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News

Iran Warns U.S. Against Seizing Oil Tanker Headed to Greece

Iran Warns U.S. Against Seizing Oil Tanker Headed to Greece(Bloomberg) -- Iran warned the U.S. against apprehending a supertanker carrying the Middle East country’s oil and said it couldn’t be clear on the ship’s ultimate destination, leaving the fate of the vessel uncertain as it sailed into the Mediterranean Sea from Gibraltar, where it had been detained.The tanker, formerly called the Grace 1 and re-named the Adrian Darya 1, was signaling Kalamata, Greece -- at least for now -- with an arrival date of Aug. 26, according to tanker-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg at 5:25 p.m. London time. It had previously been showing an arrival date of Aug. 25.The vessel left Gibraltar Sunday night after being detained there since early July, when British forces seized it on suspicion of carrying oil to Syria in violation of European sanctions. The U.S., which has sanctions against Iran, is seeking to prevent anyone from doing business with the ship.Iranian Crude Tanker Leaves Gibraltar Waters: What Happens Next?U.S. sanctions mean Iran cannot be “very transparent” about the destination of the tanker, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said at a press conference in Helsinki. He said the U.S. is trying to “bully others from purchasing our oil” and that he hopes the release of the vessel will de-escalate tensions in the Persian Gulf.A spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.The incident is one of several in recent months that have strained relations between Iran and the West, following the U.S. reinstatement of sanctions on the Islamic Republic last year. Iran has maintained that the ship’s original detention on July 4 was unlawful. The Persian Gulf state continues to hold a U.K.-flagged tanker, the Stena Impero. Aggression in the region has threatened shipping in recent months in the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most critical waterway for oil supplies.“The U.S. surely can’t seize the Iranian tanker and, if it does, it would pose a threat to international maritime security,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said. Iran warned the U.S. via “diplomatic channels,” including Switzerland, against interfering with the tanker, in international waters, Mousavi said at a news conference in Tehran. Swiss diplomats serve as interlocutors between the U.S. and Iran.Destination UnclearIt’s not known where the Iranian vessel is ultimately headed. Greek authorities haven’t received formal notification that the vessel intends to head to a port in the country, according to a spokesman for Greece’s coast guard. Kalamata’s port usually serves pleasure craft like sailboats and cruise ships, data compiled by Bloomberg show.The waters off Kalamata could be a possible location for ship-to-ship cargo transfers, according to two vessel brokers without specific information about the tanker’s plans. A ship’s destination is entered manually into its Automatic Identification System and is picked up by vessel-tracking. The destinations can be altered multiple times on the same journey.Gibraltar rejected an attempt by the U.S. to block the Iranian supertanker, saying that EU regulations don’t allow it to seek a court order to detain the vessel.U.S. ComplaintA complaint unsealed in Washington stated that “Oil Tanker ‘Grace 1,’ all petroleum aboard it and $995,000 are subject to forfeiture,” according to a Justice Department statement. The statement alleges a “scheme to unlawfully access the U.S. financial system to support illicit shipments” of oil from Iran to Syria in violation of U.S. sanctions, money laundering and terrorism statutes.Gibraltar last week released the vessel, after the government said Iran had provided assurances that the ship would not sail to a destination sanctioned by the EU. In response, the U.S. said it was gravely disappointed with Britain, and it warned that ports, banks and anyone else who does business with the vessel or its crew might be subject to sanctions, according to two administration officials.(Updates vessel’s estimated arrival date in second paragraph, request for comment in fifth. An earlier version of this story included an incorrect spelling for a port official in Kalamata, Greece.)\--With assistance from Serene Cheong, Anthony DiPaola, Alex Longley, Julian Lee, Paul Tugwell, Kati Pohjanpalo and Nick Wadhams.To contact the reporters on this story: Brian Wingfield in London at bwingfield3@bloomberg.net;Arsalan Shahla in Tehran at ashahla@bloomberg.net;Verity Ratcliffe in Dubai at vratcliffe1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alaric Nightingale at anightingal1@bloomberg.net, Brian Wingfield, Rachel GrahamFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Source: Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines | 19 Aug 2019 | 4:58 pm

Regime advance cuts off Turkish convoy in northwest Syria

Regime advance cuts off Turkish convoy in northwest SyriaRebel-backer Turkey said its forces were targeted by an air strike, while the Syrian regime accused Turkish forces of backing "terrorists". The convoy had entered Idlib province before heading towards a key town where Russian-backed regime forces are waging a fierce battle to retake the area from jihadists and rebels. Turkey claimed an air strike hit its convoy, killing three civilians, though a war monitor said a Russian air raid took the lives of three rebels in the surrounding area.


Source: Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines | 19 Aug 2019 | 4:52 pm

Two El Paso teachers asked for notes to comfort their students. They received thousands

Two El Paso teachers asked for notes to comfort their students. They received thousandsFourth grade teachers Teresa Garrett and Elvira Flores asked Facebook for postcards "to help our students know there is plenty of good in the world.


Source: Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines | 19 Aug 2019 | 4:17 pm

Nigerian President Asks Tax Agency to Explain Missed Targets

Nigerian President Asks Tax Agency to Explain Missed Targets(Bloomberg) -- Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari asked the Federal Inland Revenue Service to explain its failure to meet tax-collection targets since 2015, after persistent shortfalls.Nigerian presidential spokesman Garba Shehu confirmed in an emailed statement that the government has sought explanations for the shortfalls from FIRS chairman Babatunde Fowler as reported by several news media on Monday.“It would appear that the country might be heading for a fiscal crisis if urgent steps are not taken to halt the negative trends in target setting and target realization in tax revenue,” Shehu said.The government has repeatedly missed its revenue targets since Buhari was first elected to office in 2015, as the output and price of crude, the country’s main export, declined. The administration has sought to boost tax revenue with limited success in a country of more than 200 million people with a tax-to-gross-domestic-product ratio of 6%. That compares with 24.7% for South Africa, with which it vies to be Africa’s biggest economy.To make up for lost income, Nigeria increased its borrowing in recent years, leaving it with a debt-service burden that consumes more than 70% of its revenue, according to the Finance Ministry.To contact the reporters on this story: Elisha Bala-Gbogbo in Abuja at ebalagbogbo@bloomberg.net;Ruth Olurounbi in Abuja at rolurounbi4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net, Dulue MbachuFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Source: Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines | 19 Aug 2019 | 4:12 pm

Bahrain to join US-led efforts to protect Gulf navigation

Bahrain to join US-led efforts to protect Gulf navigationBahrain said Monday it would join US-led efforts to protect shipping in the Gulf amid tensions between Washington and Tehran after a series of attacks on tankers. Bahrain's King Hamad voiced his country's appreciation of the "US role in supporting regional security and stability" during a meeting with US Central Command (CENTCOM) chief General Kenneth McKenzie, state media said. "The king confirmed the kingdom of Bahrain's participation in the joint effort to preserve the safety of international maritime navigation and secure international corridors for trade and energy," the official Bahrain News Agency reported.


Source: Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines | 19 Aug 2019 | 3:26 pm

Serial killer who murdered SC teen featured on new season of Netflix’s ‘Mindhunter’

Serial killer who murdered SC teen featured on new season of Netflix’s ‘Mindhunter’He has a long rap sheet of crimes throughout the South, and a controversial connection to a South Carolina murder.


Source: Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines | 19 Aug 2019 | 3:09 pm

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