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Trump says he doesn’t need struggle after assault on Saudi oil amenities

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WASHINGTON/DUBAI (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump stated on Monday stated it appeared like Iran was behind assaults on oil vegetation in Saudi Arabia however burdened he didn’t need to go to struggle, because the assaults despatched oil costs hovering and raised fears of a brand new Center East battle.

Iran has rejected U.S. fees it was behind the strikes on Saturday that broken the world’s largest crude-processing plant and triggered the biggest soar in crude costs in many years.

Relations between the US and Iran have deteriorated since Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear accord final yr and reimposed sanctions over Tehran’s nuclear and ballistic applications. Washington additionally needs to stress Tehran to finish its assist of regional proxy forces, together with in Yemen the place Saudi forces have been preventing Iran-backed Houthis for 4 years.

America was nonetheless investigating if Iran was behind the Saudi strikes, Trump stated, however “it’s definitely trying that manner at this second.”

Trump, who has spent a lot of his presidency making an attempt to disentangle the US from wars he inherited, made clear, nonetheless, he was not going to hurry into a brand new battle on behalf of Saudi Arabia.

“I’m any person that would love to not have struggle,” Trump stated.

A number of U.S. Cupboard members, together with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vitality Secretary Rick Perry, have blamed Tehran for the strikes. Pompeo and others will journey to Saudi Arabia quickly, Trump stated.

A day after saying the US was “locked and loaded” to reply to the incident, Trump stated on Monday there was “no rush” to take action.

“We’ve got a whole lot of choices however I’m not taking a look at choices proper now. We need to discover definitively who did this,” he stated.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stated the strikes had been carried out by “Yemeni folks” retaliating for assaults by a Saudi-led navy coalition in a struggle with the Houthi motion.

“Yemeni persons are exercising their professional proper of protection,” Rouhani instructed reporters throughout a go to to Ankara.

Iranian Overseas Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi referred to as the allegations “unacceptable and completely baseless.”

The assaults lower 5% of world crude oil manufacturing.

Oil costs surged by as a lot as 19% after the incidents however later got here off their peaks. The intraday soar was the most important for the reason that 1990-91 Gulf disaster over Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.

The market eased from its peak after Trump stated he would launch U.S. emergency provides and producers stated there have been sufficient shares saved up worldwide to make up for the shortfall. Costs had been round 12% larger by afternoon in the US.

SAUDI SUSPICIONS

Saudi Arabia stated the assaults had been carried out with Iranian weapons, including that it was able to responding forcefully and urging U.N. consultants to assist examine the raid.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stated Iranian threats weren’t solely directed towards the dominion however towards the Center East and the world.

Whereas the prince didn’t immediately accuse Tehran, a Overseas Ministry assertion reported him as calling on the worldwide group to sentence whoever was behind the strike.

“The dominion is able to defending its land and folks and responding forcefully to these assaults,” the assertion added.

Saudi Arabia and Iran have been enemies for many years and are preventing quite a lot of proxy wars.

Trump stated he had not made commitments to guard the Saudis.

A satellite tv for pc picture displaying injury to grease/gasoline Saudi Aramco infrastructure at Khurais, in Saudi Arabia on this handout image launched by the usGovernment September 15, 2019. U.S. Authorities/DigitalGlobe/Handout through REUTERS

“No, I haven’t promised Saudis that. We’ve got to sit down down with the Saudis and work one thing out,” he stated. “That was an assault on Saudi Arabia, and that wasn’t an assault on us. However we would definitely assist them.”

Two sources briefed on state oil firm Saudi Aramco’s operations instructed Reuters it’d take months for Saudi oil manufacturing to return to regular. Earlier estimates had advised it may take weeks.

Saudi Arabia stated it will be capable to meet oil clients’ demand from its ample storage, though some deliveries had been disrupted. At the very least 11 supertankers had been ready to load oil cargoes from Saudi ports, ship monitoring information confirmed on Monday.

RISING TENSIONS

Stress within the oil-producing Gulf area has dramatically escalated this yr after Trump imposed extreme U.S. sanctions on Iran geared toward halting its oil exports altogether.

For months, Iranian officers have issued veiled threats, saying that if Tehran is blocked from exporting oil, different international locations will be unable to take action both. However Iran has denied a task in particular assaults, together with bombings of tankers within the Gulf and former strikes claimed by the Houthis.

U.S. allies in Europe oppose Trump’s “most stress” technique, arguing that it gives no clear mechanism to resolve points, making a danger the enemies may stumble into struggle.

Trump has stated his aim is to drive Iran to barter a more durable settlement and has left open the opportunity of talks with Rouhani at an upcoming U.N. assembly. Iran says there may be no talks till Washington lifts sanctions.

U.N. Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths instructed the U.N. Safety Council on Monday it was “not fully clear” who was behind the strike however he stated it had elevated the possibilities of a regional battle.

