Tuesday, December 12, 2017

#Nkurunziza launches campaign to amend #Burundi constitution, extend rule

BURUNDI BUJUMBURA (VOA) - Burundi's president launched a campaign Tuesday to support constitutional amendments that could extend his rule despite warnings by his opponents of more violence ahead.

President Pierre Nkurunziza told supporters in Gitega province to vote in favor of the changes in an upcoming national referendum. The proposed changes include extending a presidential term from five years to seven.

A date for the referendum has not been set but it is expected next year.

The opposition has warned that attempts to change the constitution could lead to more bloodshed in the East African country still reeling from deadly violence following Nkurunziza's contentious decision to seek a third term in 2015. Hundreds of people have been killed, and the International Criminal Court has begun looking into alleged crimes.

The constitutional changes were proposed by a government-appointed commission and have been ratified by Nkurunziza's cabinet. Many Burundians believe that after the amendments become law Nkurunziza will attempt to serve two more terms totaling 14 years.

Burundi's most prominent opposition leader, Agathon Rwasa, told The Associated Press that “it's clear that Nkurunziza is aiming at remaining in office for life.”

Nkurunziza “wants to tailor the constitution to his desire” to rule for several more years, said iBurundi, a group of online activists. “The regime is using this campaign to deflect the pressure following its refusal to engage in inclusive peace talks.”

Nkurunziza rose to power in 2005 following the signing of the Arusha accords to end Burundi's 13-year civil war that killed about 300,000 people. He was re-elected unopposed in 2010 after the opposition boycotted the vote.

Nkurunziza said he was eligible for a third term in 2015 because lawmakers, not the people, had chosen him for his first term, but critics called the move unconstitutional. His current term expires in 2020.

#Hamas announces start of 3rd '#intifada' against #Trump's #Jerusalem decision

SPUTNIK - The previous intifadas in 1987-1991 and 2000-2005 left hundreds of Israelis and thousands of Palestinians dead.

Hamas has announced the beginning of the third "intifada" six days after US President Donald Trump announced the controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

According to the Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist organization, which governs the Gaza Strip, it expects the "day of rage" protests against the US move, which claimed two lives and left over 1,000 injured on Friday, to continue.

"Protests will continue in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Jerusalem.Because we protest against the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, as we consider it the capital of Palestine. We hope that the protests will develop further and further," the movement's press secretary told RIA Novosti.

READ MORE: Israel Strikes Targets in Gaza as Hamas Calls for 'Intifada'

A day after Trump's announcement, which has been condemned by Muslim states and countries backing a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, the leader of the political bureau of Hamas called for a third "intifada" uprising "against the US and Zionist plans to Judaize Jerusalem." Amid tense clashes between Palestinians and police over the US decision on Jerusalem, the Israeli army has intensified its operations against Hamas, particularly, targeting its tunnels in the Gaza Strip.

Trump's Jerusalem Move 'Will Launch a Very Big Intifada' – Gaza Uni ProfessorMost recently, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Wasel Abu Yousef, told Sputnik that the Palestinian movements of Hamas and Fatah, formerly rivals, are united over Trump's decision on Jerusalem. Following a new round of reconciliation talks under the mediation of Egyptian authorities held in October, Hamas and Fatah signed an agreement with both sides promising it would usher in a new era of Palestinian unity.

The previous intifada uprisings in 1987-1991 and 2000-2005 left hundreds of Israelis and thousands of Palestinians dead. The first Palestinian intifada was a Palestinian struggle against the Israeli occupation of the territories conquered during the 1967 Six-Day War, while the second uprising was provoked by visits of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and a group of his supporters of the Temple Mount. While the second intifada had declined, the situation still has remained tense.

The First Intifada

Strictly 50 years ago, the wider world was stunned as Israel occupied the remaining Palestinian territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip and even the Golan Heights in Syria in merely six days.

