Hyundai is bringing a refreshed Ioniq Hybrid and PHEV to Europe this

first_imgThe exterior of the new Ioniq isn’t wildy different but we’re digging the more aggressive front end. Hyundai Fans of budget-friendly efficient transportation have reason to be excited because Hyundai announced on Thursday that updated versions of its Ioniq Hybrid and Ioniq Plug-In cars are destined for the European market for the 2019 model year.What’s new for 2019? Kind of a lot, actually. Hyundai’s started by updating the styling, though the changes here are more evolutionary than revolutionary with an updated grille and lighting. Inside the changes are more pronounced with a new infotainment and climate control set-up that replaces the previous Ioniq’s dull sea of black. The new system features an option 10.25-inch touchscreen display that can receive over-the-air updates and uses voice recognition alongside Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.The new Ioniq has some exciting tech under its skin too including a new “Green Zone Drive Mode” that can utilize more power from the electric part of its drivetrain in designated geographical areas. It also uses the Kona’s one-pedal driving system with advanced regenerative braking.While Hyundai hasn’t yet confirmed to us when the new Ioniq is destined to hit US shores, we do know that it will be available in European showrooms starting in the second half of biggest change to the new Ioniq’s interior is the addition of an optional 10.25-inch touchscreen that really lifts the interior of the car. Hyundai More From Roadshow 2020 Hyundai Palisade review: Posh enough to make Genesis jealous Comment 1 Hybrids Car Industry 2020 BMW M340i review: A dash of M makes everything bettercenter_img Hyundai Hyundai Tags Share your voice 2020 Kia Telluride review: Kia’s new SUV has big style and bigger valuelast_img read more

Razer CEO confirms development of the Razer toaster

first_imgA Razer toaster is coming, says the PC gaming hardware company.  Razer After thousands of Facebook likes and dozens of tattoos, the fans have spoken and the Razer toaster will become a reality. A joke that started in 2013 led to the creation of the Give Us the Razer Toaster Please Facebook page, and Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan said the PC gaming hardware company would create the toaster if the page acquired 1 million likes. Following up on the horseplay, Razer’s 2016 April Fools’ prank was Project Breadwinner, the “first gaming-grade kitchen appliance built for gamers, by gamers.”  23 Photos Razer’s triple threat: The tri-screen Project Valerie… Razer’s mid-2019 Blade gaming laptops glide along the cutting edge Tags Alright now I got to start looking at designing the damn toaster. Gotta get some partners and components involved. @intel, @nvidia @elonmusk any interest?— Min-Liang Tan (@minliangtan) May 3, 2019 Razer 2 Now playing: Watch this:center_img 1:22 Share your voice Kevin Allan, senior PR manager for Razer, said in an email Thursday that there’s no internal information yet about the toaster, however, there was, at one time, a prop that could burn the company logo onto toast.  Comments Fans of the idea continued to show support for the gamer-oriented kitchen appliance over the years, with a dozen even getting tattoos of the toaster. On Monday, Tan liked the page and confirmed in a Facebook post that Razer will begin development of the Razer toaster. “Alright — I didn’t think these guys were going to make it — but they did,” Tan wrote. “Well… what can I say. I’ve just officially liked their page — and I’m going to put together my team of designers and engineers. It will take a few years — but I’ll be sure to share the progress — and make it a community affair. A Razer Toaster — For Razer Toaster Lovers. By Razer Toaster Lovers.”Tan tweeted Thursday that he’s looking for partners to help with the toaster components: Small Appliances Culture Gaming Originally published May 2. Updates, May 2: Adds info about the original joke, a quote from Razer’s CEO and comment from Razer. Update, May 3: Adds tweet from Razer CEO.last_img read more

