She then worked as a staff attorney with the Community Legal Aid Society, where she represented the needy and victims of domestic violence. She moved to a corporate law role at the firm Young Conaway Stargatt and Taylor in 2007, a mainstay in the Delaware legal circuit.

In 2018, she was nominated by John Carney, the governor of Delaware, to serve as vice chancellor on the state’s high court, the Delaware Chancery Court. In 2021, Gov. Carney nominated Ms. McCormick to become the first woman to lead the court.

More than 1.8 million businesses are incorporated in Delaware, including more than two thirds of Fortune 500 companies — and they all look to the court for guidance. When Twitter filed its lawsuit against Mr. Musk in July forcing him to close his acquisition, its case went to Delaware, where the company, like many others, is incorporated.

Judge McCormick, who has first dibs on any proceeding that comes before the court, chose herself of among a court of seven judges to oversee one of the most high profile corporate court battles in years.

At a hearing in September, as lawyers for Mr. Musk argued to delay the trial to take into account new claims from a whistle-blower, she poked at the billionaire’s decision to skip due diligence in his race to sign the deal in April. When Mr. Musk’s lawyer argued it would have been impossible to find out about the whistle-blower before the deal, she interjected, “We’ll never know, will we?” She added that “there was no due diligence.”

wrote in a ruling.

“She evidently was not putting up with any nonsense,” said Lawrence Hamermesh, a professor of law at Delaware Law School.

In October, after weeks of presiding over bruising back and forth arguments between the two sides, Judge McCormick granted Mr. Musk’s requests to put the trial on hold to give him more time to complete his financing for the acquisition. Judge McCormick granted him until Oct. 28 — a three-week delay.

“She had one eye on the clock,” said Brian Quinn, a professor at Boston College Law School, noting the two sides did not seem ready for a trial just two weeks away. “Another eye,” Mr. Quinn said, was “on potential appeals. She is looking forward saying, ‘Well, what if I ruled against Musk, and he appealed, and his appeal is that I pushed him — I rushed him toward the trial when he wanted to close the deal.’”

Judge McCormick is well-versed in trials involving deals with buyers that tried to walk away. As an associate at the law firm Young Conaway Stargatt and Taylor, she worked on cases involving deals that went awry when the stock market crashed in 2008. That included representing the chemical company Huntsman in 2008 when the private equity firm Apollo Global Management scuttled the deal it had struck to combine the chemical company with another it owned.

That deal, and others like it, paved the way for the kinds of contracts Twitter signed with Mr. Musk. Sellers learned how to prevent buyers from trying similar escape hatches. Companies increasingly structure deals with “specific performance” clauses allowing them to force a deal to close.

to follow through with its acquisition of a cake supplier after it argued that the pandemic had materially damaged the business by curbing demand for party cake.

Kohlberg contended it could not complete the deal because its debt financing had fallen apart. Judge McCormick did not buy that argument.

If Mr. Musk does not come through with Twitter’s money by Friday, that could ding his credibility in court, legal experts say. That could matter in November, when Judge McCormick is set to preside over a separate trial involving Mr. Musk and his compensation.

The case, filed in 2018, had originally been assigned to another judge on the Delaware Chancery Court, Joseph R. Slights III, before he retired in January. Judge McCormick picked up the case on Jan. 12, the same month Mr. Musk began to buy up shares of Twitter stock that ultimately led to his planned purchase of the company.

“It’s not ideal for him,” said Ann Lipton, a professor of corporate governance at Tulane Law School, of Mr. Musk’s multiple run-ins with Judge McCormick. “She’s uniquely low drama, which is the opposite of Musk. ”

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Large Vs. Small Deforesters In The Brazilian Amazon

One question that crops up in discussions of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is just who the deforesters are. Are these the poor and desperate, looking for land of their own as their piece of the Brazilian dream? Or are they representatives of large agribusiness interests, often with links to organized crime?