READ MORE: Israel's Army Reports About Rocket Fired From Syria at Golan Heights

In the following 20 years the Palestinians did not put up with Israeli dominance, which is when the uprising, otherwise dubbed the first intifada, started.

Amidst numerous Israeli settlements increasingly rising up on the historically Palestinian land, November 1987 saw the first revolt. The Palestinians were struggling, basically unarmed, throwing rocks at the Israeli troops.

The State of Palestine was proclaimed on November 15, 1988, in a session of the Palestinian National Council, the supreme PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization] governing body, which also recognized both the Arab and Jewish parts of Palestine providing Israel gave up claims over all territories it had occupied since 1967 and freed the land from its settlements. Back then, the PLO condemned terrorism in all its forms, thus paving the way for negotiating peace with Israel.

Former Rivals Hamas and Fatah United Against Trump's Decision on Jerusalem - PLO MemberOne of the landmark political events during the first intifada was the Madrid Conference (October 30-November 1, 1991), which involved peace talks hosted by Spain and mediated by the US and the Soviet Union.

Early 1993 saw another round of talks held in secret in Oslo. The parties arrived at an agreement that was expected to end the PLO-Israel conflict. The 1993 agreement also stipulated the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and proclaimed a limited Palestinian National Authority. This time, the Palestinians withdrew their demand that the State of Israel should cease to exist.

The agreement was signed the same year in Washington, by Yasser Arafat, the then head of the PLO Executive Committee, and Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli prime minister at the time. Israel and the PLO also signed an additional agreement, which recognized both entitiesas full-fledged negotiators.

The Second Intifada

No sooner had the Oslo agreement come into effect and Israeli withdrawals started, a number of hardline Israelis and Palestinians spoke out against it, pegging it a “sellout.”

This is where Hamas and the notion of the suicide bomber came in, leaving an estimated 1,000 Israelis dead in public places due to terrorist attacks and gunfire. Israel retaliated with airstrikes, causing approximately 3,000 deaths among the Palestinian civilians.

In July 2000, Bill Clinton summoned Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland, but the contested status of Jerusalem and Palestine refugees brought the talks to a standstill.

Brought about by Sharon’s controversial visit to the historic Temple Mount in the city of Jerusalem on September 28, 2000, illegally occupied by the Israelis by then, the second intifada quickly grew into an open, deadly war. Its other name, Al-Aqsa Intifada, virtually refers to the original name of the Temple Mount, where the “shaking off,” or the intifada, started – Al-Aqsa Mosque.

READ MORE: Erdogan: Israel Seeks to Take Over Al-Aqsa Mosque Under Security Pretext

Yasser Arafat, an all-time Palestinian leader, died in a Paris hospital in November 2004. Earlier the Israeli Air Force eliminated Hamas leaders, including sheikh Ahmed Yassin and his successor Rantisi. Having lost its most high-profile figures, Hamas became demoralized to some extent and started operating locally.

The Sharm el-Sheikh Summit on February 8, 2005, is traditionally associated with the end of the second intifada, as Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon concluded bilaterally that both parties would agree to a cease-fire. The upcoming Roadmap for Peace, initiated by the so-called Quartet on the Middle East – comprising the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations – reiterated the aforementioned commitment, but with little effect, as violence still persisted.

In the wake of the second intifada, Israel, Canada, the United States and Japan condemned Hamas as a terrorist organization, while Australia and Britain slammed solely the military wing of Hamas. The movement is banned outright in Jordan. On December 17, 2014, the European General Court, a branch of the European Union's Court of Justice, ticked the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas (Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya) off its list of terrorist organizations.


WIKIPEDIA - Intifada (انتفاضة intifāḍah) is an Arabic word literally meaning, as a noun, "tremor", "shivering", "shuddering".[1][2] It is derived from an Arabic term nafada meaning "to shake", "shake off", "get rid of",[1] as a dog might shrug off water, or as one might shake off sleep,[3] or dirt from one's sandals,[4] and is a key concept in contemporary Arabic usage referring to a legitimate uprising against oppression.[5] It is often rendered into English as "uprising", "resistance", or "rebellion".

