Biden announces ban on Russian oil, gas imports - The Daily Guardian
Connect with us

News

Biden announces ban on Russian oil, gas imports

Russia threatens to cut off gas supply to Europe, warns crude oil price may surge to $300 a barrel; Centre to take decisions on oil prices in best interest of citizens: Puri; Kyiv braces for big, all-out Russian assault.

Published

on

US President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced a ban on US imports of Russian oil, in the administration’s most far-reaching action yet to punish Moscow for invading Ukraine. “We’re banning all imports of Russian oil and gas and energy. That means Russian oil will no longer be acceptable at US ports and the American people will deal another powerful blow to (President Vladimir) Putin,” Biden said in an address from the White House, adding that the decision was taken “in close consultation” with allies. The ban came with Democrats threatening legislation to force Biden’s hand, despite the likely impact on already soaring gas prices.

“We are enforcing the most significant package of economic sanctions in history, and it’s causing significant damage to Russia’s economy,” US President Joe Biden further added. “We’re moving forward with this ban understanding that many of our European allies and partners may not be in a position to join us,” Biden said.

Meanwhile, Russia had, earlier in the day, threatened to take action, including cutting off gas supply to Europe through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, if sanctions are imposed on its oil exports. “Europe consumes about 500 billion cubic meters of gas per year. Russia provides 40% of that,” Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said in a statement late Monday, according to official Interfax agency. He underlined that for decades, Russia had been a reliable partner, and had always fulfilled its contractual commitments and obligations to deliver gas to Europe.

“Given that, as well as the baseless accusations against Russia (…) we know we are fully entitled to take a “mirror” decision and place an embargo on gas transit via Nord Stream 1 which is presently running at 100 percent capacity,” Novak warned.

However, the minister stressed that the decision had not yet been taken and said that with mutual sanctions would “have no winners,” even though European politicians “continue to push us toward it.” “Regrettably, we have seen the statement by European politicians on energy issues and calls to dump Russian oil and gas. European officials are once again trying to shift the problems and failures of their own energy policy of recent years onto Russia,” he said. Currently, Russia ships about 60 billion cubic meters of natural gas a year through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced halting the certification of the planned North Stream 2 gas pipeline to supply Russian natural gas directly to Germany.

Ban on imports of Russian petroleum products by western nations will have catastrophic consequences for the global economy and it will push crude oil price to over $300 per barrel, Novak has warned. “It is absolutely obvious that abandoning Russian oil will lead to catastrophic consequences for the world market. A surge in prices will be unpredictable—more than $300 per barrel, if not more,” Russian News Agency TASS quoted Novak as saying.

Novak said the ban on Russian oil will lead to a rise in prices for fuel, electricity and heating in Europe and the United States. “It is impossible to replace the volume of Russian oil on the European market quickly, it will take more than one year, and it will be much more expensive for European consumers,” Novak told reporters in Moscow. “Under this scenario, they will become the main victims. European politicians should then honestly warn their citizens, consumers, what awaits them and that prices for gas stations, for electricity, for heating will skyrocket. This will affect other markets, including the American one,” he said.

A report from New Delhi said that amid speculation that fuel prices may rise owing to soaring crude prices due to the Russia-Ukraine crisis, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday ruled out that the government had controlled oil prices due to elections and said the decision will be taken in the best interest of the citizens. Addressing a press conference, Puri said, “Oil prices are determined by global prices. There is a war-like situation in one part of the country. The oil companies will factor that in. We will take decisions in the best interest of our citizens. To say that the government had controlled oil prices due to elections is not correct. We will make sure that our energy requirements are met.”

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian capital Kyiv braced for a big, all-out Russian assault, even as Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Tuesday that he is in Kyiv and is not afraid. The statement comes amid the Russian troops intensifying shelling in several Ukrainian cities. Russian forces are inching closer to the capital Kyiv from the north and west. “I stay in Kyiv. On Bankova Street. I’m not hiding. And I’m not afraid of anyone,” Zelensky said in a video on his official Instagram. He said that he would do as much as it takes to “win this patriotic war”.

Oil depots in Zhytomyr and Chernyakhiv were hit in two airstrikes by Russian forces, Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on Tuesday. “As a result of two air-strikes, oil depots in Zhytomyr and Chernyakhiv were hit,” tweeted Ukraine MFA. Earlier, Head of Sumy Regional State Administration Dmitry Zhivitsky had said that at least 10 people, including children, were killed as a result of targeted bombings by Russia on Sumy.