Many environmentalists argue that it’s misleading and unhelpful to characterize forest-cutters as people in need. A federal official in Brazil, who requested anonymity due to the muzzling of environmental officials under the Bolsonaro regime, is insistent about this point: “Deforestation in the Amazon is for cattle ranching. It’s not for little farmers that get rid of 1 hectare of forest” to plant cassava.

“We’re talking about burning of 100 hectares or more. Don’t fall for this fallacy,” he warns.

A staff member at a different federal agency, also speaking on the condition of anonymity, says that her enforcement agency is so short on resources that they don’t bother with small deforesters. In her experience, the people grabbing substantial parcels of land work for instance in the military, or for the government. They take the risks because they know that fines are often forgiven, and they can generally act with impunity.

Many of them live elsewhere, and just want a ranch for the weekend, this official believes.

“You can be sitting at your computer in São Paulo and claim land in the Amazon,” agrees Philip Fearnside, a biologist at Brazil’s National Institute of Amazonian Research (INPA).

Fearnside explains how land grabs – whether by large-scale business interests, loggers, or landless peasants – often work in the Brazilian Amazon. Whereas in Africa and Asia land grabbing might denote corporate takeover of land, here it generally refers to people claiming government land, often using fraudulent means for gaining titles. Certain legislation initiated under both the Lula and Bolsonaro regimes makes it easier to legally validate those claims.

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These fake titles are often transacted through people known as grileiros – a word with a colorful history. Grilos are crickets in Portuguese, and in earlier eras, criminals would place the fraudulent documents in a box with crickets. The point of this was that cricket feces would make the documents look aged and authentic.

Vendors of stolen Amazonian land can be brazen in using newer techniques than defecating crickets. Alessandra Nava, a veterinary researcher for Fiocruz Amazonia, has captured parts of the Amazon being placed for sale on Instagram, despite being public land.

However it’s transacted, this semi-organized, large-scale seizure of public land is somewhat unique to Brazil, according to Fearnside. “It would be unthinkable in other parts of the world, including in countries with tropical forests.”

We’re a long way off from the days of deforestation for subsistence farming in the Amazon.

For one thing, there can be intricate relationships between the people who directly encourage land grabs and the people who do the actual grabbing. Some fairly affluent sponsors, for instance, essentially tell the land squatters where to go and finance those risks, in strategic colonization of the rainforest.

These sponsors can be well placed. According to Indigenous leader Vanda Witoto, local mayors “are the greatest sponsors” of environmental crime, plus the prevention of reporting on it. She’s witnessed examples when it comes to deforestation and fires in Southern Amazonas: “That’s something I could see with my own eyes.”

Land grabbers are also often embedded within more structured criminal networks. Thelma Krug, formerly an earth observation researcher at the National Institute for Space Research in Brazil, insists: “We are not talking about something you can prevent easily in Amazonia. You’re talking about stopping criminals. They are really criminals. That’s what makes it more difficult: that sometimes people say, ‘Well, poor people, they just want to have their agriculture or pasture.’ But absolutely not true. That is really much more aggressive.”

Mapping data appears to back up the point that almost none of this deforestation is being done for the sake of pure survival. According to Tiago Reis, who leads engagement work for the environmental nonprofit Global Canopy, “the bottom line is that clearing for subsistence is insignificant in relation to the overall deforestation rates. The magnitude of clearing, with large swathes of land being deforested at high speed, is impossible to link to subsistence agriculture.”

This isn’t to say that poverty isn’t contributing to environmental crime in the Brazilian Amazon at all. According to a third federal employee, who also feels unsafe being named, “I just want to stress that poverty in the area is huge.” He talks of small fishers who might turn to crime, primarily extraction of natural resources, out of a lack of other livelihoods.

This official can’t point to a single project seeking to address the poverty in communities where residents commit crimes in Indigenous territories (which generally are stronger at environmental protection). Wealthy countries need to understand that poverty is responsible in part for organized environmental crime in the Brazilian Amazon, he stresses.