#Uganda youth legislator says #Museveni paying USD $11,000 to vote for life presidency

KAMPALA (@UG_EDGE) - National Female Youth MP Adeke Anna Ebaju‏ claims the ruling National Resistance Movement [NRM] MPs who support the age limit bill have been paid Shs40m cash to vote in favour of the age limit bill. An Advocate, Speaker UNSA and former Guild president Makerere University, Adeke said the Tuesday deal also gives the MPs two extra years in the legislative house. “Shs40m million cash and an extension of the term of Parliament by 2 years... the deal that has just been cut. Cry beloved Uganda. What a shame,” she said.
The current Parliament may serve for 9 uninterrupted years, according to a report from the NRM caucus meeting held at Office of the Prime Minister Building on Tuesday. According to the report, the caucus has agreed to explore the possibility of invoking Article 77 which gives Parliament powers to determine their tenure. ICT minister Frank K Tumwebaze also NRM MP for Kibale East County dismissed the report as “desperate lies”.

 ”Desperate lies. So how did Shs 700m that you opposition earlier alleged was to be given to each NRM MP change now to Shs40m?” Tumwebaze asked. He added: “Contest on ideas and not blackmail. Stop blackmailing and insulting those opposed to you.” The minister went on: “No wonder those in your party with different ideas are branded moles.” This is a reference to former FDC party president, Mugisha Muntu.
Alleged age limit bribes Reports circulated claiming the ruling party and other MPs totalling to 305 who support the age limit removal will be given Shs200m each as a “thank you” for seeing the bill through. When the legal committee met President Museveni, anti-age limit MPs said the president had promised the team that compiled the report Shs300m. Silwany Solomon, the Deputy Government Chief Whip, told the alleged Shs200m bribe for those who favour the scrapping of the clause were “mere rumours without a bearing”.

#Oil report for December 12, 2017

OILPRICE -    The fourth LNG train at Cheniere Energy’s (NYSE: LNG) Sabine Pass export terminal was completed in August 2017, bringing total U.S. LNG export capacity up to 2.8 Bcf/d.
-    Another 5 LNG projects are under construction in the U.S., and when completed, they will take export capacity up to 9.6 Bcf/d by 2019.
-    The 5 projects are: Dominion Energy’s (NYSE: D) Cove Point project in Maryland;Kinder Morgan’s (NYSE: KMI) Elba Island LNG in Georgia; Freeport LNG’s project in Texas; Cheniere Energy’s Corpus Christi project; and Sempra LNG’s Cameron project.

Market Movers

•    Oasis Petroleum (NYSE: OAS) 
agreed to acquire more than 20,000 acres in the Delaware Basin from Forge Energy for $946 million. Oasis’ share price fell 2.7 percent after hours.
•    ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) said it 
discovered oil in its EG-06 block offshore Equatorial Guinea and will follow up with an assessment of the project’s commercial viability.
•    Phillips 66 (NYS:E PSX) and Enbridge (NYSE: ENB) 
announced plans to build a major pipeline from the Permian Basin to the Gulf Coast, a project that would have an initial carrying capacity of 385,000 boe/day.

Tuesday December 12, 2017

Oil prices jumped at the start of the week due to the cracked pipeline in the North Sea (see below). Brent briefly rose to its highest point since 2015.

Brent prices spike on Forties outage. The Forties pipeline system developed a crack last week and its operator, Ineos, said on Monday that it had to shut down the system for repairs, which could take several weeks. The Forties system is an all-important artery in the North Sea, carrying 450,000 bpd to the UK mainland. Its outage could force North Sea oil producers to temporarily shut down output. “Yesterday’s closure of the Forties pipeline system for weeks is one of the most significant unplanned crude oil shortages we have seen this year,” 
said Tamas Varga, an analyst at PVM Oil Associates Ltd. It is also crucial for the Brent benchmark, and not surprisingly, Brent jumped above $65 per barrel on the news, the highest in more than two and a half years. “It’s more than just a supply disruption because it’s more significant as a price maker,” Olivier Jakob, an analyst at Petromatrix GmbH, said in a Bloomberg interview. “There’s one thing which is the volume of oil which is lost, but it’s also that it’s a key price benchmark.”

