Monday, 28 Sep 2020

Caught Snoozing? Impeachment Sketch Artist Shows Sen. Jim Risch Zonked Out During Trial

Tripoli airport closes again after rocket fire

TRIPOLI (Reuters) – The only functioning airport in Libya’s capital Tripoli closed on Wednesday after rockets were fired toward it, the airport said in a statement.

A plane coming from Tunis trying to land at Tripoli’s Mitiga airport had been diverted to Misrata, a city about 200km (125 miles) east of Tripoli, the airport said on its website.

Mitiga had only reopened on Jan. 14 after months of closure following repeated air strikes, part of a nine-month campaign by eastern forces commanded by Khalifa Haftar to seize Tripoli from the internationally recognized government.

Gold Holds Steady As Coronavirus Fears Abate

Gold prices held steady on Wednesday and the dollar strengthened as China’s response to a virus outbreak tempered some fears of a global pandemic.

Spot gold edged up marginally to $1,558.57 an ounce, after hitting its lowest level since Jan. 15 in the previous session at $1,545.96. U.S. gold futures were little changed at $1,558.55.

China said it would increase screening and controls after the death toll from a new flu-like coronavirus rose to nine with 440 confirmed cases.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is expected to declare a Public Health Emergency of International Concern in response to the coronavirus outbreak which appears to have originated in eastern China, and spread to more Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai.

Asian stock markets recovered from an early slide to close mostly higher while European stocks held largely steady ahead of the European Central Bank’s monetary policy meeting on Thursday.

Ally Financial Q4 Profit Beats Estimates; Adj. Total Net Revenue Up 4%

Ally Financial Inc. (ALLY) reported fourth-quarter adjusted earnings per share of $0.95, up 3 percent year-on-year. On average, 17 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report profit per share of $0.93, for the quarter. Analysts’ estimates typically exclude special items.

For the fourth-quarter, net income attributable to shareholders was $378 million, an increase of $88 million from previous year as higher net financing revenue and higher other revenue more than offset higher provision for loan losses and higher noninterest expense.

Fourth-quarter adjusted total net revenue was $1.6 billion, up 4 percent. Analysts expected revenue of $1.61 billion for the quarter. Net financing revenue increased $16 million from prior year.

Albirex provide an assist for senior citizens

Winger Daniel Goh was among the Albirex Niigata players and coaches who joined volunteers from the Yuhua community on Sunday to give out red packets containing NTUC vouchers and rice packages to 3,600 senior citizens. The package includes a 1kg pack of white rice from Niigata in Japan, which is also what the footballers eat. Albirex donated 2,000kg of rice and sold 1,600kg to Yuhua Community Club at a token price. The event gave Albirex the chance to mingle with residents to gather more support for the upcoming Singapore Premier League season.

Oil Extends Losses After IEA Surplus Forecast

Oil prices fell on Wednesday to extend losses from the previous session after the International Energy Agency (IEA) said a surplus of one million barrels per day (bpd) of oil will keep a lid on prices in the first half of 2020.

Benchmark Brent crude dropped 0.65 percent to $64.17 a barrel, while U.S. crude futures were down 0.75 percent at $57.95.

“I see an abundance of energy supply in terms of oil and gas,” the head of the IEA, Fatih Birol, told the Reuters Global Markets Forum on Tuesday, while attending the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos.

“It’s the reason that recent incidents we have seen – with the Iranian general killed, Libya unrest – didn’t boost international oil prices,” Birol added.

Concerns around supply disruptions in Libya, Iran and Iraq also faded, with analysts now saying that any supply disruptions could be offset by increased output from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC),

Goldman man Sachs said in a note that a potential drop in oil demand from top energy consumer China due to the outbreak of a new coronavirus could hurt crude prices by about $3 per barrel.

“Translating the estimated SARS demand impact into 2020 volumes points to a potential 260,000 barrels per day negative shock to global oil demand on average,” Goldman said.

Inventory data from the American Petroleum Institute (API), an industry group, will be out later today, while the weekly EIA report is due on Thursday.

Caught Snoozing? Impeachment Sketch Artist Shows Sen. Jim Risch Zonked Out During Trial

A Republican lawmaker was reportedly caught nodding during Tuesday evening’s marathon impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. 

Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) had his eyes closed and head slumped into the palm of his hand at about 5:30 p.m. 

Independent cameras were not allowed in the Senate during the proceedings. With the only cameras in the chamber controlled by Senate staffers, the scene was only captured on video or via still photograph. But a New York Times sketch artist in the chamber preserved the moment for posterity:  

Sketch artist Art Lien wrote that the senator was “catching a few winks.” 

The Washington Post said Risch, who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, had “clearly fallen asleep” for about 15 minutes. NBC News reported that he appeared to be “jolted awake” when Trump attorney Jay Sekulow took the stand and began speaking louder than the speaker before him.

A spokesperson for Risch told The Wall Street Journal that the senator was just listening closely, which he does “with his eyes closed or cast down.”

By the end of the night, trying to keep awake seemed to have become a bipartisan effort: 

The Senate finally wrapped just before 2 a.m., after nearly 13 hours.

The trial is set to resume Wednesday.

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