KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine and Belarus traded angry accusations Wednesday over thousands of Hasidic Jewish pilgrims who have remained stuck on their border after Ukraine denied them entry because of coronavirus restrictions.
Ukraine’s presidential office urged Belarusian authorities to stop issuing misleading signals to the ultra-Orthodox Jewish pilgrims that they could eventually cross the border.
“We are asking Belarusian authorities to stop fueling the tensions on the border and refrain from spreading false encouraging statements that could leave the pilgrims with a feeling that the Ukrainian border might be opened,” it said. “Belarusian authorities have deliberately or unintentionally helped spread those rumors.”
Belarusian Foreign Ministry spokesman Anatoly Glaz shot back at Ukraine, accusing it of “inhumane” treatment of the Jewish pilgrims.
Ukrainian authorities said about 2,000 Hasidic Jewish pilgrims converged on the border in hopes of crossing over and reaching the Ukrainian city of Uman.
The grave of an important Hasidic rabbi who died in 1810, Nachman of Breslov, is located in Uman. Thousands of the ultra-Orthodox Jews visit the city each September for Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year.
This time, however, Ukraine closed its borders in late August amid a surge in COVID-19 infections. Belarus, which shares a long border with Ukraine, hasn’t barred foreign visitors from entering.
As the Jewish pilgrims have gathered on the border, Ukraine has deployed additional forces to protect the frontier and sent aircraft and drones to patrol it.
Glaz, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry spokesman, accused Ukrainian authorities of being reluctant to find a solution and trying to shift blame.
“We persistently urge Ukrainian authorities to respect fundamental human rights, religious rights and internationally recognized norms and follow humanitarian principles,” he said.
Late Tuesday, the Belarusian government said it was offering to help Ukraine set up a “green corridor” for the pilgrims to get to Uman and back to Belarus.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s spokeswoman, Natalia Eismont, said Belarus was ready to provide buses to drive the pilgrims to Uman and back and make all the necessary precautions to prevent a spike in new infections.
Ukraine’s presidential office hinted that Belarusian authorities’ actions could be rooted in the latest tensions between the two neighbors following Belarus’ presidential election.
Ukraine has joined the United States and the European Union in criticizing the Aug. 9 vote in which Lukashenko extended his 26-year authoritarian rule as neither free nor fair and urged Belarusian authorities to end their crackdown on protesters.
In Wednesday’s speech, Lukashenko accused Ukraine of working in cahoots with the U.S. and its allies to foment the protests demanding his resignation.
Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.
Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
Former Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara Denies Charlotte Kirk’s Accusation of Non-Consensual Sex
Kevin Tsujihara denies that his past extramarital relationship with actress Charlotte Kirk, which led to his ouster as the CEO of Warner Bros. in March 2019, was anything but consensual, following a report on Thursday that Kirk had accused him of engaging “in non-consensual intercourse.”
In a story published Thursday by The Hollywood Reporter, citing sealed legal documents, Kirk said on Sept. 26, 2013, she met Tsujihara and mogul James Packer at the Hotel Bel-Air. Kirk said that she initially refused to have sex with Tsujihara but was pressured by Packer to do so. THR reported that Kirk said in legal documents, “Fearing for her personal safety, being blacklisted and the destruction of her career before it ever began, she complied with Mr. [Packer’s] demands and engaged in non-consensual intercourse with Mr. [Tsujihara] under duress.”
“The recently published Hollywood Reporter story is comprised of lies and twisted facts, and is outright wrong in many respects,” Bert H. Deixler, Tsujihara’s personal attorney, told TheWrap. “Despite being provided with evidence to refute several purported claims, The Hollywood Reporter recklessly included these blatant falsehoods. Any claims made against Kevin Tsujihara related to Ms. Kirk are legally and factually baseless, manufactured many years after their brief consensual relationship to unjustly seek the payment of money. The relationship was pursued by Ms. Kirk and at all times understood by Kevin to be entirely consensual. While Kevin continues to regret the relationship and the impact it had on his family, he will pursue all legal remedies available to protect himself from extortionate claims and prevent false accusations against him.”
Also Read: Who Is Charlotte Kirk, the Actress at Center of Ron Meyer’s Ouster
According to THR, Kirk is currently suing her former lawyers and is battling with Marty Singer (who represents Packer, Brett Ratner and Avi Lerner) over an injunction which keeps her from pursuing legal action against any of the parties involved.
Singer, in a lengthy statement to TheWrap, said in part, “My clients are the victims of a multi-million-dollar civil extortion plot perpetrated by Charlotte Kirk, her former boyfriend Joshua Newton and her latest paramour Neil Marshall. After years of ever-evolving and wildly untrue allegations of misconduct in an increasingly outlandish hunt for money, this past Spring, they threatened to smear my clients and they collectively demanded a mindboggling $335 million.”
He continued, “To be clear, these latest allegations are ludicrous, offensive and entirely false. James Packer never behaved in the manner alleged, and, as Kirk herself repeatedly said in multiple television and print interviews that she voluntarily gave, all of her interactions with my clients were fully consensual at all times … Enough is enough. My clients are done with these scheming opportunists and their malicious, defamatory smears – and look forward to putting an end to this menacing plot once and for all.”
