Daily Archives: February 3, 2015

Islamic State shows burning of hostage, Jordan vows 'earth-shaking' response

Relatives of Islamic State captive Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh hold pictures of him as they join students during a rally calling for his release, at Jordan University in Amman February 3, 2015.  REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed


(Reuters) – Islamic State militants released a video on Tuesday appearing to show a captured Jordanian pilot being burnt alive in a cage, a killing that shocked the world and prompted Jordan to promise an “earth-shaking” response.

A Jordanian official said the authorities would swiftly execute several militants in retaliation, including an Iraqi woman whom Amman had sought to swap for the pilot taken captive after his plane crashed in Syria in December.

Reuters could not immediately confirm the content of the video, which showed a man resembling airman Mouath al-Kasaesbeh standing in a small black cage before being set ablaze.

The furious reaction of the Jordanian authorities made clear they treated it as genuine.

Jordan, which has been mounting air raids in Syria as part of the U.S.-led alliance against Islamic State insurgents, would deliver a “strong, earth-shaking and decisive” response, a government spokesman said.

“The revenge will be as big as the calamity that has hit Jordan,” army spokesman Colonel Mamdouh al Ameri said in a televised statement confirming the death of the pilot, who was seized by Islamic State in December.

The fate of Kasaesbeh, a member of a large tribe that forms the backbone of support for the country’s Hashemite monarchy, has gripped Jordan for weeks and some Jordanians have criticised King Abdullah for embroiling them in the U.S.-led war that they say will provoke a backlash by militants.

The king cut short a visit to the United States to return home following word of Kasaesbeh’s death. In a televised statement, he said the pilot’s killing was an act of “cowardly terror” by a deviant group that had no relation to Islam.

Jordan had sought to swap the pilot for Sajida al-Rishawi, the Iraqi woman militant who was sentenced to death for her role in a 2005 suicide bombing in Amman that killed 60 people.

Islamic State had demanded her release in exchange for the life of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto. However, Goto, a veteran war reporter, was later beheaded by the group, with images of his death released in a video on Saturday.

The Jordanian security source said Rishawi would be executed “within hours”.

The Jordanian military might also escalate attacks on Islamic State, said retired air force General Mamoun Abu Nowar. “We might even see in a couple of days the rate of sorties increased dramatically. We might have some special operations against their leadership too,” he said.

In the Islamic State video, Kasaesbeh is interviewed, describing the mission he was due to carry out before his jet crashed. The video also showed footage of the aftermath of air strikes, with people trying to remove civilians from debris.

A man resembling Kasaesbeh is shown inside the cage with his clothes dampened, apparently with flammable liquid, and one of the masked fighters holds a torch, setting alight a line of fuel which leads into the cage.

The man is set ablaze and kneels to the ground.

Fighters then pour debris, including broken masonry, over the cage which a bulldozer subsequently flattens, with the body still inside. The video shows a desert setting similar to previous videos of killings.

DEMAND FOR REVENGE

In the pilot’s hometown of Karak in southern Jordan, people demanded revenge.

“I want to see Sajida’s body burnt and all the other terrorists in Jordanian prisons … Only then will my thirst for revenge be satisfied,” said Abdullah al-Majali, a government employee among dozens of demonstrators in the centre of Karak.

Relatives of the pilot also gathered in Karak and urged calm after anti-government protests broke out in the town. They said it was up to the government to take revenge for them.

Jordanian state television said on Tuesday that Kasaesbeh had been killed a month ago, on Jan. 3, and a source close to the Jordanian government said Amman had been picking up intelligence for weeks that the pilot was killed some time ago.

Given that Jordan’s own intelligence indicated the pilot was dead, the government decided it could not possibly release the woman absent convincing proof the pilot was still alive, the source said, and such proof never arrived.

The White House said the intelligence community was studying when the video was recorded and that U.S. President Barack Obama had ordered his team to devote all resources to locate other hostages held by Islamic State.

Obama rearranged his schedule on Tuesday to make sure he saw King Abdullah before the Jordanian leader flew back to Amman, a source familiar with the situation said.

A staunch U.S. ally, Jordan is part of the alliance against the Islamic State group that has seized large areas of Syria and Iraq. King Abdullah has defended the campaign against domestic criticism, saying that moderate Muslims need to combat a group whose ideology and brutality have insulted Islam.

The United States announced on Tuesday that it will increase annual aid to Jordan to $1 billion from $660 million to help it pay for the cost of housing refugees from Iraq and Syria and to fight Islamic State.