However the U.S. ambassador to the world physique, Kelly Craft, stated rising info on the assaults “signifies that duty lies with Iran” and that there isn’t any proof the assault got here from Yemen.

Iran’s Yemeni allies have promised extra strikes to return. Houthi navy spokesman Yahya Sarea stated the group carried out Saturday’s predawn assault with drones, together with some powered by jet engines.

“We guarantee the Saudi regime that our lengthy arm can attain anyplace we select and on the time of our selecting,” Sarea tweeted. “We warn firms and foreigners towards being close to the vegetation that we struck as a result of they’re nonetheless in our sights.”

Slideshow (11 Pictures)

U.S. officers say they consider that the assaults got here from the wrong way, presumably from Iran itself reasonably than Yemen, and will have concerned cruise missiles. Wherever the assaults had been launched, nonetheless, they consider Iran is guilty.

The assaults have raised questions on how the dominion, one of many world’s high spenders on weaponry, a lot of it equipped by U.S. firms, was unable to guard oil vegetation from assault.

Sensing a business opening, President Vladimir Putin stated Russia was prepared to assist Saudi Arabia by offering Russian-made air protection techniques to guard Saudi infrastructure.

Russia and China stated it was unsuitable to leap to conclusions about who was guilty for the assault on Saudi Arabia.

Reporting by Steve Holland in Washington and Rania El Gamal in Dubai; Writing by William Maclean, Mike Collett-White and Doina Chiacu; Modifying by Alistair Bell and Peter Cooney

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Belief Ideas.

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Bayer mediator dismisses report of $eight billion Roundup settlement

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NEW YORK/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Bayer AG has not supplied to pay billions of {dollars} to settle claims in the USA associated to the Roundup herbicide, mediator Ken Feinberg mentioned, dismissing a report back to that impact which drove its shares as a lot as 11% increased.

FILE PHOTO: Monsanto Co’s Roundup is proven on the market in Encinitas, California, U.S., June 26, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Picture

“Bayer has not proposed paying $eight billion to settle all of the U.S. Roundup most cancers claims. Such an announcement is pure fiction,” Feinberg mentioned in an e mail on Friday. “Compensation has not even been mentioned within the world mediation discussions.”

Bayer shares, which had shed a few of their features earlier than Feinberg’s assertion, retreated additional and closed up 1.7% at 64.63 euros.

Bayer, which acquired Roundup and different glyphosate-based weedkillers as a part of its $63 billion takeover of Monsanto final yr, declined touch upon the preliminary Bloomberg information report and on Feinberg’s response.

Bayer Chief Govt Werner Baumann final week mentioned the corporate would contemplate settling with U.S. plaintiffs solely on affordable phrases, and if it “achieves finality of the general litigation”.

He added on the time the group was “constructively participating” in a court-ordered course of with mediator Feinberg on the circumstances heard in federal courtroom. Many of the pending circumstances, nevertheless, have been filed with U.S. state courts.

Feinberg added that any efforts by Bayer towards a complete settlement have been tied in with the mediation proceedings overseen by him. “These are all a part of the identical mediation course of.”

Bayer shares have misplaced greater than a 3rd of their worth, or roughly 30 billion euros ($34 billion), since final August when a California jury within the first such lawsuit discovered Monsanto ought to have warned of the alleged most cancers dangers from Roundup.

HIGH EXPECTATIONS

The German medicine and pesticides firm has engaged in negotiations with plaintiffs’ legal professionals, two sources accustomed to the matter instructed Reuters.

“The issue is, how do you get the plaintiffs to climb down from their very excessive expectations? Not one of the jury verdicts to this point have been favorable for Bayer,” one of many sources mentioned, including that talks have been centered on fundamental questions corresponding to how one can deal with potential future claims.

Bayer mentioned on Friday that the following U.S. glyphosate lawsuit initially scheduled to be heard in St. Louis, Missouri, this month could be postponed to Jan. 27, 2020, and {that a} following St. Louis case slated for September had additionally been postponed.

The German firm might profit from having circumstances heard within the metropolis the place Monsanto was headquartered and the place Bayer manages its world seeds enterprise. However Missouri can be identified for juries that usually hit firms with large damages.

Bloomberg mentioned the delays had been pursued by Bayer to permit for undisturbed settlement talks.

The preliminary unfavorable courtroom rulings within the first three glyphosate circumstances, heard in California, have at occasions dragged Bayer’s market worth under what it paid for Monsanto, though the shares at the moment are buying and selling above that stage.

The corporate, which says regulators and in depth analysis have discovered glyphosate to be protected, has beforehand mentioned it was banking on U.S. appeals courts to reverse or tone down three preliminary courtroom rulings which have to this point awarded tens of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} to every plaintiff.

Bloomberg cited three sources accustomed to the discussions as saying Bayer’s legal professionals have been in search of an accord to resolve all present and future circumstances. Talks over circumstances which have but to be filed have been notably difficult, the report added.

