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CAIRO, Sept 14, 2018 (MENA) - Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II left here Thursday on his second pastoral visit to the US since becoming pope.

He is scheduled to visit Coptic parishes in the northern part of the US.

Pope Tawadros is accompanied by Bishop Domadious of Sixth of October and Osim parish, Anba Marcous of Hadayek el Qobba and Waili parish, the pope's secretaries Father Angelious Ishak and Father Amonious Adel and Bishop David of New York.

It will be the first visit by Pope Tawadros to the Papal headquarters in New York, Coptic Church Spokesman Father Boulos Ishak said.

The pope's first visit to the US was in 2015. He then visited the southern part of the US and attended celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the consecration of the south US diocese.

LONDON, Sept 14, 2018 (News Wires) - Oil rose on Friday, clawing back some territory after prices fell by the most in a month in the previous session, as the focus returned to supply concerns ahead of a November deadline for U.S. sanctions on Iranian crude.

Brent crude was up 17 cents at $78.35 a barrel at 1044 GMT. The global benchmark fell 2 percent on Thursday after rising on Wednesday to its highest since May 22 at $80.13.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were up 27 cents at $68.86 a barrel after dropping 2.5 percent on Thursday.

Brent was set for a 2 percent weekly rise and WTI 1.7 percent.

Price rises were capped after U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Saudi Arabia, other members of OPEC and Russia were to be admired for trying to prevent a spike in global oil prices.

"We think the oil market will have another go at pushing Brent above $80 a barrel," Harry Tchilinguirian, oil strategist at French bank BNP Paribas, told the Reuters Global Oil Forum.

"The looming supply gap that the loss of Iranian oil exports represents is still ahead of us and that early November U.S. deadline to reduced imports to zero is fast approaching."

The United States is renewing sanctions on Iran after withdrawing from a nuclear deal forged in 2015 between Tehran and world powers.

Washington reimposed some of the financial sanctions from Aug. 6, while those affecting Iran's petroleum sector will come into force from Nov. 4.

Indian refiners, traditionally major buyers of Iranian crude, will cut their monthly crude loadings from Iran for September and October by nearly half from earlier this year.

Supply concerns were stoked by data showing U.S. crude production <C-OUT-T-EIA> fell by 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 10.9 million bpd last week as the industry faced pipeline capacity constraints.

Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency on Thursday warned that although the oil market was tightening and world oil demand would reach 100 million bpd in the next three months, global economic risks were also mounting.

"As we move into 2019, a possible risk to our forecast lies in some key emerging economies, partly due to currency depreciations versus the U.S. dollar, raising the cost of imported energy," the agency said.


WASHINGTON, Sept 14, 2018 (MENA) - US lawmakers Thursday kept up their push for President Donald Trump administration to push back harder against Russia’s “nefarious activities,” even as top economic officials pledged to take a hard line on Moscow’s election meddling and the poisoning of its own citizens in Britain, France 24 reported.

Assistant Secretary of State Manisha Singh reiterated to a congressional hearing that Washington would adhere to its August pledge to impose “very severe” sanctions on Russia if it does not meet a November deadline to comply with international chemical weapons law.

“We are looking at this November deadline as absolutely, we plan to impose a very severe second round of sanctions under the (chemical and biological weapons law),” Singh told the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.

Washington said on Aug. 8 that it would impose sanctions on Russia after it determined that Moscow had used a nerve agent against a former Russian agent and his daughter in Britain.

However, Singh noted Russia would not be subject to sanctions if it meets conditions including allowing inspections and providing a “verifiable” assurance that they will not use nerve agents against their own people again.

“They have not done so, so far,” she said.

The Russian ruble firmed to a one-week high against the dollar on Thursday, but its gains narrowed after Singh’s remarks. The currency was last at 68.49 against the dollar.

The House hearing was the latest in a series, as lawmakers, including his fellow Republicans, kept up pressure on President Donald Trump to push back harder against Russian meddling in US elections, aggression in Ukraine and involvement in the civil war in Syria.

WASHINGTON, Sept 14, 2018 (MENA) - More than 280,000 people were without power in North Carolina as of early Friday morning, as Hurricane Florence pounded the region with strong winds and heavy rains, Fox News reported.

As of 5:15 a.m. local time, 288,978 residents were experiencing power outages, according to the North Carolina Department of Safety.

The storm was downgraded late Thursday to Category 1, as the North Carolina coast was battered by hurricane-force winds and a life-threatening storm surge.

In addition to the power outages, authorities were working with federal responders to rescue at least 150 residents who reported themselves stranded in Florence's storm surge.

The National Hurricane Center said around 4 a.m. that the eyewall of the storm is beginning to reach the North Carolina coast.




MOSCOW, September 13, 2018 (News Wires) - Moscow is ready to do what it can to break the impasse in relations between Russia and the United States, and is taking seriously President Donald Trump's willingness to forge a normal dialogue, though anti-Russia sentiment in the US establishment was a hindrance, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"We are ready to cover our part of the way to drive the mutual ties from the impasse," Lavrov said in an interview with Germany's DPA news agency published on his ministry's website on Thursday. Lavrov added, however that the situation between the two governments kept worsening due to Washington actions.

"We are taking seriously statements by D. Trump on willingness to set up normal dialogue between our countries," Lavrov said. "If some positive impulses at all come from the US leader, they are being fully offset by soaring Russophobia in the US establishment, which sees our country as a threat to the US political supremacy."

CALIFORNIA, September 13, 2018 (AFP) -- A man went on a shooting rampage in California on Wednesday, killing five people including his wife, before taking his own life, a police spokesman told AFP.

The shooting in Bakersfield in central California was possibly “a domestic violence incident,” said Lieutenant Mark King of the Kern County sheriff’s office.

Police received their first call at 5:19 pm before responding to the first location, a trucking company, where the rampage began.

Three people were killed there and the shooter, armed with a large caliber hand gun, fled.

Sheriff Donny Youngblood told reporters that the suspect first shot a man at the trucking company and then killed his wife. He chased a person who had witnessed the shooting and killed that person, too.

He reportedly then fled and shot two people at a house.

“This is the new normal,” said Youngblood. He said the officer who confronted the suspect wore a body camera, but the footage has not been released.

It was the latest chapter of America’s epidemic of gun violence.

Americans make up only four per cent of the global population but they own 40 per cent of the world’s firearms, according to a recent study published by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.

Of the 857 million guns owned by civilians, 393 million are in the United States — more than all of the firearms held by ordinary citizens in the other top 25 countries combined, according to the Small Arms Survey.

According to Gun Violence Archive, the mass shooting in Bakersfield is the third deadliest in the United States this year after a shooting at a school in Parkland, Florida that left 17 people dead and one at a school in Santa Fe, Texas, in May that left 10 people dead.

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