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US, Russia Energy Officials to Meet, Discuss Natural Gas

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry will meet Russia’s energy minister next week in Washington, a person familiar with the situation said Friday, as the two countries compete to supply global markets with natural gas and crude.

Perry will meet Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak on Tuesday, in the context of the World Gas Conference in Washington, the source said.

Meetings between top energy officials from Russia and the United States, two of the world’s largest oil and gas producers, have been rare in recent years.

Relations between Moscow and Washington have cooled over Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and as the Trump administration blames the Russian government for cyber attacks that targeted the U.S. power grid over the last two years.

The two countries are competing to sell natural gas to Europe. Russia’s Gazprom, the European Union’s biggest gas supplier, and several Western energy companies hope to open Nord Stream 2, a pipeline to bring Russian gas under the Baltic Sea to Germany.

The United States, meanwhile, has begun some sales of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, to Poland and Lithuania, though LNG shipments can be more expensive than gas sent via pipeline.

The United States says the advantage of its LNG is dependability and stable pricing.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump opposes the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, as did the administration of former President Barack Obama. Washington believes that the pipeline would give Russia, which has at times frozen deliveries to parts of Europe over pricing disputes, more power over the region.

The meeting comes as U.S. national security adviser John Bolton plans to visit Moscow next week to prepare for a possible meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Perry and Novak will also likely talk about oil markets. On Friday, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed in Vienna to raise oil output by a modest amount after consumers had called for producers to curb rising fuel prices.

Russia, which is not an OPEC member, began cooperating last year with the group for the first time, holding back production to support global oil prices. Before the Vienna OPEC meeting, Novak said Moscow would propose a gradual increase in output from oil-producing countries, starting in July.

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Police: Backup Driver in Fatal Uber Crash Was Distracted

The human backup driver in an autonomous Uber SUV was streaming the television show “The Voice” on her phone and looking downward just before fatally striking a pedestrian in suburban Phoenix, according to a police report.

The 300-page report released Thursday night by police in Tempe revealed that driver Rafaela Vasquez had been streaming the musical talent show via Hulu in the 43 minutes before the March 18 crash that killed Elaine Herzberg as she crossed a darkened road outside the lines of a crosswalk. The report said the crash, which marks the first fatality involving a self-driving vehicle, wouldn’t have happened had the driver not been distracted.

Dash camera video shows Vasquez was looking down near her right knee for four or five seconds before the crash. She looked up a half second before striking Herzberg as the Volvo was traveling about 44 miles per hour.

Vasquez told police Herzberg “came out of nowhere” and that she didn’t see her prior to the collision. But officers calculated that had Vasquez been paying attention, she could have reacted 143 feet before impact and brought the SUV to a stop about 42.6 feet before hitting Herzberg.

“This crash would not have occurred if Vasquez would have been monitoring the vehicle and roadway conditions and was not distracted,” the report stated.

Tempe police are looking at a vehicular manslaughter charge in the crash, according to a March 19 affidavit filed to get a search warrant for audio, video and data stored in the Uber SUV.

 

 The detective seeking the warrant, identified as J. Barutha, wrote that based on information from the vehicular homicide unit, “it is believed that the crime of vehicular manslaughter has occurred and that evidence of this offense is currently located in a 2017 Grey Volvo XC-90.”

A previously released video of the crash showed Vasquez looking down just before the crash. She had a startled look on her face about the time of the impact.

The National Transportation Safety Board, in a preliminary report issued last month, said the autonomous driving system on Uber’s Volvo XC-90 SUV spotted Herzberg about six seconds before hitting her, but did not stop because the system used to automatically apply brakes in potentially dangerous situations had been disabled.

The system is disabled while Uber’s cars are under computer control, “to reduce the potential for erratic vehicle behavior,” the NTSB report said. Instead of the system, Uber relies on the human backup driver to intervene, the report stated. But the system is not designed to alert the driver.

Uber pulled its self-driving cars out of Arizona the day before the NTSB report was released, eliminating the jobs of about 300 people who served as backup drivers and performed other jobs connected to the vehicles. The company had suspended testing of its self-driving vehicles in Arizona, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto while regulators investigated the cause of the crash. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey prohibited Uber from continuing its tests of self-driving cars after Herzberg was run over.