Yet when it comes to deforestation, individuals may benefit, but community poverty isn’t being meaningfully eased. One study of almost 800 municipalities in the Brazilian Amazon between 2002 and 2019 found no association between forest loss and certain indicators of economic development: average salaries, sanitation, and internet connectivity.

This is one of many tragic aspects to the tearing down of the Brazilian Amazon: this carbon-spewing, species-extinguishing business is mostly not even benefitting the people who could use the most help.

This reporting was made possible with support from the UN Foundation’s Thomas Lovejoy Memorial Press Fellowship.

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Airlines have the passengers. Now they need the planes

The first U.S.-made Airbus jetliner moves down the assembly line at the company’s factory in Mobile, Alabama, U.S. on September 13, 2015. Picture taken on September 13, 2015.

Alwyn Scott | Reuters

Air travel demand is showing no sign of easing, airline executives said this month. But new planes are in short supply, they warned, limiting growth and keeping fares high.

JetBlue Airways said Tuesday it was supposed to receive 29 planes from Airbus next year but will only get about 22.

“I think we’re all well aware that they’re struggling from ramp-up challenges driven by manpower and supply chain,” JetBlue’s CFO, Ursula Hurley, said on the New York-based carrier’s quarterly call. “We’re working hand in hand with them to manage through those.”

Last week, American Airlines CFO Derek Kerr said the carrier expects to take delivery of 19 Boeing 737 Max 8 planes in 2023, compared with the 27 it previously expected based on guidance from the manufacturer.

That means airlines that had parked planes and slashed growth are now struggling to expand. Along with shortages of pilots, the problems could make bargain flights even more elusive.

Executives at Boeing and its chief rival, Airbus, in recent months have said supply chain problems and labor shortfalls have prevented the companies from ramping up production to meet the recovery in air travel.

Boeing and Airbus are set to report results on Wednesday and Friday, respectively.

“We continue to work closely with suppliers to address industry challenges, stabilize production and meet our commitments to customers,” Boeing said in a statement to CNBC. Airbus declined to comment on Tuesday.

The issues have been felt throughout the manufacturers’ suppliers, such as engine makers.

“While we are working many actions across our businesses every day to mitigate the impacts of supply chain constraints and labor availability … we do expect these pressures will continue to persist into next year as well,” said Raytheon Technologies CFO Neil Mitchill during the company’s quarterly earnings call on Tuesday.

Raytheon’s Pratt & Whitney engines fly on both Boeing and Airbus planes, and its Collins Aerospace unit supplies both manufacturers.

What it takes for airlines to find parking for thousands of grounded planes

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Saudi Arabia ‘maturer guys’ in spat with U.S., says energy minister

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  • OPEC+ oil output cut led to U.S., Saudi spat
  • Saudi Arabia and U.S. “solid allies” – minister
  • Big Wall St turnout at flagship Saudi investment summit

RIYADH, Oct 25 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia decided to be the “maturer guys” in a spat with the United States over oil supplies, the kingdom’s energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said on Tuesday.

The decision by the OPEC+ oil producer group led by Saudi Arabia this month to cut oil output targets unleashed a war of words between the White House and Riyadh ahead of the kingdom’s Future Investment Initiative (FII) forum, which drew top U.S. business executives.

The two traditional allies’ relationship had already been strained by the Joe Biden administration’s stance on the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the Yemen war, as well as Riyadh’s growing ties with China and Russia.

When asked at the FII forum how the energy relationship with the United States could be put back on track after the cuts and with the Dec. 5 deadline for the expected price-cap on Russian oil, the Saudi energy minister said: “I think we as Saudi Arabia decided to be the maturer guys and let the dice fall”.

“We keep hearing you ‘are with us or against us’, is there any room for ‘we are with the people of Saudi Arabia’?”

