Gazprom guarantees gas deliveries to Europe, unless Ukraine steals them

gas supplies

    

The head of Russian energy giant Gazprom Aleksey Miller has guaranteed gas deliveries to Europe, as long as Ukraine doesn’t steal transit gas intended for the continent.

Earlier, Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak also confirmed this information, saying that Gazprom’s natural gas supplies to Europe are seeing the highest volumes ever.

Speaking to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, the head of Gazprom noted that the Stockholm Arbitration decision that ordered his company to compensate Ukraine’s Naftogaz to the tune of $2.56 billion is “an asymmetric decision that violated the balance of interests of the parties under contracts, for delivery and transit.”

“In such conditions, these contracts become economically inefficient for us,” said Miller. Moreover, Ukraine’s Naftogaz, following the Stockholm court’s decision, intended to demand other penalty payments from Gazprom in 2018 and 2019, Miller said. That is why Gazprom announced it would sever gas delivery contracts with Ukraine.

“Undoubtedly, the decision to terminate contracts is not a very fast procedure, apparently, it will take a one and a half to two years,” the Gazprom CEO said.

With Ukraine cut off from Russian gas supplies, there are concerns about a repeat of the gas crisis in 2006. Parts of Europe were left without heat during one of the coldest winters on record after Ukraine began to siphon off gas sent to the European market.

Miller added that Ukraine is yet to prove it can become a reliable partner in gas transit. “In the current situation, it is important to note that here the Ukrainian side must prove the economic efficiency and expediency of continuing the transit of gas through the territory of Ukraine and we are ready to listen and consider such a proposal if such proposals will be made.”

The Russian company does not intend to “solve the economic problems of Ukraine” at its own expense, Miller stressed. The European Union has already said it is ready to become a mediator in gas talks between Russia and Ukraine.

Source Article from https://www.sott.net/article/380056-Gazprom-guarantees-gas-deliveries-to-Europe-unless-Ukraine-steals-them

Top GOP Donor Won’t Back Candidates Unless They Support Assault Weapons Ban

Following Wednesday’s shooting massacre at a Florida high school, a top Republican political donor has taken a stand for gun control ― by tightening his purse strings.

Businessman Al Hoffman Jr. told the New York Times that he “will not write another check” for candidates and political groups that don’t support a ban on assault weapons. The Florida-based former ambassador to Portugal has donated millions to GOP candidates and political groups over the years, reported the paper.

“For how many years now have we been doing this — having these experiences of terrorism, mass killings — and how many years has it been that nothing’s been done?” said the 83-year-old, who announced his decision in an email to several Republican leaders, including Florida Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Jeb Bush. “It’s the end of the road for me.” 

Gun violence survivors, activists and others have been calling for stricter gun control laws this week in the wake of Wednesday’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which left 17 people dead. The alleged gunman, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, used an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle in the attack.

In 2013, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced a bill that sought to ban military-style assault weapons including guns like the AR-15. The bill, which failed to pass in the Senate, was similar to the 1994 ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004.

Republican lawmakers have mostly expressed little interest this week in pursuing new gun control legislation. In a Saturday tweet, President Donald Trump blamed Democrats for the lack of gun control reform.

Hundreds gathered to protest against guns on the steps of the Broward County Federal courthouse on February 17, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  (Joe Raedle via Getty Images)Hundreds gathered to protest against guns on the steps of the Broward County Federal courthouse on February 17, 2018 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  (Joe Raedle via Getty Images)

In his interview with the Times, Hoffman said that Republican lawmakers, who receive millions each year from the National Rifle Association, were unlikely to push for greater gun control. 

The NRA spent $30 million supporting Trump’s campaign in the 2016 presidential election, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The group spent millions more that year supporting other Republican candidates, including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). 

When asked by Vox this week if Congress should act to tighten gun laws in the wake of the Florida shooting, Blunt said that he didn’t know enough about the attack to “know if there’s a proper response or not.”

Rubio said on Thursday that he didn’t believe stricter gun laws would be effective in stopping would-be shooters from committing crimes. 

“If someone’s decided, ‘I’m going to commit this crime,’ they’ll find a way to get the gun to do it,” said Rubio, who gun control activists protested this week in a campaign inspired by the film “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”

Related:

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

Source Article from https://www.yahoo.com/news/top-gop-donor-won-t-075217828.html

Maduro: No Elections Will Be Held unless Sanctions Are Removed

Negotiations between Nicolás Maduro’s regime in Venezuela and the country’s political opposition have reportedly fallen into a “vicious cycle” of threats that isn’t productive for either side. Maduro’s side has expressed an unwillingness to negotiate, even trying to blackmail its way out of international sanctions with threats of eliminating elections altogether.