Police initially determined that Vasquez was not impaired after giving her a field test.

Analysis of video taken from the vehicle shows Vasquez looked downward 204 times in the 11.8 miles traveled before the crash. While the SUV was in motion, Vasquez averted her eyes away from the roadway nearly a third of the time, according to the report.

“Sometimes, her face appears to react and show a smirk or laugh at various points during the times that she is looking down,” the report said. “Her hands are not visible in the frame of the video during these times.”

The office of Cristina Perez Hesano, an attorney for Herzberg’s daughter and husband, declined to comment on the police report. Attorney Pat McGroder, who represents Herzberg’s mother, father and son, didn’t immediately respond to a call late Friday morning seeking comment.

An Uber spokeswoman said in a prepared statement Friday morning that the company is cooperating with investigations while it does an internal safety review. “We have a strict policy prohibiting mobile device usage for anyone operating our self-driving vehicles. We plan to share more on the changes we’ll make to our program soon,” the statement said.

Use of a mobile device while an autonomous vehicle is moving is a fireable offense, and “this is emphasized on an ongoing basis,” the statement said.

After the crash, the ride-hailing company said it did a top-to-bottom safety evaluation, reviewing internal processes and safety culture. Uber also said it brought in former transportation safety board chairman Christopher Hart to advise the company on safety.

Both Vasquez and Uber could still face civil liability in the case, Uber for potentially negligent hiring, training and supervision, said Bryant Walker Smith, a University of South Carolina law professor who closely follows autonomous vehicles.

Vasquez could be charged criminally, and if there’s evidence that Uber or its employees acted recklessly, then charges against them are possible, Smith said. But charges against the company are not likely, he added.

“This should not have happened in so many ways and on so many levels,” Smith said. “This report, if true, makes things worse. And obviously it would not look good to a jury.”

Uber settled quickly with some of Herzberg’s family members but others have retained legal counsel.

The Yavapai County Attorney’s Office hasn’t set a deadline for deciding whether to bring charges, said Penny Cramer, assistant to County Attorney Sheila Polk. The prosecutorial agency declined to comment on the police report.

The case was handed to Polk’s office after the prosecutor’s office in metro Phoenix passed on the case, citing a potential conflict of interest. The agency in Phoenix had previously participated in a public-safety campaign with Uber.

On a body camera video the night of the crash, police gathered at the scene quickly realized that they were dealing with a big story because an autonomous vehicle was involved.

An officer who identifies himself as supervisor of the unit that investigates fatal crashes is seen asking a man who appears to be an Uber supervisor about getting video from the SUV and whether Uber’s lawyers have been contacted.

“You guys know as well as I know that this is going to be an international story,” the police supervisor says. “We want to make sure that we’re doing not only what we normally do and not doing anything different, but also making sure that everything’s above board and everything’s out in the open.”

The supervisor goes on to say that he’s going to communicate as honestly as he can. “I hope that you guys do the same because we’re going to be working together throughout this whole process from now, probably for months from now.”

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На вивчення української у школах з іншими мовами навчання виділено 46 мільйонів гривень – Гриневич

«Ми виділили кошти на обладнання кабінетів української мови у таких школах. А також встановили цим вчителям надбавку до 30% – найбільшу, яка є» – міністр

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YouTube хоче запровадити помісячну передплату на топ-блогерів

Платформа YouTube запроваджує можливість помісячної передплати на окремі канали, повідомляють розробники на своєму блозі.

Це стане можливо у рамках функції Channel Memberships, яка буде доступна блогерам, у яких 100 тисяч підписників. Для читачів це коштуватиме 4,99 доларів на місяць, і за це вони отримають доступ до закритих трансляцій чи ексклюзивних відео.

Раніше таку можливість тестували на окремих користувачах, мовиться у дописі.

«З моменту запуску в січні комедіант Майк Фалзон більше, ніж втричі збільшив дохід від YouTube. А мандрівники Саймон і Мартіна побудували згуртовану спільноту та оновлювали міні-серії лише для її членів у більш ніж 30 країнах від Фінляндії до Філіппін», – зазначають автори блогу платформи.