Saudi Investment Minister Khalid al-Falih said earlier that Riyadh and Washington will get over their “unwarranted” spat, highlighting long-standing corporate and institutional ties.

“If you look at the relationship with the people side, the corporate side, the education system, you look at our institutions working together we are very close and we will get over this recent spat that I think was unwarranted,” he said.

While noting that Saudi Arabia and the United States were “solid allies” in the long term, he highlighted the kingdom was “very strong” with Asian partners including China, which is the biggest importer of Saudi hydrocarbons.

The OPEC+ cut has raised concerns in Washington about the possibility of higher gasoline prices ahead of the November U.S. midterm elections, with the Democrats trying to retain their control of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Biden pledged that “there will be consequences” for U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia after the OPEC+ move.

Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud, the kingdom’s ambassador to Washington, said in a CNN interview that Saudi Arabia was not siding with Russia and engages with “everybody across the board”.

“And by the way, it’s okay to disagree. We’ve disagreed in the past, and we’ve agreed in the past, but the important thing is recognizing the value of this relationship,” she said.

She added that “a lot of people talk about reforming or reviewing the relationship” and said that was “a positive thing” as Saudi Arabia “is not the kingdom it was five years ago.”

FULL ATTENDENCE AT FII

Like previous years, the FII three-day forum that opened on Tuesday saw a big turnout from Wall Street, as well as other industries with strategic interests in Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter.

JPMorgan Chase & Co Chief Executive Jamie Dimon, speaking at the gathering, voiced confidence that Saudi Arabia and the United States would safeguard their 75-year-old alliance.

“I can’t imagine any allies agreeing on everything and not having problems – they’ll work it through,” Dimon said. “I’m comfortable that folks on both sides are working through and that these countries will remain allies going forward, and hopefully help the world develop and grow properly.”

The FII is a showcase for the Saudi crown prince’s Vision 2030 development plan to wean the economy off oil by creating new industries that also generate jobs for millions of Saudis, and to lure foreign capital and talent.

No Biden administration officials were visible at the forum on Tuesday. Jared Kushner, a former senior aide to then-President Donald Trump who enjoyed good ties with Prince Mohammed, was featured as a front-row speaker.

The Saudi government invested $2 billion with a firm incorporated by Kushner after Trump left office.

FII organisers said this year’s edition attracted 7,000 delegates compared with 4,000 last year.

After its inaugural launch in 2017, the forum was marred by a Western boycott over Khashoggi’s killing by Saudi agents. It recovered the next year, attracting leaders and businesses with strategic interests in Saudi Arabia, after which the pandemic hit the world.

Reporting by Aziz El Yaakoubi, Hadeel Al Sayegh and Rachna Uppal in Riyadh and Nadine Awadalla, Maha El Dahan and Yousef Saba in Dubai; Writing by Ghaida Ghantous and Michael Geory; Editing by Louise Heavens, Mark Potter, Vinay Dwivedi, William Maclean

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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World is in its ‘first truly global energy crisis’ – IEA’s Birol

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SINGAPORE, Oct 25 (Reuters) – Tightening markets for liquefied natural gas (LNG) worldwide and major oil producers cutting supply have put the world in the middle of “the first truly global energy crisis”, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Tuesday.

Rising imports of LNG to Europe amid the Ukraine crisis and a potential rebound in Chinese appetite for the fuel will tighten the market as only 20 billion cubic meters of new LNG capacity will come to market next year, IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said during the Singapore International Energy Week.

At the same time the recent decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies, known as OPEC+, to cut 2 million barrels per day (bpd) of output is a “risky” decision as the IEA sees global oil demand growth of close to 2 million bpd this year, Birol said.

“(It is) especially risky as several economies around the world are on the brink of a recession, if that we are talking about the global recession…I found this decision really unfortunate,” he said.