Obama praised Kasaesbeh for his bravery and said he was “in the vanguard of the effort to degrade and defeat the threat” posed by militants from Islamic State, also known as ISIL.

“Today, the coalition fights for everyone who has suffered from ISIL’s inhumanity,” Obama said in a statement, adding that the group’s “hateful ideology” would be banished to “the recesses of history.”

Leaders around the world voiced outrage at the brutal killing. “It is incomprehensible how human beings are capable of such a cruel act,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In the video, the burned man wore orange clothes similar to those worn by other foreign Islamic State captives who have been killed since the U.S.-led coalition started bombing the militants in July.

Islamic State has previously released videos showing the beheadings of five U.S. and British hostages and said that it killed two Japanese captives in the same way. It has meted out the same treatment to many more Arab prisoners, including Syrian government soldiers.

The militants have stepped up the gruesome killings while coming under increased military pressure from the air strikes and a ground campaign by Kurdish and Iraqi troops to reverse their territorial gains in Iraq and Syria.

Islamic State emerged out of al Qaeda in Iraq. It expanded into Syria as the country was plunged into a civil war estimated to have killed 200,000 people since 2011.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said on Tuesday that 51 civilians, including children, had been killed by Syrian air force strikes inside the country within the past day.

The U.S.-led coalition says it does not coordinate with the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad, described by Washington as part of the problem. It does work with the Iraqi government, which is also fighting Islamic State.

(Additional reporting by Omar Fahmy in Cairo, Oliver Holmes, Tom Perry and Mariam Karouny in Beirut and Mark Hosenball, Julia Edwards, Arshad Mohammed and Roberta Rampton in Washington; Editing by Mark Heinrich, Crispian Balmer and Howard Goller)


Source: Newsjyoti World

UK bosses urge quick decision on London airport expansion

Feb 3 (Reuters) – Sixty business leaders urged
Britain’s political leaders on Tuesday to commit in their
election manifestos to make a swift decision on the
controversial issue of London airport expansion.
Lawmakers have for years agreed that Britain needs a new
runway to remain economically competitive, but deciding where is
a toxic political issue because of the cost and impact on the
environment. A government-commissioned taskforce is due to make
a recommendation this summer.The 60 business leaders signed a letter asking politicians
campaigning for Britain’s May 7 general election to promise to
act swiftly on the taskforce’s advice.”We are concerned that unless politicians act swiftly on
airports expansion, the growing cost of deferring a strategy to
deliver new runways, which is costing our economy billions in
trade and investment, will only increase,” the letter said.Plans for expanding London’s airports have been on and off
the table since the 1970s. But with demand for air travel
growing fast, and the largest airport Heathrow operating close
to full capacity, the issue has come to a head.The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition that won the
2010 election scrapped the previous Labour government’s plans to
build a new runway at Heathrow, west of London.The current Commission is considering two options to build
at Heathrow and one to add a runway to Gatwick, south of the
capital. It has been subject to a 12-week public consultation
period which closed late on Tuesday.Signatories to the public letter included bosses of Aberdeen
Asset Management, Associated British Foods,
British Land, InterContinental Hotel Group,
Legal & General, WPP and London stores Harrods
and Selfridges.

(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)
Source: Newsjyoti Environment

Obama reform of spy agency access to phone metadata in question

A National Security Agency (NSA) data gathering facility is seen in Bluffdale, about 25 miles (40 kms) south of Salt Lake City, Utah, December 17, 2013.
Credit: Reuters/Jim Urquhart

(Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s pledge to reform the way U.S. spy agencies access vast amounts of metadata on Americans’ telephone calls is facing increasing obstacles, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.
Obama promised to act after revelations by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden that the NSA had been collecting and storing the data, including numbers called and the time and length of calls but not their content.The administration has said it no longer wants agencies such as the NSA to hold the data and last year quietly abandoned one alternative to have such data held by a non-governmental third party.The remaining option is for telecommunications companies to gather and store the data themselves. But according to two U.S. officials, the companies have privately told Congress they will not do so unless they are ordered to by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which needs new powers from Congress to issue such orders. Last year, Congress failed to pass a bill to create such powers, and a Congressional aide said that no such legislation was now pending. The aide and an executive branch official said that prospects for passing such legislation before a June deadline were uncertain.Robert Litt, legal adviser to the Director of National Intelligence, confirmed that the government’s current legal authority to handle telephone metadata expires on June 1. “I’m hoping we will be able to get legislation passed. Everybody recognizes that there is utility to this,” he said in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday. Former NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden, however, said he saw “no administration plan for going ahead” with telephone metadata collection. Asked what spy agencies would do if no new law was passed to authorize collection of the metadata, Litt said: “I don’t think we’re making those kinds of contingency plans at this point.” (Reporting By Mark Hosenball; Editing by David Storey and Ken Wills)
Source: Newsjyoti Technology