Meanwhile, Russia on Tuesday declared a ceasefire amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine from 10 am (Moscow time) to provide humanitarian corridors in the cities of Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv and Mariupol, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia said in a statement. The development comes following the third round of talks between Russia and Ukraine in Belarus on Monday, which apparently ended in failure. In the meeting, both sides addressed the issues of civilian evacuation and the Ukrainian side assured Russia that the humanitarian corridor will start working from Tuesday.

Ukraine’s military intelligence said on Tuesday that Ukrainian forces have killed a Russian general near the besieged city of Kharkiv, the second Russian senior commander to die in the invasion. Major General Vitaly Gerasimov, first deputy commander of Russia’s 41st army, was killed on Monday, the Chief Directorate of Intelligence of Ukraine’s defence ministry said in a statement. Russia’s defence ministry could not be immediately reached for comment. Another Russian general, Andrei Sukhovetsky, also a deputy commander of the 41st army, was reported killed at the end of February. Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on Tuesday said that around 12,000 Russian forces have been killed since the invasion of Ukraine started.

The Daily Guardian is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@thedailyguardian) and stay updated with the latest headlines.

For the latest news Download The Daily Guardian App.

News Plus

E-commerce may grow by 45%-51% in 2023 in Asia-Pacific region: StoreHippo CEO

Published

on

Rajiv Kumar Aggarwal, Founder & CEO, StoreHippo spoke to The Daily Guardian about his company and its growth plans as well as the e-commerce market.

Q. Tell us about the company and the services that your company offers?

A. Started in 2014, StoreHippo is the most flexible SaaS-based enterprise e-commerce platform. The fully-integrated platform built on MACH architecture enables enterprise brands to launch, pivot, and scale their B2B, D2C, B2B2C, or hybrid business models from one single platform Designed to accelerate the digital journey of enterprise brands, we have been building the most innovative and powerful solutions for brands across industry verticals.

The company has been driving the successful digital transition of enterprises with its 300+ inbuilt features, 120+ seamless integrations, inherent flexibility, and agility. The company makes it possible for brands to build personalised and conversion-oriented omnichannel buyer journeys for both D2C and B2B buyers. StoreHippo’s fully integrated solutions enable enterprise brands to integrate ERP, CRM, accounting, payment, and any other software or services of their choice. The company also provides the most accessible, reliable, and robust shipping solutions to its merchant clients with end-to-end logistics and fulfilment support.

Q. What were the company’s goals and objectives when it was founded?

A. StoreHippo was envisioned with the goal to offer cutting-edge enterprise e-commerce solutions for brands that could be easily customised for unique brand requirements. The aim was not to offer just an e-commerce solution but to offer a complete ecosystem with support for different business models and every aspect of the business operations, marketing, and growth. The company has been helping enterprises ever since to create a niche for their brand with future-ready solutions that help them go to market in record time.

Q. How do you see the e-commerce market by 2023?

A. E-commerce is going to continue its upward climb in the years to come. Ecommerce will keep growing in double digits even in 2023 and the highest growth will be seen in the Asia-Pacific region which will grow by a whopping 45-51%. With Covid induced better adaptation for online buying and selling even traditional, offline brands will hop on the commerce bandwagon. Amazing things are in store in days to come, in terms of hybrid business models and revolutionary tech solutions that would make customer journeys more personalised, immersive, and frictionless.

Q. What were the major challenges the company has faced till now?

A. Initially, the major challenge we faced was convincing clients that e-commerce is the way forward, and adopting the model sooner can actually give them a strong footing in the competitive market. Also, we had to do a lot of handholding as back in 2014, the e-commerce market was still in its nascent stage and customers were also a bit sceptical about purchasing online. However, things changed rapidly after 2016-2017 and enterprises have been lapping up the concept of going digital not only on one channel but across channels like online stores, mobile apps, mobile stores, social commerce, or any other new-age customer touchpoint that can be made commerce-enabled. Also, brands no longer stick to one business model, rather they are strategising the business to run either a hybrid business model or different business models from a single platform (like, D2C+ B2B or multi-vendor marketplace with hyperlocal e-commerce, etc.) StoreHippo’s well-rounded solutions with inbuilt solutions for a variety of business models have been able to handle all such challenges from enterprise brands easily.

