the European Union to align with the economic rules of a post-Brexit U.K. German chancellor Angela Merkel has suggested, somewhat flippantly, that the U.K. could figure out a special trading arrangement for itself and Ireland in the next 30 days. And French president Emmanuel Macron has said that there?s still room for negotiation between the U.K. and the EU, but he?s willing to be ?the hard boy.? Maybe Macron is taking the EU marriage metaphor a little too personally . . .What on earth is going on?It?s been three years since a majority of the U.K.?s electorate voted to leave the European Union. And so far, all that Brexit has generated is a great deal of nearly incomprehensibly vocabulary. First we got Theresa May?s red lines, her attempt to define how it was exactly that Brexit means Brexit, and what the future relationship, if any, the United Kingdom would have with the EU. These red lines, an end to freedom of movement from EU member states into the U.K., and an exit from the EU?s customs union ruled out the Norway option but not Canada Plus Plus. Or Canada Plus Plus Plus. Yes, I?m serious.According to the withdrawal agreement negotiated between Theresa May and the rest of the EU, that future relationship has to be figured out in the transition period. That?s a two-year window after the U.K. leaves the EU in which it would continue to follow EU rules until they came to a trade agreement. That is, unless there is a no-deal Brexit and the U.K. simply exits the European Union on October 31 and conducts business with the world based on World Trade Organization rules. Got it? Well, sort of.The focus is now on the Irish-border backstop. Basically, the backstop is a promise that there will be no hard border ? a customs border across the island of Ireland, between the Republic of Ireland and the six counties of Northern Ireland. Irish public officials have argued (with the support of the EU) that a frictionless border is necessary for economic and political reasons. The frictionless border is understood there as part of the the peace settlement in Northern Ireland, following the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. So too the ?all-island economy? that it creates. The backstop is a promise by the U.K. to keep Northern Ireland following a number of regulations and customs rules that match it to the Republic of Ireland.This promise became the focus of Tory and Brexiteer anger at Theresa May?s withdrawal agreement. First, because it created what seemed like a negotiating trap for the U.K. during the transition period. Having already agreed to keep Northern Ireland (and the rest of the U.K. with it) aligned with the EU?s rules as part of a backstop, the EU would have less incentive to come to another, different trade relationship to supersede that agreement. The price to be paid for testing and pushing the EU might carve up the United Kingdom itself. If Great Britain diverged from the EU at the end of the transition period, Northern Ireland would be partially politically detached from the Union, and perhaps its citizens would have to go through customs to travel within their own country, from Belfast to Birmingham.Recently Johnson has begun calling the backstop ?undemocratic? and hinting that it violates the Good Friday Agreement. He has a point. The backstop would keep Northern Ireland subject to EU rules and regs in which they have no say. It would deprive Northern Ireland?s elected ministers to Parliament of any voice on matters that would be routine for MPs in any other constituent nation of the United Kingdom. That seems quite a lot like a partial form of Irish unification. But the Good Friday Agreement ensures that Irish unity can be achieved only by a majority vote for it in the six counties and another one in the Republic of Ireland.Proponents of the backstop hold that this measure would merely be the decision of a sovereign Parliament over a part of its territory. It is an agreement between Parliament and the EU and doesn?t legally touch Ireland. That?s true. But, the reality is that it would create checks between constituent parts of the U.K. that normally exist between two different countries. It does so in order to prevent those checks on the island of Ireland. And it does so to meet the expectations of the Irish government based in Dublin. To whom would Northern Irish people turn when trade policy affects them? Nobody they directly elect would have a constitutional say.Effectively these economic rules would be imposed on Northern Ireland as if it were a kind of EU colony, and done in the interests of the Republic of Ireland. This may satisfy the historical imagination of Irish nationalists. (Believe me, there is a delicious irony to be savored here.) But it is hard to argue that such a result is consonant with the Good Friday Agreement. Or a wise way to endear Northern Irish unionists to the Irish government.All of this confusion is the result of a kind of gamesmanship. The EU and U.K. each want to use the Irish border as a reason to crack the other?s negotiating position. The EU would like to see the U.K. bounced into a permanent customs union in which it has no say, effectively maintaining the economic size and power of the EU while reducing the political influence of Eurosceptical Britannia. On the other side, the U.K. would like to see the Irish-border issue work in the opposite way, forcing the EU to strike an especially good and liberal trade deal with the U.K. that comes with fewer strings attached than those on Norway or other states that have non-standard arrangements.The lesson is rather obvious. You cannot predetermine what kind of infrastructure will be at a border and what laws will be enforced at it, in the absence of a durable agreement on trade in goods and materials. The EU and the U.K. have been trying to resolve questions in the wrong order. Both have done so out of a reasonable fear of loss.But the hour is late, and the real work must be done.



