even tougher winter next year as natural gas stocks are used up and as new supplies to replace Russian gas, including increased shipments from the United States or Qatar, are slow to come online, the International Energy Agency said in its annual World Energy Outlook, released last week.

Europe’s activity appears to be accelerating a global transition toward cleaner technologies, the I.E.A. added, as countries respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by embracing hydrogen fuels, electric vehicles, heat pumps and other green energies.

But in the short term, countries will be burning more fossil fuels in response to the natural gas shortages.

gas fields in Groningen, which had been slated to be sealed because of earthquakes triggered by the extraction of the fuel.

Eleven countries, including Germany, Finland and Estonia, are now building or expanding a total of 18 offshore terminals to process liquid gas shipped in from other countries. Other projects in Latvia and Lithuania are under consideration.

Nuclear power is winning new support in countries that had previously decided to abandon it, including Germany and Belgium. Finland is planning to extend the lifetime of one reactor, while Poland and Romania plan to build new nuclear power plants.

European Commission blueprint, are voluntary and rely on buy-ins from individuals and businesses whose utility bills may be subsidized by their governments.

Energy use dropped in September in several countries, although it is hard to know for sure if the cause was balmy weather, high prices or voluntary conservation efforts inspired by a sense of civic duty. But there are signs that businesses, organizations and the public are responding. In Sweden, for example, the Lund diocese said it planned to partially or fully close 150 out of 540 churches this winter to conserve energy.

Germany and France have issued sweeping guidance, which includes lowering heating in all homes, businesses and public buildings, using appliances at off-peak hours and unplugging electronic devices when not in use.

Denmark wants households to shun dryers and use clotheslines. Slovakia is urging citizens to use microwaves instead of stoves and brush their teeth with a single glass of water.

website. “Short showers,” wrote one homeowner; another announced: “18 solar panels coming to the roof in October.”

“In the coming winter, efforts to save electricity and schedule the consumption of electricity may be the key to avoiding electricity shortages,” Fingrad, the main grid operator, said.

Businesses are being asked to do even more, and most governments have set targets for retailers, manufacturers and offices to find ways to ratchet down their energy use by at least 10 percent in the coming months.

Governments, themselves huge users of energy, are reducing heating, curbing streetlight use and closing municipal swimming pools. In France, where the state operates a third of all buildings, the government plans to cut energy use by two terawatt-hours, the amount used by a midsize city.

Whether the campaigns succeed is far from clear, said Daniel Gros, director of the Centre for European Policy Studies, a European think tank. Because the recommendations are voluntary, there may be little incentive for people to follow suit — especially if governments are subsidizing energy bills.

In countries like Germany, where the government aims to spend up to €200 billion to help households and businesses offset rising energy prices starting next year, skyrocketing gas prices are hitting consumers now. “That is useful in getting them to lower their energy use,” he said. But when countries fund a large part of the bill, “there is zero incentive to save on energy,” he said.

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Midterm Disinformation Has Taken Over Pennsylvania

WEST CHESTER, Pa. — Disinformation has long been a feature of American politics. Mudslinging, smear campaigns, dirty tricks. Yet wading through the muck ahead of this year’s midterm elections in one fiercely contested state, Pennsylvania, shows just how thoroughly it now warps the American democratic process.

In July, a tweet made the rounds spreading a falsehood about voting. “BREAKING: Pennsylvania will not be accepting mail-in ballots,” declared someone using an account called the Donald J. Trump Tracker.

In September, mysterious letters began arriving in mailboxes in Chester County, on the old Main Line west of Philadelphia, falsely telling people that their votes might not have been counted in the last election.

No, the Democratic candidate for United States Senate, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, does not have tattoos of the Crips, the notorious street gang from Los Angeles, as Newt Gingrich said on Fox.

contentious primaries, Pennsylvanians have experienced a deluge of false or misleading posts, photographs and videos on social media, as well as increasingly partisan, bitter and at times unhinged claims on television, radio and live streams to a degree that no one recalled seeing before.

“I’m not saying the politics was ever, you know, perfect,” Michael Nutter, the mayor of Philadelphia from 2008 to 2016, said in an interview, lamenting the seemingly bottomless depth of the problem.

“I think what’s changed is you go back 100 years and you’d have had to put a whole lot more effort into spreading lies,” he said. “Now, you can just push a button.”

