Archer Daniels Midland Co and other supporters of biofuels on Thursday said U.S. regulators grossly underestimated the amount of higher-ethanol fuel blends at pumps when requirements for next year's use of renewables were proposed. A gas pump selling E15, a gasoline with 15 percent of ethanol, is seen in Mason City, Iowa, United States, May 18, 2015. The comments came as oil companies, biofuels producers and farmers gathered at a Kansas City, Missouri, hearing to weigh in on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) latest plan for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which requires the agency set annual targets for use of ethanol and other renewable fuels in gasoline. EPA has until Nov. 30 to finalize a proposal to require 18.8 billion gallons of biofuels - including 14.8 billion gallons for ethanol - next year to be blended with gasoline and … [Read more...] about ADM, biofuel supporters say EPA underestimates use of higher-ethanol fuels
U s dependence on foreign oil
What were they thinking? In the wake of last fall’s revelation that the National Security Agency had wiretapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone, the report of U.S. intelligence’s involvement in two other likely cases of spying on Germany is mind-boggling. Now the story has taken a dramatic new turn, with Germany expelling the CIA chief of station in Berlin — an almost unprecedented step by an ally. This unusual action reflects how seriously the Merkel government takes these spying allegations. What could the CIA hope to gain by infiltrating the BND, the German Federal Intelligence Service, knowing there was a chance that the operation might be exposed? What was worth this risk? U.S. President Obama and German Chancellor Merkel address joint news conference in the White House Rose Garden in WashingtonCIA and White House officials have said little to answer the question. But the fact that German industry has strong ties to both Russia and Iran … [Read more...] about U.S. spying on Germany: Making enemies out of allies, and for what?
Vladimir Putin is digging in. Blaming the U.S. and Europe for an economic crisis gripping his country of 144 million and warning the slump could drag on for two years,Putin today signaled a sustained standoff over Ukraine. “He believes that the economy is capable of withstanding the shock,” said Alexei Makarkin, deputy director of the Moscow-based Center for Political Technologies. “Putin’s psychology is very simple. From his point of view Russia has made concessions for years and to no effect.” Putin held his annual press conference, speaking to hundreds of reporters for more than three hours. The event took on heightened importance as a 40-percent plunge in the ruble evoked memories of the country’s 1998 default and talk of hoarding staples. Any efforts to bolster the economy are constrained by the country’s dependence on oil, its main export, which has dropped to a five-year low. The central bank forecasts gross domestic product may shrink … [Read more...] about Putin paints a besieged Russia, says U.S. wants to ‘rip out its teeth and claws’
China's top newspaper on Tuesday accused both the United States and Russia of replaying their Cold War rivalry by engaging in military action in Syria, saying they needed to realize that era is over and should instead push for peace talks. The People's Daily, the official paper of China's ruling Communist Party, said in a commentary that the United States and Russia seemed to be using Syria as a proxy for diplomatic and military competition, as during the Cold War. "The United States and the Soviet Union used all sorts of diplomatic, economic and military actions on the soil of third countries, playing tit-for-tat games to increase their influence - it's an old scene from the Cold War," the newspaper wrote in a commentary. "But we're in the 21st century now, and people need to get their heads around this!," it added. While China generally votes with fellow permanent United Nations Security Council member Russia on the Syria issue, it has expressed concern about interference in Syria's … [Read more...] about Top China paper says U.S., Russia playing Cold War game in Syria
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to argue in Washington on Monday against arming Ukraine in its conflict against Russian-backed rebels, while in Brussels EU ministers held off tightening sanctions to give peace talks a chance. Merkel's message that sending Western weapons to Kiev risks escalating the conflict is likely to get a sympathetic hearing when she meets President Barack Obama later in the day. But critics of Obama's cautious foreign policy approach are already demanding decisive U.S. action to help Kiev fight the separatists in eastern Ukraine, even if this deepens a standoff with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Nine Ukrainian troops have been killed in the past 24 hours and seven civilians also died, Kiev said on Monday, with fighting particularly intense around the town of Debaltseve, a major rail and road junction northeast of the city of Donetsk. At a security conference in Munich over the weekend, Merkel said it was uncertain whether further negotiations would … [Read more...] about Merkel to urge caution in U.S. as pressure builds to arm Ukraine forces