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Can US shale stop a global oil supply crisis?

Can US shale stop a global oil supply crisis?
Despite an expected slowdown in Permian growth rates, the US shale patch is increasing production and will continue to do so this year and next.

Oil market investors and analysts are currently very much focused on the demand side, with concerns over the potential of trade wars to curb oil demand growth. On the supply side, analysts have shifted their focus onto losses from Iran, crumbling Venezuelan production, and whether OPEC and its allies will be able—and willing—to offset supply disruptions.

Currently, US shale growth is probably the most overlooked supply-side factor, a factor that will likely offset many of the losses from production problems elsewhere in the short term. The big question is for how long US tight oil growth can offset declining production in other parts of the world.

“The explosion in US tight oil production has long been the dominant supply catalyst within the energy complex but now finds itself at the tail end of concerns. Even so, its ascent continues apace,” PVM Oil Associates oil analyst Stephen Brennock wrote in a research note on Wednesday.

“US shale doom-mongers should not get ahead of themselves,”Brennock adds, noting that US shale still has room to grow and currently, the “only way is up.”

“The key medium-term question for the supply side of the oil market is: How much longer can rapid US oil supply growth continue to offset poor production outcomes in the rest of the world?” Longview Economics’ director and senior economist Harry Colvin said in another research note.

Read more on Oilprice.com: Shale Profits Remain Elusive

If it weren’t for US oil production, the world would be some 5.3 million bpd short of oil supply over the next five years, according to Colvin. But US output “could, and will, fill in most of that gap,” he said, adding that unlike other major oil producers, the industry in America is not determined by politics and has fewer ageing conventional fields from which to expect production declines.

In the shale patch, however, production declines much faster than in conventional oil fields where output can be sustained for decades. There is also concern that the sweetest spots in US shale plays could soon be drilled out and drillers will have to move to harder-to-frack and higher-cost areas. There’s already inflation in oilfield services, wages, and frac sand costs. Then there is the much-talked-about pipeline takeaway constraint in the most prolific shale basin, the Permian, which is expected to slow down the pace of production growth, at least until the latter half of 2019, when most of the pipelines currently in the works are planned to come into service.

This year, US tight oil production is forecast to grow by a record 1.3 million bpd to over 5.7 million bpd, due to increased investment in 2017 and 2018, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in an analysis last month.

OPEC’s Monthly Oil Market Report from earlier this week expects U.S. tight oil production to grow by 1.22 million bpd on a yearly basis, to average 5.91 million bpd in 2018, unchanged from last month’s assessment. Unconventional natural gas liquids (NGLs) and tight crude combined account for more than 98 percent of the expected total supply growth.

“For 2019, y-o-y growth in U.S. tight crude will occur at a slower pace due to several fundamental constraints, mainly limited pipeline capacity to transfer Permian oil to the Gulf coast,” OPEC said. Tight oil production from the Permian is likely to grow by 640,000 bpd to average 3.40 million bpd in 2019, or about 200,000 bpd less than the expected growth for this year, the cartel added.

Short-cycle US shale production is growing and will grow next year too, albeit at a slower pace. Yet, it may not be enough to plug the gap in just a couple of years, when the slump in investments in conventional fields around the world—the result of the oil price crash—will start to show up in the global oil supply.

This article was originally published on Oilprice.com

COURTESY: RT

India monsoon floods ‘kill more than 300’ in Kerala

Media captionHundreds of troops have been rescuing trapped residents in Kerala

At least 324 people have been killed in flooding in the southern Indian state of Kerala in what local officials say is the worst flooding in 100 years.

India’s monsoon season started in June, but the death toll in Kerala has soared in the last 24 hours.

Rescuers are battling torrential rains to save residents, with more than 200,000 people left homeless in camps.

The state government said many of those who died were crushed under debris caused by landslides.

With more rains predicted and a red alert in place, Kerala’s main airport is expected to remain shut until 26 August.