AntiTrump protesters head to Washington

first_imgHundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend Donald Trump’s inauguration, but hundreds of thousands of protesters are also expected in Washington next week to vent their frustration over his election win.Demonstrations are scheduled across the United States, but the focal point of anti-Trump ire will be in the nation’s capital, where a small minority—several thousand—have pledged to disrupt the January 20 inauguration ceremony.The main protest will come the following day at 10:00 am (1500 GMT) — the Women’s March on Washington, which is backed by celebrity A-list participants including Katy Perry, Julianne Moore, Cher and Scarlett Johansson.It all began with a simple Facebook post from Hawaii grandmother and retired lawyer Teresa Shook to about 40 of her friends.Word traveled quickly, and eventually made it to the pro-Hillary Clinton Facebook group Pantsuit Nation, which has nearly four million members.Now, nearly 190,000 people have said on Facebook they will attend. Another 250,000 said they were interested.“We expect elected leaders to act to protect the rights of women, their families and their communities,” organizers said in a statement.The message -Of course, a mass turnout is no guarantee, especially with temperatures often glacial in mid-January.But at least 1,200 buses have asked for parking permits at Washington’s RFK Stadium for the protest day—compared with just a few hundred for Inauguration Day.Organizers have not specifically used the term “anti-Trump” to describe their efforts, but the message is clear.Bringing together “people of all genders, ages, races, cultures, political affiliations and backgrounds,” organizers say the protest march seeks to secure immigrant rights and access to abortion services, among other demands—things which Trump’s critics accuse him of wanting to curb.Dozens of progressive organizations are supporting the event, with African Americans are expected to make a strong showing.The Black Lives Matter movement, which has focused on denouncing police misconduct, is one of the participants—leading some who see the movement as too radical to withdraw from the January 21 event.Trump can expect to see lots of signs recalling some of his questionable interactions with women, including allegations of sexual assault, sexist comments and fat-shaming a former beauty queen.Pink protest hats -The “Pussyhat Project” is hoping knitters will make one million pink hats with cat ears for protest participants.The play on words is deliberate: they are drawing attention to one of Trump’s more vulgar remarks, made in 2005 and caught on video but which only surfaced in October.“When you’re a star, they let you do it. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything,” Trump is heard bragging.The route -Getting approval for the march was not a given, with authorities limiting the number of permits handed out.Authorities are also somewhat on edge, with 28,000 security forces to be deployed when Trump takes the oath of office on the steps of the Capitol.The march should start near Capitol Hill and head up the National Mall.Co-organizer Linda Sarsour said the event would be made accessible to the elderly, pregnant women and those with handicaps.Protesters are using the hashtag #WhyIMarch to explain why they are heading to Washington—from calls for equality to initiatives to curb gun violence to pleas for health care reform.Nearly 300 “sister marches” have been organized in other US cities—including New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Seattle—and around the world.Beyond traditional rallies, other protest events planned nationwide include poetry slams and an “Art Strike” calling on museums and businesses to shut down on January 20 to “combat the normalization of Trumpism.”last_img read more

Houston Starting Effort to Become Soccer City

first_img X Share To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Listencenter_img Florian Martin/Houston Public MediaEven when the focus is on soccer, the – in the United States – more popular football is in the background. Football is big in Houston. Futbol – not so much.But that has to change if Houston wants to be selected as a host city for the 2026 World Cup.“Every soccer match we do over the next 24 months will be viewed from the lens of FIFA, U.S. Soccer and how Houston responds to everything we do,” Doug Hall, vice president of special projects at the Harris County Houston Sports Authority, said.The United States will host the prestigious soccer tournament together with Mexico and Canada.The 10 U.S. host cities, out of a pool of 17 finalists, will be announced in summer 2020. Each city will host six World Cup games over the course of a month.Hall said the impact for Houston, economic and otherwise, would be comparable to hosting six super bowls.To reach that goal, the Sports Authority will be forming an organizing committee that will work on raising soccer’s profile in Houston during the next two years. 00:00 /00:47last_img read more