Soaring global prices across a number of energy sources, including oil, natural gas and coal, are hammering consumers at the same time they are already dealing with rising food and services inflation. The high prices and possibility of rationing are potentially hazardous to European consumers as they prepare to enter the Northern Hemisphere winter.

Europe may make it through this winter, though somewhat battered, if the weather remains mild, Birol said.

“Unless we will have an extremely cold and long winter, unless there will be any surprises in terms of what we have seen, for example Nordstream pipeline explosion, Europe should go through this winter with some economic and social bruises,” he added.

For oil, consumption is expected to grow by 1.7 million bpd in 2023 so the world will still need Russian oil to meet demand, Birol said.

G7 nations have proposed a mechanism that would allow emerging nations to buy Russian oil but at lower prices to cap Moscow’s revenues in the wake of the Ukraine war.

Birol said the scheme still has many details to iron out and will require the buy-in of major oil importing nations.

A U.S. Treasury official told Reuters last week that it is not unreasonable to believe that up to 80% to 90% of Russian oil will continue to flow outside the price cap mechanism if Moscow seeks to flout it.

“I think this is good because the world still needs Russian oil to flow into the market for now. An 80%-90% is good and encouraging level in order to meet the demand,” Birol said.

While there is still a huge volume of strategic oil reserves that can be tapped during a supply disruption, another release is not currently on the agenda, he added.

ENERGY SECURITY DRIVES RENEWABLES GROWTH

The energy crisis could be a turning point for accelerating clean sources and for forming a sustainable and secured energy system, Birol said.

“Energy security is the number one driver (of the energy transition),” said Birol, as countries see energy technologies and renewables as a solution.

The IEA has revised up the forecast of renewable power capacity growth in 2022 to a 20% year-on-year increase from 8% previously, with close to 400 gigawatts of renewable capacity being added this year.

Many countries in Europe and elsewhere are accelerating the installation of renewable capacity by cutting the permitting and licensing processes to replace the Russian gas, Birol said.

Reporting by Florence Tan, Muyu Xu and Emily Chow; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Christian Schmollinger

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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New PM Rishi Sunak pledges to lead Britain out of economic crisis

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  • Sunak meets King Charles on Tuesday morning
  • Vows to rebuild trust in the country
  • Expected to start forming a cabinet
  • Sunak faces huge challenge to rebuild stability

LONDON, Oct 25 (Reuters) – Rishi Sunak became Britain’s third prime minister in two months on Tuesday and pledged to lead the country out of a profound economic crisis and rebuild trust in politics.

Sunak quickly reappointed Jeremy Hunt as his finance minister in a move designed to calm markets that had balked at his predecessor’s debt-fuelled economic plans.

The former hedge fund boss said he would unite the country and was expected to name a cabinet drawn from all wings of the party to end infighting and abrupt policy changes that have horrified investors and alarmed international allies.

Speaking outside his official Downing Street residence, Sunak praised the ambition of his predecessor Liz Truss to reignite economic growth but acknowledged mistakes had been made.

“I have been elected as leader of my party and your prime minister, in part to fix them,” said Sunak, who broke with the tradition of standing beside his family and cheering political supporters.

“I understand, too, that I have work to do to restore trust, after all that has happened. All I can say is that I am not daunted. I know the high office I have accepted and I hope to live up to its demands.”

Sunak said difficult decisions lay ahead as he looks to cut public spending. Hunt, who Truss appointed to calm markets roiled by her dash for growth, has been preparing a new budget alongside borrowing and growth forecasts due out on Monday, and repeated his warning on Tuesday that “it is going to be tough”.

The new prime minister also restored Dominic Raab to the post of deputy prime minister, a role he lost in Truss’s 44 days in office, but reappointed James Cleverly as foreign minister and Ben Wallace at defence.

Penny Mordaunt, who ended her bid to win a leadership contest against Sunak on Monday, also retained her position as leader of the House of Commons, a role that organises the government’s business in the lower house of parliament.

