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Report claims oil states plotting to end dollar trade

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A report published Tuesday by an esteemed British journalist alleging that oil states and China are teaming up to replace the dollar as the currency of choice in trading oil received ardent denials from several of the countries allegedly involved.

Writing in The Independent, reporter Robert Fisk alleged that Gulf states — along with China, Russia, Japan and France – are eyeing an end to dollar dealings for oil, “moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar.”

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“Secret meetings have already been held by finance ministers and central bank governors in Russia, China, Japan and Brazil to work on the scheme, which will mean that oil will no longer be priced in dollars,” Fisk added. “The plans, confirmed to The Independent by both Gulf Arab and Chinese banking sources in Hong Kong, may help to explain the sudden rise in gold prices, but it also augurs an extraordinary transition from dollar markets within nine years.”

Fisk’s story received swift and vehement denials from some of the countries purportedly involved.

Asked by reporters about the newspaper story, Saudi Arabia’s central bank chief Muhammad al-Jasser said: “Absolutely incorrect.” He repeated the same response when asked whether Saudi Arabia was in such talks.

Kuwait’s oil minister and a well-placed source in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries made similar remarks. Russia’s deputy finance minister Dmitry Pankin said: “We did not discuss this at all.”

The dollar slipped in the wake of the newspaper story. The euro edged up as high as $1.4749, although it fell back to $1.4701 when the Saudi Arabian and Russian officials denied the report.

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Algerian Finance Minister Karim Djoudi told Reuters: “Oil producing countries need to stabilize revenues but…I don’t see a need for oil trade to be denominated differently.

“But we are at the IMF conference where all sorts of subjects are raised and discussed,” he added.

Analysts say changing the currency in which oil is traded would require massive efforts by producer countries.

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Thousands protest in Jerusalem against Netanyahu

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Thousands of Israelis protested Tuesday in front of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem, demanding his resignation as the government comes under fire over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Some placards carried by demonstrators read "Netanyahu's corruption makes us sick" and "Netanyahu, resign".

One protest organiser, reserve General Amir Haskel, urged the crowd gathered on July 14, the "231st anniversary of the French revolution" to "demand liberty, equality and fraternity".

Police were out in force for the demonstration.

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Lindsey Graham is ‘hellbent’ on interrogating Robert Mueller in a hearing that isn’t even scheduled and may not happen

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is in the fight for his political career, but his focus is on investigating former special counsel Robert Mueller for his investigation into President Donald Trump. While Graham is rattling off talking points about what he wants to ask Mueller, the hearing not only hasn't been scheduled, it may not even happen.

Politico reported Tuesday that Graham has described himself as “hellbent” on investigating the investigators in the Mueller probe. It is a talking point his golfing buddy, Trump, has demanded in the months following Mueller's findings that the president obstructed justice at least ten times. Pledges to press Mueller about the Russia investigation have been going on for almost a year, when GOP members began questioning the FISA warrant that ordered the monitoring of Trump's foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

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Ghislaine Maxwell pleads not guilty to sex trafficking minors for ex-partner Epstein

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British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell pleaded not guilty in a New York court Tuesday to sex trafficking minors for her former partner, the late financier Jeffrey Epstein.

The 58-year-old denied six charges related to alleged crimes committed by Epstein, a well-connected sex offender who killed himself in prison while awaiting trial last summer.

Maxwell appeared in a Manhattan federal court via video link from Brooklyn's high-security Metropolitan Detention Center, where she is being held following her arrest this month.

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