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Mon, 19 Nov 2018
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Canada's oil producers hit a massive roadblock

© Reuters / Chris Helgren
Canadian oil producers are in an increasingly tough predicament. With high and increasing oil demand around the globe over the last year, Canadian oil production has increased accordingly.

All of this is simple and predictable economics, but now Canadian oil has hit a massive roadblock. Producers have the supply, and they have more than enough demand, but they don't have the means to make the connection. Canadian export pipelines simply don't have the capacity to keep up with either the supply or the demand.

Canadian oil producers have now maxed out their storage capacity, and the Canadian glut continues to grow while they wait for a solution to the pipeline problem to materialize. As pipeline space is at a premium and storage has hit maximum capacity, oil prices have fallen dramatically, and the differentials that had previously been hitting heavy oil hard in Canada (now at below $18 a barrel for the first time since 2016) have now spread to light oil and upgraded synthetic oil sands crude as well, leaving overall Canadian oil prices at record lows.

Now, adding to the problem, growth in oil demand has begun to slow in the wake of skyrocketing United States production and the weakening of US-imposed sanctions on Iranian oil. First, the US granted waivers to eight nations to continue buying Iranian oil despite strong rhetoric, and now the European Union has undermined the sanctions even further.

Comment: See also:


Viral clip sees Chipotle manager fired for accusing black diners of serial dine-and-dash

Chipotle grill
© Reuters / Robert Galbraith
A Chipotle outlet
Chipotle has fired one of its managers after a video posted by a black customer recorded her asking his group to pay before ordering and accusing them of being serial dine-and-dashers.

"Can a group of young well established African American get a bite to eat after a long workout session?" asked Twitter user Masud Ali, who posted the clip of him and his friends at a St. Paul, Minnesota branch of the US burrito chain on Friday.

The two-minute clip starts with the manager telling the wannabe carbo-loaders mid-sentence: "You gotta pay because you never have money when you come in here bro."

In response, the bewildered men repeat the woman's claim: "we got no money?" before attempting to convince the manager that they had honest intentions. The clip has received 3.85 million views and shared over 30,000 times.

Star of David

Journalist demands that Moshe Feiglin be investigated under the law for preventing genocide

Moshe Feiglin

Moshe Feiglin, Israeli right-wing pundit
On Thursday, Moshe Feiglin, a rightwing political figure, went on Channel Two in Israel and explained to broadcaster Udi Segal his plan for the Gaza Strip: ethnically cleansing it, and those who survive the IDF can then ask for refugee status in the EU.

Feiglin is a former deputy chairman of the Knesset, one of most sweet-talking Judeo-Nazis I've ever met. He's been at it for over twenty years. He tried to oppose Netanyahu (he was too moderate for his tastes) in Likud, and was squashed utterly for his trouble a few years back. He's still around, though, and still often interviewed, for reasons beyond human ken.

Comment: People are charged and jailed for far less when Israel is the subject. The hypocrisy is stunning.


Society has gone to the dogs: 'Victim' reports pet poo outside their home as a racist hate crime

© Pixabay.com
The culprit behind the mess remains unknown.
Dealing with pet do-do can be a nasty business, but in Britain one incident of dog fouling was deemed serious enough that the victim reported it as a racist hate crime.

The dog poo 'hate crime' - which is said to have occurred outside a UK home - was contained in a dossier of so-called "non-crimes" or lesser misdeeds drawn up by The Mail On Sunday. The real-life list of bizarre police reports came from a tranche of Freedom of Information Act requests.

A description of the incident tells how the person who happened upon the dog's mess perceived it to be a racial attack.

"An unknown dog has fouled outside of [the] victim['s] address and [the] victim perceived this to be a racial incident," the police report said.


Ukrainian church independence supporters storm residence of top cleric who opposes schism with Russian Orthodox church

Orthodox church schism Ukraine
© Rih news.church.ua
Protesters near Metropolitan Ephraim's home, Kryvyi
Protesters tried to break the gates of local eparchy chief's residence in southeastern Ukraine. The group was angry over his opposition to the split from the Russian Orthodox Church.

Demonstrators descended on the residence of Metropolitan Ephraim in Kryvyi Rih on Saturday, according to Ukrainian Orthodox Church website. The statement described the group, comprised of no more than 20 people judging by the video filmed by a local journalist, as "provocateurs" who "tried to break the door of the building" and "shouted insults" at the ruling bishop of Kryvyi Rih and Nikopol eparchy.


Physicist who developed China's first nuclear bombs dies at age 100

Chinese nuke
© Reuters
A nuclear physicist revered in China as one of the key figures behind its entire nuclear weapons program has died after living for no less than a century.

Cheng Kaijia, the man who helped China become owners of the deadliest and most devastating weapons on earth, passed away peacefully in Beijing on Saturday more than three months after he celebrated his centenary.

The physicist was actively engaged in the research, development and tests of the first Chinese nuclear bombs at "theoretical, technological and methodological" levels, according to the HLHL Foundation, a Hong-Kong-based NGO, which awards prizes to Chinese scientists. He particularly solved one of the key problems behind any nuclear bomb development: he explained and created a theoretical model of the mechanism of the inner explosion of the atomic bomb.


Female suicide bomber blows herself up in Russia's Chechnya

russian soldiers
© Sputnik / Said Tsarnaev
A woman has blown herself up near a police checkpoint in Grozny, the capital of Russia's Chechnya region, in an attempted terrorist attack. Swift police reaction ensured that the incident did not lead to any additional casualties.

The woman was approaching a police checkpoint in central Grozny when the officers noticed she was behaving "strangely," the acting regional interior minister told the Russian media. The police asked her to stop and show her documents for inspection. The woman, however, rushed to the checkpoint instead.