Bloomberg: Nodding donkeys failing. Longer laterals in thousands of shale wells are pushing pumpjacks (aka nodding donkeys) to the limit. The pump systems that help squeeze out oil can work on vertical wells for years, but 
Bloomberg reports that the stress of trying to pump from extremely long horizontal wells is leading to a rapidly growing fail rate for these iconic nodding donkeys. That is pushing up costs for some shale wells and could also result in oil being left in the ground. The problem is especially acute at older wells where it becomes more difficult to extract oil because of declining well pressure. The industry is trying to find some workarounds, but there is no silver bullet.

Chevron says Colonial Pipeline fees are excessive. Chevron (NYSE: CVX)Valero (NYSE: VLO) and Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) have lodged a complaint with U.S. FERC over what they say are excessive fees along the crucial Colonial Pipeline that carries gasoline from the Gulf Coast to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. The companies argue that Colonial’s fee to transit gasoline “greatly exceed just and reasonable levels.” Colonial argues the case has no merit.

UAE, Kuwait signal exit strategy. The UAE’s energy minister 
said on Monday that OPEC could draw up an exit strategy in June if the oil market appears to be balanced. “We will meet in June, and hopefully the market will be in a much better condition for us to come and announce an exit strategy,” the UAE’s Suhail Al Mazrouei said at the Bloomberg Invest conference in Abu Dhabi. Kuwait’s energy minister went further, saying that the entire production cut deal could be dissolved before the end of 2018 if market conditions warrant. He acknowledged Russia’s desire to exit the deal as soon as the market becomes balanced.

World Bank will cease funding for oil and gas by 2019. In recognition of the climate goals laid out in the Paris Agreement, the World Bank 
announced that it would no longer offer financial assistance to upstream oil and gas projects after 2019, although it said it would consider cases in exceptional circumstances in the poorest countries.

Saudi Arabia to keep oil exports at 6.9 mb/d in January. Saudi Aramco said that it aims to ship 6.9 mb/d of oil in January, a low level that demonstrates the country’s resolve at draining inventories. “Aramco will maintain its overall supply levels next month at their recent low levels,” the Saudi energy ministry 

ExxonMobil to disclose climate risks. In a major concession, ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) 
said that it would provide more disclosure related to its potential risks to climate change. The company wrote that it would offer more information “in the near future” in an SEC filing. The oil major has been under growing pressure to do so for years, even amongst its own shareholders. Exxon said its board “has reconsidered the proposal requesting a report on impacts of climate change policies that the New York State Common Retirement Fund submitted for the 2017 annual shareholders meeting," and would offer more information related to "energy demand sensitivities, implications of two degree Celsius scenarios, and positioning for a lower-carbon future."

U.S. oil exports could rise as Gulf Coast ports beef up. The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) will soon be able to handle very large crude carriers (VLCCs), which could open up the U.S. to higher levels of crude exports. “Expanding U.S. ports to accommodate direct loading of VLCCs will logistically help to streamline and expedite exports," said Michael Tran, a commodities strategist with RBC Capital Markets LLC, told
Bloomberg. Up until now, VLCCs have had to use smaller ships to ferry oil from the shore, an operation that can add about $0.50 per barrel in costs.

Hedge funds take profits. Reuters reports that net long positions by hedge funds and other money managers in crude futures 
dipped in the most recent week for which data is available, a sign that major investors booked profits following the OPEC meeting. The selloff in bullish bets also coincided with several days of weakness in crude benchmark prices, although prices have rebounded after the outage in the North Sea at the Forties pipeline.