Four Cardinals Named to Phil Steeles AllACC Team

first_imgStory Links LOUISVILLE, Ky. –  Highlighted by offensive tackle Mekhi Becton, four University of Louisville football standouts have been named preseason All-ACC by Phil Steele in his 2019 College Football Preview. Becton earned first-team honors, while wide receiver  Dez Fitzpatrick, linebacker C.J. Avery and kick returner Hassan were named to the fourth team.A 6-foot-7,368-pounder, Becton started all 12 games for the Cardinals last season at left tackle, while starting 22 in his career. The native of Highland Springs,Va.,scored his first career touchdown when he plowed in from one yard in a win over Indiana State.Fitzpatrick was second on the tem with 31 receptions for 422 yards and three touchdowns, while averaging 13.6 yards per catch. The product of Farmington Hills, Mich., caught a season high five passes for 62 yards at Virginia and had three other contests when he caught four passes. In 25 career games, Fitzpatrick has caught 76 passes for 1.121 yards and 12 touchdowns.Moving to linebacker last season, Avery was second on the team with 56 tackles in nine games. The native of Grenada, Miss., led the team in interceptions with two — the first of his career. He posted a career high 15 tackles in a loss at Boston College and added seven stops versus Wake Forest and Kentucky.Hall, a true freshman last year, proved to be one of the top kick returners in the country. The Atlanta, Ga., product finished with 818 kick return yards, the sixth-most in school history. Hall averaged 24.1 yards a return, which ranked 35th nationally. The 6-foot-0 rising sophomore returned a kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown versus Clemson.The Cardinals open 2019 preseason camp in August. The season opener is set for Monday, Sept. 2 when Notre Dame makes its first appearance at Cardinal Stadium.Print Friendly Versionlast_img read more

Get highlights of coffee hues on short bob cut hair

first_imgIt is the season to play with your hair and experiment with the haircuts like bobs, lob and blobs. Colour your tresses in hues of coffee, gold, and sun kissed highlights, suggest experts. Below mentioned are some of tips and trends:Spring is back and with the season we are keeping the style short and stylish with haircuts like bobs, lob and blobs which is a concoction of a bob and lob, styled with fringes and layers and more blunt cuts. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThis season it is all going to be about short bobs or mid-length bobs with waves and fringes giving an altogether new feel to the look. The mix of the 1990s with a modern appeal can create a statement itself. Not just the trends are repeating but it is repeated with a twist of changes in colours or the texture of the hair.Balayage in the front-facing section is another new trend of colouring this spring. Caramel highlights is another go to trend this spring and people wanting to experiment bold trends can opt for colours like nirvana blonde. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveColour with confidence, pick hues of coffee, gold, blonde, sun kissed highlights this season. It’s the perfect way to lighten up your locks and keep it cool. To combat the harsh impact of the rays of the sun, use hair care products and masks that will protect and nourish your mane. It is essential to get your hands-on products packed with UV protection especially coloured hair given that the sun can not only reduce moisture but cause hair colour to fade. Style your hair with products that will retain moisture in your hair, and not strip your hair of its natural oils. Make sure you use styling products that will make you shine right through the summer season.Wear your hair in careless random waves and curls, works very well in the scorching heat. Then you need not worry about straightened hair getting wavy due to the sweat and grime. You can have luscious locks all along the way.last_img read more

TravelBrands latest promos include agent perks client savings

first_img Wednesday, June 5, 2019 MISSISSAUGA — Travel agents can earn rewards points and a gas card, plus save clients on their next family vacation with TravelBrands’ latest promotions.A free $50 gas card is available to agents for every five car rentals they book between June 1-30, 2019. This offer is applicable to new online bookings made during the promotional period, and is valid for travel at any time for any destination serviced by the following suppliers: Avis; Budget; Hertz; Dollar Rent A Car; Thrifty Car Rental; Enterprise; Alamo, and National.In addition, TravelBrands has launched a family-focused promotion that also runs until June 30. The offer allows those booking a qualifying resort to receive a $250 discount, based on a family of four.Clients can choose from a wide range of resorts located in the Riviera Maya, Cancun, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit, with each property offering varying savings and deals in addition to the $250 discount.Participating resorts include:More news:  TRAVELSAVERS welcomes Julie Virgilio to the teamRIVIERA MAYABarceló Maya Grand Resort; Barceló Maya Palace; Catalonia Playa Maroma; Sandos Caracol Eco Resort; Sandos Playacar Beach Resort; Ocean Coral and Turquesa; Iberostar Selection Paraíso Maya; Iberostar Paraíso BeachCANCUNSandos Cancun Lifestyle Resort; Grand Palladium Costa Mujeres Resort & SpaLOS CABOSSandos Finisterra Los CabosPUERTO VALLARTAHilton Puerto Vallarta Resort; The Hacienda at Hilton Puerto Vallarta ResortRIVIERA NAYARITIberostar Selection Playa MitaPUNTA CANAGrand Palladium Bavaro Suites Resort & Spa; and VIK Hotel ARENA BLANCAPlus, travel agents who book their clients in the qualifying period will earn 10,000 Loyalty Rewards points. The TravelBrands Loyalty Rewards program allows agents to collect points and redeem them for a multitude of rewards, including merchandise, travel, gift cars and the chance to donate to multiple foundations and charities.For more information go to Travelweek Group Tags: TravelBrands TravelBrands’ latest promos include agent perks & client savingscenter_img Share Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Rep Noble testifies on plan for Michigan to enter drivers license compact