Hundreds of troops have been deployed to rescue those caught up in the flooding.

Helicopters have been airlifting people marooned by the flooding to safety, with photographs and footage emerging from the area showing elderly people and children being rescued.

More than 300 boats are also involved in rescue attempts, AFP news agency reports.

The government has urged people not to ignore evacuation orders, and is distributing food to tens of thousands who have fled to higher ground.

The Indian home ministry says more than 930 people have now died across India since the country’s monsoon season began.

How bad is the Kerala flooding?

The region’s chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has described the flooding as the worst the state has seen in a century.

Media captionMonsoon update 2018

“We’re witnessing something that has never happened before in the history of Kerala,” he told reporters.

Mr Vijayan said more than 223,000 people were now living in the more than 1,500 emergency relief camps set up in the area.

Parts of Kerala’s commercial capital, Cochin, are underwater, snaring up roads and leaving railways across the state impassable.

Residents in Kerala look at the devastation caused by flooding, August 2018Image copyrightAFP/GETTY
Image captionThe Kerala chief minister has said the state has “never seen anything like this before”

The state’s airport is a hub for domestic and overseas tourists, so its closure is likely to cause major disruption.

Some local plantations are reported to have been inundated by water, endangering the local rubber, tea, coffee and spice industries.

Schools in all 14 districts of Kerala have been closed and some districts have banned tourists, citing safety concerns.

What is the government doing?

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi was set to visit the region on Friday night.

The country’s home minister has also offered his support.

Presentational white space

Anil Vasudevan, the head of the Kerala health disaster response wing, has said they are prepared to help victims and are setting arrangements in place to deal with the potential risks of water-borne diseases when the flooding recedes.

Why is the situation so bad?

It is normal for Kerala to get some of the country’s highest rainfall during monsoon season, but the India Meteorological Department said it had been hit with 37% more than usual because of a spell of low pressure over the region.

Further downpours are forecast for the weekend, leading many to fear the situation may get worse.

Environmental scientists are also blaming deforestation, especially the failure to protect ecologically fragile mountain ranges in the area, local media report.

Mr Vijayan, the region’s chief minister, has said the situation in Kerala has been made worse by neighbouring governments.

Volunteers handle and organise flood relief suppliesImage copyrightAFP
Image captionVolunteers in Kozhikode district in Kerala sort through flood relief supplies

Earlier this week, he and his counterpart in Tamil Nadu entered a public spat over the release of water from a dam.

Kerala has 41 rivers flowing into the Arabian Sea, and 80 of its dams are now said to be open after being overwhelmed.

“Almost all dams are now opened. Most of our water treatment plants are submerged. Motors are damaged,” Mr Vjayan said.

‘Neck-deep water’

BBC Tamil’s Pramila Krishnan spoke to several people who had escaped the flooding in Cochin.

Krishna Jayan, 58, said she was at home sleeping when her friend woke her up.

“I opened the door and water gushed in,” she said. “When we stepped into the street, we were neck-deep in water.”

She said locals had tied ropes along the streets to help people walk through the water, allowing her and her friend to reach a bus to escape.

Another resident, 33-year-old Shabbir Saheel, said he had to carry his two-year-old daughter on his shoulders through the flooded streets to safety.

Map of India showing Delhi, Kerala and its capital Cochi

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Abuja building collapses, one killed, children trapped (photos)

An Abuja building which collapsed today, had 18 people trapped though emergency workers are battling to rescue some of the survivors including children in the building.

It was gathered that the 4-storey Abuja building located at Jabi junction, close to a popular Rukkayat plaza in the Nigerian capital, had been abandoned for over two years before the collapse. The incident occurred by 1:20pm while workers were still at the building. Those trapped include workers, children and food vendors.

Eight people have been rescued so far, while one person lost his life. Among those rescued was the site engineer whose two legs were broken. Here are photos below;

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It was also reported few months ago, that no fewer than three people died, while seven others were injured following the collapse of a two-story Islamiyya school building under construction at Unguwan Kaya, in Zaria, Kaduna State.