Наразі блогери у соцмережах заробляють, зокрема, на рекламі. Як розповів Радіо Свобода керівник SMM-студії Сергій Гутюк, в Україні також є попит на контент у YouTube, якщо він буде практично зорієнтований.За його словами, в середньому Instagram-блогери намагаються вийти на суму заробітку від 1000 до 2000 доларів на місяць.

 

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Trump Threatens 20 Percent Tariff on EU Cars

U.S. President Donald Trump is threatening to impose a 20 percent tariff on vehicles assembled in the European Union and shipped to the United States, in retaliation for European tariffs on American imports.

On Friday, the day new EU tariffs went into effect, Trump tweeted, “…if these Tariffs and Barriers are not soon broken down and removed, we will be placing a 20% Tariff on all of their cars coming into the U.S. Build them here!”

Auto industry experts say such tariffs could negatively impact the U.S. economy, as well as Europe’s.

“It’s really a tangle; it’s not a simple question” of cars being made in one place and sold in another, Kasper Peters, communications manager of ACEA, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, said Friday in an interview with VOA.

In March, ACEA Secretary General Erik Jonnaert noted the impact European carmakers with plants in the United States have on local economies. “EU manufacturers do not only import vehicles into the U.S. They also have a major manufacturing footprint there, providing significant local employment and generating tax revenue,” Jonnaert said in a statement.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said earlier this week that his department plans to wrap up by July or August an investigation into whether imported cars and car parts are a threat to national security. But Daniel Price, a former senior economic adviser to President George W. Bush, told The Washington Post that Trump’s threat of new tariffs “short-circuited the … process and conclusively undercut the stated national security rationale of that investigation.”

The new EU tariffs enacted Friday apply to billions of dollars’ worth of American goods — including jeans, bourbon and motorcycles.

The action is the latest response to Trump’s decision to tax imported steel and aluminum.

The U.S. is scheduled to start taxing more than $30 billion in Chinese imports in two weeks.

Like the EU, China has promised to retaliate immediately, putting the world’s two largest economies at odds. 

A U.S. Chamber of Commerce senior vice president, John Murphy, was cited by the Associated Press as saying he estimates that $75 billion in U.S. products could be subjected to new foreign tariffs by the end of the first week of July.

Separately, a spokesman for China’s Commerce Ministry said, “The U.S. is abusing the tariff methods and starting trade wars all around the world.”

“Clarity [is] still lacking about how far things will ultimately go between [the] U.S. and China and the potential ripple effect for world trade,” said financial analyst Mike van Dulken.

During his presidential campaign, Trump promised to apply tariffs, saying countries around the world had been exploiting the U.S.

A former White House trade adviser says Trump “has been so belligerent that it becomes almost impossible for democratically elected leaders — or even a non-democratic leader like [Chinese President] Xi Jinping — to appear to kowtow and give in.”

Phillip Levy, a senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, said, “The president has made it very hard for other countries to give him what he wants.”

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India Joins Countries Announcing Retaliatory Tariffs on US Products

Retaliating against the Trump administration’s tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, India has raised duties on 29 U.S. goods worth about $240 million.

New Delhi made the announcement Thursday after Washington ignored its request to be exempted from the tariffs because its exports were tiny compared to others, such as China and the European Union. India accounts for about 2 percent of American imports of steel and aluminum, or $1.5 billion in sales.

India is the latest country to hit back against U.S. President Donald Trump’s tariff increases on steel and aluminum imports.

Among the items on which India will impose higher tariffs are agricultural products such as almonds, apples, walnuts, chickpeas and lentils, as well as some stainless steel products. India is the world’s biggest buyer of U.S. almonds and among the biggest importers of apples. The new tariffs will go into effect August 4.

New Delhi imposed the retaliatory tariffs amid worries that the U.S. might target India’s more significant exports, such as pharmaceuticals.

“It is an appropriate signal,” said Rajiv Kumar of the government’s policy research organization, NITI Aayog. “I am hopeful that all this will die down.”

Although the Indian levies on American products are small compared with those involved in the U.S.-China spat, the trade friction between the two democracies signals discord and uncertainty at a time when they are developing a closer strategic partnership.