first_img Categories: Noble News Legislation protects Michigan and out-of-state driversState Rep. Jeff Noble this week testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in support of his legislation to enter into an agreement with 45 other states to share driver’s license information.Noble said the agreement, known as the Driver’s License Interstate Compact, will allow states to work together to ensure bonds and citations are paid for if a driver is pulled over in another state.“This plan protects Michigan residents when driving in other states and gives travelers reassurance they will not be required to pay cash to law enforcement on the spot when receiving a citation,” said Noble, of Northville. “Currently, when an out-of-state driver gets pulled over by police they have to either buy a cash bond, have their driver’s license taken away or possibly go to jail. This plan ensures violations will be paid while also allowing drivers to be on their way after receiving a citation.”House Bill 6011 remains under consideration by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.### 31May Rep. Noble testifies on plan for Michigan to enter driver’s license compactlast_img read more

By Marin Katusa Relations amongst the countries of

first_imgBy Marin KatusaRelations amongst the countries of the Middle East revolve around religion and historic allegiances. The region’s Muslim countries are divided into Sunni and Shiite camps while Jews and Christians are in a constant battle for representation. The historic Camp David peace accord between Egypt and Israel has provided a cornerstone for regional relations for years (though it is showing signs of strain in the post-Mubarak era), and the United States has long supported these two nations alongside Saudi Arabia and its allies while Russia shored up Iran, Syria, and those in the opposing group. Grievances often go back decades, if not longer, and there are so many interested parties that it is nigh impossible to move without stepping on someone’s toes.But there is one force that is more powerful in the pulsing Middle East than even religion: energy.Oil and gas mean money and power, two great enablers that make anything possible. Why else would one of the world’s most conservative Muslim countries – Saudi Arabia – align itself so closely with the United States, a showcase of liberal thought and personal freedom?As the birthplace of three major religions, the Middle East was destined for conflict, but the presence of vast energy wealth has amplified and complicated those tensions a hundredfold. It’s a global truth that those with energy resources hold the cards and those without domestic energy supplies have to do whatever is necessary to ensure they are dealt a hand. The Middle East is home to a disproportionate number of countries in the former category – countries bloated with the power that comes with oil wealth.Not every country in the region fits that bill, however. For years Israel’s Achilles heel has been energy – or a lack thereof. Netanyahu’s old joke is that Moses led his people through the desert for 40 years to the only place in the Middle East without any oil. Decades of drilling and digging yielded no significant hydrocarbons, leaving Israel with no choice but to spend 5% of its GDP buying fuel from neighboring suppliers… with whom its interests conflicted and its relations were uneasy at best.Now that is all changing. In recent years, trillions of cubic feet of natural gas have been discovered in Israeli waters while 250 billion barrels of shale oil have been outlined in the country’s rocks. Whether Israel will become a significant oil producer is still very uncertain, as the economics of its shale deposits are far from proven, but the nation is already preparing for a future funded by natural gas exports.This shift will generate welcome cash flow for Israel, but even more significant than the country’s newfound wealth will be its newfound political might. Israel is already receiving visits from new friends and potential business partners, some of them countries that have avoided or even opposed Israel until now. Russia is leading that pack, having pointedly placed itself at the front of the line of nations wanting to secure a piece of Israel’s gas pie – and this is the same Russia that usually supports two of Israel’s greatest enemies, Iran and Syria.In the boiling, roiling Middle East, new allegiances are never simple. Befriending one nation almost always requires you to turn your back on another, and changing camps is not easily forgotten. Those wanting access to Israel’s natural gas will also have to navigate a treacherous international obstacle course, as contested maritime borders mean that Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, and even Gaza all lay some claim to Israel’s vast offshore gas fields.But remember: the wealth and power that come with energy are a great enabler. Israel will develop its gas riches. To do so, the