The ugly incident occurred while construction work was ongoing at the building. Speaking at the scene of the event, Malam Abdul-Muminu Adamu, the Divisional Secretary, Nigerian Red Cross, Zaria branch said the incident was unexpected and very frightening.

“Shortly when the incident happened, a good Samaritan called and informed us and we reported to the scene immediately.

“When we came here, we were able to recover the bodies of two people and later recovered another body while seven other people were rescued alive.

“The corpses of the deceased have been deposited at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital (ABUTH), Shika.

“While the injured persons are also responding to treatment at the same hospital,” he said.

Mr Paul Fedelix-Aboi, the Director of the state Fire Service described the development as unfortunate, saying that the actual cause can only be ascertained after investigation. He said, though the rescue operation is not part of their mandate, they were in the area to render possible assistance to rescued persons. Felix-Aboi attributed the recurrence of building collapse in Nigeria to attitude of Nigerians who always go for cheap labour.

COURTESY: LAILA’S BLOG.

Trump gears up to strip more clearances from officials tied to Russia investigation


President Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting at the White House Thursday. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

August 16 at 7:27 PM

President Trump has told advisers that he is eager to strip more security clearances as part of an escalating attack against people who have criticized him or played a role in the investigation of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, two White House officials said.

Over the past 19 months, Trump has fired or threatened to take action against nearly a dozen current and former officials associated with the inquiry, which he has labeled a “rigged witch hunt,” including former FBI director James B. Comey, former deputy attorney general Sally Yates and former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe. All three were dismissed.

Trump intensified his attacks this week by stripping former CIA director John Brennan of his security clearance and announcing that others are under review. Brennan and former director of national intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., who is on Trump’s review list, were among the Obama administration officials who briefed Trump before his inauguration on evidence of Russia’s interference in the campaign.

The president has repeatedly urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other officials to end the investigation led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is examining potential collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign and whether the president has sought to obstruct justice.

To critics, Trump’s moves echo President Richard Nixon’s decision to force the abrupt firing of Watergate special counsel Archibald Cox.

“If you did all this in one day, it would have a ‘Saturday night massacre’odor to it,” said Benjamin Wittes, a Brookings Institution fellow who oversees the Lawfare Blog on national security issues, referring to the 1973 move by Nixon that prompted resignations by the Justice Department’s top two officials. “But you spread it out and get people used to the first one, then you do the second one — over a long period of time, it becomes the new normal.”

 2:52
5 times Sanders deflected on Trump revoking security clearances

President Trump revoking former CIA director John Brennan’s security clearance sparked questions for White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders Aug. 15. 

Many of Brennan’s former colleagues have rallied to his defense.

“I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency,” retired Navy Adm. William H. McRaven, who oversaw the 2011 Special Forces raid that killed Osama bin Laden, wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post. “If you think for a moment that your McCarthy-era tactics will suppress the voices of criticism, you are sadly mistaken.”

Late Thursday night, a group of 11 former CIA directors and a former Director of National Intelligence issued a joint statement calling Trump’s move against Brennan “an attempt to stifle free speech.”

Inside the West Wing, Trump is eager to move against others on the security clearance review list and could act soon, according to the White House officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Trump believes he has emerged looking strong and decisive in his escalating feud with Brennan, the aides said, adding that he shows a visceral disdain for the former CIA director when he sees him on TV.


In this file photo taken on May 23, 2017, former CIA director John Brennan testifies during a House Intelligence Committee hearing about Russian actions during the 2016 election. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

But other aides would prefer a more thorough process or that he drop the matter altogether, and they are scrambling to review the list of people Trump says he’d like to strip of clearances. These officials said Trump did not focus on his power to remove clearances until this summer.

Still, as the Russia investigation tightens around the president — Mueller is pressing Trump’s legal team over a potential interview with him — the president remains impulsive and unpredictable, aides said.