FactCheck.org.

A lot of attention has focused on a stroke that Mr. Fetterman suffered in May, just as he clinched the Democratic nomination. The stroke left him with an auditory processing disorder, a condition that affects the brain’s ability to filter and interpret sounds, which Republicans have said makes him unfit for office. His speech has also become more halting, and he stumbles over his words, as he did multiple times in the debate last week against his Republican opponent, Mehmet Oz, the television personality known as Dr. Oz.

Opponents used his verbal gaffes in misleading ways. A video montage by a Republican campaign operative, Greg Price, exaggerated the effects of the stroke, while a Twitter account impersonating BuzzFeed falsely claimed that Mr. Fetterman had apologized for urinating on a campaign staffer. Mr. Price did not respond to requests for comment.

Other false claims have, again, questioned the machines that count votes, while a recent flurry of posts on Telegram, the app created in Russia, have incorrectly accused the state’s top election official of not complying with legal rulings about mail-in ballots. ActiveFence, a cybersecurity company, said that these claims have spread across platforms, garnering tens of thousands of impressions.

Jill Greene, the state representative for Common Cause, the national good-government organization, said that the many unfounded and untruthful claims posed a challenge for voters.

pledged to remove or marginalize false posts ahead of the midterms.

A doctored post on Facebook, to cite one of scores of examples, showed Mr. Oz kneeling to kiss the star of Donald J. Trump along the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (In the original, he was kissing his own star.)

being repeatedly told that the American election process is deeply corrupted.

In fact, Mr. Mastriano’s candidacy has from its inception been propelled by his role in disputing the 2020 presidential election lost by Mr. Trump.

county by county, but election experts say they do not reflect factors as benign as changes in addresses.

“They’re in search of solutions to a problem that doesn’t exist,” Kyle Miller, a Navy veteran and state representative for Protect Democracy, a national advocacy organization, said in an interview in Harrisburg. “They are basing this on faulty data and internet rumors.”

Some Republican lawmakers have leaned on false claims to call for changes to rules about mail-in ballots and other measures intended to make it easier for people to vote. Several counties have already reversed some of the decisions, including the number and location of drop boxes for ballots.

Mr. Miller, among others, warned that the flurry of false claims about balloting could be a trial run for challenging the results of the presidential election in 2024, in which Pennsylvania could again be a crucial swing state.

In Chester County, a largely white region that borders Delaware and Maryland that is roughly split between Republicans and Democrats, the effort to sow confusion came the old-fashioned way: in the mail.

Letters dated Sept. 12 began arriving in mailboxes across the county, warning people that their votes in the 2020 presidential election might not have counted. “Because you have a track record of consistently voting, we find it unusual that your record indicates that you did not vote,” the letter, which was unsigned, said.

The sender called itself “Data Insights,” based in the county seat of West Chester, though no known record of such a company exists, according to county officials. The letters did include copies of the recipients’ voting records. The letters urged recipients to write to the county commissioners or attend the commission’s meetings in the county seat of West Chester, in September and October. Dozens of recipients did.

The county administrator, Robert J. Kagel, tried to assure them that their votes were actually counted. He urged anyone concerned to contact the county’s voter services department.

Even so, at county meetings in September and October, speaker after speaker lined up to question the letter and the ballot process generally — and to air an array of grievances and conspiracy theories.

They included the discredited claims of the film “2000 Mules” that operatives have been stuffing boxes for mail-in ballots. One attendee warned that votes were being tabulated by the Communist Party of China or the World Economic Forum.

“I don’t know where my vote is,” another resident, Barbara Ellis of Berwyn, told the commissioners in October. “I don’t know if it was manipulated in the machines, in another country.”

As of Oct. 20, 59 people in Chester County had contacted officials with concerns raised in the letter, but in each case, it was determined that the voters’ ballots had been cast and counted, said Rebecca Brain, a county spokesman.

Who exactly sent the letters remains a mystery, which only fuels more conspiracy theories.

“It seems very official,” Charlotte Valyo, the chairwoman of the Democratic Party in the county, said of the letter. She described it as part of “an ongoing, constant campaign to undermine the confidence in our voting system.” The county’s Republican Party did not respond to a request for comment.