A rep for Kirk told TheWrap, “Right now, we should be focused on finding justice for Breonna Taylor and the others that have lost their lives to police brutality. Charlotte’s personal issues are nothing compared to the real world problems we are dealing with inside our country, day to day. Let’s all team up, vote, and push for equality on all levels of life. Increased humanity should be our new goal.”
In March 2019, Kevin Tsujihara stepped down as chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Entertainment amid an ongoing investigation into his past relationship with Kirk, an aspiring actress who was later cast in two Warner Bros. movies. Tsujihara worked at the studio for two decades and served as chairman for six years.
Read original story Former Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara Denies Charlotte Kirk’s Accusation of Non-Consensual Sex At TheWrap
Vermilion Energy Inc. Provides Update on the Grandpuits Refinery
CALGARY, AB, Sept. 24, 2020 /CNW/ – Vermilion Energy Inc. (“Vermilion”, “We”, “Our”, “Us” or the “Company”) (TSX: VET) (NYSE: VET) has prepared the following response to the recent news from Total SA (“Total”) regarding their plans to convert the Grandpuits refinery in France to biofuels and bioplastics.
Earlier today, Total announced plans to convert its Grandpuits refinery into a zero-crude platform for biofuels and bioplastics and will discontinue crude oil refining at the platform in the first quarter of 2021. The Grandpuits refinery has been in operation for over 50 years and currently processes all of our Paris Basin oil production, currently estimated at approximately 5,000 bbl/d. We were aware that Total had been evaluating the long-term viability of its Grandpuits refinery for the past several years, and as such we have written provisions in our existing contract to deal with the potential closure of the Grandpuits refinery. As defined in our recently negotiated long-term agreement, Total will take receipt of our crude at one of their other refineries in France following the closure of the Grandpuits refinery.
In anticipation of the potential closure of the Grandpuits refinery, our France business unit has been working on securing other transportation and delivery options to ensure a smooth transition. We estimate this will increase our transportation costs by approximately $20 million on an annualized basis, however we will continue to evaluate longer-term marketing options for this crude.
Vermilion has been operating in France for over 20 years and we remain committed to our France business unit which we believe offers significant long-term value potential.
Vermilion is an international energy producer that seeks to create value through the acquisition, exploration, development and optimization of producing properties in North America, Europe and Australia. Our business model emphasizes organic production growth augmented with value-adding acquisitions, along with returning capital to investors when economically warranted. Vermilion is targeting growth in production primarily through the exploitation of light oil and liquids-rich natural gas conventional resource plays in Canada and the United States, the exploration and development of high impact natural gas opportunities in the Netherlands and Germany, and through oil drilling and workover programs in France and Australia. Vermilion holds a 20% working interest in the Corrib gas field in Ireland.
Vermilion’s priorities are health and safety, the environment, and profitability, in that order. Nothing is more important to us than the safety of the public and those who work with us, and the protection of our natural surroundings. We have been recognized as a top decile performer amongst Canadian publicly listed companies in governance practices, as a Climate Leadership level (A-) performer by the CDP, and a Best Workplace in the Great Place to Work® Institute’s annual rankings in Canada, the Netherlands and Germany. In addition, Vermilion emphasizes strategic community investment in each of our operating areas.
Employees and directors hold approximately 5% of our fully diluted shares and are committed to delivering long-term value for all stakeholders. Vermilion trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol VET.
Certain statements included or incorporated by reference in this document may constitute forward-looking statements or financial outlooks under applicable securities legislation. Such forward-looking statements or information typically contain statements with words such as “anticipate”, “believe”, “expect”, “plan”, “intend”, “estimate”, “propose”, or similar words suggesting future outcomes or statements regarding an outlook. Forward looking statements or information in this document may include, but are not limited to: future transportation and delivery options for Vermilion’s crude oil production in France, expectations for future transportation costs for our Paris Basin production, and future longer-term marketing options for our French crude oil production.
Such forward-looking statements or information are based on a number of assumptions, all or any of which may prove to be incorrect. In addition to any other assumptions identified in this document, assumptions have been made regarding, among other things: the ability of Vermilion to obtain equipment, services and supplies in a timely manner to carry out its activities in France; the ability of Vermilion to market crude oil successfully to current and new customers; the timing and costs of pipeline and storage facility construction and expansion and the ability to secure adequate product transportation; the timely receipt of required regulatory approvals; the ability of Vermilion to obtain financing on acceptable terms; foreign currency exchange rates and interest rates; future crude oil prices; and management’s expectations relating to the timing and results of exploration and development activities.
