Police on Friday reported that an explosion in an apartment building in Germany, Blankenburg, has left one man dead and about 15 people injured.
The man who died was a 78-year-old tenant in whose flat the explosion is believed to have occurred.
According to police, emergency responders found several liquid gas bottles and heating devices that use gas in the flat, as well as World War ammunition.
According to Mayor Heiko Breithaupt, the explosion may have been caused by one of the gas bottles as the apartment building was not connected to gas for heating.
Police representative Frank Goetze told journalists, that there were no indications that explosives were in the house.
The Police had initially said that at least 25 people were injured, but later revised that number.
Breithaupt said one of the victims was seriously injured with burns, three emergency responders suffered from smoke inhalation.
The large explosion happened shortly before 9 am (0800 GMT) in the building on the edges of the central German town, which is located near the Harz Mountains.
The district fire chief, Kai-Uwe Lohse said the building was evacuated and experts were due to assess its structural integrity on Friday adding that its slabs had shifted.
Large parts of the surrounding area were cordoned off by police. Numerous police and fire brigade officials were on the scene, with helicopters circling over the health resort town.
The police said a nearby day-care centre was evacuated, with around 100 children unharmed, they were moved to other facilities.
A house across the street was left with cracked windows, while cars parked on the street also appeared to have sustained significant damage.
A 63-year-old resident of the area told dpa that a pen she was holding had fallen out of her hand.
“I was sitting in the kitchen and heard a big bang,’’ the resident said.
Edited by: Hadiza Mohammed/Emmanuel Yashim
United States initiates ‘snapback’ process to reimpose sanctions on Iran – Pompeo
The United States has initiated the so-called snapback process to restore almost all previously lifted UN sanctions against Iran, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Saturday.
“Today, the United States welcomes the return of virtually all previously terminated UN sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror and anti-Semitism,” Pompeo said.
He said the snapback of previously terminated UN sanctions became effective at 8 pm Washington time (0000 GMT).
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif rejected the United States move, saying that the snapback mechanism and reimposed sanctions were invalid.
“This step is not supported by the UN Security Council because the United States is no longer in the nuclear agreement and accordingly no longer plays a role in UN resolution 2231,” Zarif said referring to the resolution in which the UNSC backed the Iran nuclear deal signed in Vienna in 2015.
The move by Washington was merely a “propaganda trick” ahead of the United States election, Zarif said on Iranian state television.
Washington’s plans to reimpose international sanctions on Iran have been met with overwhelming opposition from other countries.
Other members of the UN Security Council (UNSC), including key United States allies who are part of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, have rejected Washington’s move and have vowed to ignore it.
Under the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Tehran limited its nuclear activities in return for sanctions relief.
“Sanctions are being re-imposed on Iran pursuant to the snapback process under UN Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 2231. On August 20, the United States notified the President of the Security Council of Iran’s significant non-performance of its JCPOA commitments,” Pompeo said in the Saturday statement.
“Virtually all @UN sanctions have returned on Iran, the leading state sponsor of terrorism and anti-Semitism.
“This includes a permanent extension of the arms embargo. This is great news for peace in the region!” Pompeo added on Twitter.
He later added that Washington would soon “announce a range of additional measures to strengthen enforcement of @UN sanctions on Iran.”
“Our maximum pressure campaign on the Iranian regime will continue until it stops spreading chaos, violence, and bloodshed,” he said.
United States special representative for Iran and Venezuela Elliott Abrams had already signalled Washington’s determination to reimpose sanctions on Tehran earlier this week.
The United States launched a formal bid in August to revive the UN sanctions under the “snapback” mechanism included in the Iran deal.
Those sanctions include the indefinite extension of an arms embargo that would otherwise expire in October.
But few countries believe Washington’s move is legal, as United States President Donald Trump unilaterally exited the JCPOA in 2018.
Washington said it would provide more information this weekend and next week on how the United States intended to enforce the global sanctions.
“In the coming days, the United States will announce a range of additional measures to strengthen implementation of UN sanctions and hold violators accountable,” Pompeo said in Saturday’s statement.
“Our maximum pressure campaign on the Iranian regime will continue until Iran reaches a comprehensive agreement with us to rein in its proliferation threats and stops spreading chaos, violence, and bloodshed,” Pompeo asserted.
