MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Ampol Ltd ALD.AX is considering closing the Lytton refinery, one of four Australian refineries, as it has suffered heavy losses due to falling fuel demand driven by the coronavirus and competition from large Asian factories.
Ampol, formerly known as Caltex Australia, was able to shut down Lytton despite a recent A $ 2.3 billion ($ 1.6 billion) offer from the Australian government incentives to the industry to keep the country’s refineries open for national security.
Ampol shares rose as much as 2.3% after marking the refinery review, outpacing gains in the broader market .AXJO.
“We really appreciate the government acknowledging with the proposed package the challenges facing the refining sector, … but we have to be realistic about the extreme structural stresses facing Lytton,” Ampol Chief Executive Matt Halliday said in an interview.
Ampol on Thursday reported an A $ 141 million loss at the factory so far this year, worse than analyst expectations.
“The demolition of demand and oversupply that we have seen … presents very challenging margin prospects,” Halliday told Reuters.
“That is on top of the pressure we face in an international context. Refinery (Australia) is relatively small and relatively old. “
Ampol said it would review the future of the Lytton plant, located in the state of Queensland, in the second quarter of 2021, considering whether to close it, turning it into a fuel import terminal as it did with the Kurnell refinery in 2014, continuing existing operations or piloting a model. another operation.
“Lytton’s larger-than-expected loss for Q3 reflects a combination of weak refining margins and the structural aspects of its relatively high fixed cost base,” said RBC analysts in a note.
Energy Minister Angus Taylor said in emailed comments that the government is working with Ampol and industry on its fuel safety package.
Analysts expect Ampol, which fended off a takeover offer earlier this year, shutting down Lytton to boost profits.
Rival Viva Energy Group Ltd VEA.AX last month it also warned it would close its refinery in Geelong, near Melbourne.
Reporting by Sonali Paul; Additional reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin
In recent years, consumers have become increasingly interested in purchasing locally grown food. This trend is driven by a variety of reasons including the perception that local food is more nutritious and tastes better, a desire to support the local economy, or because they feel that buying local food is better for the planet. According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), local food sales, including farmers’ markets and home-cooked food sales, nationwide have grown from $ 5 billion annually in 2009 to $ 20 billion projected in 2019. USDA Agricultural Marketing Services reports 42% An increase in the Farmers Market from 2010 to 2017. The Farmers Market is a popular place to sell Cottage food.
Home-made food products are made in home kitchens, not commercial kitchens, and are an economical way for entrepreneurs to start a food business on a small scale. Home food operators must comply with applicable local, state, and federal laws and regulations. Cottage food laws and regulations vary from state to state.
During the 2020 session, the Mississippi Legislature amended laws relating to cottage food operations. “To increase the maximum annual gross sales for home food operations from twenty thousand dollars to thirty-five thousand dollars for exemption from food establishment permit fees; to allow home food operations to advertise home food products via the internet, including via social media; and for related purposes. ” The amendments will come into effect on July 1, 2020. Other requirements in the law that were not amended during the 2020 legislative session remain the same.
As a general rule, the regulatory body responsible for enforcing laws writes rules and guidelines for laws passed by the legislature. In Mississippi, the Mississippi State Department of Health is the regulatory body responsible for providing regulations and guidelines for home food products. These rules and guidelines are based on current laws and are very specific. Although new laws and regulations for Mississippi allow home food operators to advertise their products on the internet, actual product sales must go directly from producers to consumers. Not all food products can be sold as home food products. Food that is allowed should be non-hazardous food that does not require time or temperature control for safety and does not require a refrigerator, even after opening. Home food products must be prepackaged with a label containing the following information:
Name and address of the cottage food operation
Home food product names
The ingredients and sub-ingredients are listed in descending or dominant order by weight
Allergen information required by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) federal labeling requirements
Net weight or net volume of home food products
The following statement is at least in a 10-point font: “Made in a home food operation that is not subject to Mississippi food safety regulations.”
If any claims are made such as nutritional claims or organic claims, then additional federal label requirements may also apply.
In conclusion, consumers’ desire to buy and eat more locally and regionally grown food has driven the home food industry, giving consumers more choices, and giving local agriculture a boost. Cottage food owners must be notified of and follow all local, state and federal regulations related to their business to protect themselves and their customers.