country will need partners and buyers, and those who line up to participate will be doing so in the full knowledge that an Israel with energy wealth represents a completely new player in the Middle Eastern game (a development that could well ignite a “Cold War” over energy).Israel’s Natural Gas RevolutionThe story of Israel’s romance with natural gas starts in 2000, when a consortium led by Noble Energy drilled into an offshore target called Mari-B. A few holes later, the group had defined 1 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of recoverable natural gas, and by 2004 the Mari-B field was in full production. Israelis embraced a domestic energy resource: natural gas consumption rose as quickly as the country could build infrastructure to produce and transport it.(Click on image to enlarge)One good discovery often prompts another, and such was the case with Israeli gas and Noble Energy. In 2006, the American firm snapped up the chance to earn into the nearby Tamar block, which had not yet been drilled because the previous operator had shied away from the area’s exceptionally high underground pressures. Noble’s geologists ran every test they could and decided Tamar’s potential was worth the risk. They were right: with two wells, Noble defined 9 TCF of gross natural gas resources at Tamar, of which 6.3 TCF are considered recoverable. It was the largest deepwater natural gas discovery in the world in 2009, and it came just in time.As the graph above shows, Israel’s natural gas revolution quickly pushed demand from almost zero to beyond Mari-B’s ability to supply it. Fortunately, there was a country close by with lots of natural gas for sale: Egypt. In 2005, the East Mediterranean Gas Company pipeline opened, connecting the Egyptian city of El Arish to the Israeli port of Ashkelon. By 2008, Israel had 170 MCF of gas pouring in from Egypt every day. Mari-B supplied the rest, and Israel became dependent on natural gas to produce 20% of its electricity. However, all good things must come to an end.Today, Mari-B is running dry, and relations with Egypt are on rough ground. The peace accord between Egypt and Israel only thinly concealed the never-extinguished Egyptian enmity towards Israel, and the Egyptian opposition – everyone from Islamists to Arab nationalists and leftists – has long regarded the Camp David accord with disgust. The gas deal that built and filled the pipeline was a tangible product of that hated peace accord, and the opposition has declaimed it since the day it was signed, certain that Israel and Mubarak had conspired to cheat Egypt out of its gas revenues.Those opposition parties are now filling the seats of Egypt’s parliament. The parliament itself is frozen, caught in a complex legal limbo, but no matter – a series of bombings disabled the gas pipeline to Israel last year, and it has not been operational since. The days of Israel relying on Egypt for gas – and of Egypt pocketing a nice stream of revenue from Israel – are over.Thankfully for Israel, timing is everything. Development work at Tamar is running on schedule, and the first wells are expected to come online before the end of the year. A smaller field called Noa was sped into production to bridge the gap until Tamar can start supplying Israel’s needs.It won’t be long, however, until Israel is pumping far more gas than it needs.Beyond TamarMari-B was a big discovery and Tamar was even bigger, but they both pale in comparison to the reservoir that Noble drilled into next. Shortly after delineating 9 TCF at Tamar, Noble spudded a drill into a nearby field call Leviathan and hit a home run. The Leviathan field is absolutely enormous, home to 17 TCF of gross natural gas resource.Adding in a 7-TCF discovery in offshore Cyprus and several other, smaller discoveries near Leviathan, Noble has now discovered no less than 35 TCF of gross natural gas resource in the region. It is far more gas than Israel could ever use.(Click on image to enlarge)Export plans are already afoot. Noble and partners aim to build a liquefaction plant so that Tamar’s gas wealth can be exported globally in the form of liquefied natural gas (LNG). They actually hope to build a floating facility, in large part because land is so precious in Israel, and to that end they are watching Royal Dutch Shell’s progress as it builds and commissions the world’s first floating LNG plant for use in a field off Australia.Even though it will be years before any LNG is produced in Israel, Russia is so keen to get its hands on Israeli LNG that state energy giant Gazprom has already signed a letter of intent with the Noble group to discuss a deal to buy 2 to 3 million tonnes of LNG annually, starting in 2016. A few months later, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Israel, and among the announcements associated with that historic trip came news that Gazprom is setting up an Israeli subsidiary to help develop Leviathan.Once the massive Leviathan field also gets