Q. What are your growth plans for the next year?

A. StoreHippo is aiming to accelerate growth in untapped global and domestic markets along with solidifying its presence in its existing markets. We are aiming for a 250% growth in the coming year by offering innovative enterprise solutions to brands from diverse industries.

Continue Reading

News Plus

‘GAGANYAAN’ OFFERS A RIVETING ROADMAP TO THE CHALLENGING JOURNEY OF INDIA’S HUMAN SPACE FLIGHT PROGRAMME

Murtaza Ali Khan

Published

on

Produced by Miditech Studios, the new Discovery+ documentary titled ‘Gaganyaan – Bharat ki Antariksh Udaan’ offers a riveting roadmap to the audacious and challenging journey of India’s human space flight programme, from developing the country’s own state of the art cryogenic engine, testing of flights, rigorous astronaut trainings to the final preparations and anticipation before its launch in 2023.

The 45-minute long documentary is supported with archival footage and modern graphical representations of the complex processes and tremendous dangers of human space flight. This fascinating original also recaps the ground-breaking engineering that enabled India to successfully test an unmanned flight with the crew module from launch to re-entry in 2014.

‘Gaganyaan – Bharat ki Antariksh Udaan’ features three eminent astronauts viz. Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian to go into space, Sunita Willaims, the elite record-holding woman astronaut of NASA, and the Russian Cosmonaut, Oleg Kotov. Along with them, various experts namely, Dr G Madhavan Nair (Former Chairman, ISRO), Air Cdre (Rtd) Ravish Malhotra (Former test pilot, IAF), Asif Siddiqi (Space Historian), Dr Brigitte Godard (Flight Surgeon, European astronaut centre), and other distinguished professionals also lend their expertise on the subject.

This is just the kind of content one expects from Discovery+, the country’s first and leading aggregated infotainment streaming platform, which is famously known for engrossing cosmology content among other fun and facts-based content from more than 55 sub-genres. In doing so, Discovery+ becomes the first OTT platform to bring to the Indian public this historical journey which will put India on the world stage with other spacefaring nations: Russia, China, and the United States. ‘Gaganyaan’ joins a formidable lineup of successful and immensely popular cosmological titles like – ‘India’s Space Odyssey,’ ‘How The Universe Works,’ ‘Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman,’ ‘Space Titans: Musk, Bezos, Branson’ and many more.

Gaganyaan was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 15 August 2018. But no one at the time saw the pandemic coming less than two years later, with scientists and aerospace engineers realising that going ahead with a manned mission, a complex endeavour with a life at stake even at the best of times, was not something to be rushed.

But despite the uncertainty created by the pandemic, the ISRO is marching toward its ambitious India’s maiden human spacelift mission in 2023. It has completed one more crucial test, which will boost the confidence of the scientific community to push the project further.

On May 9, ISRO completed a test called a static test of a human-rated solid rocket booster, simply known as HS200, for the ‘Gaganyaan Mission’. The test was conducted at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. In simple terms, the test was conducted to see the weak spots, if any, in the rocket to be launched. In this process, human intelligence and scientific knowledge are simultaneously applied to check or anticipate weak spots in a spacecraft. Preventing possible accidents is billed as ‘Human Rating’. The process involves several tests with many variables to ensure the safety of a manned spacecraft to reach the goal and return safely to earth. In a way, it’s analysing and understanding the reliability of human-rated rockets against non-human-rated rockets. During the test, ISRO checked 700 parameters and found them all normal.

Interestingly, PM Modi discussed the ‘Gaganyaan Mission’ in his first Mann Ki Baat of the new year and the new decade. “Gaganyaan mission will be a historic achievement in the field of science and technology for India in the 21st century. It will prove to be a milestone for New India,” he had asserted while praising the four pilots of the Indian Airforce who have been selected as astronauts for the mission and their forthcoming training in Russia. “These promising youngsters symbolise India’s skill, talent, ability, courage and dreams. Our four friends are about to go to Russia in a few days for their training. I am confident that this would script another golden chapter in India-Russia friendship and cooperation,” he faded further.

Watching the documentary one can appreciate the meticulousness that has gone into making it. Discovery+ must be commended for making an important documentary film about India’s human space flight programme. Here is an offering that needs to be watched by each and every India.

Continue Reading

News Plus

‘MEMMO ENABLES MEANINGFUL FAN TO CELEB CONNECTIONS VIA VIDEO MESSAGES’

The platform helps connect famous celebrities with their fans and has users book out a personalised video message to create lasting memories.