UPDATE 2-Gilead boosts hepatitis C drug discounts, shares slide

(Adds analyst comment, company comment, byline, updates share
price)
By Deena BeasleyFeb 3 (Reuters) – Gilead Sciences Inc on Tuesday
said it is offering steeper-than-expected discounts on its
hepatitis C drugs to health insurers and other group payers who
had complained about the price, and the drugmaker’s shares slid
more than 5 percent.Gilead executives disclosed the discounts on a conference
call after the company said strong sales of the drugs, Harvoni
and Sovaldi, helped boost net profit more than four-fold in the
latest quarter, beating Wall Street forecasts.The executives said the “gross to net” adjustment for the
company’s hepatitis C drug sales will average 46 percent in
2015, up sharply from 22 percent at the end of 2014.Many Wall Street analysts had projected hepatitis C sales
based on discounts of 25 percent to 30 percent.Foster City, California-based Gilead also said it would
start paying a quarterly dividend and devote $15 billion more to
a share buyback plan.In late 2013, Gilead prompted howls of protests about
prescription drug prices when it launched Sovaldi at a price of
$1,000 a pill. But since AbbVie Inc launched a rival
hepatitis C treatment late last year, both companies have fought
for market share by offering rebates to group payers.Chief Operating Officer John Milligan said Gilead “will
continue taking steps necessary” to provide wide access to its
hepatitis C drugs, which have been shown to cure nearly all
treated patients.Sales of Sovaldi totaled $1.73 billion for the quarter,
while sales of follow-on drug Harvoni totaled $2.11 billion.
Analysts, on average, had forecast Sovaldi sales of $2.05
billion and Harvoni sales of $1.58 billion, according to
Deutsche Bank.Gilead estimated that so far, 141,000 Americans have been
started on one of its hepatitis C products, and it expects
250,000 to be treated this year. As many as 3.2 million people
in the United States are estimated to be infected with the
hepatitis C virus, which can lead to severe liver disease.For full year 2015, Gilead projected total product sales of
$26 billion to $27 billion, short of the average Wall Street
estimate of $28.6 billion.”The guidance is conservative,” said RBC Capital Markets
analyst Michael Yee. “They probably don’t want to be parading
around huge sales for the course of the year as everyone is
sensitive to this and everyone is watching them.”Gilead reported quarterly net income of $3.49 billion, or
$2.18 per share, up from $791 million, or 47 cents per share, a
year earlier.Excluding one-time items, Gilead earned $2.43 per share,
outstripping the average Wall Street estimate of $2.22 per
share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.The company said it would pay a quarterly dividend of 43
cents a share starting in the second quarter this year. Yee said
that implies a yield of 1.6 percent. Gilead also announced a new
$15 billion share buyback, in addition to $3 billion outstanding
in its current buyback plan.The dividend and expanded share buyback “reflect the
confidence we have in our business and our robust balance
sheet,” said Chief Financial Officer Robin Washington. “This
doesn’t prevent us in any way from investing in the pipeline, or
M&A.”After the trading session’s close, Gilead shares tumbled 5.4
percent to $101.44 on Nasdaq.

(Reporting By Deena Beasley; Editing by Grant McCool and David
Gregorio)
Source: Newsjyoti Environment

Dead Argentine prosecutor had drafted request for president's arrest

Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner gestures during a meeting with governors in Casa Rosada government house in Buenos Aires January 30, 2015.  REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian


(Reuters) – An Argentine prosecutor found dead in mysterious circumstances last month had drafted a request that President Cristina Fernandez be arrested for conspiring to derail his probe into the deadly bombing of a Jewish center, the investigator into his death said on Tuesday.

The papers were found in the trash at Alberto Nisman’s apartment while his property was being scoured for clues over whether the father-of-two committed suicide or was murdered.

He was found in a pool of blood with a single bullet to the head on Jan. 18.

“The drafts are in the file,” Viviana Fein, the lead investigator into Nisman’s death, told a local radio station.