“The process is essentially meaningless,” one White House aide said. “If Trump wants to do it, he’ll just do it.”

Trump has frequently overruled, contradicted or ignored his aides, and that internal discord was on display again in the move against Brennan.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced the action Wednesday by reading an eight-paragraph statement in Trump’s name, citing Brennan’s “erratic conduct” and “wild outbursts” on television and erroneous statements he had made.

Later that afternoon, Trump summoned a Wall Street Journal reporter into the Oval Office for an impromptu interview in which he linked Brennan’s clearance revocation to the “sham” Russia investigation.

“These people led it,” he said, referring to Brennan and others. “So I think it’s something that had to be done.”

In an op-ed published Thursday by the New York Times, Brennan called Trump’s claims that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia “hogwash.”

Brennan characterized Trump’s action as “politically motivated” and said it was “an attempt to scare into silence others who might dare to challenge him.”

Rudolph W. Giuliani, Trump’s lead attorney for the special counsel investigation, dismissed suggestions that the president had developed an “enemies list,” saying that decisions on security clearances will be made on a “case-by-case basis.”

“The basis for having it is the president is going to call on you for advice — if that doesn’t exist, there’s no reason for you to have a clearance,” Giuliani said in an interview. “We aren’t prohibiting their First Amendment rights. We are just saying, you don’t get to see top-secret government documents.”

White House aides confirmed that Trump made his decision weeks ago about Brennan, who serves as an NBC News contributor. Senior advisers, including Sanders, recommended to the president that they announce the action Wednesday amid an onslaught of news coverage from former Trump aide Omarosa Manigault Newman’s new book, which accuses Trump of having made racist remarks, the aides said.

Brennan attacked Trump for calling Manigault Newman a “dog” hours before the clearance was taken away. Trump has obsessed over the book and media coverage of it for several days, aides said.

Trump grew increasingly agitated about Brennan and others earlier in the summer, believing they were exploiting their credentials as former national security officials to make money, aides said. The president mentioned the Russia investigation when discussing the matter in private and drafted a list of officials who have angered him for Sanders to read at the lectern in the White House briefing room, the aides said.

Although advisers cautioned the president that some people on the list — including Comey and McCabe — had already lost their security clearances when they were fired, Trump insisted that they be included anyway, the senior officials said.

Brennan was too “political,” Trump told his aides. The president did not get much resistance from his inner circle because Brennan is widely disliked in the West Wing, according to a senior official and a former administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Mark Zaid, a national security lawyer in Washington, called Trump’s move unprecedented and said Brennan could pursue a due process claim. But he said it is unlikely that Brennan could win his clearance back.

“He may have a whistleblower claim because Trump tied it to Russia,” Zaid said.

“What we’re concerned about is how much further is it going to go?” he added, referring to other potential Trump targets.

Also on Trump’s list are former FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who criticized the president in private texts while carrying on an affair during their work on agency investigations of the presidential campaigns of Trump and Hillary Clinton. Page resigned in May and Strzok was fired last week

The only current official known to be in Trump’s review is Bruce Ohr, a Justice Department employee who was demoted recently after Republicans named him in a memo earlier this year that targeted his ties to the former British intelligence officer who wrote a controversial dossier about the Trump campaign’s alleged contacts with Russian officials.

Trump named Ohr and his wife in two critical tweets this week.

The president’s moves have elicited mixed responses among Republicans on Capitol Hill, most of whom have supported his right to remove Brennan’s clearance.

Sen. Richard Burr (N.C.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, criticized Brennan for his remarks about potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. If the claim is “purely political and based on conjecture, the president has full authority to revoke his security clearance as head of the Executive Branch,” Burr said in a statement Thursday.

John Wagner and Karoun Demirjian contributed to this report.

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Aretha Franklin, ‘Queen of Soul,’ dies aged 76

After falling gravely ill earlier this month, Aretha Franklin has died. Franklin won 18 Grammys and had some 25 gold records during her long career.