Disinformation may not be the only cause of the deepening partisan chasm in the state — or the nation — but it has undoubtedly worsened it. The danger, Ms. Valyo warned, was discouraging voting by sowing distrust in the ability of election officials to tally the votes.

“People might think, ‘Why bother, if they’re that messed up?’”

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HomeStreet Announces a Common Stock Dividend of $0.35 Per Share

SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–HomeStreet, Inc. (Nasdaq: HMST) (“HomeStreet”), the parent company of HomeStreet Bank (the “Bank” and together with HomeStreet, the “Company”), announced that the Board of Directors approved a $0.35 per share quarterly dividend. The dividend is payable on November 22, 2022 to shareholders of record at the close of business on November 8, 2022.

About HomeStreet, Inc.

HomeStreet, Inc. (Nasdaq:HMST) is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Seattle, Washington, serving consumers and businesses in the Western United States and Hawaii. The Company is principally engaged in real estate lending, including mortgage banking activities, and commercial and consumer banking. Its principal subsidiaries are HomeStreet Bank and HomeStreet Capital Corporation. HomeStreet Bank is the winner of the 2022 “Best Small Bank” in Washington Newsweek magazine award. Certain information about our business can be found on our investor relations web site, located at http://ir.homestreet.com. HomeStreet Bank is a member of the FDIC and an Equal Housing Lender.

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Putin Denies Russia Intends to Use Nuclear Weapons in Ukraine

Credit…Sputnik/Sergei Karpukhin via Reuters

President Vladimir V. Putin on Thursday denied that Russia was preparing to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, despite frequent hints in the past that it could do so, and he tried to appeal to conservatives in the United States and Europe with accusations that Western elites were trying to impose their “strange” values on the rest of the world.

The nearly four-hour speech and question-and-answer session, with reference to “dozens of genders,” “gay parades’’ and “neoliberal elites,’’ relied on arguments used to animate the culture wars in the United States and Europe, an apparent effort to sway global public opinion in favor of Russia at a time when his army is losing ground in Ukraine.

“In the United States there’s a very strong part of the public who maintain traditional values, and they’re with us,” Mr. Putin said. “We know about this.”

Mr. Putin claimed it was the West that was escalating nuclear tensions surrounding Ukraine.

“We have no need to do this,” Mr. Putin said of the potential Russian use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine in his strongest denial to date of any such plans. “There’s no sense in it for us, neither political nor military.”

His comments, at an annual foreign policy conference in Moscow, are unlikely to reassure Ukraine or Western nations. He and other senior officials have repeatedly suggested that Russia might resort to nuclear weaponry. And the Kremlin’s assurances in the past have often proved untrustworthy; top officials issued multiple denials in the days before the war that Russia intended to invade Ukraine.

“This is a trick — it shouldn’t make anyone relax,” Tatiana Stanovaya, a Russian political analyst, said, noting that Mr. Putin has blamed every escalation in the war, including the invasion itself, on the West and its support for an independent Ukraine. “His goal is to show that escalation is the product of Western policies.”

In a speech and a lengthy subsequent question-and-answer session Thursday at an annual foreign policy conference in Moscow at the Valdai Discussion Club, a research institute close to the Kremlin, Mr. Putin coupled his denial of any nuclear plans in Ukraine with a bid for global support — including from conservative-minded people in the West who, he insisted, back Mr. Putin’s campaign to preserve “traditional values.”

“In the United States there’s a very strong part of the public who maintain traditional values, and they’re with us,” Mr. Putin said. “We know about this.”

Lawmakers in Russia’s lower house of Parliament backed legislation on Thursday that would ban the “propaganda” of homosexuality in all aspects of public life, expanding a directive that currently only applies to media directed at children.

Mr. Putin insisted that Russia did not fundamentally see itself as an “enemy of the West.” Rather, he said — as he has before — that it was “Western elites” that he was fighting, ones who were trying to impose their “pretty strange” values on everyone else.

In a question-and-answer session after the speech, the event’s moderator, the foreign policy analyst Fyodor Lukyanov, pressed Mr. Putin on the fact that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine does not appear to have gone according to plan. And he said that there was a widespread view that Russia had “underestimated the enemy.”

“Honestly, society doesn’t understand — what’s the plan?” Mr. Lukyanov asked.