Oil majors lose confidence in Angola. Several oil majors have soured on Angola in the past year, according to the 
WSJBP (NYSE: BP) pulled out of an offshore block and took a $750 million write-down earlier this year; Halliburton (NYSE: HAL) and other oilfield services giants blamed their Angola operations for falling revenue; Total (NYSE: TOT) is cutting costs and “reshuffling personnel”; and Eni (NYSE: E) is trying to renegotiate contracts. The rig count in Angola has cratered from 19 in February 2014 to just 3 today. And combined, energy companies have announced spending cuts in Angola that amount to $67 billion between 2015 and 2020.

Russia’s Yamal LNG begins operations. The $27 billion Arctic LNG project, Yamal LNG, 
began loading its first tanker last week. The project will use icebreakers to ship LNG north of Russia to Asia. The project is jointly owned by Russian gas company PAO Novatek, Total SA (NYSE: TOT), and China’s CNPC.

Trump admin to offer offshore drilling plan. The U.S. Interior Department is set to
unveil a five-year drilling plan this week, which is expected to crack open the door to Atlantic and Arctic drilling, after the Obama administration hoped to keep that door closed.

Lithium-battery factories skyrocketing on EV demand. The number of battery “megafactories” that are either in production or under construction around the world has jumped to 26, according to 
Benchmark. That compares to just 3 megafactories – factories with battery production capacity of at least 1 gigawatt-hour annually worl– that were in production or planned as of 2014.

#Uganda legislators shy away from censoring #Kutesa in #US scam

KAMPALA (@UG_EDGE) - Opposition Members of Parliament on Tuesday tasked the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga to call Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa to Parliament with a statement explaining the bribery accusations he has been embroiled in.

Ntungamo Municipality MP Hon Gerald Karuhanga told the speaker that the issue he was raising has seen the entire country largely awash of the same.

Ugandans have be aware of a very critical matter where Minister of Foreign Affairs has been accused of participating in bribery at the international level, Karuhanga submitted.

In the last month, Ugandans have been reading, watching where the Minister for Foreign affairs has been accused of bribery at an international level.

In the 9th Parliament, Karuhanga was vocal and at the forefront of oil sharing agreements and alleged secret deals signed by government with oil companies.

He said before the appointment of Minister Kutesa, MPs questioned his credibility and asked that other credible men and women be given the chance to represent Uganda at an international level.

“I would request Minister Sam Kutesa to make a personal statement. If it's as stated that he (Sam Kutesa) participated, solicited the bribery and lied that he was executing United Nations functions on behalf of UN and Ugandans, I would like the honourable make to make a personal statement,” Karuhanga submitted.

Deputy Attorney General, Mwesigwa Rukutana, quickly came to Kutesa’s defence saying Hon. Karuhanga was raising the matter and allegations based on media reports.

“The document I'm referring to is a court document,” Karuhanga shook off Rukutana’s excuse as lame.

“Can Parliament trust media reports making accusations about the Foreign Minister Kutesa?” Rukutana turned to the Speaker for rescue.

Speaker Kadaga replied: “I will study the documents and make a ruling.”

But Lwemiyaga County MP Theodore Ssekikubo observed that it is only fair that Minister Sam Kutesa comes to this house to make a statement about the bribery accusation.

“One minister was arrested for Shs5 million as a bribe [Herbert Kabafunzaki], but we have a shark who no one is touching,” Ssekikubo observed.

Hon. Medard Ssegona tasked the Prime Minister, Ruhakana Rugunda, to make a statement about the bribery allegations in media against Minister Kutesa.

“I ask that the Prime Minister makes a statement about the allegations in media against Minister Sam Kutesa,” Ssegona pointed out.

Kadaga promised to make a ruling on the issue tomorrow.

Kira Municipality MP Ssemujju Nganda offered to remind the speaker incase she forgets.

“I put this house on notice that tomorrow, i will be moving a motion, and I hope that the Attorney General who was on the same charge sheet during CHOGM appreciates this motion.”

He then turned to Speaker Kadaga: ”We entirely agree with you to guide us tomorrow on 'Sam Kutesa' allegations.”

