Archive for: September 2014

UK Prepares to Join The US-Led Anti-Terrorist Coalition

British Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking at the UN General Assembly, said that the UK must not wallow in the controversy of 2003. He said it shouldn’t prevent the United Kingdom from taking action against terrorists who will “main and kill” British nationals.

The IS, now becoming a world threat according to the US-led coalition, had claimed the lives of four hostages. After the death of two American journalists, “Jihadi John” has murdered David Haines, a British medical aid worker in Syria. After being shown two more British nationals, aid worker Alan Henning and journalist John Cantlie, David Cameron had raised the possibility of the UK joining the coalition.

However, he said that once UK joins the fight, it will be a long engagement. He reiterates that the UK must learn from its actions in 2003, that it has to have careful preparation and not rush into conflict without a clear goal.

The UK limits its support into attacking terrorist strongholds in Northern Iraq. Cameron said that the country will discuss joining the Syrian airstrikes after a separate debate and voting in the House of Commons.

Aside from the United Kingdom, France had earlier bombed several key IS sites during the weekend. French Rafale fighters stationed from the UAE had eliminated a logistics centre. However, Jund al-Khilifa, an IS-linked terrorist group in Algeria, had killed a French hostage, Herve Gourdel, after threatening that France recall its support for the coalition within 24 hours.

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BP Challenged on Page Count Tricks

In a new embarrassment for BP in a case relating to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the oil giant has been reprimanded by a US judge for using tactics that would “not be appropriate for a college term paper”. This latest embarrassment comes just weeks after BP were accused of turning their backs on The North Sea in favour or Russia.

The judge’s comments were prompted when examining a submission by BP’s lawyers. BP had been permitted to make a written response to a ruling earlier this month by Judge Carl Barbier that had found BP grossly negligent over the Gulf of Mexico disaster. The ruling left BP potentially liable for civil fines of over $18 billion, and so the judge had allowed a response of up to 35 pages with the lines double spaced. When he came to read the document submitted however he found that the firm had “abused the page limit by reducing the line spacing to slightly less than double spaced”, effectively fitting another six pages worth of text into the submission.

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Judge Barbier wrote that “The court should not have to waste its time policing such simple rules – particularly in a case as massive and complex as this.” He reprimanded BP in his ruling and warned them that any future attempts to use these tactics would see their briefs dismissed immediately. He continued, “Counsel are expected to follow the court’s orders both in letter and spirit. The court should not have to resort to imposing character limits, etc., to ensure compliance.”

“Counsel’s tactic would not be appropriate for a college term paper. It certainly is not appropriate here.”

This stinging rebuke only adds to BP’s discomfort after being found reckless in the run up to the Gulf of Mexico spill and in having allowed millions of barrels of oil to flood into the water because of its own gross negligence and wilful misconduct. Under the Clean Water Act, BP could be liable for $17.6 billion, which would push the total bill to BP well over the $43 billion that they are believed to have so far accounted for. They had only set aside $3.5 billion to deal with potential fines.

Ukraine and Russia Reach Permanent Ceasefire.

The office of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko had announced that Russia and Ukraine had reached a permanent ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine. News about the ceasefire had bolstered stock markets in both countries.

The statement said “mutual understanding was achieved concerning the steps which will enable the establishment of peace.”

However, some political analysts see it as a concession of Ukraine against the Russian-backed separatist forces. Telegraph’s Roland Oliphant said that if the ceasefire is confirmed by Putin’s Spokesman Dmitry Peskov, then Poroshenko had conceded that he cannot win against the separatists.

Oliphant also pointed out that Moscow gains the advantage of having a “frozen conflict” in Ukraine that would help establish a break-away state with the help of Russia itself.

Meanwhile, it would mean a cease of activities in South Ukraine as suspected Russian forces would be joining the pro-Russian rebels in the conflict. So far, pro-Russian rebel offensives were capable of overpowering Ukrainian troops and were almost to a point to capture Mariupol, a crucial port city.

Russia extensively denies its involvement in the fighting within Eastern Ukraine.

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