    
Aretha Franklin performs at the inaugural gala for President Bill Clinton in Washington (picture alliance/AP Photo/A. Sancetta)

Legendary soul singer Aretha Franklin died on Thursday in Detroit, US media reported. She was 76.

Her publicist confirmed the death to several US media outlets.

“Franklin’s official cause of death was due to advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type, which was confirmed by Franklin’s oncologist, Dr. Philip Phillips of Karmanos Cancer Institute” in Detroit, her publicist said in a statement.

Ray Charles once remarked that soul, as a music genre, was more difficult to explain than electricity. Mahalia Jackson claimed that it began with the laments of people on the cotton fields. But Aretha Franklin insisted: “You don’t need to be an Afro-American in order to have it. It’s something creative, something that’s alive. It’s honesty.” She knew what soul means, having been its undisputed queen since the 1960s.

The young Aretha: gospel and blues

Born on March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee, Franklin grew up in a church setting. Her father, Reverend Clarence Franklin, was a Baptist pastor, and her mother, Barbara Franklin, a famous gospel singer. Reverend Franklin’s sermons became well-known beyond Detroit, where Aretha Franklin grew up with her three siblings.

Her mother died when she was only 10 years old. When Franklin, who rarely gave interviews, talked about her childhood, she would focus on its positive aspects.

As she told US journalist Mark Bego, music could always be heard in the family’s home, and famous musicians would visit. They would eat together and talk, then one would start to play the piano, and spontaneously, all were making music together.

Unsurprisingly, Franklin started to sing and to play the piano at an early age, but her career as a gospel singer came to an abrupt end when she became pregnant. She had her first son at age 14, to be followed by her second son at age 16. She never talked about the circumstances or the fathers. These early challenges shaped the young woman’s character, and her music as well.

The career of Lady Soul

When she was 18 years old, Franklin left her two sons in the custody of her family and moved to New York. After signing a contract with producer John Hammond of Columbia Records, she produced 10 records in different musical styles, including blues, jazz, pop, musical songs, ballads and R&B. In 1966, she went to Atlantic Records, and worked in the following year with producer Jerry Wexler. It was the beginning of a creative explosion.

Wexler produced many of Franklin’s most successful songs, including “Respect,” written by Otis Redding. Sound technician Tom Dowd remembered how impressed he was when he first listened to the recording. In his view, “Respect” represented many areas of life and could be interpreted as referring to racial discrimination, political situations and relationships between men and women; basically everybody could identify with it. In the summer of 1967, it climbed to the top of the US charts and became an international hit.

“Respect” became an important song of the feminist movement, as well as the American civil rights movement. Franklin supported these movements and became a symbol of the struggle for equal rights for black people. She came to represent the new proud Afro-American woman of the late 1960s. She was well acquainted with Martin Luther King, who was also a close friend of her father. Franklin sang at his funeral in 1968.

Jerry Wexler, known as the “godfather of rhythm and blues,” and Franklin came to write music history. From February 1967 to February 1968, Franklin was represented in the Top 10 with six singles — and with three albums in the Top 10 LP charts. Five of the singles and two of the albums achieved gold status.

The 1970s: Return to gospel 
On her albums, Franklin sang and played her own compositions and those of others. Often named best R&B artist at the Grammy Awards, she also became popular with Rock ‘n’ Roll audiences with her live album from Fillmore West in San Francisco. Franklin certainly was Young, Gifted and Black, the title of her most highly acclaimed 1970s album. The Black Power movement had forced her and the majority of people of color to examine themselves more closely, she felt — and although they hadn’t felt ashamed before, they now found a natural self-esteem.

Franklin’s success gave her the artistic freedom to tackle projects that promised only few financial gains. In 1972, she recorded a gospel album in the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles. One of her producers, Arif Mardin, once recounted that some of the songs moved Franklin to such an extent that she had to sit down for a while. That magical atmosphere comes across on the recording of Amazing Grace, widely considered the best gospel album of all time. It achieved gold status and reached number seven in the charts, right next to the Rolling Stones and Jethro Tull.

