Saudi Arabia battles market jitters after oil plant attacks

by Anuj Chopra RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) — Saudi energy giant Aramco is battling to reassure markets after devastating attacks on two oil plants, where a prolonged shutdown risks roiling investor confidence ahead of the state-owned giant’s mega stock listing, analysts say. A wave of drones struck Abqaiq –- the world’s largest oil processing facility –- and the Khurais oil field in eastern Saudi Arabia, knocking out nearly half of the kingdom’s crude production and […]

Storm Humberto strengthens but moves away from Bahamas and US

MIAMI, United States (AFP) — Tropical storm Humberto gained strength Sunday and was expected to return to hurricane force by evening, but its track now puts it far from the Bahamas and the US coast, the US National Hurricane Center said. As of midday, Humberto was 180 miles (290 kilometers) northwest of Great Abaco Island, which was devastated two weeks ago by the passage of Hurricane Dorian, and 165 miles northeast of Cape Canaveral, Florida, […]

Colombia plane crash kills seven

BOGOTA, Colombia (AFP) — At least seven people were killed and another three injured when a small plane crashed in southwestern Colombia on Sunday, a firefighter said. “Nine people were on board the plane. Seven died, while two are seriously injured,” Juan Carlos Ganan, the commander of firefighters in the area, told AFP. The third person injured was a child on the ground in the area where the plane crashed, Ganan said. Firefighters were trying […]

Trump: US ‘locked and loaded’ to respond to Saudi oil attack

by W.G. Dunlop with Anuj Chopra in Riyadh WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — President Donald Trump said Sunday the US is “locked and loaded” to respond to an attack on Saudi oil infrastructure that Washington has blamed on Iran, as Riyadh raced to restart operations at plants hit by drone attacks. It is the first time the president has hinted at a potential American military response to the attack, which slashed Saudi oil production by […]

Tropical Storm Humberto dumps rain on hurricane-hit Bahamas

  MIAMI, United States (AFP) — Tropical Storm Humberto lashed the Bahamas with rain and wind on Saturday, possibly slowing down relief efforts in the wake of the devastation wrought less than two weeks ago by Hurricane Dorian. The US National Hurricane Center said the center of the storm, packing maximum sustained winds of 60 miles (95 kilometers) per hour, was passing Saturday evening about 85 miles north of Great Abaco Island, one of the […]

Russia’s world-first floating nuclear plant arrives in port

  MOSCOW, Russia (AFP) — Russia’s world first floating nuclear power station on Saturday completed a 5,000-kilometre (3,100-mile) Arctic transfer to the country’s far east, the Rosatom nuclear agency said. “The Akademik Lomonosov floating nuclear plant arrived … at Pevek, in the autonomous district of Chukotka,” where it is to start operating by year end once connected to the local electricity grid, Rosatom said. What will be the world’s northernmost nuclear power plant left Murmansk […]

Mall brawls and street fights as Hong Kong polarization deepens

  by Jerome TAYLOR Agence France Presse HONG KONG, China (AFP) — Fights erupted in Hong Kong on Saturday with political rivals trading blows in a mall and Beijing supporters using Chinese flags to assault opponents on a street, deepening the city’s polarisation after months of pro-democracy protests. The once-stable international hub has been convulsed by weeks of huge, sometimes violent rallies calling for greater democratic freedoms and police accountability. The movement is the biggest […]

DOJ investigating US Olympic systems handling of sex abuse claims

  LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — The US Department of Justice has launched an investigation into sexual abuse in US Olympic sports, becoming the latest federal agency to probe failures in the country’s Olympic organizations, the Wall Street Journal reported. The investigations, which focus mainly on USA gymnastics, stems from the Larry Nassar scandal. Nassar, the longtime USA gymnastics doctor, has been accused of abuse by more than 350 girls and young women, including […]

At least 11 dead in Rio hospital blaze

  by Mauro PIMENTEL / Carlos FABAL Agence France Presse RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AFP) — At least 11 people, many of them elderly, were killed when a fire swept through a hospital in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro as staff and desperate visitors battled to rescue patients from smoke-filled wards. Hospital authorities said the blaze late on Thursday was thought to have been caused by a short circuit in a generator, although […]

Death toll from Spain floods rises to three

MADRID, Spain (AFP) — The death toll from torrential rain and floods in southeastern Spain rose to three on Friday after a man drowned when his car became trapped in a tunnel, local authorities said. The latest tragedy occurred in the city of Almeria when the tunnel was “flooded by a huge amount of water in a few minutes,” Almeria city hall said in a tweet. A policeman managed to rescue two of the three […]

Peru court cuts jail time for opposition leader Keiko Fujimori

  by Luis Jaime CISNEROS Agence France Presse LIMA, Peru (AFP) — Peru’s Supreme Court on Thursday halved the pre-trial detention of Keiko Fujimori, paving the way for the opposition leader to leave jail in April of next year. Fujimori, 44, was ordered held for 36 months last October in a corruption case linked to Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht. Fujimori, who is detained at a women’s prison south of the capital Lima, had petitioned the […]

Biggest Alpine glacier could disappear by 2100: study

GENEVA, Switzerland (AFP) — The mighty Aletsch — the largest glacier in the Alps — could completely disappear by the end of this century if nothing is done to rein in climate change, a study showed Thursday. A team of researchers in Switzerland has used a cutting-edge simulation to show how the Aletsch Glacier will change as the planet continues to warm, the ETH technical university in Zurich said in a statement. The glacier, which […]