The minister is accused of taking a Shs1.8bn bribe from a Chinese company to help in the sale of Crane bank and secure investment opportunities for the company in Uganda.

Battered #Uganda legislator calls on govt to pay his medical bills from abroad

KAMPALA (@UG_EDGE) - The Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Winnie Kiiza, reminded the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, on Tuesday that the nation still has great trust in its representatives.

“As we deliberate on issues in Parliament, we should always be mindful of the people outside who have great trust in us,” Kiiza said during Tuesday plenary.

She was making her statement on how the police stopped the opposition from consulting on the Constitutional amendment bill in groups.

“The President needs to explain why members were attacked,” she suggested.

Ndorwa East MP Hon. Wilfred Nuwagaba suggested that the LOP's statement be debated as stipulated in the rules of procedure.

Speaker Kadaga replied that since some MPs moved a case in East African Court of Justice, the LOP's statement can be debated after the court ruling.

Zaake says he is traumatised

Mityana Municipality MP Hon Francis Zaake said he was examined and diagnosed with a traumatic head injury by the hospital in the US.

"I am traumatized about what happened. I would like to know the people who picked me from the House and beat me up."

He added: "I was beaten by security operatives who picked me from Parliament. I was examined and diagnosed with a traumatic head injury.

He said doctors found chemicals in his body. “It's unfortunate that up to now, the Hospital where I was treated from are still demanding me for medical bills."

Zaake said he sent the right documents to the Parliamentary doctor but nothing has been done yet.

#Ugandan lawyere Bireete: we’ll defeat #Museveni life presidency or suffer #Senegal, #Congo fate

KAMPALA (@UG_EDGE) - Lawyer and human rights activist, Sarah Bireete, believes it is possible for Ugandans to defeat the moves being made by President Museveni to secure life presidency.

The Director of Centre for Constitutional Governance (CCG) was speaking at Africana hotel on Tuesday during the release of a systematic survey on voting patterns of MPs as far as Age Limit is concerned.

The survey released by Uganda Governance Monitoring Platform (UGMP), a civil society governance monitoring and advocacy group for better governance in Uganda and Citizens' Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda [CCEDU] indicates more women MPs are in support of the bill as compared to their male counter parts.

“The issue of fear is affecting the whole age limit debate,” Bireete said.

She observed that the MPs, the people and everyone is fearing to speak out.

"People are not short of options. Ugandans can defeat life presidency,” she sounded optimistic.

Bireete further recalled that Ugandans have changed presidents seven times before without following the constitution.

“If the age limit bill is endorsed, we are likely to go the usual way or the Senegal way when Wade was defeated on the ballot.”

Abdoulaye Wade is a Senegalese politician who was President of Senegal from 2000 to 2012. He is also the Secretary-General of the Senegalese Democratic Party and has led the party since it was founded in 1974.

Bireete presented two cases: Either parliament will endorse the life presidency or be defeated or it will sail through.

She said most of the female MPs are handpicked and supported by the state to the parliament that is why they can’t oppose age limit.

In what she called a mockery of democracy, Bireete observed that once leaders go against the wishes, beliefs and aspirations of the people, there is no democracy to talk about.

This, she said, has been evidenced in the age limit amendment process. “Majority women MPs are in support of life presidency and this is largely because of tokenism and appeasement in the campaign for women empowerment.”

She said the president is desperate and not likely to retire. “But if age limit bill is defeated, we either work on peaceful transition come 2021.”

“If Age Limit is defeated, a Joseph Kabila [Congo president] option of a president staying in power without elections awaits us. If bill sails through, Ugandans can work for the Senegal option where Wade was defeated on the ballot after lifting term limits. Whichever way, Ugandans can still cause change.”

Lawyer and activist, Andrew Karamagi, sad the Shs29m given to MPs to consult citizens on the age limit bill, to begin with, was illegal.

“There was no consultation at all, both in legal perspective and in practice,” Karamagi said.