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Oil lifted toward $73 by real, threatened supply cuts




U.S. sanctions on Iran have cut the OPEC member’s crude exports further in May, adding to supply curbs resulting from an OPEC-led pact.

Meanwhile, rising tensions in the Middle East this week has raised concern about additional supply disruption.

Brent crude rose 15 cents to 72.77 dollars a barrel at 0908 GMT.

The global benchmark is up almost three per cent this week, having ended last week steady and fallen the week before.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude added 24 cents to 63.11 dollars.

“The Middle East is acting as a tinderbox for conflict,” said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM.

“So, long as this remains the case, the energy complex will continue to be supported by bullish supply-side signals.”

The mounting tension overshadowed bearish developments for oil prices this week, such as an unexpected increase in U.S. crude inventories.

A Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen carried out several air strikes on the Houthi-held capital Sanaa on Thursday after the Iranian-aligned movement claimed responsibility for drone attacks on two Saudi oil pumping stations.

Earlier this week, staffer were evacuated from the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, while U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the deployment of an aircraft carrier group, B-52 bombers and Patriot missiles to the Middle East.

“When tensions are this high, with the U.S. deploying a sizable military force, even a mistake or a tactical error by Iran could ignite the Middle East powder keg,” Stephen Innes, Head of Trading and Market Strategy at SPI Asset Management said.

“There are lots of supply risks with tensions this high.”

The market is also awaiting a decision from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers over whether to continue with supply cuts that have boosted prices more than 30 per cent so far this year.


DR Congo refugees head home to Kasai region from Angola – UN





UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic said at a UN briefing in Geneva that the movement was in apparent response to reports of better security in their places of origin.

“This appears to be a response to reports of improved security in some of their places of origin.

“Anxiety to return home in time for the beginning of the academic year, is also a strong factor,’’ Mahecic said.n

He noted that the refugee departures reported from Aug. 18 were spontaneous as more than a thousand had already crossed into DRC.

He said that many others were moving toward the border to DRC’s Kasai region from the Lovua settlement in Angola.

Kasai province is recovering from deadly clashes between armed groups and DRC forces in 2017 that displaced over 1.4 million people from their homes.

Around 37,000 refugees from the violence crossed into Angola which hosts more than 60,000 refugees and asylum-seekers, primarily from DRC.

Mahecic said this week’s spontaneous returns from northeastern Angola are linked with presidential elections.

He added that recent discussions between the visiting DRC officials and refugees had also help.

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Kenya set for national census after ten years





Zachary Mwangi, director general of Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) told journalists in Nairobi that the last census was conducted in 2009 with minimal use of technology.

“The 2019 population and housing census will for the first time, capture data electronically through a mobile device in order to ensure more accurate information, security of data and faster processing of the results,’’ he said.

Mwangi added that enumeration will start on Saturday and end on Aug. 30.

The preliminary results will be released three months after the end of the exercise.

KNBS noted that the preparation, enumeration and tabulation of the census results are expected to cost 18.5 billion shillings (179 million U.S. dollars).

Mwangi observed that all those who will be within the Kenyan borders on the census night will be counted including persons on transit and outdoor sleepers.

According to the government official, the information to be collected will give an accurate picture of the number of people living in the country.

The official said the census is expected to help the country in the planning and formulation of policies to enhance the delivery of public services.


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Japan’s Abe sets out for G7 summit in France




Leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the U.S. will converge on the southern French town of Biarritz from Aug. 24 to Aug. 26.

According to local media, during the summit, Abe plans to discuss with fellow G7 leaders about global affairs including international trade and climate change,

Abe told newsmen before his departure that he would discuss and seek progress on issues of sustainable global growth and free trade promotion, as well as regional issues such as North Korea, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and Iran.

The local media added that in the tense atmosphere due to clashes between the U.S. and other members, Abe would attempt to play a part in preventing rifts within the G7 from widening,

The Japanese prime minister is scheduled to return to Japan on Tuesday.


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Kenya calls for more efforts to save African elephant



Kenya calls for more efforts to save African elephant


KWS made the plea at the ongoing Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Geneva, Switzerland.

It added that the theme of the convention was “the world stand for the survival of the giraffe and African elephant’’.

The KWS said in a statement issued in Nairobi that Kenya sought to get protection status by listing all nine giraffe subspecies in Appendix II.

It added that all elephants were also listed in Appendix I, adding that Kenya is preventing any down listing of elephants or reopening of ivory trade.

KWS said participants at the 18th Conference of the Parties of the CITES voted in favour of listing the species for the first time to protect it from unregulated trade.

According to conservationists, giraffe numbers have plummeted dramatically, by up to 40 per cent over the last 30 years, due to threats including international trade in their parts, as well as habitat loss, civil unrest and illegal hunting.

Giraffes are now listed in Appendix II to allow for trade monitoring and population status.

No down listing of elephants was allowed and no changes to allow ivory trade was allowed at the CITES meeting.

The Appendix II listing was proposed by the Central African Republic, Chad, Kenya, Mali, Niger and Senegal.

It was passed by 106 votes in support, with 21 votes against and seven abstentions.

An earlier vote on limiting the protection to apply only to sub-species outside of Southern Africa failed to achieve the required number of votes to pass.

In spite of the vote to save the giraffe, the KWS said, challenges remain in improving livelihoods, law enforcement, and closure of domestic ivory markets.

While giraffes fall prey to poaching for bush meat, bones, skin and tail hair, there is also a significant amount of international trade in their bone carvings and trophies, KWS said. (Xinhua/NAN)



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Chinese, other enterprises urged to invest in NW Zambia



Chinese, other enterprises urged to invest in NW Zambia


Chingola, Zambia, Aug. 23, 2019 (Xinhua/NAN) Chinese enterprises, among other international investors, have been urged to take advantage of the North West Expo 2019 to invest in various economic ventures in north-western Zambia.

Provincial permanent secretary Willies Manjimela on Friday said the expo has been a success as it received overwhelming response from both local and foreign stakeholders.

Manjimela said the expo has triggered investment opportunities through attracting both local and international investors.

“We are hopeful that investors such as the Chinese and others will consider investing in the province after being availed with the investment opportunities that prevail in the region,’’ Manjimela said.

The expo was officially opened by President Edgar Lungu on Aug. 19, and it ends on Aug. 24.

Recently, Mukumbi Kafuta, President of Northwestern Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the chamber, working in conjunction with the provincial administration, invited the Chinese enterprises to be part of the expo.

Kafuta said China has the resources and skilled manpower to invest in the province. (Xinhua/NAN)


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