Minister of Communication and regime spokesman Jorge Rodríguez said there will be no elections in Venezuela if the United States does not lift its sanctions against the country. The elections, which are laid out in the Venezuelan constitution, are scheduled for 2018.

“Venezuela will not have an election, nor will we sign any agreement with the Venezuelan opposition until the gross sanctions that the Venezuelan right-wing leadership requested from the Treasury Department of Donald Trump, from Spanish and Canadian authorities, and from any and all foreign and international entities, are lifted,” Rodriguez said.

It’s an ironic threat given that Maduro originally called the US sanctions a victory and an honor for Venezuela. In fact, Maduro’s new attempt at blackmail shows the sanctions — which were handed down by  the United States, Canada and now the European Union — are starting to work as intended.

The opposition coalition Democratic Unity Roundtable (or MUD, by its Spanish acronym) called for “patience and confidence” with negotiations despite having fallen victim to the regime’s disingenuous interest in advancing discussions about transparent elections and humanitarian aid.

“I understand that there people are anxious to know what is going to happen with each of these issues, but I would recommend patience and confidence in the negotiation team,” Deputy Luis Florido, a MUD spokesmen, said. “Let’s wait until December 15. We hope to have good news by then.”

Julio Borges, President of the disbanded National Assembly, insisted that the opening of a humanitarian food and medicine channel is his primary concern. However, the regime has been clear that there will be no humanitarian aid, let alone free elections.

The regime blames the US for the financial sanctions that prohibit Americans from working the Venezuelan government or with the state-owned oil company PDVSA. These governments have made it clear that sanctions will only be lifted when the rule of law and constitutional democracy are restored.

President Trump has already announced there is no way to reverse the sanctions. Meanwhile, the rest of the international community has the ability to pressure Maduro’s regime further, and ultimately drown it through the seizing of its foreign resources goods as well as by eliminating the visas of top government officials.

Copyright Information: This article was reprinted with permission from Panampost.com. Please contact the author directly for republishing information.

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Source Article from http://govtslaves.info/2017/12/maduro-no-elections-will-held-unless-sanctions-removed/

EU could add post-Brexit Britain to its tax-haven blacklist unless it cleans up its act

The EU is set to publish a list of tax havens on December 5. Analysis by the Tax Justice Network, using the EU’s own criteria, suggests the UK and five other EU countries would find themselves on the list if the criteria were applied to them.

The EU said the list will only apply to non-EU states. With the UK set to leave the Union in 2019, however, this could see sanctions applied to the UK unless it changes course and ends tax-haven policies, according to Alex Cobham, Tax Justice Network’s chief executive.

“The EU list is a step forward from previous efforts, in that the criteria are at least partially transparent and also partially objectively verifiable,” Cobham said. “It’s clear that the UK is at real risk of counter-measures from the EU. The government should forget any Brexit tax-haven threat, which could easily open up the EU counter-measures like the loss of financial passporting rights, and instead address the flaws in current policies.”

However, the EU lacks legitimacy and transparency, Cobham says, because it will not apply the rules to its own members. “For global progress on a truly level playing field, we need the G77 and G20 to engage in negotiating an international convention that would set an ambitious and fair set of minimum standards, with powerful sanctions, to which all jurisdictions would be held equally to account.”

The study finds up to 60 jurisdictions could be listed under the EU’s blacklist procedure if criteria are strictly applied. There are fears that intense lobbying by the tax-avoidance industry in some countries could see the list severely watered down.

In addition to the UK, researchers have identified Ireland, the Netherlands, Cyprus, Luxembourg and Malta as countries that should be included in the blacklist if the EU were to apply its own criteria to member states.

Wouter Lips of Ghent University, who led the study, said the EU blacklist represents an important step forward from empty OECD lists – but the criteria needs to be completely transparent in order to be objectively verifiable. “Otherwise the risk remains that political power will be a factor in whether countries like the UK or indeed the USA are listed.Many of the 60 countries that are listed are lower-income countries which had no say in the OECD standards upon which much of the EU’s criteria depend, but that raises further questions of fairness.”