Mr. Putin brushed aside the implicit criticism, arguing that Ukraine’s fierce resistance showed why he was right to launch the invasion. The longer Russia had waited, he said, “the worse it would have been for us, the more difficult and more dangerous.”

Mr. Putin repeated Russia’s unfounded claims that Ukraine was preparing to detonate a radioactive “dirty bomb” on its territory and blame Moscow. Ukraine and the West say that the claims are disinformation that could be used as a pretext by the Kremlin to use a nuclear weapon.

In Ukraine, officials ridiculed Mr. Putin’s speech. Mykhailo Podolyak, an aide to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, said the Russian president was accusing the West of what he has been doing himself, like violating another country’s sovereignty.

“Any speech by Putin can be described in two words: ‘for Freud,’” Mr. Podolyak posted on Twitter.

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

  • 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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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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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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XL Fleet Corp. Receives Notice Regarding NYSE Continued Listing Standard

WIXOM, Mich.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–XL Fleet Corp. (NYSE: XL) (“XL Fleet” or the “Company”), a provider of subscription-based services that make it easy for homeowners and small businesses to own and maintain rooftop solar and battery storage, today announced that on October 20, 2022, it received a notice from the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”), notifying the Company that it is out of compliance with the NYSE’s price criteria for continued listing standards because, as of October 19, 2022, the average closing price of the Company’s common stock was less than $1.00 per share over a consecutive 30 trading-day period.

The Company will notify the NYSE of its intent to cure its stock price deficiency within the applicable time period required by the NYSE, and to return to compliance with the NYSE continued listing standard. The Company can regain compliance at any time within the six-month period following receipt of the NYSE notice if on the last trading day of any calendar month during the cure period the Company has a closing share price of at least $1.00 and an average closing share price of at least $1.00 over the 30 trading-day period ending on the last trading day of that month. The Company intends to consider all available alternatives, including, but not limited to, a potential reverse stock split, subject to stockholder approval, no later than at the Company’s next annual meeting of stockholders, if necessary to cure the stock price non-compliance. Under the NYSE’s rules, if the Company determines that it will cure the stock price deficiency by taking an action that will require stockholder approval by no later than its next annual meeting of stockholders and implements the action promptly thereafter, the price condition will be deemed cured if the price promptly exceeds $1.00 per share, and the price remains above that level for at least the following 30 trading days.

The NYSE notification does not affect the Company’s business operations, its Securities and Exchange Commission reporting requirements, credit agreements or other contractual obligations. The Company’s common stock will continue to be listed and traded on the NYSE, subject to its compliance with other NYSE continued listing standards. The Company is currently in compliance with other applicable NYSE continued listing standards.

This press release is issued as required under the NYSE rules. The notice from the NYSE was issued pursuant to Section 802.01C of the NYSE’s Listed Company Manual.

About XL Fleet

XL Fleet provides subscription-based services that make it easy for homeowners and small businesses to own and maintain rooftop solar and battery storage. Our as-a-service model allows consumers to access new technology without making a significant upfront investment or incurring maintenance costs. XL Fleet has more than 52,000 subscribers across the United States. For additional information, please visit www.xlfleet.com.

Forward Looking Statements

Certain statements in this press release may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Forward-looking statements generally are accompanied by words such as “believe,” “may,” “will,” “estimate,” “continue,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “expect,” “should,” “would,” “plan,” “predict,” “potential,” “seem,” “seek,” “future,” “outlook,” and similar expressions that predict or indicate future events or trends or that are not statements of historical matters. These statements are based on various assumptions, whether or not identified in this press release, and on the current expectations of management and are not predictions of actual performance. Forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements, including but not limited to: the Company’s ability to regain compliance with the continued listing standards of the NYSE within the applicable cure period; the Company’s ability to continue to comply with applicable listing standards of the NYSE; expectations regarding the growth of the solar industry, home electrification, electric vehicles and distributed energy resources; the ability to successfully integrate the Spruce Power acquisition; the ability of XL Fleet to implement its plans, forecasts and other expectations with respect to Spruce Power’s business and realize the expected benefits of the acquisition; the ability to identify and complete future acquisitions; the ability to develop and market new products and services; the effects of pending and future legislation; the highly competitive nature of the Company’s business and markets; litigation, complaints, product liability claims and/or adverse publicity; cost increases or shortages in the components or chassis necessary to support the Company’s products and services; the introduction of new technologies; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Company’s business, results of operations, financial condition, regulatory compliance and customer experience; the potential loss of certain significant customers; privacy and data protection laws, privacy or data breaches, or the loss of data; general economic, financial, legal, political and business conditions and changes in domestic and foreign markets; the inability to convert its sales opportunity pipeline into binding orders; risks related to the rollout of the Company’s business and the timing of expected business milestones, including the ongoing global microchip shortage and limited availability of chassis from vehicle OEMs and our reliance on our suppliers; the effects of competition on the Company’s future business; the availability of capital; and the other risks discussed under the heading “Risk Factors” in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K filed on March 31, 2022, subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and other documents that the Company files with the SEC in the future. If any of these risks materialize or our assumptions prove incorrect, actual results could differ materially from the results implied by these forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof and the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