For regulatory questions regarding home-food, contact the Mississippi State Health Council or your local health department. MSU Extension has a recently revised publication, Food as a Business – Mississippi Cottage Food Operations: Rules and Guidance (Publication 3286), which provides detailed information on approved and unapproved foods for home food as well as information on personal hygiene, food safety, food labels and record keeping. Additional resources and references are provided below.
For Questions or For Further Information:
Mississippi State Department of Health, Food Protection Division, Jackson, MS. (Phone: 866-458-4948 or on the Web at https://MSDH.ms.gov)
Pontotoc County Health Department, Pontotoc, MS (Phone: 662-489-1241)
Tensions between the two biggest economies in the world have increased again this week after the United States ordered the closure of the Chinese embassy in Houston, accusing it of being a den of Chinese spies trying to steal data from facilities in Texas.
Experts and former diplomats say all diplomatic missions gather intelligence, and countries often “turn a blind eye”
US officials said the Houston consulate’s activities crossed what was acceptable
Houston is an information center for aerospace and pharmaceutical research facilities
In retaliation, China then ordered the United States to close its consulate in Chengdu, accusing its staff of meddling in its internal affairs.
But espionage experts say intelligence gathering is an important part of what diplomatic missions do, and that often includes not only legal means but also the use of spies to gather “confidential information”.
“They did it, we did it. We only hope to catch them, and hope they don’t arrest us,” said Anthony Glees, an internationally published security and intelligence expert and political professor at Buckingham University.
To some extent, countries choose to “turn a blind eye” to many of these activities because “it is in their mutual interest to do so,” Professor Glees told ABC.
Most of a secret revealed by Edward Snowden in 2014 included detailed information about how the US used its own diplomatic mission to spy on countries around the world, but as a result no US consulate was closed.
But this accepted spy culture does have boundaries, and crossing that line, though rarely, can lead to diplomatic expulsion.
Here we see examples of the past, and why the Houston Chinese consulate – one of five Chinese consulates in the US, along with the embassy in Washington DC – was chosen.
Senior US officials said that espionage activities by Chinese diplomatic missions took place throughout the country, but their activities outside the Houston consulate went far above what was acceptable.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the consulate “a center of spying and theft of intellectual property”, an accusation which China denies “malicious slander”.
A senior State Department official also linked espionage activities from the consulate to China’s pursuit of vaccine research for the new coronavirus.
Professor Glees said Houston is currently an information center because of its aerospace and pharmaceutical research facilities, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I would not doubt that the Chinese in Houston are improving intelligence. This is one of the few Chinese consulates, but – in terms of cutting edge research – it might be the best place to be,” he told ABC.
But Professor Glees then asked two important questions.
“Is China trying to do this secretly and therefore breaking the law? People would think it is, but it doesn’t have to be,” he said.
“Do the US, Britain and Australia do the same thing? Of course.”
China’s retaliatory efforts to close the US consulate in Chengdu may also be a choice based on strategic location.
“That’s where the US collects information about Tibet and the development of Chinese strategic weapons in neighboring areas,” said Wu Xinbo, a professor and expert on American studies at Fudan University in Shanghai.
Has the embassy ever been closed?
Closing of embassies amid espionage allegations is rare, but diplomats accused of spying have been driven out in the past.
Russia responded by expelling 23 British diplomats and ordered the closure of the British consulate in St. Petersburg and the office of the British Council in Moscow.
At the height of the Cold War, Britain expelled 25 Soviet diplomats after the defection of Oleg Gordievsky, the former head of KGB operations in London, who had appointed KGB personnel operating at the Soviet embassy in London.
In Canberra, the Soviet embassy was closed in 1954 when an intelligence officer based in the capital defected, offering to provide information about Soviet espionage activities against Australia and west. The Embassy reopened in 1959.
A mysterious burglary
While the expulsion of diplomats and, more than that, the closure of the embassy rarely happens outside the war, Professor Glees said being forced into the consulates of other countries was “absolutely not possible”.
But shortly after the Houston consulate closed, a group of men who appeared to be American officials were seen forcing open the back door of the building.