The request for Fernandez’s arrest, which the prominent pro-opposition daily newspaper Clarin said Nisman drafted in June, was not included in his final 350-page submission to the judiciary delivered days before his death. Instead Nisman called for Fernandez to face questions in court.

On Monday, Fein’s office had denied the existence of the document containing the arrest request and the government denounced a Clarin story about it as “garbage”.

Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich even dramatically tore up a copy of the paper in his daily news briefing. But on Tuesday, Fein backtracked, saying there had been a misunderstanding between her and her office, and the documents did exist.

“They are properly incorporated into the case file, nothing is missing,” Fein said of the papers on Tuesday.

Nisman spent almost a decade building up a case that Iran was behind the 1994 attack on the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) that killed 85 people. Iran’s government has repeatedly denied the allegation.

Nisman had been due the day after his death to answer questions in Congress about his allegations that Fernandez sought to cover up Iran’s involvement in return for Iranian oil. Fernandez has called the claim “absurd”.

Argentine judges are proving reluctant to take on a case some are calling a “judicial hot potato”. Two judges turned down hearing the case on Monday, including one who is already presiding over separate charges of attempts to derail the investigation into the 1994 bombing.

The other cover-up charges involve ex-President Carlos Menem, who ruled the South American country from 1989 to 1999.

Fernandez, who had come under fierce criticism for her handling of Nisman’s death, is currently on a trip to China.

(Reporting by Richard Lough and Sarah Marsh; Editing by Will Dunham, Kieran Murray, Toni Reinhold)


Source: Newsjyoti World

Robin Williams widow, children tussle over actor's estate

File photo of actor Robin Williams and wife Susan Schneider (L) taken on August 13, 2009.
Credit: Reuters/Fred Prouse/filesr

(Reuters) – The widow of comic legend Robin Williams and his three adult children are locked in a pitched battle over his estate months after his death, court records show.
The conflict centers on items the groundbreaking comedian left behind after committing suicide in August, from clothing and watches to collectibles such as bicycles and figurines, as well as some of his fortune.His widow, Susan Schneider Williams, said in a petition filed in Superior Court in San Francisco on Dec. 19 that a trust Williams set up for her entitled her to their home in Tiburon, California, and most of its contents.The petition said some property was removed from the house without her permission and that “Mrs. Williams became frightened of the co-trustees invading her home,” prompting her to hire legal counsel.”Susan Schneider Williams lost her husband through a shocking and emotionally charged event,” the document said. “Since the incident, she was not given time to grieve her loss free from the frenetic efforts to interfere with her domestic tranquility.”The filing said that while another home Williams owned in Napa, California, and most of the items inside belonged to his children – Zachary, Zelda, and Cody – based on a separate trust, certain personal items did not. Robin Williams’ children responded in a filing on Jan. 21, alleging that Susan Schneider Williams was deliberately attempting to obscure the language of the documents to secure more of the estate for herself.The children’s filing said they were “heartbroken” and that Susan Schneider Williams, who became the actor’s third wife in 2011, was acting against his wishes by challenging his plans for his estate.”Robin’s children want nothing more than to be left alone to grieve,” their spokesman Allan Mayer said in a statement. “The fact that they are being forced into these legal proceedings adds insult to a terrible injury.”Mayer denied that the children may have taken anything from Susan Williams’ home.Susan Williams’ attorney, James Wagstaffe, did not respond to a request for comment.Oscar winner Williams, 63, hanged himself with a belt in his Tiburon home on Aug. 11, after seeking treatment for depression. He was last seen alive by his widow. His death sent shockwaves across the country and stood in stark contrast to the characters he portrayed in films such as “Good Morning, Vietnam” and “Dead Poets Society” who encouraged people to tap into their own inner vitality. (Additional reporting by Jill Serjeant in New York; Editing by Richard Chang and Alan Crosby)
Source: Newsjyoti

