Monday, August 18, 2008

Oil Price Rises on U.S. Hurricane Fears

Just when you thought it was safe to drive.

Oil prices rose Monday in Asia on concerns that Tropical Storm Fay may disrupt oil operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

Light, sweet crude for September delivery rose 56 cents to $114.33 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange by midafternoon in Singapore. The contract fell $1.24 on Friday to settle at $113.77 a barrel.

"There could be some supply disruption issues there so the market is watching this closely," said Mark Pervan, senior commodity strategist at ANZ Bank in Melbourne.

Fay, the sixth storm of the 2008 Atlantic season, was slowing down early Monday and moving erratically, but forecasters still expected it to strengthen slowly to a hurricane. Fay has already killed at least five people after battering Haiti and the Dominican Republic with weekend torrential rains and floods.

Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has evacuated about 360 staff from the Gulf of Mexico over the past two days.

Early Monday, Fay was centered about 275 kilometers (170 miles) southeast of Havana and 375 kilometers (235 miles) south-southeast of Key West, Florida, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.

It had maximum sustained winds near 85 kph (50 mph) and was moving west-northwest at 17 kph (10 mph).

Forecasters expected the storm to begin moving more to the northwest later on Monday. Current models show the storm moving up the western coast of Florida, although forecasters still didn't know exactly where it would make landfall.

So far during this year's hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean, no storm has significantly damaged oil installations in the Gulf.

Russia Begins Georgia Troop 'Pull Back'

This story will only serve as an excuse for the desperate Bushies and McCain to saber rattle. It is why Bush should have been impeached. Through his ineptitude he has singlehandedly rekindled the Cold War.

Russia's military "pull back" from Georgia has begun, says Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, deputy chief of staff of the Russian armed forces.

Nogovitsyn said that Russia's deputy foreign minister had presented the U.S. ambassador to Russia with a timetable of the events that led to Russia's actions and clearly indicated Georgia's responsibility.

As stipulated by a cease-fire agreement, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Sunday that his troops would begin withdrawing to a buffer zone and into South Ossetia on Monday.

The six-point cease-fire gives no timetable for a Russian withdrawal, nor any other specifics, according to a copy of the agreement provided by Georgia's government.

Meanwhile, Russian lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev, head of the parliament's foreign affairs committee, said Moscow would completely withdraw only when it was "assured that Georgians would not continue to use military force" in the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Russian troops will leave "sooner or later," Kosachev said, saying the timetable depends "definitely on how Georgians will continue to behave."

Survivor of Rwandan Genocide Beaten to Death

The world is becoming increasingly chaotic and lawless. And we seem helpless to stop the madeness.

A woman who lost nearly all her family in the Rwandan genocide has herself been murdered, a local villager told AFP Monday, in what is the latest of several killings of survivors of the 1994 slaughter.

Jozefina Zaninka, 75, was beaten to death overnight Friday in the Muhanga district in the south of the country, Radio Rwanda, the official government broadcaster reported.

"Her body was found Saturday morning in her stable by a young man who had come, as usual, to milk the cows for her," Benoit Kaboyi, executive secretary of Ibuka, the main organisation for the genocide survivors, told AFP.

"We buried her yesterday (Sunday) after the autopsy and some suspects have already been arrested by the police," he added.

Zaninka had been claiming compensation before one of the semi-traditional courts, known as gacacas, for the pillaging of and damage to her possessions during the genocide.

Her murder might have been linked to the court action she initiated, Kaboyi added. Zaninka, who lived alone, had lost nearly all her family, in 1994.

According to Ibuka, 167 survivors of the genocide have been murdered between 1995 and mid-May 2008.

Murders of survivors of the genocide are frequent in the region, Radio Rwanda reported: in May, a survivor in her 90s was burned alive by villagers.