Source Article from https://www.rt.com/uk/411181-brexit-tax-haven-blacklist/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Thanks Obamacare! The IRS won’t process tax return unless you tell them you have health insurance or not

healthcare taxes

    

Yes, this is a true story. I was completely shocked when I learned about this too, and this just underscores the importance of repealing the individual mandate immediately. Shortly after taking office, President Trump issued an executive order which was intended to move the IRS away from enforcing Obamacare’s individual mandate, but now the IRS has found a way around that executive order. According to the official AARP website, the IRS has announced that it will not process any tax returns from individuals that are not willing to disclose whether they currently have health insurance or not…

The Internal Revenue Service won’t process individual tax returns in 2018 unless taxpayers indicate whether they have health insurance coverage or an exemption.

The move, announced last month, reverses course from this year, when the IRS said it would not require filers to indicate on 1040 tax forms whether they had health insurance. Filers were still required to have medical insurance or pay a penalty, but the IRS accepted and processed returns even if taxpayers didn’t indicate coverage status.

So what this means is that you will not get your refund until you tell the IRS if you have health insurance.

And if you don’t have health insurance and you don’t qualify for an exemption, you could be hit with a very painful financial penalty.

Of course purchasing health insurance in some parts of the country is enough of a penalty as it is. For example, I recently wrote about a family of four in Virginia that is now facing the prospect of paying $3,000 a month for health insurance.

Talk about being between a rock and a hard place.

And it also turns out that the IRS is going back and sending threatening letters to those that didn’t indicate if they were covered or not on previous tax returns. Here is more from the AARP

IRS spokesman Bruce Friedland said it followed a review of IRS procedures.

“The IRS has determined that ‎it is more burdensome for taxpayers to allow them to file an incomplete tax return and then have to manage follow-up letters and potentially amend their return,” Friedland said. “Identifying omissions and requiring taxpayers to provide health coverage information at the point of filing makes it easier for the taxpayer to successfully file a tax return and minimizes related refund delays.”

In September, the IRS started sending letters to about 130,000 taxpayers who didn’t address the health care requirement on 2014 and 2015 tax returns.

So if you left that section of your tax return blank in previous years, you should be expecting a letter in the mail very soon.

At this point, many of you that are reading this article are probably starting to get very angry. After all, didn’t President Trump sign an executive order earlier this year that was going to end enforcement of the individual mandate?

Unfortunately, that was not the case at all. In fact, Politico is reporting that the Trump administration “is still dutifully enforcing Obamacare’s individual mandate”…

The Trump administration is still dutifully enforcing Obamacare’s individual mandate, despite early signals it might undermine the unpopular linchpin of the health care law.

Weeks after the close of tax season, the IRS continues to process penalties from potentially millions of taxpayers who refused to purchase health insurance last year.

That’s even though hours after taking office on Jan. 20, President Donald Trump issued a vaguely worded executive order instructing federal agencies to waive or defer parts of Obamacare that would “impose a fiscal burden” on states, individuals or health care providers.

Enough is enough.

Obamacare should have been repealed on the very first day of the Trump administration, but unfortunately the RINOs in Congress are going to keep blocking any effort to do that. Elections really matter, and in 2018 we need to kick out the RINOs and put in new leaders that are fully committed to a 100% repeal of Obamacare.

We also need to do something about the IRS. They have always been a rogue agency, but now they have gotten completely and totally out of control. I am running for Congress in Idaho’s first congressional district, and I believe that we should completely shut down the IRS.

The status quo is simply not acceptable. Obamacare is financially crippling families all across America, and we should be absolutely disgusted that Congress has not found a solution to this problem even though they have had almost an entire year to get something done.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

Source Article from https://www.sott.net/article/369326-Thanks-Obamacare-The-IRS-wont-process-tax-return-unless-you-tell-them-you-have-health-insurance-or-not

Re: US threatens, again, to pull out of UNSC unless it ends criticism of Israel

US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, has warned the UN Human Rights Council that the US is ready to pull out of the inter-governmental body unless it changes its attitude towards Israel.

Speaking over the weekend at the annual Washington conference of the Israeli American Council, Haley once again struck out at the UN over its alleged bias against Israel.

Haley told the applauding audience that the US is ready to pull out unless the UN institute reforms including removing Israel as a permanent item on its agenda. The former governor of South Carolina reiterated longstanding US demands on the Human Rights Council to remove Item Seven, which requires a report on the “Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories”, every time the Council meets.

Accusing former US President Barack Obama of “betraying” the Israelis for allowing through a UN Security Council resolution condemning settlements, Haley said: “As long as I was US ambassador, such an act of betrayal would never happen again.”