UPDATE 2-J M Smucker to buy Milk-Bone owner Big Heart Pet Brands

(Adds comments, pet food industry data)
By Amrutha GayathriFeb 3 (Reuters) – J M Smucker Co, the maker of
Folgers coffee, said it would buy pet food maker Big Heart Pet
Brands, known for brands such as Meow Mix and Milk-Bone, for
$3.2 billion to enter the fast-growing pet food market.Smucker said it would offer about 17.9 million shares to
shareholders of Big Heart, formerly Del Monte Corp, and pay $1.3
billion in cash.Shares of Smucker closed at $105.88 on the New York Stock
Exchange on Tuesday.The deal “puts Smucker in the growing pet food category and
the valuation seems reasonable,” said Farha Aslam, an analyst at
brokerage Stephens Inc.More U.S. households have pets than children, according to
the American Pet Products Association. About 39 percent of the
estimated $59 billion in pet-related expenditures was on food
last year, according to its website. (bit.ly/1lCH45j)”With approximately two-thirds of U.S. households having at
least one family pet, we will now be able to serve the mealtime
and snacking needs of the whole family,” Chief Executive Richard
Smucker said in a statement.San Francisco-based Big Heart changed its name following the
sale of its fruit, vegetable, and other consumer foods business
in February last year. It is now owned by private equity firms
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co LP, Vestar Capital Partners,
Centerview Capital and AlpInvest Partners Inc.Smucker would assume about $2.6 billion of Big Heart’s net
debt, bringing the total deal value to about $5.8 billion. It
also expects to incur about $225 million in one-time costs
related to the transaction, expected to close by April.Smucker anticipates the business to contribute about $2.4
billion to net sales in the year ending April 2016, with an
estimated annual growth rate of 4-5 percent over the next
several years.William Blair & Co LLC and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
advised Smucker on the deal.

(Reporting by Amrutha Gayathri in Bengaluru; Editing by
Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Joyjeet Das)
Source: Newsjyoti Environment

Wall Street posts second day of strong gains, led by energy

By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK
Wed Feb 4, 2015 3:33am IST

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks jumped more than 1 percent on Tuesday, led by energy shares as oil prices extended their recent rally, while higher-than-expected January car sales also bolstered the advance.
Merger activity also helped, with shares of Office Depot jumping 21.6 percent to $9.28 after the Wall Street Journal reported the retailer was in advanced talks to merge with Staples Inc. Staples shares gained 10.9 percent to $19.01.The S&P 500 has gained 2.8 percent over two sessions as the bounceback in oil prices and hopes of a Greek debt deal eased some concerns about the global economy, but the index has been locked in a trading range of 1,972 to 2,093 since mid-December and is nearly flat since Dec. 31. The year so far has been marked by volatility, with the S&P 500’s daily trading range often more than double its average over the past year.U.S. crude oil prices rose 7 percent to settle at $53.05. Brent and U.S. oil prices have risen roughly 19 percent since Wednesday’s close. The S&P 500 energy index climbed 2.8 percent. Shares of Dow components Exxon Mobil were up 3 percent at $92.25 and Chevron added 3.3 percent at $109.53. Machinery maker Caterpillar rose 3.8 percent to $83.92, among the Dow’s biggest boosters.”You’ve had some of those who had been extremely bearish start to take off their bearish bets when it felt like you may have gotten to a short-term bottom in oil,” said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles. “Some of the trader pressure on the commodity itself has abated somewhat. With that, you’ve had more of an equity risk-on mentality.” The Dow Jones industrial average rose 305.36 points, or 1.76 percent, to 17,666.4, the S&P 500 gained 29.18 points, or 1.44 percent, to 2,050.03 and the Nasdaq Composite added 51.05 points, or 1.09 percent, to 4,727.74.January car sales topped expectations, buoyed by low gas prices and easy credit. Ford Motor gained 2.5 percent to $15.65, General Motors rose 2.6 percent to $33.98 and Fiat Chrysler climbed 3.3 percent to $13.95. After the bell, shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill fell 5.9 percent to $684 while shares of Walt Disney rose 3.1 percent to $96.97, both following results.Even as S&P 500 profit growth estimates for the fourth quarter have risen as more companies report, expectations for first-quarter results have tumbled. First-quarter earnings are now expected to fall 1.2 percent from a year ago, Thomson Reuters data showed.About 8.4 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges, above the 7.7 billion average for the last five sessions, according to BATS Global Markets. NYSE advancers outnumbered decliners 2,478 to 615, a 4.03-to-1 ratio; on the Nasdaq, 2,029 issues rose and 753 fell, a 2.69-to-1 ratio.The S&P 500 posted 19 new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 65 new highs and 34 new lows. (Editing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski)
Source: Newsjyoti Business