into production, Israel will need every natural gas export avenue it can find. To that end, the country has been carefully cultivating its relationships with Cyprus and Greece, through which pipelines to Europe would pass (Turkey will not allow Israeli gas to cross its lands). It seems Israel’s gas wealth is already generating new international allegiances: Israel, Russia, Cyprus, and Greece seem to be gravitating towards each other to form a new team in the Middle Eastern game.New Camps in the Old Battleground That things are changing so quickly is no surprise. The countries along both coasts of the Persian Gulf erupted into global prominence in the 1970s when world energy shortages catapulted them into previously unimagined wealth and political influence. If Israel emerges as a new power, those Arab countries will remain rich, especially because their energy is cheaper to produce than the more unconventional sources being outlined elsewhere in the world, including in Israel.But what they keep in money, they may lose in clout. With other oil and gas streams coming on line, such as Canadian oil-sands crude and Arctic oil, we may be heading into a time when the world doesn’t care all that much about what happens in the Persian Gulf (as long as nobody gets frisky with nukes).OPEC nations will not be the only ones to cede ground to an energy-rich Israel – Turkey could be another big loser. For years Turkey was governed by a secular party, which actively sought out closer relations with Israel. Now the Islamist AK party is in charge, and relations with Israel are on the outs. If Israel does emerge as a new energy powerhouse and establishes a cozy circle with Russia, Greece, and Cyprus, Turkey will feel like someone who ditched a long-time friend right before she won the lottery. More generally, Turkey’s ambitions to play a larger role in the politics of the eastern Med will have suffered a significant setback.Egypt will also struggle with Israel’s rise. As much as many Egyptians decried the deal to sell their gas to Israel, the fact is the deal generated considerable incomes for state coffers. That income has now evaporated, just as the country convulses through the aftermath of a revolution. Moreover, Egypt’s role as a regional powerhouse stemmed almost exclusively from its secular governance and its peace with Israel – these factors were so important in the old Middle East that the US government supported Egypt to the tune of $3 billion annually. Now Islamists are in power, and the path forward in Egypt’s relationship with Israel is very uncertain. We see the country’s power waning in the coming years as it finds footing in the new Middle East.Then there’s the United States, which will find its importance to Israel fade if the Jewish state becomes an energy giant with a dance card full of suitors. In the long run, the US could be hurt most of all if its best Middle Eastern friend, Israel, turns away from its embrace and towards the strong, strategic arms of Vladimir Putin.It’s a real possibility – Russia has already wooed Israel into several waltzes. In fact, the two nations have been growing closer for several years despite Russia’s support for Iran, Syria, and even Hamas. Bilateral trade is approaching $3 billion annually; Russian immigrants make up 20% of Israel’s population; Israel sold military drones and other high-tech weapons to Russia after Russia’s poor military performance in Georgia in 2008; and following the Arab Spring, Israel and Russia share an interest in preventing the spread of radical Islam in the Middle East. If Israel can help stem the rising tide of radical Islam and provide Russia with another steady supply of natural gas, Putin must be thinking that perhaps this new friendship is worth the turmoil it will cause.And cause turmoil it will, because even though alliances in the Middle East are forged over decades, they can also change overnight, especially when the new global currency of energy is at work. Russia is walking a tightrope in its efforts to woo Israel while still supporting Iran and Syria, and Putin may soon have to make a choice between old friends and new. If Russia abandons Iran and Syria, the Sunni-Shiite balance in the region will destabilize just as Islamists are taking power in several countries for the first time.The old camps of the Middle East are changing. Transitions are rarely smooth, and these transitions in who holds power in the volatile Middle East will almost certainly provide some very rough patches.Israel clearly sees the potential for trouble as it develops its newfound energy riches. The Israeli Defense Forces recently approved a navy request for four new warships, at a cost of about $750 million. The navy is concerned that the gas rigs being built in Israeli waters will be an attractive target for terrorist attacks, especially if Israel were to find itself in another war.Israel knows Hezbollah has the capability to fire missiles from land to the gas