Global News November 22, 2017

  1. BBC
  2. Global News November 22, 2017

“Putin Sees ‘Real Chance’ to End Syria War at Talks With Iran and Turkey.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin said there’s a “real chance” to end the 6 1/2 year civil war in Syria as he met his counterparts from Iran and Turkey seeking to seal a peace deal that is likely to keep his ally Bashar al-Assad in power. Putin’s summit talks Wednesday with Iran’s Hassan Rouhani and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Black Sea resort of Sochi came just two days after he hosted Assad in a surprise visit. The Russian leader also spoke to U.S. President Donald Trump and leaders of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Israel and Egypt as the Kremlin rallies international support for its diplomatic drive.
“The militants in Syria have been dealt a decisive blow and a real chance has appeared to bring an end to many years of civil war,” Putin said, adding that a political settlement in Syria is now the “strategic task.” Assad confirmed his commitment to a political process including a new constitution and the holding of parliamentary and presidential elections, the Kremlin said in a statement after the call with Trump.
Putin is taking the dominant role in efforts to end the bloody conflict after a Russian military campaign since 2015 succeeded in rescuing Assad against a range of armed foes including jihadists and rebels supported by the U.S. and its allies. That has left the U.S., which under Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama pushed for Assad’s ouster, on the sidelines.
Putin also will have to overcome differences with the participants in Wednesday’s summit. Turkey, which had long sought Assad’s ouster, now is seeking a freer hand to fight Kurdish forces in Syria, who have been instrumental in the defeat of Islamic State. Iran, meanwhile, is seen as unwilling to accept any compromise that could weaken Assad’s authority. “Critical decisions” will be made in Sochi, Erdogan said. The Syrian people won’t allow foreigners to interfere in their domestic affairs, Rouhani said.
In the Saudi capital, Riyadh, Syrian opposition groups also met Wednesday to discuss forming a single bloc to negotiate with Assad. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir told state-run television that the kingdom would support the Syrian opposition groups to “emerge united” from the Riyadh meeting.


“Oil Climbs to Two-Year High as Stockpiles Fall Before OPEC Meets.”

Oil climbed to a two-year high as U.S. industry data showed crude stockpiles resumed declines and investors awaited a decision by OPEC on extending output cuts.
January futures rose as much as 2.2 percent in New York, the highest since mid-2015. U.S. inventories fell by 6.36 million barrels last week, the American Petroleum Institute was said to report. That’s more than forecast in a Bloomberg survey, which shows a drop of 2.2 million barrels ahead of government data later Wednesday.
Oil has risen this month on speculation that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its partners will decide to prolong supply cuts beyond March when they meet in Vienna next week. Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s de facto leader, has been reducing exports as well as production, with shipments in September dropping to the lowest since March 2011, according to official data submitted to the JODI global database.
Brent for January settlement increased 57 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $63.14 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange after climbing 0.6 percent on Tuesday. The global benchmark traded at a premium of $5.35 to WTI. U.S. crude stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for WTI and the biggest oil-storage hub, dropped by 1.8 million barrels last week, the API said, according to people familiar with the data. Gasoline inventories expanded by 869,000 barrels, API data show.


BBC News
“Zimbabwe’s Mnangagwa returns as Mugabe’s likely successor.”

Zimbabwe’s former vice-president, whose sacking sparked events leading to the shock resignation of long-time leader Robert Mugabe, will be sworn in as the new president on Friday, state TV says. Emmerson Mnangagwa, who fled to South Africa two weeks ago, had arrived back in the country, it added. His dismissal led the ruling party and the military to intervene and force an end to Mr Mugabe’s 37-year long rule. The news sparked wild celebrations across the country late into the night.
The announcement that the 93-year-old president was stepping down came in the form of a letter read out in parliament on Wednesday, abruptly halting impeachment proceedings against him. In it, Mr Mugabe said he was resigning to allow a smooth and peaceful transfer of power, and that his decision was voluntary.
A spokesman for the ruling Zanu-PF party said Mr Mnangagwa, 71, would serve the remainder of Mr Mugabe’s term until elections that are due to be held by September 2018. The state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) confirmed that his swearing-in ceremony had been scheduled for Friday. Nicknamed the «crocodile» because of his political cunning, Mr Mnangagwa issued a statement from exile calling on Zimbabweans to unite to rebuild the country.
«Together, we will ensure a peaceful transition to the consolidation of our democracy, and bring in a fresh start for all Zimbabweans and foster peace and unity,» Mr Mnangagwa told Zimbabwe’s NewsDay on Tuesday. He met South African President Jacob Zuma before leaving for Zimbabwe.


“Regulators to press Uber after it admits covering up data breach.”

Struggling ride-hailing firm Uber faces a fresh regulatory crackdown after disclosing it paid hackers $100,000 to keep secret a massive breach last year that exposed personal data from around 57 million accounts.
Discovery of the U.S. company’s cover-up of the incident resulted in the firing of two employees responsible for its response to the hack, said Dara Khosrowshahi, who replaced co-founder Travis Kalanick as chief executive in August. «None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses for it,» Khosrowshahi said in a blog post.
Britain’s data protection authority said on Wednesday that concealment of the data breach raises “huge concerns” about Uber’s data policies and ethics. “Deliberately concealing breaches from regulators and citizens could attract higher fines for companies,” James Dipple-Johnstone, deputy commissioner of the UK Information Commissioner’s Office, said in a statement. Current British law carries a maximum penalty of 500,000 pounds ($662,000) for failing to notify users and regulators when data breaches occur.
The stolen information included names, email addresses and mobile phone numbers of Uber users around the world, and the names and license numbers of 600,000 U.S. drivers, Khosrowshahi said. Uber declined to say what other countries may be affected.
Khosrowshahi also said Uber had begun notifying regulators. The New York attorney general has opened an investigation, a spokeswoman said. Regulators in Australia and the Philippines said on Wednesday they would also look into the matter.