Published

on

Memmo is one of the leading entertainment platforms present at the global level. The firm is an online platform that offers personalised video messages from thousands of well-known celebrities and prominent personalities to their fans and followers. If we talk about personalised videos, these videos are customised for individual viewers and play a major role in developing trusting relationships.

 It is the biggest marketplace for personalised videos from thousands of celebrities (sports, actresses, comedians, artists, YouTubers, and so on) that are shared with fans and businesses. The brand›s CEO & co-founders Tobias Bengtsdahl & Gustav Lundberg Toresson, conceptualised the venture with the mission to help connect celebrities one-to-one with fans and businesses. The firm also hosts prominent angels in the business industry by customising videos of celebrities for the marketing campaign, virtual events, team celebrations, and cold sales outreach.

In an interview with The Daily Guardian, Abhishek Sarkar, General Manager and Head of India operations, Memmo spoke about the company’s goals, challenges, growth plans and the factors behind the growth of the personalised celebrity video messaging industry.

Q. Tell us about the company and the services that your company offers?   

A. Memmo is the biggest marketplace outside of the US for personalised videos from thousands of celebrities (athletes, actors, comedians, musicians, YouTubers etc.) to fans and businesses. Personalised videos are the first step on our mission to tech-enable and democratise access to talent to offer a wide range of products and services to fans and businesses. The platform helps connect famous celebrities with their fans and has users book out a personalised video message to create lasting memories. 

Q. What were the company’s goals and objectives when it was founded?  

A. After thinking for a long time about the positive and emotional effect that occurs when you have personal contact with inspiring people, the idea of this company came while attending a wedding dinner. During many lengthy speeches, often a little too internal for everyone to appreciate, the evening suddenly stopped. A video clip featuring the bride’s celebrity crush was presented, with some playful lines about how it could have instead ended up being the bride and him–with a big congratulations to the lucky groom. All of the wedding guests suddenly sat in unified laughter and amazement. The question arose–how had the gifter managed to get hold of such a video, and could there be a way to share these experiences of the fan to talent connection more often? One question led to another, and it quickly became apparent that getting in touch with the people we look up to is not something that’s accessible to everyone, but rather the opposite. On the other hand–the inboxes and DMs of these people have never been as busy with requests from their fans as they are today. This identified opportunity to enable more meaningful fan to talent connections was the starting point for the memmo.me team on the journey to becoming the global destination for talent to connect with fans and brands on their terms. 

Q. What are the factors behind the growth of the personalised celebrity video messaging industry?

A. In the last two to three years, this space has been growing. There is also a unicorn in this space and the demand is huge across every country we operate in. In India alone, there are over five to six companies in the same space and each has its own top celebrity earning thousands of dollars per month. Top celebrities on our platform earn anywhere between US$ 15K to US$ 20K monthly and this truly goes on to show the demand is high, as long as we are able to follow up with good supply, great products and impeccable service, the sky’s the limit. Fans from around the world want to be connected with their favourite artist, sportspersons and have no platform to get up close and personal, our company helps bridge that gap. This is welcome by both fans and celebrities. A lot of celebrities look for multiple sources of income especially after the pandemic due to lower shootings and such platforms have proved to be great sources of alternate income.  

Q. Tell us about your business success so far?   

A. We just scaled to three new markets after launches in North America, Europe, and Australia, and are looking to launch more in the coming months. Currently, our company is a market leader in most markets it operates in. The company has grown 10x from last year in terms of total order volumes and the roster of celebrities is increasing every single day. This only shows the demand from users for a product like this and celebrities do not want to miss out on this unique opportunity to stay connected with fans as well as generate additional revenue streams. We have thousands of celebrities who trust us as their go-to platform for on-demand personalised shout-outs to fans from across the world.

Q. What were the major challenges the company has faced till now?

A. The challenge is localising content, offering and celebrity base for each market to cater to the needs and demands of that specific market. We spend a lot of time understanding each market and the nuances it has to offer. The biggest challenge so far has been identifying the right set of celebrities to launch a market with and gain traction. Once we are able to figure these things out, the market is ready for take-off. The space is filled with a lot of competition, so keeping products, offerings, and services top-notch and evolving is yet another ongoing challenge. 

Q. What are your growth plans for the next year?

A. We just scaled to these new markets: India, Mexico, and Brazil. The plan is to establish a stronghold in these operating markets, improve on offerings and increase the roster of celebrities to cater to the large audience from the respective countries and the world. The plan is to continue market dominance and keep growing year on year and build more memories for the world. 

