Tensions are flaring in the Persian Gulf after President Donald Trump said the US is "locked and loaded" to respond to a weekend drone assault on Saudi Arabia's energy infrastructure that his aides blamed on Iran. The attack, which halved the kingdom's oil production and sent crude prices spiking, led Trump to authorize the release of US strategic reserves should they be necessary to stabilize markets. Trump said the US had reason to believe it knew who was behind the attack his secretary of state had blamed on Iran the previous day and said his government was waiting to consult with the Saudis as to who they believe was behind the attack and "under what terms we would proceed!" The tweets Sunday followed a National Security Council meeting at the White House and hours after US officials offered what they said was proof that the attack was inconsistent with claims of responsibility by Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels and instead pointed the finger directly at Tehran. A US official said all options, including a military response, were on the table, but added that no decisions had been made. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the internal deliberations. Iran called the US claims "maximum lies" and threatened American forces in the region. The attack dimmed hopes for potential nuclear talks between Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the UN General Assembly this week. The US government produced satellite photos showing what officials said were at least 19 points of impact at two Saudi energy facilities, including damage at the heart of the kingdom's crucial oil processing plant at Abqaiq. Officials said the photos show impacts consistent with the attack coming from the direction of Iran or Iraq, rather than from Yemen to the south. Iraq denied that its territory was used for an attack on the kingdom. US officials said a strike from there would be a violation of Iraq's sovereignty. The US officials said additional devices, which apparently didn't reach their targets, were recovered northwest of the facilities and are being jointly analyzed by Saudi and American intelligence. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, did not address whether the drone could have been fired from Yemen, then taken a round-about path, but did not explicitly rule it out. The attacks and recriminations are increasing already heightened fears of an escalation in the region, after a prominent US senator suggested striking Iranian oil refineries in response to the assault, and Iran warned of the potential of more violence. "Because of the tension and sensitive situation, our region is like a powder keg," said Iranian Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh. "When these contacts come too close, when forces come into contact with one another, it is possible a conflict happens because of a misunderstanding." Actions on any side could break into the open a twilight war that's been raging just below the surface of the wider Persian Gulf in recent months. Already, there have been mysterious attacks on oil tankers that America blames on Tehran, at least one suspected Israeli strike on Shiite forces in Iraq, and Iran shooting down a US military surveillance drone. The attack Saturday on Saudi Arabia's Abqaiq plant and its Khurais oil field led to the interruption of an estimated 5.7 million barrels of the kingdom's crude oil production per day, equivalent to more than 5% of the world's daily supply. It remains unclear how King Salman and his assertive son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, will respond to an attack targeting the heart of the Saudi oil industry. Crude oil futures shot up 9.5% to $60 as trading opened Sunday evening in New York, a dramatic increase. Saudi Arabia has promised to fill in the cut in production with its reserves, but has not said how long it will take to repair the damage. The Wall Street Journal cited Saudi officials as saying a third of output would be restored on Monday, but a return to full production may take weeks. In Washington, Trump said he had approved the release of US strategic petroleum reserves "if needed" to stabilize energy markets. The president said the final amount of the release, if any, would be "sufficient to keep the markets well-supplied." He later credited himself for expanding US energy exports in a Monday morning tweet, writing: "We don't need Middle Eastern Oil & Gas, & in fact have very few tankers there, but will help our Allies!" Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi dismissed the US allegation of responsibility as "blind and futile comments." "The Americans adopted the 'maximum pressure' policy against Iran, which, due to its failure, is leaning toward 'maximum lies,'" Mousavi said in a statement. Houthi leader Muhammad al-Bukhaiti reiterated his group's claim of responsibility, telling The Associated Press it exploited "vulnerabilities" in Saudi air defenses to strike the targets. He did not elaborate. Iran, meanwhile, kept up its own threats. Hajizadeh, the brigadier general who leads the country's aerospace program, said in an interview published across Iranian media Sunday that Revolutionary Guard forces were ready for a counterattack if America responded, naming the Al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar and Al-Dhafra Air Base near Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates as immediate targets, as well as US Navy ships in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. "Wherever they are, it only takes one spark and we hit their vessels, their air bases, their troops," he said in a video published online with English subtitles. Trump insisted that unspecified conditions must be met before he would sit down with the Iranian leader, apparently rejecting the comments of two top advisers. "The Fake News is saying that I am willing to meet with Iran, 'No Conditions.' That is an incorrect statement (as usual!)." In fact, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last week that "the president has said that he is prepared to meet with no conditions." And Pompeo had told reporters days earlier that "the President has made clear he is happy to take a meeting with no preconditions." Iran has said it was unwilling to meet with Trump while crushing sanctions the American leader imposed on Tehran after unilaterally withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear accord over a year ago remain in place.

