Insurance claims from deadly California wildfires top 114B

first_imgInsurance claims from deadly California wildfires top $11.4B Posted: January 28, 2019 SACRAMENTO (AP) – Insurance claims from California’s deadly November 2018 wildfires have topped $11.4 billion.State Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara said Monday that more than $8 billion worth of damage comes from the fire that leveled the town of Paradise and killed 86 people. About $3 billion more is from two Southern California wildfires that ignited the same week.The $11.4 billion is just shy of the claims filed in a series of 2017 wildfires, including deadly blazes that tore through Northern California wine country.The Paradise wildfire destroyed about double the number of homes than the wine country fires, but property values are lower in the rural Northern California region.Including other major California fires in July 2018, total insurance claims from the year neared $12.4 billion. AP, AP Categories: California News, Local San Diego News, Wildfires FacebookTwitter January 28, 2019last_img read more

Oil prices dip after strong rally but sentiment remains confident

first_imgOil prices dipped on Thursday on profit taking after markets rallied the previous day due to a draw in U.S. stocks and an expectation of an OPEC-led cut in production.U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were trading at $51.38 per barrel at 0238 GMT, down 22 cents from their last close.International Brent crude futures were trading at $52.56 per barrel, down 11 cents.Traders said that the price dips were a result of profit taking following a rally the previous day, which saw WTI settle at a 15-month high, fuelled by a reduction in U.S. crude stocks by 5.2 million barrels in the week ended Oct. 14 to 468.7 million barrels.”Oil prices continued to rise overnight on optimism over OPEC supply restraint and weaker-than-expected inventories,” ANZ bank said on Thursday.The overall mood in oil markets remained confident, with most analysts expecting further increases.Reuters technical commodity analyst Wang Tao said U.S. oil is expected to break a resistance zone of $51.67 to $52.11 per barrel, and then rise towards $52.78. Meanwhile, Brent oil may stabilize around a support at $52.49 per barrel and then retest a resistance at $53.45.BMI Research even said that “we see significant potential for an upwards break in Brent towards $60 per barrel driven by bullish technical drivers and supportive conditions in the broader financial markets,” although it added that current fundamentals did not warrant much higher prices.The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) plans to meet on November 30 and hopes to decide on a half a million to 1 million barrels per day oil production cut, and the producer cartel hopes that non-OPEC exporters, especially Russia, will cooperate.Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Wednesday that the cut will help reduce a huge overhang of supplies and stimulate new investments in the sector.However, Exxon chief executive Rex Tillerson said that cost cutting in the U.S. shale oil sector had made some wells profitable at as low as $40 a barrel. This means that North America has effectively become a swing producer that will be able to respond rapidly to a cut or unforeseen supply shortage.last_img read more

Britain to hold third vote in Brexit crisis

first_imgBritain`s prime minister Theresa May leaves after attending a church service, near her Maidenhead constituency, west of London on 13 January. Photo: AFPBritish prime minister Theresa May will put her twice-rejected Brexit divorce deal to a third parliamentary vote on Friday in a renewed bid to avoid a chaotic split from the European Union in two weeks.May’s throw of the dice comes a day after her dramatic pledge to resign in order to persuade her rivals to finally back her vision for breaking Britain’s 46-year membership of the bloc.The prime minister’s back is against the wall as she tries to keeping Britain’s economy from imploding and the pound from plunging when a post-Brexit border splits the two tight trading partners.Andrea Leadsom, the government’s representative in parliament, said Thursday that the new vote gave recalcitrant lawmakers the chance to secure Britain’s delayed departure from the EU on 22 May.”I encourage all MPs to support it and ensure that we leave the EU… giving people and businesses the certainty they need,” she told MPs.The government is hoping that holding the vote on the day when Britain was meant to leave the bloc could win over some still sceptical MPs.House of Commons speaker John Bercow gave his approval to hold the vote after he had rejected a similar attempt last week, ruling then that May’s text was essentially the same one that lawmakers had voted down.”(It) is new, substantially different and in conformity,” he said of the deal to be put to MPs on Friday’s vote, which will only cover the main withdrawal agreement in May’s plan and not an accompanying political declaration for future EU relations.Another parliamentary vote would be required before Brexit can actually go ahead.Any failure by lawmakers to pass the pact that was signed off last year by May and the 27 EU leaders could result in a feared “no-deal Brexit” scenario on April 12.Britain might then try to avoid crashing out by seeking a much longer extension that would force it to take part in European Parliament elections in May.- ‘Blindfold Brexit’ -The prime minister’s handling of Brexit has provoked anger, frustration and ridicule at home and abroad.She played what may have been her last political card on Wednesday by promising to quit once the first stage of the messy divorce process is complete.”I know there is a desire for a new approach — and new leadership — in the second phase of the Brexit negotiations and I won’t stand in the way of that,” May told a packed meeting of party members.Her promise won over some likely contenders for her job.Former foreign minister Boris Johnson said he would now back the premier “on behalf of the 17.4 million people who voted for Brexit” in the deeply divisive 2016 referendum.But the opposition Labour party said May’s pledge only created more uncertainties by leaving open the question of who would lead the trade talks that will define EU-UK relations for decades to come.”It’s even more of a blindfold Brexit,” Labour’s Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer said.”We now know that the outcome of our future relationship with the EU is not going to be determined by her.”- Decisive DUP role -May’s position was undermined further when her allies in Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) said they would continue to oppose the deal.The tiny group props up May’s minority government and is playing a decisive role in the political saga that has consumed Britain and left its EU partners increasingly perplexed.The DUP fears provisions in May’s deal aimed at keeping a free-flowing border between Britain’s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland.The group worries that this would give Northern Ireland a different economic status from Britain and separate it from rest of the country.Parliament’s own attempt on Wednesday to find a new last-minute Brexit fix ended in failure.None of the eight options drawn up by various MPs secured a majority and another vote has been set for Monday on the more popular option.The one that came closest to winning provided for a much closer economic union with the EU after Brexit than what the Conservative party platform allows.A proposal to hold a second referendum — a popular idea with EU supporters — came second while those promoting a cleaner break finished near the bottom.last_img