Aretha Franklin (picture-alliance/Globe/Zumapress)Franklin acquired a reputation of being a diva, having legendary rows with other singers and refusing to give interviews

Rocking through the 1980s

Following a downturn in her career from the mid-1970s onwards, Franklin’s switch to the label Arista catapulted her back to success. The turning point came with her performance in the cult film Blues Brothers in 1980. Her musical comeback came with the album Who’s Zoomin’ Who. Her highest-selling album, it reached platinum status. With its danceable 1980s sound, it was an expression of Franklin’s desire to do something that would also be appreciated by young people. The songs “Freeway of Love,” “Push” and “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves” proved Franklin’s talent for rock.

Showered with praise, Franklin felt particularly honored by a decision of the state government of Michigan to consider her voice as a “natural resource.” Her duet with George Michael, “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me),” went to the top of international charts in 1987, 20 years after the release of “Respect.” In the same year, she became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The 1990s: Excursions into the hip hop and opera worlds 

Franklin acquired the reputation of being a diva for her legendary rows with other singers and refusing to give interviews. Suffering from an extreme fear of flying, Franklin only rarely left Detroit from the mid-1980s onwards. After 1983, she recorded all her albums in Detroit, where most of her television appearances also took place. Connected via satellite to the live performance of “We Are The World,” she sang together with Michael Jackson.

Franklin received numerous awards, including Grammys. She received the Kennedy Award for lifetime achievement from then-US President Bill Clinton in 1994. Unforgettable are also her excursions into the opera world. At the 40th Grammy Awards in 1998, she stepped in for Luciano Pavarotti, who had fallen ill, and sang the Puccini aria “Nessun dorma” — a performance that earned her a standing ovation. In that same year, she also produced a highly acclaimed hip hop album with Lauryn Hill, entitled A Rose is Still a Rose. It was highly praised by Rolling Stone, writing that Aretha’s true strength was her ability to produce the right atmosphere, an ability that would turn an artist into a legend.

The new millennium

Franklin’s contract with Arista ended in 2004, after which she announced the foundation of her own label. Her first and only album on that label was released in 2011. In the meantime, Franklin worked on several compilations and numerous performances, including at the inauguration of President Barack Obama on the steps of the Capitol in Washington in 2009. In 2010, Rolling Stone praised Franklin as “the best singer of all time.”

After 60 years in the music business, Franklin announced in 2017 that she would retire. She became seriously ill earlier this year, at age 76. Surrounded by her family, Aretha Franklin died on August 16, 2018 in Detroit.

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Germany’s Angela Merkel confronts far-right critics in AfD country

Angela Merkel has just returned from her summer holidays and she’s already braving enemy territory. DW followed her to Dresden, a stronghold for far-right populists who have no affinity for the German chancellor.

    
Deutschland Dresden Anti-Merkel Demonstration (DW/J. Chase)

One of the lessons Angela Merkel drew from her conservative party’s disappointment in last year’s election was that she needed to do a better job communicating to the general populace the rationale behind her policies, particularly on migrants.

And no sooner had she returned from her summer break than she traveled to eastern Germany, where the far-right, anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party is growing in strength. Although Merkel herself originally hails from the country’s formerly communist East, she more than any other politician has been the focus of hostility for those in the region who fear that Germany is being taken over for foreigners.

That was only one of many ironies on display in Dresden, at the State Parliament of Saxony, where Merkel took part in a closed-door meeting with local conservatives before briefly speaking to the press. Dresden has been considered enemy territory for the chancellor since October 3, 2016, when crowds of angry right-wing populists celebrated Germany’s national holiday by chanting anti-Merkel slogans in the streets.