On the ground, climate change is hitting us where it counts: the stomach — not to mention the forests, plants and animals. A new United Nations scientific report examines how global warming and land interact in a vicious cycle. Human-caused climate change is dramatically degrading the land, while the way people use the land is making global warming worse. Thursday’s science-laden report says the combination is already making food more expensive, scarcer and even less nutritious. “The cycle is accelerating,” said NASA climate scientist Cynthia Rosenzweig, a report co-author. “The threat of climate change affecting people’s food on their dinner table is increasing.” But if people change the way they eat, grow food and manage forests, it could help save the planet from a far warmer future, scientists said Earth’s landmasses, which are only 30% of the globe, are warming twice as fast as the planet as a whole. While heat-trapping gases are causing problems in the atmosphere, the land has been less talked about as part of climate change. A special report, written by more than 100 scientists and unanimously approved by diplomats from nations around the world at a meeting in Geneva, proposed possible fixes and made more dire warnings. “The way we use land is both part of the problem and also part of the solution,” said Valerie Masson-Delmotte, a French climate scientist who co-chairs one of the panel’s working groups. “Sustainable land management can help secure a future that is comfortable.” Scientists in Thursday’s press conference emphasized both the seriousness of the problem and the need to make societal changes soon. “We don’t want a message of despair,” said science panel official Jim Skea, a professor at Imperial College London. “We want to get across the message that every action makes a difference” The report said climate change already has worsened land degradation, caused deserts to grow, permafrost to thaw and made forests more vulnerable to drought, fire, pests and disease. That’s happened even as much of the globe has gotten greener because of extra carbon dioxide in the air. Climate change has also added to other forces that have reduced the number of species on Earth. “Climate change is really slamming the land,” said World Resources Institute researcher Kelly Levin, who wasn’t part of the study but praised it. And the future could be worse. “The stability of food supply is projected to decrease as the magnitude and frequency of extreme weather events that disrupt food chains increases,” the report said. In the worst-case scenario, food security problems change from moderate to high risk with just a few more tenths of a degree of warming from now. They go from high to “very high” risk with just another 1.8 degrees (1 degree Celsius) of warming from now. Scientists had long thought one of the few benefits of higher levels of carbon dioxide, the major heat-trapping gas, was that it made plants grow more and the world greener, Rosenzweig said. But numerous studies show that the high levels of carbon dioxide reduce protein and nutrients in many crops. For example, high levels of carbon in the air in experiments show wheat has 6 to 13% less protein, 4 to 7% less zinc and 5 to 8% less iron, she said. But better farming practices — such as no-till agricultural and better targeted fertilizer application — have the potential to fight global warming too, reducing carbon pollution up to 18% of current emissions levels by 2050, the report said. If people change their diets, reducing red meat and increasing plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables and seeds, the world can save as much as another 15% of current emissions by mid-century. It would also make people more healthy, Rosenzweig said. The science panel said they aren’t telling people what to eat because that’s a personal choice. Still, Hans-Otto Portner, a panel leader from Germany who said he lost weight and felt better after reducing his meat consumption, told a reporter that if she ate less ribs and more vegetables “that’s a good decision and you will help the planet reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” Reducing food waste can fight climate change even more. The report said that between 2010 and 2016 global food waste accounted for 8 to 10% of heat-trapping emissions. “Currently 25-30% of total food produced is lost or wasted,” the report said. Fixing that would free up millions of square miles of land. With just another 0.9 degrees of warming (0.5 degrees Celsius), which could happen in the next 10 to 30 years, the risk of unstable food supplies, wildfire damage, thawing permafrost