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Democrat Buttigieg targets mental illness, addiction in new plan
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg aims to prevent one million deaths b...
 
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Kremlin: Putin held Security Council meeting to discuss U.S. missile test
The Kremlin said on Friday that President Vladimir Putin had held a meeting of Russia's Se...
 
›  Putin orders reciprocal Russian response to U.S. missile test
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MLB roundup: Dodgers earn second straight walkoff win
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U.S. fines Deutsche Bank $16 million to settle China, Russia corruption charges
Deutsche Bank has agreed to pay more than $16 million to settle charges that it violated ...
 
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Rockin 'n' rollin on Mars: Rolling Stones have space rock named after them
The Rolling Stones have rocked stages around the world in their more than 5...
 
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Tesla in advanced talks with LG Chem on battery supply in China: source
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Rockin 'n' rollin on Mars: Rolling Stones have space rock named after them
 
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The Roads Can Be Like A Parking Lot Especially In The U.S.
  Traffic can add more time to your commute going to and from work, which causes you to allow more time for your commute. Despite advances in public transportation and ride sharing, expansion of ...


Mazda Blows Winter Driving Out Of The Way
Driving can be dangerous sometimes in the best conditions and winter can make it worse, unless your prepared. Take for example, Mazda?s MX-5 roadster, widely praised for its excellent, well balanced h...


Upgrading Safety Even In The Taillights
DETROIT ? Everyday car companies explore new ways to keep your family safe, and now they created upgrades to fix the lighting as well. Not only does today’s exterior lighting improve safety, des...


Do You Know Everything You Can About Your Car
Do you know what to do every time you step in the drivers seat, and what features are available to help make your driving experience better and easier? While automakers are spending billions of dollar...


Cyber Security, The First Thing To Be Fixed
Recently there have been multiple issues with connectivity when it comes to hackers and safety, so before it is available to the masses it must be protected as well. Connected vehicles hold tremendous...




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Is The Start- Stop Technology Better for Us As It Is The Economy
With the concern of global warming looming over us everyday, car companies are pulling together ideas to help, but are they better? Dr. Keith Tao, a radiologist in Danville, Calif., owns three late-mo...


Studies Say Pedestrians Are Now At More Of A Risk
Just because you are walking to your destination does not mean you can be less aware of danger. The death toll of pedestrians killed in traffic crashes is projected to spike about 10% in 2015 compared...


Car Companies Take One More Step Forward On The Road Electric Vehicles
LAS VEGAS? With the decline in the availability of oil, electric and hybrid cars will become more important. Although sales of electric and hybrid vehicles have struggled, automakers are charging ahea...


Where?s The Fun When Your Car Drives For You?
Most people have some fun memories of a road trip, or a stretch of rad they enjoyed driving on, but what happens when you don?t have that opportunity anymore because the car drives for you, will it st...


  What You Need To Know To Leave The Action With A Car At the End Of The Day
When you need to buy a car do you search online through search engines, visit car companies or talk to friends? Another possible way for you to purchase a car is through an auction. You wouldn?t know ...




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