Trump is likely to address Iran in his speech next week to the UN General Assembly’s largely online meeting of world leaders.
The stand-off between the United States and other member states over the issue threatens a diplomatic crisis at the world body.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
Oil rises after OPEC warn members to stick to quotas
Oil prices rose for a fourth day in a row on Friday, putting crude on track for a weekly gain of about 10 per cent, after Saudi Arabia pressed allies to stick to production quotas and banks, including Goldman Sachs, predicted a supply deficit.
Brent crude was up 18 cents at $43.48 a barrel by 0756 GMT while United States oil futures rose 17 cents to $41.14.
Both contracts are set for their strongest weekly gains since early June after Hurricane Sally cut United States production while OPEC and its allies laid out steps to address market weakness.
Goldman Sachs predicted the market would be in a deficit of three million barrels per day (bpd) by the fourth quarter and reiterated its target for Brent to reach $49 by the end of the year and $65 by the third quarter of 2021.
Swiss bank UBS also pointed to the possibility of undersupply in the oil market, forecasting Brent would rise to $45 a barrel in the fourth quarter and $55 by mid-2021.
Meanwhile, a tropical depression in the western part of the Gulf of Mexico could become a hurricane in the next few days, potentially threatening more United States oil facilities.
The Saudi Arabian energy minister said those who gamble on oil prices would be hurt “like hell”.
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other producers in OPEC+ are cutting 7.7 million bpd of output and the group stressed at a meeting on Thursday that it would take action against members not complying with the deal.
In the Gulf of Mexico, United States offshore drillers and exporters began a clear-up on Thursday after Hurricane Sally weakened to a depression and started rebooting idle rigs following their closure for five days.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde
Oil jumps above $41 as storm hits United States output, inventories drop
Oil rose for a second day on Wednesday, gaining more than two per cent, as a hurricane closed United States offshore production and an industry report showed United States crude inventories unexpectedly decreased.
More than a quarter of United States offshore output was shut on Tuesday due to Hurricane Sally.
The American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday said crude inventories fell 9.5 million barrels, rather than increased as analysts expected.
Brent crude rose 86 cents or 2.1 per cent to $41.39 a barrel by 1012 GMT, while United States crude added 85 cents or 2.2 per cent to $39.13.
Both contracts rose by more than two per cent on Tuesday.
“Overnight, the APE provided a further injection of bullish impetus,’’ said Stephen Greenock of oil broker P.M.
“As much as a feel-good factor appears to have returned to the oil market, underlying fundamentals remain far from supportive.’’
The storm-related shutdowns may help reduce the stockpile, although refineries were also closed, cutting demand.
“Oil prices were lent further support by the APE and the weather,’’ said Commerzbank analyst, Eugene Weinberg.
“Despite an unfavourable fundamental and technical backdrop.’’
Oil prices collapsed to historic lows as the coronavirus crisis hit demand.
Prices have dropped in September, pressured by rising virus cases and concerns about demand.
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and International Energy Agency have both cut their demand outlooks this week.
A panel of OPEC+ oil ministers meets to review the supply pact on Thursday and is unlikely to recommend further output curbs despite the price drop, sources told Reuters.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde
China puts 9 satellites into orbit from ship
China has successfully launched a group of nine high-resolution Earth remote sensing satellites of the Jilin-1 Gaofen-03-1 constellation, into orbit using the Long March-11 carrier rocket, an official said.
The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) said this on Tuesday in Beijing.
Earlier in September, the Jilin-1 Gaofen 02C remote-sensing satellite on board a Chinese-made Kuaizhou-1A carrier rocket failed to enter orbit after launch.
An investigation has begun to identify the cause of the failure.
The group of nine satellites includes three video satellites and six remote sensing scanners.
About thirteen minutes later, after travelling 535 kilometers, it has deployed nine Jilin 1 high-resolution Earth-observation satellites, three to take videos and six to take photographs in sun-synchronous orbits, the report said.
Each of the satellites, developed by Changguang Satellite Technology in Changchun, Jilin province, weighs about 42 kgs.
They will provide remote-sensing services to users in fields such as agriculture, forestry, land resources and environmental protection, the report said.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Emmanuel Yashim