Sources had said she wanted to become foreign minister.

With his new appointments, Sunak was seen to be drawing ministers from across the Conservative Party while leaving others in post – a move that should ease concerns that Sunak might appoint loyalists rather than try to unify the party.

TOUGH DECISIONS

Sunak, one of the richest men in parliament, is expected to slash spending to plug an estimated 40 billion pound ($45 billion) hole in the public finances created by an economic slowdown, higher borrowing costs and an energy support scheme.

He will now need to review all spending, including on politically sensitive areas such as health, education, defence, welfare and pensions. But with his party’s popularity in freefall, he will face growing calls for an election if he ditches too many of the promises that the Conservatives win election in 2019.

Economists and investors have welcomed Sunak’s appointment – Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said the adults had taken charge again – but they warn he has few options to fix the country’s finances when millions are battling a cost of living crunch.

Sunak, who ran the Treasury during the COVID-19 pandemic, promised to put economic stability and confidence at the heart of the agenda. “This will mean difficult decisions to come,” he said, shortly after he accepted King Charles’s request to form a government.

Sunak also vowed to put the public’s need above politics, in recognition of the growing anger at Britain’s political class and the ideological battles that have raged ever since the historic 2016 vote to leave the European Union.

Workers heading towards London’s financial district said Sunak, at 42 Britain’s youngest prime minister for more than 200 years and its first leader of colour, appeared to be the best of a bad bunch.

“I think he was competent, and that’s really what we should hope for at the moment,” said management consultant, James Eastbook, 43.

With two prime ministers appointed in two months without a popular vote, some called for a general election now but others hoped Sunak would stay until the next scheduled election, due by January 2025.

POLITICAL MACHINATIONS

Sunak, a Goldman Sachs analyst who only entered parliament in 2015, faces a challenge ending the factional infighting that has brought his party low. Many Conservatives remain angry with him for quitting as finance minister in July and triggering a wider rebellion that ended Boris Johnson’s premiership.

Others question how a multi millionaire can lead the country when millions of people are struggling with surging food and energy bills.

“I think this decision sinks us as a party for the next election,” one Conservative lawmaker told Reuters.

Historian and political biographer Anthony Seldon said Sunak would also be constrained by the mistakes of his immediate predecessor.

“There is no leeway on him being anything other than extraordinarily conservative and cautious,” he told Reuters.

Many politicians and officials abroad, having watched as a country once seen as a pillar of economic and political stability descended into brutal infighting, welcomed Sunak’s appointment.

Sunak, a Hindu, also becomes Britain’s first prime minister of Indian origin.

U.S. President Joe Biden described it as a “groundbreaking milestone”, while leaders from India and elsewhere welcomed the news. Sunak’s billionaire father-in-law, N.R. Narayana Murthy, said he would serve the United Kingdom well.

“We are proud of him and we wish him success,” the founder of software giant Infosys said in a statement.

($1 = 0.8864 pounds)

Writing by by Kate Holton and Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Jon Boyle

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Tesla’s Musk eyes potential investment in Mexican border state -sources

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MEXICO CITY, Oct 24 (Reuters) – Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) Chief Executive Elon Musk is considering investing in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, which borders Texas, two people with knowledge of the matter said on Monday.

Musk recently held a meeting in the state with Nuevo Leon Governor Samuel Garcia along with other local officials and Ken Salazar, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, one of the sources said.

Musk is looking in particular at Santa Catarina, a municipality on the outskirts of state capital Monterrey, one of Mexico’s biggest and wealthiest cities, the person added. The sources did not detail what Musk’s potential investment may entail.

A spokesperson for the Nuevo Leon government declined to comment. Neither Tesla, the U.S. embassy, nor a representative for Santa Catarina immediately responded to requests for comment.

Musk’s visit to Nuevo Leon was originally reported by Mexican media. Several outlets published photos of Musk apparently from the visit, including one in which he appears with Garcia’s wife, Mariana Rodriguez.

