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Saudi Arabia urges ‘decisive’ response to threats against energy supplies

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Saudi Arabia’s energy minister on Saturday called for a “swift and decisive” response to threats against energy supplies following twin attacks on tankers in a vital Gulf shipping channel.

“There must be a swift and decisive response to the threat against energy supplies… created by the recent terrorist acts in the Arabian Gulf,” Khalid al-Falih was quoted as saying on the ministry’s Twitter page.

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He was speaking at a meeting of G20 energy and environment ministers in Japan after the attacks on Thursday, which sent crude prices soaring amid a tense standoff between Iran and the US.

The Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous was carrying highly flammable methanol through the Gulf of Oman when it was rocked by explosions, causing a blaze that was quickly extinguished.

US President Donald Trump said the twin attack, which also targeted a tanker owned by Oslo-listed company Frontline, had Iran “written all over it”.

Falih has previously said the kingdom was monitoring the situation with “great concern” and called for action to secure maritime traffic, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.

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Saudi Arabia, a close US ally, is a bitter regional rival of Iran.

Iran has repeatedly warned in the past that it could block the strategic Hormuz Strait in a relatively low-tech, high-impact countermeasure to any attack by the United States.

Doing so would disrupt oil tankers travelling out of the Gulf region to the Indian Ocean and global export routes.

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But Trump has played down the threat.


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‘Psychedelic Nazi’ arrested on AK-47 charges attended ‘Unite the Right’ in Charlottesville: report

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Federal authorities in Virginia arrested a far-right political activist who had attended the deadly "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville during which Heather Heyer was murdered in 2017.

Andrew "Thomasberg was arrested at his home in McLean on Thursday, according to court filings, accused of possessing guns as a drug user and illegally buying an AK-47 in 2017 for that friend, who is cooperating with authorities," The Washington Post reported Friday.

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Bill de Blasio learned of federal investigation — and suspended his 2020 bid the next day: report

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Friday that he was ending his campaign for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

There may have been more to the timing than previously reported.

"Federal election officials asked Mayor de Blasio for more information about his presidential campaign fundraising after he used a state political action committee to pay for expenses related to the bid – seemingly against the law," the New York Daily News reported Friday. "The Federal Election Commission demanded that de Blasio 2020 clarify a debt the campaign owed his NY Fairness PAC in a letter Thursday – the day before Hizzoner dropped out of the race."

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White House Counsel busted working to keep whistleblower report from Congress: report

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President Donald Trump's White House counsel has reportedly been personally involved in keeping Congress from reviewing a whistleblowing report involving Ukraine.

"The revelation that Trump pushed Zelensky to pursue the Biden probe, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, represents the most detailed account so far of the president’s conduct that prompted a U.S. intelligence official to file a whistleblower action against the president," The Washington Post reported Friday. "The disclosure comes amid new details about the White House’s role in preventing Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire from complying with Congressional demands for the material in the complaint."

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