Continue Reading

News

Ramchandra Prasad Singh’s RS renomination hangs in limbo

Published

on

The Rajya Sabha candidature of Ramchandra Prasad Singh, union minister for Steel hangs in limbo as a major section within the party is not in favour of sending him to the upper house from Bihar. In all likelihood, Singh might not get the candidature from Bihar and will depend on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to send him to the upper house. A senior party leader who wished to be unnamed said, “he might not get the Rajya Sabha berth from the party this time.” Suspense over the candidature of Singh started after Janata Dal (United) national President Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh said that the decision will be taken by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and after which R.C.P Singh told the media that he did not know that he is going or not to the Rajya Sabha.

Talking to The Daily Guardian Neeraj Kumar, party’s chief spokesperson and Member of Bihar legislative Council said, “Any decision will be taken by our leader and Bihar’s chief minister Nitish Kumar, the national president had said the same that Rajya Sabha candidature will be decided by Nitish Kumar,”.

The tenure of five Rajya Sabha members from the state – Satish Chandra Dubey, Gopal Narayan Singh (both from the BJP), Sharad Yadav and RCP Singh(JDU) and Misa Bharti(RJD) is ending in June this year. The election commission of India had declared the dates of the election process. The nomination starts from May 24 and will end on May 31. The candidates can withdraw names till June 3 and polling will be held from 9 am to 4 pm on June 10.

As per the membership strength of parties in the Bihar Legislative Assembly, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has 77 MLAs, the Rashtriya Janata Dal(RJD) has 74 MLAs and JD-U has 43 seats in the 243-member Assembly.

As per the number game, the BJP and the RJD can easily send two members while the JD (U) can send one member from Bihar.

Continue Reading

News

ARMY FOILS INFILTRATION BID IN J&K’S KUPWARA, ONE TERRORIST KILLED

Ajay Jandyal

Published

on

Security agencies on Friday identified an infiltrator killed along line of control in Tangdhar area of Kupwara and recovered large cache of arms and ammunition besides ten packets of heroin from his possession.

The infiltrator has been identified as Mohammad Muneer son of Bilal Ahmad of Jura Bandi Athmuqam PaK, officials told.The infiltrator was killed along LoC near ‘Darshan post’ on Friday. “During the search two 47 rifles with magazines, two pistols with magazines and ten pocket Herion were recovered.

The Chinar Corps of the Indian Army, in a statement, said, “Infiltration bid foiled by alert Indian army troops in Tangdhar, Kupwara today morning. The action resulted in the elimination of one terrorist.” The Army further informed that war-like stores including two AKs, two grenades, and ten packets of narcotics recovered have been received.

Meanwhile, A fire broke out in the Margana forest area of Chenani in Jammu and Kashmir’s Udhampur district late Thursday night.

Forest department officials, fire and emergency departments initiated joint efforts to douse the fire.

Earlier on May 17, a massive fire broke out in the Niaka, Panjgrain and Ghambir Mughlan forest areas of Jammu and Kashmir. Further details are awaited.

Continue Reading

News

India now among top 25 countries exporting in defence sector: Rajnath Singh

Published

on

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday lauded the Narendra Modi government for the country’s development saying that India which was earlier considered to be the biggest importer, is now among the top 25 countries exporting in the defence sector.

“Our country which was earlier considered the biggest importer, is now among the top 25 countries exporting in defence. Defence weapons were only bought from outside. Nothing built in India. Tanks, rockets, missiles and ammunitions are all imported,” said the minister while addressing the party workers at an event. Singh further informed that he created a list of 309 items which will not be bought from other countries after a certain time for which the process has already started.

“India is now respected in the world. Indian residents in other countries have told me they now feel respected. Earlier, in international conferences, if Indians said something, nobody heard. Now, the whole world listens with attention,” he added.

He also lauded the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) saying that it is now the world’s biggest party which do politics to form the country, not only the government.

“You must not forget whose members you are. BJP isn’t just the country’s but the world’s biggest party now. The ideology via which we started our journey shows we do politics not just to form the government but to form the country,” Singh said.

Targetting the previous governments for the country’s development, Singh said that people faced basic problems earlier.

“Congress ruled for a long time, others did too. Poverty, unemployment- basic problems were faced by people several years after independence. Don’t say we’ve solved it all, but his (PM Modi’s) work is now visible on the ground,” he added.

Continue Reading

Trending