Whereas Bayer has indicated it may pay $6-$eight billion, plaintiffs’ legal professionals need greater than $10 billion to drop their claims, the report mentioned.

FILE PHOTO: The emblem of Bayer AG is pictured on the facade of the historic headquarters of the German pharmaceutical and chemical maker in Leverkusen, Germany, Could 14, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Picture

An estimate of a $20 billion hit from the litigation has beforehand been mirrored within the share value, whereas a possible litigation settlement legal responsibility was within the mid single-digit billion greenback vary, Financial institution of America analysts mentioned in observe.

They saved a “impartial” ranking on the inventory, citing uncertainty over Bayer’s fortunes within the appeals course of – with the primary appeals verdict anticipated by the top of the yr – and whether or not a settlement may very well be achieved earlier than that.

The variety of U.S. plaintiffs blaming Roundup and different glyphosate-based weedkillers for most cancers had continued to rise by 5,000 to 18,400, Bayer mentioned final week.

Further reporting by Tina Bellon; Enhancing by David Evans and David Holmes

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.

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Bayer could benefit from home advantage in St. Louis Roundup cancer trial: experts

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ST. LOUIS (Reuters) – Bayer AG (BAYGn.DE), facing an upcoming trial in St. Louis over allegations that its Roundup weed killer causes cancer, has recruited Missouri-based expert witnesses to make its case in a place where it has century-old roots but where juries often hit companies with huge damages.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Bayer AG is pictured at the facade of the historic headquarters of the German pharmaceutical and chemical maker in Leverkusen, Germany, May 14, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

Four expert witnesses Bayer is seeking to admit hail from Missouri universities, and some legal experts said the company is trying to clinch its first favorable Roundup verdict by emphasizing its reputation as a major local employer.

Bayer on Tuesday announced it would create an additional 500 “high-paying” jobs in the St. Louis area. The Bayer unit that makes the glyphosate-based herbicide, the former Monsanto Co, was founded in St. Louis in 1901. Monsanto employed 5,400 full-time employees in the St. Louis area as of May 2018, according to company statements.

The trial in St. Louis County Circuit Court, expected to begin on Aug. 19, was brought by Illinois resident Sharlean Gordon, who says she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after using Roundup for around 14 years at her home. It is the fourth trial over Roundup and the first one outside of California, where three juries hit Bayer with verdicts as large as $2 billion. Bayer is appealing those verdicts.

Bayer denies glyphosate or Roundup cause cancer, saying decades of studies have shown glyphosate to be safe. The company said it looked forward to presenting the scientific evidence to juries. It said the experts in the upcoming St. Louis trial are at the top of their field and were selected for their expertise, not their Missouri ties.

The Germany-based company has lost nearly 40 billion euros ($33.75 billion) in market valuation since the first Roundup jury verdict in August 2018. Bayer last month announced it had set up a committee to help resolve the litigation, saying it would “constructively engage” in court-mandated mediation talks.

NEW WITNESSES

Bayer has said in court papers and hearings that juries in California’s traditionally liberal Bay Area, where the first three trials took place, were unfairly influenced by news coverage of the trials and harbored negative attitudes toward Monsanto in part because of its development of genetically modified seeds.

The company’s experts in those cases came mostly from states other than California. In the St. Louis trial, Bayer is so far seeking to admit a total of 14 scientific expert witnesses. None previously testified in the Roundup litigation.

Of the more than 13,400 Roundup claims nationwide that have yet to go to trial, about 75% have been filed in St. Louis city or county courts, according to plaintiffs’ lawyers. Those courts have a history of issuing large punitive damages against companies and have often been criticized by business groups for issuing favorable plaintiffs rulings.

By suing in the county where Bayer’s crop science business is headquartered, plaintiffs can also take advantage of procedural rules allowing them to compel live testimony from executives who work locally. In the California trials, jurors only saw video depositions of Monsanto executives.

David Noll, a professor at Rutgers Law School, said Bayer appeared to be hiring local experts to appeal to St. Louis jurors. “(They) are not seen as hired guns, flying in from afar, but … can explain the case in a way local jurors understand,” Noll said.

But Alexandra Lahav, a law professor at the University of Connecticut, said Bayer could simply be using new experts that the company thinks would have a better rapport with the jury and “not necessarily because the experts are local.”

Counting on a more favorable jury pool in a company’s backyard is not a new tactic.

New Jersey-based Merck & Co (MRK.N), which in the early 2000s faced thousands of lawsuits by patients over its Vioxx painkiller, won several trials in New Jersey, which plaintiffs lawyers at the time attributed to the company’s strong ties to the state.

Merck in 2013 settled some 27,000 Vioxx claims for $4.85 billion.

Reporting by Tina Bellon in St. Louis; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Matthew Lewis

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