India is among the countries named by Trump as following trade practices unfair to the U.S.

Speaking at the Group of Seven summit in Canada earlier this month, he said, “This isn’t just G-7. I mean, we have India, where some of the tariffs are 100 percent. A hundred percent. And we charge nothing. We can’t do that.”

Trump has repeatedly said India imposes a punitive import duty on Harley-Davidson motorcycles whereas the U.S. has much lower duties on motorcycles imported from India. His complaint prompted New Delhi to cut the import duty from 75 percent to 50 percent on high-end bikes earlier this year.

For the time being, India has kept high-end motorcycles off the list of items selected for higher tariffs.

The U.S. tariffs and counter-tariffs are “opening a Pandora’s box whereby countries will impose, retaliate, somebody will act, somebody will react. This is going to be a process that will pull everybody down,” said economist Ram Upendra Das, who heads the Center for Regional Trade in New Delhi, a research organization of India’s Commerce Ministry. He calls it “a race to the bottom.”

A trade deficit in New Delhi’s favor of about $30 billion in their annual bilateral trade of approximately $125 billion has long been an irritant for Washington. India is on the Trump administration list of countries with which it had a large deficit.

Officials from New Delhi and Washington are expected to hold trade talks next week to try to bridge their differences.

But amid growing fears that the rising wave of protectionism signaled by the U.S. tariffs threatens emerging economies like India, economists are confident that the trade disputes will be short-lived. “It has to get corrected. We will have to see how long it takes,” said economist Das.

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АМКУ оштрафував 16 компаній через підвищення цін на скраплений газ у серпні 2017 року

Антимонопольний комітет України оштрафував 16 постачальників скрапленого газу за цінову змову на майже 41 мільйон гривень. 

Як йдеться у повідомленні комітету, антиконкурентні дії цих компаній полягали у схожому підвищенні цін на скраплений газ під час продажу у роздріб.

Аналіз ситуації на ринку спростовує наявність об’єктивних причин для підвищення тоді цін, додають в АМКУ. 

Влітку минулого року в Україні подорожчав скраплений газ. Антимонопольний комітет почав розслідування.

Читайте також – Дорогий автогаз: Гройсман заявив про диверсію. Винна Росія і Медведчук?

У Мінекономрозвитку тоді пояснювали, що українські виробники скрапленого газу – «Укргазвидобування», «Укрнафта», «Укртатнафта» і приватні компанії – покривають не більше ніж 20% потреб ринку, а решту Україна імпортує з Росії, Білорусі, Казахстану, а обмеження з боку Росії призвели до зменшення імпорту скрапленого газу в Україну і його дефіциту, що вплинуло на ціну.

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Turkey Joins Nations Placing New Tariffs on US Products

Turkey announced Thursday that it would impose tariffs on $1.8 billion worth of U.S. goods in retaliation for U.S. President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

The World Trade Organization said the new Turkish tariffs would amount to $266.5 million on products including cars, coal, paper, rice and tobacco.

Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said in a statement that Turkey would not allow itself “to be wrongly blamed for America’s economic challenges.”

He continued, “We are part of the solution, not the problem.”

On Wednesday, the EU announced that it had compiled a list of U.S. products on which it would begin charging import duties of 25 percent, a move that could escalate into a full-blown trade war, especially if U.S. President Donald Trump follows through with his threat to impose tariffs on European cars.

“We did not want to be in this position. However, the unilateral and unjustified decision of the U.S. to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on the EU means that we are left with no other choice,” EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said in a statement.

The commission, which manages the daily business of the EU, adopted a law that places duties on $3.2 billion worth of U.S. goods, including aluminum and steel products, agricultural products, bourbon and motorcycles.

Malmstrom said that the EU response was consistent with World Trade Organization rules and that the tariffs would be lifted if the U.S. rescinded its metal tariffs, which amount to $7.41 billion.

Trump slapped tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum on the EU, Canada and Mexico, which went into effect at the beginning of June.

Canada said it would impose retaliatory tariffs on $12.5 billion worth of U.S. products on July 1.

Mexico imposed tariffs two weeks ago on a range of U.S. products, including steel, pork and bourbon.

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