After the people entered, two uniformed members from the US State Department’s Diplomatic Security Bureau arrived to guard the door.
China condemns the breach by saying it violates the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the China-US consular agreement.
“But they will just get away with it because Trump is ready to be reelected and going to China now makes sense politically even if there is no specific reason, to be honest.”
‘Legal spies’ and illegal operators
Professor Glees said consular staff who were officially registered and known as hosts could operate as “legal spies”, but they were required by law to comply with certain rules.
This intelligence meeting, whether confidential or open, can be held in many ways such as through meetings, conferences and visiting universities, businesses or research centers.
“Then you have ‘illegal’ – officers and agents who are not listed in the embassy’s name list … assuming your identity or just using the excuse to be in the recipient country to conduct espionage on his part,” he said.
But even “legal spies” are sometimes involved in illegal espionage, most often by recruiting agents to act on their behalf.
He said while Chinese diplomats were gathering information openly “to avoid being accused of engaging in secret intelligence work “, they might also provide primary assistance for covert operations.
“But most operations are run independently by various [government] department, “he told ABC, adding that in many cases Chinese state-run companies could provide safer homes.
Mr Chen said most of the infiltration could be done more effectively through migration – especially skilled workers and experts.
Instead of using embassies or consulates, they can communicate directly with Chinese officials or meet in a third country, making this operation very difficult to detect.
The most common diplomats work to create connections and place students and experts in the main research department to openly obtain information about new technologies and developments that can then be used by China, he said, adding that such activities are very broad in Australia where his response to theft of intellectual property has been “weak”.
Instead, the Trump administration has taken a hard line against China in trade and politics.
What might happen next?
Issues ranging from trade to the coronavirus pandemic, China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea and its crackdown on Hong Kong, have plunged relations between Washington and Beijing to what experts say is the lowest level in decades.
Following a burglary on the now closed Houston site, China has threatened to cause a reaction, and the White House has not ruled out the possibility of closing more embassies.
While in a related incident, a researcher who fled to the Chinese consulate in San Francisco after allegedly lying to investigators about his Chinese military service was also arrested by US officials.
“As far as closing additional embassies, it’s always possible,” US President Donald Trump told reporters earlier this week.
But Chen said while the US appeared to distance itself from China, further responses from Beijing were likely to be held back.
“China benefits broadly from globalization,” he said.
“China’s economy relies on international trade and shared technology and they don’t want to risk breaking up with the US or Australia.”
Sindh demanded to immediately run Khushhal Khan Khattak Express, Bolan Mail & Mohenjo Daro Express.
KARACHI (Dunya News) – The Sindh government on Wednesday demanded the federal government to resume operations of three trains that had been stopped, Dunya News reported.
Transport Minister Sindh Awais Shah has asked the federation to immediately run Khushhal Khan Khattak Express, Bolan Mail and Mohenjo Daro Express.
Awais Shah said, “Federal Minister for Railroad Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has damaged trains in two years. He stopped the operation of the three Larkana trains on purpose. The federal government has deprived people of this economic facility.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan must pay attention and order to immediately return the three trains. The prime minister has appointed Sheikh Rashid to bankrupt the company.”
KARACHI: The first 900MW RLNG-PLTU Bin Qasim (BQPS) unit fired by 900MW is expected to start operating in the summer of 2021, Moonis Alvi, CEO of K-Electric (KE) said.
He spoke to a delegation from the Karachi Industrial Forum (KIF), which was recently visited
560MW Bin K-Electric (KE)
Qasim Power Plant (BQPS) -II and reviewing the fast tracked development work at the adjacent 900MW RLNG Bin Qasim Power Plant (BQPS), he added.
“EC is working with government agencies to realize additional power withdrawals from the national network and ensure sustainable growth of electricity supply in line with Karachi’s faster than average growth in demand.”
“Recognizing the role of the Karachi industry in promoting Pakistan’s prosperity, we always prioritize our industrial customers. KE is the first electricity utility in Pakistan that frees the industry from loading which is scheduled to return in 2012. “
Alvi said, “In the last few days, we have also simplified our new connection process in line with the World Bank’s Ease of Business model to make access to energy easier.”