Garcia posted several of the media articles on his Instagram account, in one case tagging Rodriguez’s account and writing, “Look, look,” without further comment.

Tesla, based in Austin, Texas, has its own lane at the U.S.-Mexico border crossing in Nuevo Leon to facilitate trade for local suppliers, the state government said in August.

Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon and Dave Graham in Mexico City
Editing by Matthew Lewis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Explainer: What is a dirty bomb and why is Russia talking about one now?

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LONDON, Oct 25 (Reuters) – In Russia’s latest advocacy campaign over its invasion of Ukraine, Moscow has focused on accusations that Kyiv might be planning to use a so-called “dirty bomb” – a conventional explosive device laced with toxic nuclear material.

Kyiv and its Western allies say there is no truth at all to the accusation, and that the idea that Ukraine would poison its own territory is patently absurd. They say Moscow could be making the allegation to justify an escalation of its own.

Following is a look at dirty bombs and how they might be used in Ukraine, either as a real threat or as the basis of propaganda:

HOW MUCH DAMAGE CAN THEY DO?

Dirty bombs do not create city-flattening atomic explosion but are designed to spread toxic waste. Security experts have worried about them mostly as a form of terrorist weapon to be used on cities to cause havoc among civilians, rather than as a tactical device for use by warring parties in conflict.

Experts say the immediate health impact would probably be limited, since most people in an affected area would be able to escape before experiencing lethal doses of radiation. But the economic damage could be massive from having to evacuate urban areas or even abandon whole cities.

In testimony to the United States Senate during the Obama administration, physicist Henry Kelly, then president of the Federation of Scientists, outlined a wide range of hypothetical scenarios, depending on the amount and type of nuclear material used and how far it was spread.

A bomb using radioactive caesium from a misplaced or stolen medical device might require the evacuation of an area of several city blocks, making it unsafe for decades.

A piece of radioactive cobalt from a food irradiation plant could, if blasted apart in a bomb in New York, contaminate a 380 square mile (1,000 square km) area and potentially make the island of Manhattan uninhabitable, Kelly said.

WHAT DOES RUSSIA ALLEGE?

Moscow sent a letter detailing its allegations about Kyiv to the United Nations late on Monday, and diplomats said Russia planned to raise the issue at a closed meeting with the Security Council on Tuesday.

The head of Russia’s nuclear, biological and chemical protection troops, Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov, told a media briefing Ukraine’s aim for such an attack would be to blame Russia.

“The aim of the provocation would be to accuse Russia of using a weapon of mass destruction in the Ukrainian military theatre and by that means to launch a powerful anti-Russian campaign in the world, aimed at undermining trust in Moscow.”

WHAT IS THE RESPONSE OF UKRAINE AND THE WEST?

Kyiv and its Western allies say Moscow’s allegation that Ukraine would intentionally make some of its own territory uninhabitable is absurd, especially at a time when Ukrainian forces are recapturing territory on the battlefield.

In a joint statement, the United States, Britain and France called the Russian allegations “transparently false” and warned Moscow against using them as a “pretext” for escalation.

The Kremlin warned the West on Tuesday it was dangerous to dismiss Moscow’s position.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy suggested Moscow might be using the allegations as cover for plans for a similar attack of its own: “If Russia calls and says that Ukraine is allegedly preparing something, it means one thing: Russia has already prepared all this.”

Editing by Philippa Fletcher

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Fed to hike by 75 bps again on Nov. 2, should pause when inflation halves -economists: Reuters poll

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BENGALURU, Oct 25 (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve will go for its fourth consecutive 75 basis point interest rate hike on Nov. 2, according to economists polled by Reuters, who said the central bank should not pause until inflation falls to around half its current level.

Its most aggressive tightening cycle in decades has brought with it ever bigger recession risks. The survey also showed a median 65% probability of one within a year, up from 45%.