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Russia Masses Troops in Belarus, but New Offensive Appears Unlikely

Credit…Emile Ducke for The New York Times

RIGA, Latvia — Russia is massing thousands of troops in its western neighbor Belarus ahead of what could be the opening of a new front aimed at disrupting the flow of Western military aid from Poland, according to defense officials in Latvia and Ukraine.

However, the assembled forces, about 10,000 troops, may still be too weak to make a successful new thrust south from Belarus, Latvia’s defense minister, Artis Pabriks, said on Friday.

“We have to be cautious, but I doubt that Russians are at this moment capable of opening another front line against Ukraine, at least not a successful front,” Mr. Pabriks said in an interview in Riga, the capital of Latvia, which borders both Russia and Belarus.

An announcement last week by Belarus that it was forming a new joint military force with Russia stirred alarm in the West that the Kremlin might be preparing a new ground assault with help from Belarusian forces. Russia massed troops in Belarus ahead of its initial attack on Ukraine in February.

On Thursday, a Ukrainian general, Oleksiy Gromov, said that the threat of a possible invasion from Belarus was growing. He said that a new attack would likely not drive toward Kyiv — which lies just 60 miles from the border with Belarus — but rather to the west of the capital, nearer to the Polish border. An offensive south from western Belarus into Ukrainian territory near the border with Poland could disrupt the flow of weapons to Ukraine from the United States and its allies, much of which passes through Poland.

Russia used the territory of Belarus, its closest military and political ally, as a staging ground for its February invasion and has since launched missiles and drones into Ukraine from there. But President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko, Belarus’s veteran strongman leader, has resisted Russia’s pressure to get directly involved in the war.

On Friday, Mr. Lukashenko said it would be undesirable for Belarusian military equipment to be used in Ukraine and denied his country’s troops were training for war, adding “no war today. We don’t need it,” the state news agency Belta reported.

Mr. Lukashenko made a similar statement in February, just days before Russia invaded Ukraine from his territory.

On Friday, Ukraine’s armed forces said in a statement that if the country were attacked again from Belarus, it would “respond as fiercely as we respond to all occupiers.”

The flurry of military activity in Belarus in recent days, Britain’s defense ministry said on Friday, is “likely an attempt to demonstrate Russian-Belarusian solidarity and to convince Ukraine to divert forces to guard the northern border.”

Noting claims by Mr. Lukashenko that 70,000 Belarusians and 15,000 Russians would be involved in their new joint force, Britain’s defense ministry said it was unlikely that Russia had actually deployed significant forces and added that Belarus “maintains minimal capability to undertake complex operations.”

Vadym Skibitsky, a spokesman for Ukraine’s military intelligence agency, said in an interview that Ukraine also did not see an immediate threat of another attack from Belarus.

Several thousand newly mobilized Russian soldiers are deployed in Belarus at training sites, Mr. Skibitsky said, but they are not accompanied by tanks, artillery or fuel trucks and other logistical support they would need to invade and face Ukraine’s battle-hardened troops.

“We see these elements now moving into Belarus, but we do not see the movement of equipment,” he said.

Brig. Gen. Patrick S. Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman, also played down the likelihood of a new Russian invasion from Belarus. “We don’t currently have any indications of a potential imminent military action on that front,” he told a briefing on Thursday.

Andrew E. Kramer contributed reporting from Kyiv, Ukraine.

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