U.S. ethanol makers need to curb output as margins tumble -ADM exec

Feb 3 (Reuters) – U.S. agribusiness Archer Daniels
Midland Co on Tuesday said ethanol producers will have
to cut output amid high stocks and stagnating demand, as the
industry’s woes deepen with the oil rout and squeezed margins.
Inventories have swelled to two-year highs as demand
struggles to keep pace with high output. U.S. ethanol makers
ramped up production as ethanol futures rose through early
December, bucking pressure from falling global oil prices and as
corn input costs declined.But front-month ethanol futures have tumbled nearly
40 percent from those December highs to about $1.45 a gallon.Those conditions will spur “some rationalization of
capacity,” Juan Luciano, ADM’s president and chief executive
officer, said on a call with investors to discuss last quarter’s
earnings.ADM was still booking ethanol profits, but pressured margins
are leaving higher-cost producers with “some problems,” Luciano
said.A significant chunk of biofuels manufacturers are facing
margins at or below costs, according to industry estimates.”Production will be falling in the coming months, because
about 20-30 percent of the industry is at break-even or losing
money,” said Farha Aslam, an analyst with Stephens Inc in New
York, noting she expects domestic demand to remain around 13.5
billion to 14 billion gallons.Until the industry works through those stocks, margins will
remain “challenged,” said Luciano.U.S. supplies have risen to the highest since December 2012,
U.S. Energy Information Administration data showed last week.ADM forecast total U.S. exports in 2015 to remain stable
from the prior year at about 800 million gallons, a dampening of
the company’s outlook last quarter of exports to increase as
much as 25 percent.That arrives against a backdrop of uncertainty over biofuels
policy, as the industry awaits finalized mandates from the U.S.
government on how much biofuel needs to be blended into
gasoline.U.S. producers generated record volumes of ethanol last
year, exceeding targets mandated by the U.S. government, but
have swiftly approached the so-called “blend wall,” the maximum
amount of biofuel that can be blended into gasoline.ADM’s bleaker outlook arrives after crude oil prices
have slumped more than 40 percent over the last year.”With oil so cheap, why would you blend more than you have
to?” said Steve Nicholson, a grains and oilseed analyst with
Rabobank AgriFinance in St. Louis, Missouri.The situation is similar to one two years ago, when squeezed
margins prompted a wave of shutdowns.”Smaller, less efficient plants shut down from six to nine
months,” Nicholson said. “There’s no reason that won’t happen
again.”

(Reporting by Chris Prentice; editing by Gunna Dickson)
Source: Newsjyoti Environment

ADM-Glencore grain port venture to shuffle Brazil grain flows

Feb 3 (Reuters) – Plans by commodities trading
rivals Archer Daniels Midland Co and Glencore PLC
to jointly develop an export terminal in northern
Brazil promise to shift grain flows both within South America’s
largest producer and to Asian importers.
ADM will give Glencore 50 percent in its Barcarena export
terminal in Brazil’s Para state, it said on Tuesday, the
Swiss-based company’s first foray into Brazilian grain ports.The companies plan to quadruple the facility’s annual
capacity to 6 million tonnes, making it one of the country’s
largest grain export terminals.Terms of the deal and the timeline for expansion were not
disclosed.The two grains heavyweights hope to tap rising crop
production in northern Brazil, eyeing the upcoming expansion of
the Panama Canal for a more direct route to Asia, industry
analysts said. Northern ports are also easier and cheaper for
exports from northern Mato Grosso, Brazil’s top soybean state.Brazil currently exports the majority of its crops through
southern ports such as Santos and Paranagua, which have become
congested as a result. Investments in better roads in recent
years have opened a path to northern ports.”The global players are all lining up to participate in what
is expected to be a boom,” said Pedro Dejneka, managing partner
with AGR Brasil, a unit of consultancy AgResource Co.”The pie is plenty large for everyone to participate but
these northern ports need to exist if Brazil wants to expand
production in the next decade” and be competitive globally, he
added.Accessing Barcarena from Brazil’s center-west grain belt
requires trucking over the BR-163 highway to river ports in the
Amazon, where grains are sent by barge to ports for loading into
bulk grain ships.Rival grain trader Bunge Ltd started shipping out of
Barcarena last year. Cargill Inc has
moved only a small amount of grain on barges deep in the Amazon
to northern ports over the past decade.Glencore’s South American grain port facilities include a
wholly-owned terminal in Bahia Blanca and a joint venture in
Timbues, both in Argentina. Its Brazilian assets include wheat
and sugar mills and a soy processing plant but no port
facilities.Brazil’s ports minister said last year grains shipments
through northern ports could rise from 3 to 4 million tonnes to
15 million tonnes by 2020. Brazil’s total corn and soybean
exports are projected to top 65 million tonnes this season.

(Additional reporting by Caroline Stauffer in Sao Paulo;
Editing by James Dalgleish)
Source: Newsjyoti Environment