fields. And Hezbollah may not be the only terrorist group with such lethal capacity – in February, the Israeli navy found an Iranian ship carrying six Nasr-1 radar-guided anti-ship missiles to Gaza; the navy believes the weapons were destined for al-Jihad. In addition, Syria also has its hands on an anti-ship missile that could reach the gas fields. Just imagine what a missile attack by an Islamist foe on an Israeli gas rig would mean for global politics (not to mention the environmental health of the Mediterranean Sea).Of course, Israel’s new warships will only add to a region that is packed with military capacity. Continued tensions over Iran’s nuclear program have recently prompted the Islamic Republic and the United States to beef up their already impressive presence in the region. Just yesterday, those tensions led a gunnery team aboard a refueling tanker in the Persian Gulf to fire 0.50-cal rounds at a small, fast-moving boat, killing one person. It now seems the boat was a fishing vessel whose crew did not understand warnings to change course, but the navy personnel who decided to shoot were concerned it could have been an explosives-laden suicide skiff heading for an American warship.While that altercation was seemingly unrelated to Israeli natural gas, in reality everything that happens in the Middle East is about energy. After all, the United States is drawn to the Middle East to protect its oil interests, and the reason it can act there with such force is because it buys billions of barrels of oil from Saudi Arabia and others in the region.In a region that revolves around energy resources, Israel has long been at a major disadvantage, scrambling to secure supplies of the oil and gas it needed. Today, all that is changing, and Israel’s newfound natural gas wealth will generate a sea change not only for the Jewish state but for the entire region and everyone involved in it. Israel is gaining clout, Russia might be changing sides, Iran is feeling vulnerable, Egypt is losing a major customer, regional and global allegiances are shifting, and we are being reminded that energy resources hold the real power in the world’s most volatile region. Additional Links and ReadsOil Near Seven-Week High on Iran Tensions, Stimulus Speculation (Financial Post)Oil is trading near its highest level in seven weeks because of estimates that US supplies declined last week, concern that tensions with Iran will worsen, and signs that the Federal Reserve may boost stimulus measures. US crude stockpiles fell for the fourth straight week, helping to slowly erode the biggest glut since 1990. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said from Jerusalem that the US will use “all elements” of American power to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. But in his semi-annual report to Congress, Ben Bernanke stopped short of providing stimulus, instead telling lawmakers the central bank was considering a range of tools to help the economy, but for now would continue to wait and assess. Nevertheless, the spot price of WTI crude for August delivery rose to US$88.92 a barrel.Rich Nations Losing Control of Oil Markets (Winnipeg Free Press)Next year, for the first time on record, the wealthy nations of Europe, North America, and Japan will account for less than half of the world’s oil usage, according to the latest projection from the International Energy Agency. The shift reflects both growing efficiency in wealthy nations and growing prosperity in poor countries, but a world in which the majority of oil consumption is happening in China, India, and Latin America is a world in which America’s energy fate is driven by forces beyond its control.LNG: US Weighs the Cost of Gas Exports to Economy (Financial Times)With the price of gas in the US now a third of that in Western Europe and a fifth of that in Asia, interest in developing liquefied natural gas (LNG) export capacity is growing rapidly. Proponents argue that exports will help drain a glutted market; detractors argue that competition from exporters will drive domestic prices up. And since a chunk of those exports would go to countries with which the US does not have free-trade agreements, the government can only approve LNG projects if they do not harm the public interest, which increased fuel costs would. The Department of Energy is now studying whether the harms of exports outweigh the benefits, and no new liquefaction projects will be approved until they come to a conclusion.Thermal Coal Weakens Further (Calgary Herald)After falling significantly in recent weeks, thermal coal prices are now down 30% year-over-year, weighed down by slowing Chinese growth, a shift to cheap natural gas, and tough environmental regulations. The US thermal coal market has now moved into surplus, and miners that do not respond by cutting production and delaying spending plans could well meet the same fate as Patriot Coal, which filed for bankruptcy last week.last_img read more