Israel vs. the United Nations: the Nikki Haley doctrine

Haley also revealed that the US delegation was working to block the publication of a list compiled by the UN of companies doing business in illegal settlement.

Last month the UN announced that it was planning to blacklist companies that violate international law by doing business in occupied Palestinian territories; up to 190 companies (130 Israeli and 60 international) received threatening letters from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.



Source Article from https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20171107-us-threatens-again-to-pull-out-of-unsc-unless-it-ends-criticism-of-israel/#comment-3607786178

US Threatens to Impose Oil Embargo on Venezuela Unless Democracy Is Restored

SABRINA MARTIN–All sanctions against Venezuela are on the table for the United States, according to US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley. She said if Venezuela doesn’t move to re-establish democratic order, the Trump administration may take more severe measures than the sanctions it has already imposed.

“There is a lot of support in Latin America to see that Venezuela begins to respect its people and return to the democracy it is supposed to be,” Haley said. “If things do not get better, all options are available.”

She said an oil embargo is a possibility.

One of the most recent and emblematic cases of similar sanctions came against Iran in July 2012 when the United States, the UN and the European Union decided to embargo oil from the country. Iran went from exporting just over 2,500,000 barrels of oil per day in 2011 to less than 1,500,000 barrels in 2013.

The Trump administration has strongly criticized the dictatorship in Venezuela — overseen by President Nicolás Maduro — and has raised its voice for the world to hear on several occasions. So far, Trump and the US have taken the most decisive action out of anyone in the international community.

On Tuesday September 19, Trump attacked the UN for supporting a “socialist dictatorship” and threatened more sanctions if “Venezuela insists on actions that violate democracy.”

“The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been implemented poorly,” he said, “but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.”

So far, the US has imposed sanctions against high-standing officials in Maduro’s regime for violating human rights and, in the case of Vice President Tareck El Aissami, for terrorist and drug trafficking activities.

The US has also sanctioned the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA, limiting new bond deals with US companies.

Source Article from http://govtslaves.info/2017/09/us-threatens-to-impose-oil-embargo-on-venezuela-unless-democracy-is-restored/

Heroic Senator Vows to Hold Defense Bill Hostage Unless Congress Ends Iraq & Afghan Wars

The Senate on Monday took up the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), passing a motion in an 89-3 vote which allowed the legislation to proceed. That action essentially limits the procedural debate on the legislation and moves the NDAA to a full vote as early as Wednesday morning.

However, Paul made clear on his Twitter account that he had every intention of slowing down the passage of the NDAA – which sets forth the Pentagon’s budget and major programs for the next fiscal year beginning October 1 – until he was guaranteed a vote on amending the AUMF in Afghanistan in Iraq.

“I will object to all procedural motions and amendments unless and until my amendment is made in order and we vote on these wars,” Paul wrote.

He went on to note the length of time that the US military has been present in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“We have been there for 16 years. It is time for them to end. It is time for Congress to vote on whether or not they should end.”

Paul noted that the Senate was in a “quorum call,” unable to act because of his protest.

He vowed to continue the protest until Congress agreed to vote on whether or not to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Paul noted that his protest was for the soldiers, adding that “hypocrites” are happy to “pretend concern over our constitutional duty to declare war” but are happy to “block any vote on ending any of our 7 current wars.”

The senator said that he “sits nearly alone,” but he is happy to fight by himself if needed.

In addition to Paul, the NDAA cloture motion was opposed by Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden.

Paul took aim at both the “anti-war left” and the “conservative right” in his series of tweets.

“Where is the anti-war left demanding the wars end? Where is the constitional [sic] conservative right demanding Congress reclaim its war powers?” he wrote.

Although an increasing number of lawmakers have been calling on Congress to pass a new AUMF for Afghanistan, Paul has largely been alone in his mission to put a deadline on Congress for a vote.

Paul did appear to strike at least a partial deal with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) about an hour after initially issuing his threats to delay the NDAA passage, with McConnell guaranteeing Paul four hours on Tuesday to state his AUMF reasoning on the Senate floor, the Washington Post reported.

However, that wasn’t enough to get Paul to back down, with the senator later reiterating his plan to “continue to fight, and if necessary, object, to continue this debate, secure a vote, and force Congress to do its duty.”

The war in Afghanistan, which began in 2001 as a US response to the September 11 attacks, is the longest war in US history.

Source Article from http://thefreethoughtproject.com/rand-paul-end-wars-ndaa/