Although Vermilion believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements or information are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements because Vermilion can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. Financial outlooks are provided for the purpose of understanding Vermilion’s financial position and business objectives, and the information may not be appropriate for other purposes. Forward-looking statements or information are based on current expectations, estimates, and projections that involve a number of risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by Vermilion and described in the forward-looking statements or information. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to: the ability of management to execute its business plan; the risks of the oil and gas industry, both domestically and internationally, such as operational risks in exploring for, developing and producing crude oil, natural gas liquids, and natural gas; risks and uncertainties involving geology of crude oil, natural gas liquids, and natural gas deposits; risks inherent in Vermilion’s marketing operations, including credit risk; the uncertainty of reserves estimates and reserves life and estimates of resources and associated expenditures; the uncertainty of estimates and projections relating to production and associated expenditures; potential delays or changes in plans with respect to exploration or development projects; Vermilion’s ability to enter into or renew leases on acceptable terms; fluctuations in crude oil, natural gas liquids, and natural gas prices, foreign currency exchange rates and interest rates; health, safety, and environmental risks; uncertainties as to the availability and cost of financing; the ability of Vermilion to add production and reserves through exploration and development activities; the possibility that government policies or laws may change or governmental approvals may be delayed or withheld; uncertainty in amounts and timing of royalty payments; risks associated with existing and potential future law suits and regulatory actions against Vermilion; and other risks and uncertainties described elsewhere in this document or in Vermilion’s other filings with Canadian securities regulatory authorities.
The forward-looking statements or information contained in this document are made as of the date hereof and Vermilion undertakes no obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statements or information, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise, unless required by applicable securities laws.
All crude oil and natural gas reserve and resource information contained in this document has been prepared and presented in accordance with National Instrument 51-101 Standards of Disclosure for Oil and Gas Activities and the Canadian Oil and Gas Evaluation Handbook. Reserves estimates have been made assuming that development of each property in respect of which the estimate is made will occur, without regard to the likely availability of funding required for such development. The actual crude oil and natural gas reserves and future production will be greater than or less than the estimates provided in this document.
Natural gas volumes have been converted on the basis of six thousand cubic feet of natural gas to one barrel of oil equivalent. Barrels of oil equivalent (boe) may be misleading, particularly if used in isolation. A boe conversion ratio of six thousand cubic feet to one barrel of oil is based on an energy equivalency conversion method primarily applicable at the burner tip and does not represent a value equivalency at the wellhead.
Financial data contained within this document are reported in Canadian dollars unless otherwise stated.
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SOURCE Vermilion Energy Inc.
View original content to download multimedia: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/September2020/24/c7216.html
Facebook takes a shot at Apple over stance on paid online events for game devs
Facebook and Apple aren’t getting along, and the social network is taking yet another shot at Apple today. This dispute is over paid online events, and it seems to be a sign of deteriorating relations among the tech giants.
In August, Facebook introduced paid online events. It let Facebook Page owners create an online event, set a price, promote the event, collect payments, and host the event in one place. It was a way to help small businesses recover lost revenue, as only 19% of surveyed businesses are getting any financial help during the pandemic.
Facebook said it would not collect any fees from these paid online events for at least a year. On Android and the web, it instituted that policy so small businesses could keep 100% of the revenue. But on iOS, Facebook asked Apple to eliminate its “30% App Store tax” or allow Facebook to offer Facebook Pay so Facebook could absorb all the costs. Apple declined to do so, and Facebook pointed this out.
Upon deliberation, Apple changed its mind, saying that it would waive the 30% App Store fee for the remaining three months of 2020, allowing businesses to keep all of their paid online event earnings (minus taxes) until December 31. Facebook Pay will process all of the event purchases.
But Apple did not extend the fee waiver to game developers, and Facebook isn’t happy about that. Meanwhile, Facebook said it would not collect any of its own fees from paid online events while businesses remain closed for the pandemic, at least until August 2021.
In an email, Facebook company spokesperson Joe Osborne said, “This is a difficult time for small businesses and creators, which is why we are not collecting any fees from paid online events while communities remain closed for the pandemic. Apple has agreed to provide a brief, three-month respite after which struggling businesses will have to, yet again, pay Apple the full 30% App Store tax.”
And Vivek Sharma, vice president of Facebook Gaming, called out Apple for excluding game devs.
“Apple’s decision to not collect its 30% tax on paid online events comes with a catch: gaming creators are excluded from using Facebook Pay in paid online events on iOS,” Sharma said. “We, unfortunately, had to make this concession to get the temporary reprieve for other businesses. For any Facebook Gaming creator who wants to use paid online events, we are not collecting any fees for purchases on the Facebook desktop until at least August 2021. We know times are tough, and we’ll continue to help our gaming creator community wherever we can.”
For context, the four tech giants — Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Google — are facing increased antitrust scrutiny in Washington, D.C. Instead of closing ranks, Facebook has been poking at what it considers to be anti-consumer and anti-developer stances that Apple has taken. Facebook’s use of the word “tax” echoes the allegations made by Epic Games in an antitrust suit against Apple.
On the Facebook Gaming app introduced on iOS in August, Facebook said it could not enable sales of instant games in its app, as it is allowed to do on Android, because of objections from Apple.
We’ve asked Apple for a comment.
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