RICHMOND, Virginia (AP) — The developers of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline say they are canceling the multi-state natural gas project due to delays and “increasing cost uncertainty.”
Despite a recent victory before the U.S. Supreme Court over a critical permit, Dominion Energy and Duke Energy said in a statement Sunday that “recent developments have created an unacceptable layer of uncertainty” for the $8 billion, 600-mile project designed to cross parts of West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina.
The project has drawn fierce opposition from a coalition of landowners, activists and environmental advocates. pponents questioned whether there was sufficient need for the gas it would carry and said it would further encourage the use of a fossil fuel at a time when climate change makes a shift to renewable energy imperative.
Legal challenges brought by environmental groups prompted the dismissal or suspension of numerous permits and led to an extended delay in construction. The project was years behind schedule and the anticipated cost had ballooned from the original estimate of $4.5 billion to $5 billion.
Mexican president says ex-oil chief has offered to talk
MEXICO CITY (AP) — President Andrés Manuel López Obrador says the former head of Mexico’s state oil company has offered to talk about corruption at the company, known as Pemex. López Obrador said Sunday that Emilio Lozoya “has offered to talk,” adding “it is going to be very interesting for this man to tell how much money he received and how the money was distributed.”
The investigations involve bribes paid by the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht and the 2015 purchase of a fertilizer plant by Pemex at an inflated price. Lozoya dropped his fight against extradition from Spain in June and agreed to return to Mexico.
Lozoya was director of Pemex between 2012 and 2016, during the administration of former President Enrique Peña Nieto.
In late 2016, Odebrecht reached an agreement with American, Brazilian and Swiss justice officials to pay millions of dollars in penalties. As part of that accord, Odebrecht divulged details of bribes across several countries. It said it paid $10.5 million to officials at Pemex between 2010 and 2014. Lozoya has denied taking bribes.
German factory orders rise in May after 2 huge declines
BERLIN (AP) — German factory orders recovered some ground in May. They rose 10.4% compared with the previous month after huge drops in March and April.
The figure reported today by the Economy Ministry follows declines of 15% in March and 26.2% in April. The ministry says it suggests that the recession in industry is past its worst, but “the still-low level of orders also shows that the catching-up process is far from concluded.”
The rise in May was led by orders from other countries in the 19-nation eurozone, which were up 20.9%. Orders from inside Germany were up 12.3%, but demand from countries outside the eurozone was up a relatively feeble 2%.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-GIG ECONOMY
Gig workers face shifting roles, competition in pandemic
NEW YORK (AP) — The coronavirus pandemic is pummeling the global economy and U.S. unemployment is reaching heights not seen since the Great Depression. That has left gig workers clamoring for jobs that often pay less while facing stiff competition from a crush of newly unemployed workers who are also trying to patch together a livelihood until the economy recovers.
Upwork, a website that connects skilled freelance workers with jobs, has seen a 50% increase in signups by both workers and employers since the pandemic began. But reliance on contracted and temporary workers could have negative implications on job quality and security because it shifts risk onto the worker.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-HONG KONG-AIRLINE
Low-cost airline HK Express resuming flights in August
HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong low-cost airline HK Express, part of the Cathay Pacific Group, says it will gradually resume flights on Aug. 2 as Asian governments ease coronavirus-related travel restrictions.
HK Express suspended all flights in March as governments tightened border controls.
The carrier, which normally flies 25 routes throughout Asia, gave no details of its planned schedule. Cathay’s flagship carrier, Cathay Pacific Airways, earlier suspended 90% of its flights.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-KANSAS-HOLOCAUST CARTOON
Kansas paper owner apologizes for tying mask rule, Holocaust
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas county Republican Party chairman who owns a weekly newspaper has apologized for a cartoon posted on the paper’s Facebook page that equated the Democratic governor’s coronavirus-inspired order for people to wear masks in public with the mass murder of Jews by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
Anderson County Review owner Dane Hicks said in a statement Sunday on Facebook that he was removing the cartoon after “heartfelt and educational conversations” with Jewish leaders.
The newspaper posted the cartoon Friday, and it drew dozens of critical responses and international attention. A blog post by Hicks on Saturday defending it also drew critical responses.
The cartoon depicted Kelly wearing a mask with a Jewish Star of David on it, next to what Hicks said was a photoshopped image of people being loaded onto train cars. Its caption is, “Lockdown Laura says: Put on your mask … and step onto the cattle car.”