Black Magic

Tabletop game casts Chechnya as being owned by vampire clan & ruled by 'Sultan Ramzan' - UPDATE

Willem Dafoe vampire movie
© Reuters/File
Willem Dafoe, shown in this file photo from the film "Shadow of the Vampire"
Russia's Republic of Chechnya is owned by a vampire clan that has a pro-Kremlin "Sultan Ramzan" in their service... Well at least in a new edition of a popular table game. The reference to a real Chechen leader is striking, though.

A 200-page setting book for the fifth edition of the 'Vampires: The Masquerade' tabletop role-playing game, released by White Wolf in early November, has Chechnya totally owned by an ancient vampire clan. Over the years, the game says, it evolved into Abrek, a powerful mafia-like organization which has tentacles all over Europe, Russia and the Middle East.

The setting book, seen by Russia's Kommersant daily, mentions gay people being persecuted by the vampires. But that goes even further than many of Chechnya-bashing news outlets in reality.

Comment: More from the original Kommersant article [Google translation]:
The story mentions the head of the republic "Sultan Ramzan", who submits to vampires and hides the truth about them from the Russian authorities. In addition, the authors "explained" the statements of human rights defenders about the persecution of LGBT people in the republic: the game says that this is "smart media manipulation" that distracts attention from bloodsuckers. It was this part of the story that provoked outrage among the LGBT community, who said that the developers "are laughing at the suffering of people who are now being held in Chechen prisons." The authors of the game have already apologized - so far before the LGBT. The press service of the Chechen government said "Kommersant" that they consider the game "part of a campaign to blackmail Russia and Ramzan Kadyrov."


"Kommersant" sent an official request to the company White Wolf, but has not yet received a response. A spokesman for the head of the Chechen Republic, Alvi Karimov, told Kommersant that the game developers "decided to push the popularity of Chechnya and its leaders." "If they tied this game to any other Russian region, then no one would have paid attention to it. This is such an advertising move to stir up interest in the game," said Karimov. However, he believes that the creators of the game were pursuing a "political goal". "This is a continuation of the campaign to slander Russia and Chechnya," Mr. Karimov believes. "I am sure that the same organizations that claimed to persecute sexual minorities stand behind it. They themselves released the game, now they themselves criticize it - this is the real game. Immoral and shameless.
Update: RT now reports the developer has apologized and revamped the game:
The developer of 'Vampires: The Masquerade' tabletop game will be restructured after complaints about the game's bizarre plot, in which vampires in Chechnya use the persecution of gay people to cover up their own existence.

The board game features bloodsuckers, who torture and feed on gay people, and wasn't long in Russia's Republic of Chechnya when the Swedish White Wolf company announced that sales of the 200-page explanatory 'setting' book, which was only just released, will be "temporarily suspended."

"The section on Chechnya will be removed in both the print and PDF versions," they pledged, adding that making these changes would take at least three weeks and would lead to delays in shipping of the product.

White Wolf made headlines earlier this week after media learned that their new 'Vampires: The Masquerade' orientation book characterized Russia's Republic of Chechnya as a haven for vampires.

According to the authors, in the game the undead rule the land through a powerful mafia-like structure, while the Kremlin-backed human leader of the republic, called Sultan Ramzan, is merely their puppet. This puppet, a namesake of the current head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, is described in the game as the pursuer of a lavish lifestyle who feeds his enemies to predators in his personal zoo.

As for the international outrage over the alleged persecution of homosexuals in Chechnya, it's actually a sophisticated media campaign to distract attention from the very existence of vampires. But it doesn't mean that the LGBT community is out of harm's way in the fictional version of Chechnya, as the undead torture, kill and use them as food.

White Wolf acknowledged that this time their imagination led them to the wrong place, saying that "horror should not be afraid to explore difficult or sensitive topics, but it should never do so without understanding who those topics are about and what it means to them."

"In the Chechnya chapter... we lost sight of this. The result was a chapter that dealt with a real-world, ongoing tragedy in a crude and disrespectful way," the statement read.

The developers apologized and said that they should've filtered the inappropriate content before the book went to print.

The whole scandal has also led to significant changes to the company itself, with the statement informing that "White Wolf will no longer function as a separate entity," but is to be restructured as part of publisher Paradox.

It was the second time the game developer found itself in hot water in recent months. White Wolf was also accused of drawing inspiration from neo-Nazi and white-supremacist ideology, but has vigorously denied the claims.

Arrow Up

Moscow ranked in top 10 list of the world's best cities

moscow picture 1
© Mladen Antonov / AFP
The Russian capital has been recognized as the world's sixth-best metropolis in a ranking of 100 big cities, compiled by a North American consulting company Resonance.

The study rated cities in accordance with the six key "pillars of place equity," such as infrastructure, economy, education and online rankings, including data from social networking services TripAdvisor and Instagram.


London: Eighty-five arrested and major bridges blocked in Extinction Rebellion's climate change protests

London protest
© Twitter / Extinction Rebellion
London Metropolitan Police have arrested over 85 protesters following large scale demonstrations which saw activists block off five of London's major bridges as part of a "day of rebellion" over climate change.

Extinction Rebellion activists began blocking the Blackfriars, Waterloo, Westminster, Lambeth and Southwark bridges during the morning. Protesters gathered to hold sit-ins on the bridges, preventing vehicles from accessing the city centre and creating one of the largest acts of peaceful civil disobedience seen in the UK in years.

"The demonstration is having a direct impact on others across London including emergency services. Organisers failed to engage with Police prior to the event and we were unable to work with them to plan and make considerations for other Londoners." Metropolitan Police said.