Still, a strong majority of economists, 86 of 90, predicted policymakers would hike the federal funds rate by three quarters of a percentage point to 3.75%-4.00% next week as inflation remains high and unemployment is near pre-pandemic lows.

Results in the poll are in line with interest rate futures pricing. Only four respondents predicted a 50 basis point move.

“The front-loading of policy rate tightening we have seen up to now has been aimed at getting to a positive real fed funds rate at the start of 2023,” said Jan Groen, chief U.S. macro strategist at TD Securities, referring to rates adjusted for inflation.

“Instead of a pivot, in our view, the Fed is signaling that they foresee shifting from front-loading up to December, towards more of a more grinding pace of hikes from then onward.”

A majority of economists in the Oct. 17-24 poll forecast another 50 basis point hike in December, taking the funds rate to 4.25%-4.50% by end-2022. That matches the Fed’s “dot plot” median projection.

The funds rate was expected to peak at 4.50%-4.75% or higher in Q1 2023, according to 49 of 80 economists. But the risks to that terminal rate were skewed to the upside, according to all but one of the 40 who answered an additional question.

Fed officials have begun contemplating when they should slow the pace of rate hikes as they take stock of their impact given it takes many months for any rate move to take effect.

Asked around what level of sustained inflation the Fed should consider pausing – currently running above 8% according to the consumer price index (CPI) – the median from 22 respondents said 4.4%, according to that measure.

The Fed targets the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) index, but the survey suggests roughly half the current rate of inflation ought to be a turning point. PCE inflation was forecast above target until 2025 at least.

CPI inflation was not expected to halve until Q2 2023, according to the poll, averaging 8.1%, 3.9% and 2.5% in 2022, 2023 and 2024, respectively.

“Fed officials have indicated that pausing is only possible after ‘clear and compelling’ evidence inflation has moderated,” said Brett Ryan, senior U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank.

“With the Fed continuing its aggressive tightening to rein in persistent inflation, we expect a moderate recession likely to begin in Q3 next year as the real growth would dip negative and the unemployment rate will rise substantially.”

Next year the economy was expected to expand just 0.4% – a forecast that has been downgraded in each consecutive monthly Reuters poll since the Fed first started hiking in March – after growing 1.7% on average this year.

The unemployment rate was expected to average 3.7% this year before rising to 4.4% and 4.8% in 2023 and 2024, respectively, an upgrade from the previous poll but significantly lower than the highs seen in previous recessions.

Still, the chances of a sharp rise in unemployment in the United States over the coming year were high, according to over half of respondents to an additional question, 23 of 41. Eighteen said the chances were low.

(For other stories from the Reuters global economic poll:)

Reporting by Prerana Bhat; Additional reporting by Indradip Ghosh; Polling by Dhruvi Shah, Vijayalakshmi Srinivasan and Mumal Rathore; Editing by Hari Kishan, Ross Finley and Andrea Ricci

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Iran will not remain indifferent if proven Russia using its drones in Ukraine – official

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DUBAI, Oct 24 (Reuters) – Iran will not remain indifferent if it is proven that its drones are being used by Russia in the Ukraine war, the Iranian foreign minister said on Monday, amid allegations the Islamic Republic has supplied drones to Moscow to attack Ukraine.

“If it is proven to us that Iranian drones are being used in the Ukraine war against people, we should not remain indifferent,” state media cited Hossein Amirabdollahian as saying.

However, Amirabdollahian said defence cooperation between Tehran and Moscow will continue.

Britain, France and Germany on Friday called for a United Nations probe of accusations Russia has used Iranian-origin drones to attack Ukraine, allegedly violating a U.N. Security Council resolution.

Citing diplomats and officials, Reuters reported last week that in addition to more drones, Iran had promised to provide Russia with surface-to-surface missiles.

Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Alex Richardson and Jonathan Oatis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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