Qatar is pulling out of OPEC

Qatar is pulling out of OPEC

OPEC is losing one of its members.

The small, gas-rich state of Qatar said Monday that it will leave the oil cartel on January 1 after nearly 60 years of membership. The country’s state oil company, Qatar Petroleum, made the announcement in a series of tweets.
“The withdrawal decision reflects Qatar’s desire to focus its efforts on plans to develop and increase its natural gas production,” Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, the country’s minister of state for energy affairs, was cited as saying in one of the tweets.
Qatar is the world’s leading exporter of liquified natural gas, accounting for about 30% of global demand.
or a year and a half, Qatar has been under an economic embargo by some of its neighbors including OPEC’s de facto leader, Saudi Arabia. In response, Qatar increased its gas production, the mainstay of its economy, last year.
It will be the first Middle Eastern country to pull out of OPEC, which only deals with crude oil production. Qatar’s contribution has been marginal compared to some of the cartel’s biggest producers like Saudi Arabia and Iraq. It pumps about 600,000 barrels a day of the almost 25 million barrels a day from all OPEC members.
“Qatar is a fairly small producer … it was not making very much so it’s not that significant in itself,” said Robin Mills, CEO of Qamar Energy, a consultancy firm based in Dubai. “But it’s a disappointment for OPEC because they’ve been trying to attract members.”
OPEC has been expanding in Africa, with Congo and Equatorial Guinea joining recently. “If you add those up, [the production] is equal to Qatar’s so it’s kind of lost the equivalent [output] of those new members,” Mills added.
OPEC members collectively supply about 44% of the world’s crude oil. The cartel aims to monitor the market and decide to raise or lower oil production in order to maintain stable prices and supply.
Qatar has been a member of OPEC since 1961. It said the organization was aware of its decision to withdraw.
Machar directs his ‘forces’ to assemble in cantonment sites

Machar directs his ‘forces’ to assemble in cantonment sites

South Sudan opposition leader Riek Machar has directed SPLA-IO forces to assemble in cantonment areas as soon as possible, as part of the peace deal.

“I want you to take the issue of cantonment very seriously. If you don’t report yourselves, they will count you out,” Machar told his supporters who gathered at a rally in Khartoum on Friday.

“Please report yourselves to any nearest cantonment sites.”

Under the peace deal, the parties are required to assemble their forces in cantonment sites to enable registration of personnel, weapons, screening, reorganization and demobilisation. The deal says all forces in cantonment sites shall receive non-military logistical supplies including food, shelter and access to medical care.

Machar, who will be reinstated as first vice president, emphasized the need for dissemination of the peace agreement to grassroots for citizens to understand the contents of the signed document.

“It is not good if normal citizens do not know what is written in the peace agreement,” he said.

The opposition leader pointed out that the peace agreement is lagging behind schedule, saying several technical committees have not yet been formed. “But we don’t want this to affect the agreement,” he said.

“This delay could affect the implementation of the agreement but we want to catch up,” he added.

The revitalized peace agreement signed in September will see the creation of a new transitional government in May 2019.

Baby gender reveal celebration explosion started $8.2m Arizona wildfire

Baby gender reveal celebration explosion started $8.2m Arizona wildfire

Newly released video shows the moment an off-duty border agent in Arizona started a huge wildfire as part of a gender reveal celebration for his unborn baby.

The April 2017 Sawmill blaze destroyed 47,000 acres and took 800 firefighters to put out, at a cost of $8.2m.

Dennis Dickey, 37, and his wife Rita, planned to reveal the sex of their baby to friends and relatives by setting off an explosive device filled with coloured powder – blue to indicate a boy.

Dickey shot a target containing Tannerite, a legal, but very powerful explosive. The video shows the blast and the surrounding grass immediately catching fire, the ferocity of the blaze exacerbated by months of dry weather.

It quickly spread to the Coronado National Forest

Dickey immediately reported the fire and is said to have admitted starting it, saying it had been a “complete accident”.

Last month he pleaded guilty to starting a fire without a permit and was sentenced to five years probation, a $100,000 fine and $500 a month restitution for the next 20 years.

South Sudan: Riek Machar to return to Juba for peace ceremony

South Sudan: Riek Machar to return to Juba for peace ceremony

South Sudan’s main rebel leader Riek Machar will return to the capital, Juba, on Wednesday to take part in a peace ceremony, more than two years after he fled the country following the collapse of a power-sharing deal.

Machar last month signed a peace deal with South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir in Ethiopia to end a ruinous five-year war that killed tens of thousands and forced millions from their homes.

“Machar will lead a delegation of the SPLM/A-IO members for the peace celebration in Juba, but the programme in Juba is entirely in the hands of the regime,” group spokesperson Lam Paul Gabriel said in a statement on Tuesday.

What next for South Sudan’s peace agreement?

Along with Kiir and Machar, a number of regional heads of state are also expected at the ceremony to publicly welcome the most recent peace agreement, which was approved in August before being signed in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.

Machar’s previous homecoming, in April 2016, was put off by wrangling over how many bodyguards he could bring with him and what weapons they would carry, but Gabriel said this time the rebel leader would be accompanied by only around 30 political figures.

“We are worried for his security in Juba, but the truth is here: we are for peace, and what we are trying to do is build trust,” Machar’s spokesperson said. “So that is why he is able to leave his forces behind and just go with politicians.

Failed peace deal

Two years after gaining independence, South Sudan descended into civil war in December 2013 when Kiir accused his then-deputy, Machar, of plotting a coup.

Ethnically-charged fighting soon spread from the capital across the impoverished state, shutting down oil fields, forcing millions to flee and killing tens of thousands of people.

A power-sharing deal that returned Machar to the vice presidency was signed in 2015. But it collapsed a year later in a deadly battle that saw Machar flee into exile in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

He later travelled to South Africa where he was held under house arrest until peace talks started again in June, sponsored by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, a regional bloc.

Kobs suffer surprise elimination against South Sudan

Kobs suffer surprise elimination against South Sudan

Uganda suffered a shock 2-0 away loss to South Sudan to bow out of the 2019 Africa U-23 Cup of Nations qualifiers in the first round 2-1 on aggregate.

Despites struggling to break down the opposition in the first leg before a late Mustafa Kizza penalty separated the two sides at Lugogo, many thought Uganda still had enough to reach the second round.
Coaches Wasswa Bossa and Charles Ayiekoh named unchanged lineup from the first leg team.

It included seven players from the team that defeated South Sudan 3-0 in Juba and 8-1 on aggregate in the Under-20 Africa qualifiers in April.
Saidi Keni, Mujuzi Musitafa, Geofrey Wasswa, Bashir Asiku, Julius Poloto, Allan Okello and Steven Mukwala all started for the Kobs team regarded as the future of the national senior team.
But South Sudan had different ideas scoring first through Michael Taku Peter for a seventh minute lead before Makueth Wol who plies his trade with Uganda Premier League side Mbarara scored late to hand his country an unlikely victory.

The result proved remarkable for South Sudan who only gained independence from the Republic of Sudan in 2011 and whose senior team cannot make it to Afcon 2019 after failing to record a point after five games.
They now progresses to the penultimate round of the qualifiers where Tunisia awaits.