Read moreFrom refugees to Russia: Angela Merkel’s foreign policy problems

On Thursday, those streets were full of transport trucks and people setting up carnival stands for the Canaletto, Dresden’s annual summer festival, which begins August 17.  But some 600 to 800 supporters of the AfD and the anti-immigrant PEGIDA movement resisted the temptation of an early beer and lined up outside the parliament building to yell, boo, hiss and generally try to make the chancellor feel as unwelcome as possible — assuming she took notice of them at all.

Chants of ‘Deportation!’ to a brass quartet

PEGIDA supporters have been turning out in Dresden since 2014 to voice their displeasure generally at what they fear is an “Islamization” of Germany, and specifically at Merkel’s refusal to turn away hundreds of thousands of migrants at the country’s borders.

There was an air of familiarity among the protesters, the AfD and PEGIDA functionaries who headed the demonstrations and even the local reporters, who were greeted with well-worn cries of “lying press.” Merkel-haters shouting slogans aimed at foreigners has become as much a part of today’s Dresden as the Semper Opera House or the Elbe River.

Watch video02:52

Under a cloud, Chancellor Angela Merkel holds town hall

They chanted “Volksverräter” (“enemy of the people”) in reference to Merkel. It’s a loaded word given its use, among other things, for those who refused to follow the Nazis to the bitter final end of the Third Reich. But that’s as close as the Merkel-bashers got to employing Nazi terminology — whether they’re constantly refraining from doing so in public is a matter of debate. For AfD supporters, critics who accuse them of Nazi views are themselves “left-wing fascists,” another fashionable new chant on the far right.

Other than a comprehensive belief that Merkel is turning over Germany to criminal foreigners, it was hard to make out a coherent perspective uniting the demonstrators in Dresden. They were just as apt to begin theorizing about the pernicious influence of global capitalism as they were to shout out “Send Merkel to Africa with all of her friends.”

Read moreWar and fuel: Angela Merkel’s headaches in Russia talks

They all knew their national anthem, though. When a brass quartet dressed in sailors’ uniforms played a slightly mistuned rendition of the Deutschlandlied, the crowd sang along. And everybody knew the words.

Jefferson Chase@chaseongermany

Here’s the reception Chancellor just got in from @AfD supporters. Not the nicest way to spend an August afternoon.

Citizens’ dialogue at a safe remove

At around 4:30 p.m. the highlight of the day was finally at hand. A cavalcade of black limousines pulled up in front of the Saxony Parliament, the chancellor got out and the crowd frenetically shouted “Merkel must go” — the slogan that is to the AfD and PEGIDA what “Hey Jude” was to the Beatles.

Not that the Merkel haters saw much of the object of their ire, though. A metal barrier, a handful of police and 300 to 400 meters (330 to 440 yards) separated the chancellor from the people who’d like to see her deported. Only their enraged voices drifted over the acrid August pavement, audible for sure, but only in the way that the cries from a summer festival or fair carry in from a distance.

Read moreAfD: What you need to know about Germany’s far-right party

Such is citizens’ dialogue in the age of social media and right-wing populism. Merkel made no effort to talk with her detractors exercising their rights as citizens to assemble and bellow their views. It would likely have been little use even if she had. Merkel haters know what they believe and what they want. No nice words or arguments, no matter how rational or persuasive, are going to shake their fundamental conviction: “Merkel must go.”

Anti-Merkel Demonstration (DW/J. Chase)German flags were a popular accessory among anti-Merkel demonstrators

Apple juice, sparkling water and jazz

Where Merkel went was not to Africa, but to the parliament building to talk shop with Saxony’s democratically elected conservatives. Reporters congregated outside the parliamentary chambers in a foyer featuring a bar with apple juice, sparkling water and champagne. Against a bank of windows overlooking the river, a musical trio played jazz standards. The river level was extraordinarily low due to the summer drought.

Then Merkel, entirely in her element and unflappable as ever, gave a brief statement. The day’s discussions, the chancellor said, had covered everything from bridging the gaps between urban and rural Germany, to Saxony’s coal-mining industry, to the problem of wild wolves — the nuts and bolts of governing. Of course, she didn’t neglect to mention her political Achilles’ heel, the migrant issue, either.

