Foreign

Update: Bangladesh mosque blast death toll rises to 20, many gravely wounded

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Nine more deaths have been recorded from a suspected gas explosion and fire at a mosque outside the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka raising the toll to 20, Police and doctors said on Saturday.


The explosion on Friday night hit as Muslim worshippers were about to end their evening prayers at the Baitus Salat Jame mosque in Narayanganj district, nearly 25 kilometres south of Dhaka, police officer, Zayedul Alam, said.

Thirty-seven victims with severe wounds were taken to Dhaka’s specialist burn and plastic surgery institute, he said.

Among those that die at the hospital was the mosque’s Imam, Dr Partha Sankar Paul told reporters, adding the death toll could rise further.

A seven-year-old boy, who had burns on nearly 95 per cent of his body, died hours after he was admitted to the hospital, according to Samanta Lal Sen, Head of the burn institute.

Television footage showed relatives of the deceased wailing outside the hospital.

Members of the Fire Service and Civil Defence Department, who extinguished the fire, said a gas leak might have caused the explosion.

“Primarily, we are suspecting that gas accumulated from a line beneath the mosque might have caused the explosion,’’ said Abdullah Al Arefin from the fire service.

Six air conditioners inside the mosque also exploded, he said.

A police bomb disposal unit had collected evidence from the scene to examine the cause of the blast.

Brig.-Gen. Sajjad Hossain, Head of the Fire Service and Civil Defence Department, said the state-run gas transmission and distribution agency, Titas, and the district administration had launched separate probes into the accident.

Sixteen of the bodies were handed to their respective relatives, who requested not to conduct their autopsy, a local government official, Nahid Barik, said.

The families were given a small sum of money for conducting the rites of the deceased, he added.

The government has asked the state-run utility service providers to check power connections and air conditioning systems at all places of worship, including nearly 300,000 mosques across Bangladesh, after the fatal accident.

State Minister for Power and Energy, Nasrul Hamid, asked a committee to report back on the situation in three days.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde
Source: NAN

 

https://nnn.ng/update-bangladesh-mosque-blast-death-toll-rises-to-20-many-gravely-wounded/

Economy

Oil steady as United States storm eases but demand recovery fears persist

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Oil futures were little changed on Tuesday after sharp overnight losses, as the latest tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico lost strength.


But worries about fuel demand persisted with flare-ups around the globe in coronavirus cases.

Brent crude futures edged three cents 0.1 per cent, lower to $41.41 a barrel at 0637 GMT thus, reversing earlier small gains.

United States West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for October, due to expire on Tuesday, slipped four cents or 0.1 per cent to $39.27 a barrel.

The more active November contract shed three cents or 0.1 per cent to $39.51.

Crude prices, which fell about four per cent on Monday, won some respite as Texas refineries stayed after a tropical storm was expected to keep losing strength, allaying worries about United States refinery demand for feedstock.

However, concerns about global demand held sway.

“The recovery in sentiment after the rout in risk assets seen a fortnight ago was clearly fragile,’’ said Vandana Hari, an energy analyst at Singapore-based Vanda Insights.

“This week, the market is recalibrating to a likely stalling of the economic recovery in Europe as several countries in the region impose fresh restrictions to contain a surge in the coronavirus.’’

Monday’s price slump was spurred by concerns that an increase in coronavirus cases in major markets could lead to fresh lockdowns and hurt demand.

That raised the possibility that a return of Libyan oil could come when it isn’t needed, as the country looks to ramp up exports.

“We had a pretty punchy risk-off session (overnight) … on fears around the risk that a COVID-19 resurgence starts to have negative impacts on demand again,’’ said Lachlan Shaw, National Australia Bank’s head of commodity research.

Markets are nervous about demand in places like the United Kingdom, where fresh restrictions are being imposed.

United States health officials are also warning of a new wave in the coming winter.

“When the virus resurges, governments lockdown, impose restrictions and individuals and businesses start to retreat.

It’s all bad for demand,’’ Shaw said.

Traders will be watching out for the American Petroleum Institute’s data on United States oil inventories due later on Tuesday.

United States crude oil and gasoline stockpiles likely fell last week, while inventories of distillates, including diesel, were seen climbing, a preliminary Reuters poll showed.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde
Source: NAN

https://nnn.ng/oil-steady-as-united-states-storm-eases-but-demand-recovery-fears-persist/
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Economy

East Mediterranean states formally establish Egypt-based gas forum

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Six states signed a charter on Tuesday for an Egypt-based forum to promote natural gas exports from the eastern Mediterranean.


Egypt, Israel, Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Jordan signed the statute in a virtual ceremony to establish the East Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) as an intergovernmental organisation.

According to a joint declaration, the forum “will contribute to advancing regional stability and prosperity’’ through cooperation in the energy field.

It said the forum would be open to any East Mediterranean country applying to join.

Members of the forum have already held several meetings in Cairo since early last year.

Other states or organisations could join as observers.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde
Source: NAN

https://nnn.ng/east-mediterranean-states-formally-establish-egypt-based-gas-forum/
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COVID-19

COVID-19 rules for pubs to change soon – UK minister

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Changes will be brought in to COVID-19-related rules affecting pubs, Britain’s Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said on Monday.


Asked whether pubs would open at the weekend, Hancock said, “we’ll be absolutely clear about changes that we need to make in the very, very near future.

“We’ve been working on this all weekend.

“We haven’t taken the final decision about what we need to do in response to the surge in new cases that we’ve seen’’.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde
Source: NAN

https://nnn.ng/covid-19-rules-for-pubs-to-change-soon-uk-minister/
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Economy

Oil prices slip on potential return of Libyan output; Gulf storm supports

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Oil prices fell on Monday on the potential return of output from Libya as rising coronavirus cases also added to worries about global demand, although a tropical storm heading for the United States Gulf of Mexico limited losses.


Brent crude was down 33 cents or 0.8 per cent at $42.82 a barrel by 0645 GMT, while United States crude was down 38 cents or 0.9 per cent to $40.73 a barrel.

Workers at Libya’s major Sharara field have restarted operations, two engineers working there said, after National Oil Corporation announced a partial lifting of force majeure.

But it was still unclear when production might restart.

“The market can ill afford more crude hitting the market,’’ ANZ analysts said in a note on Monday, at a time when coronavirus-related curbs have eroded demand.

More than 30.78 million people have been infected by the novel coronavirus and 954,843 have died globally, a Reuters tally shows, paralysing travel and business activity.

“It is hard to get excited about a pickup in crude demand as the virus is surging in France, Spain and the UK, along with concerns that the United States appears poised for at least one more cycle in the fall and winter,’’ said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.

“Even if energy markets don’t see Libyan production return or if hurricane season eases, oil prices can’t shake off the dwindling demand outlook.’’

Meanwhile, Royal Dutch Shell Plc halted some oil production and began evacuating workers from a United States Gulf of Mexico platform, the company said on Saturday.

Tropical Storm Beta was predicted to bring one foot (30 centimetres) of rain to parts of coastal Texas and Louisiana as the 23rd named storm of this year’s Atlantic hurricane season moves ashore on Monday night, the National Hurricane Centre said.

Oil and gas producers had been restarting their offshore operations over the weekend after being disrupted by Hurricane Sally.

Some 17 per cent of United States Gulf of Mexico offshore oil production and nearly 13 per cent of natural gas output went offline on Saturday in the face of Sally’s waves and winds.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde
Source: NAN

https://nnn.ng/oil-prices-slip-on-potential-return-of-libyan-output-gulf-storm-supports/
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