Read moreMedia and migrants: How journalists help fuel populist momentum

“We have a situation in which not all problems are solved, but 2015 will not and should not be repeated,” Merkel said. “We have a completely new situation.”

By the time the press conference was over, the protesters had dispersed to do whatever PEGIDA supporters do when they’re not on the streets. Maybe they were grabbing a pre-Canaletto beer or wine after baking in the sun. Or maybe they just went home to get online and tell their social media friends about how they really gave Angela Merkel a piece of their minds.

COURTESY: DW

Aretha Franklin dead at 76

 

Gabby Ogbechie, TPG

Aretha Franklin, the American singer-songwriter died today, 16 August of Pancreatic cancer in Detroit Michigan, USA.. She was aged 76.

An icon of the Rhythm and Blues genre, but whose music transcended every known genre; R&B, Rock, Jazz, Pop and Soul, Aretha’s music defined musical standards in more ways than one can recall; influencing generations of pop music followers over a six-decade period; from the 1960s to the present.

”Born on March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee, Franklin grew up in a church setting. Her father, Reverend Clarence Franklin, was a Baptist pastor, and her mother, Barbara Franklin, a famous gospel singer. Reverend Franklin’s sermons became well-known beyond Detroit, where Aretha Franklin grew up with her three siblings”.

She started in Gospel music at about age 10 in the choir of her father’s church in Detroit Michigan, and by age 14 she became an established voice. Young Aretha lost her mother at age 10, and by age 15, she had already become mother to two children. Her first recorded work was Precious Lord from the gospel album, Song of Faith in 1956.

Aretha’s R&B and Soul recordings really commenced in 1962 with the song Rock-      A-Bye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody, from The Electrifying Aretha Franklin album. The song which announced Aretha Franklin as Queen of Soul music was Respect, a remake of Otis Redding’s classic of 1964 in 1967.

Among Aretha Franklin’s greatest hits were: Respect; I never loved a man the way I loved you, Rock Steady, Don’t Play That Song, Since You’ve Been Gone, Baby, I Love You, Bridge Over Troubled Water, A Change Is Gonna Come, Spanish Harlem, Natural Woman, Freeway of Love, I dreamed a dream, and numerous more. Aretha’s version of Respect, coming as it did in 1967 became the very voice for the Civil Rights Movement, and even transcended to becoming the voice for most other movements that demanded respect from oppression.

“Respect” became an important song of the feminist movement, as well as the American civil rights movement. Franklin supported these movements and became a symbol of the struggle for equal rights for black people. She came to represent the new proud Afro-American woman of the late 1960s. She was well acquainted with Martin Luther King, who was also a close friend of her father. Franklin sang at his funeral in 1968. 

 

”Franklin received numerous awards, including Grammys. She received the Kennedy Award for lifetime achievement from then-US President Bill Clinton in 1994. Unforgettable are also her excursions into the opera world. At the 40th Grammy Awards in 1998, she stepped in for Luciano Pavarotti, who had fallen ill, and sang the Puccini aria “Nessun dorma” — a performance that earned her a standing ovation. In that same year, she also produced a highly acclaimed hip hop album with Lauryn Hill, entitled A Rose is Still a Rose. It was highly praised by Rolling Stone, writing that Aretha’s true strength was her ability to produce the right atmosphere, an ability that would turn an artist into a legend”.

Aretha was arguably the greatest Soul music voice of all time.Her voice basically tingled the spine and froze the nerves. Her performance at at President Barack Obama’s inauguration drew tears from most present with its haunting cadence.
May her lovely soul rest in perfect peace.

https://youtu.be/waS0rKeuzg8 via Aretha Franklin – I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)@YouTube

 

Gabby Ogbechie, The Property Gazette

Follow at @GabbyOgbechie1

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