and water shortages in dry areas “are projected to be high,” the report said. At another 1.8 degrees of warming from now (1 degree Celsius), which could happen in about 50 years, it said those risks “are projected to be very high.” Most scenarios predict the world’s tropical regions will have “unprecedented climatic conditions by the mid to late 20th century,” the report noted. Agriculture and forestry together account for about 23% of the heat-trapping gases that are warming the Earth, slightly less than from cars, trucks, boats and planes. Add in transporting food, energy costs, packaging and that grows to 37%, the report said. But the land is also a great carbon “sink,” which sucks heat-trapping gases out of the air. From about 2007 to 2016, agriculture and forestry every year put 5.7 billion tons (5.2 billion metric tons) of carbon dioxide into the air, but pulled 12.3 billion tons (11.2 billion metric tons) of it out. “This additional gift from nature is limited. It’s not going to continue forever,” said study co-author Luis Verchot , a scientist at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia. “If we continue to degrade ecosystems, if we continue to convert natural ecosystems, we continue to deforest and we continued to destroy our soils, we’re going to lose this natural subsidy.” Overall land emissions are increasing, especially because of cutting down forests in the Amazon in places such as Brazil, Colombia and Peru, Verchot said. Recent forest management changes in Brazil “contradicts all the messages that are coming out of the report,” Portner said. Stanford University environmental sciences chief Chris Field, who wasn’t part of the report, said the bottom line is “we ought to recognize that we have profound limits on the amount of land available and we have to be careful about how we utilize it.”


Chairman of Facey Telecom, P.B Scott.

Facey Telcom hascompleted a merger with Oceanic Communications Limited (OCL) and received a private equity investment from Portland Private Equity (Portland), the company announced on Monday. OCL provides logistics, procurement, distribution, electronic distribution and channel management services in several markets across Asia Pacific. The transactions will create an integrated logistics, distribution, electronic distribution and channel management business, spanning the Caribbean, Central America and Asia Pacific and provide significant growth capital to facilitate continued expansion. Following Portland’s investment, Facey Telecom will be owned jointly by Facey Group, Oceanic Holdings International Limited and Portland, Facey. Commenting on the transaction, Chairman of Facey Telecom P.B Scott said, “Facey Telecom’s merger with OCL creates a large, multi-region logistics, electronic distribution and channel management platform.” “We are pleased to have Portland Private Equity join us as a partner as we work with our expanded leadership team to capture the many growth opportunities in front of us,” added Scott, who also serves asChairman and CEO of the Musson Group of Companies. Leadership changes Facey Telecom also announced the appointment of Jason Corrigan as CEO. He previously served as the Chief Operating Officer for the Caribbean for the PBS Group. Niall O’Brien, CEO of Facey Group, will now also assume the position of Vice Chairman of Facey Telecom, while John Edmund, previously the Finance Director of OCL, will join Facey Telecom as the Chief Financial Officer. Jason CorriganCEO of Facey Telecom OCL was founded in 2007 as a joint venture between Facey Group Limited, Facey Telecom’s parent company, and OHIL. It provides services in New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Myanmar, Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu and Fiji. Portland Private Equity (Portland) is a private equity fund management company currently focused on private equity growth opportunities in the Caribbean, Central America, and Colombia through its management of the AIC Caribbean Fund and its successor, Portland Caribbean Fund II.

Oil prices surged Monday after an attack on Saudi Arabia's largest oil processing plant halted output of more than 5.7 million barrels of crude a day. But after an initial spike, crude oil prices moderated as traders analyzed the likely longer-term implications. By late morning in Asia on Monday, UScrude oil was up $4.89 per barrel, or 8.9 per cent, to $59.73 per barrel early Monday in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international standard, surged $6.02 per barrel, or 10 per cent, to $66.25 per barrel. Earlier, UScrude jumped more than 15 per centand Brent leaped nearly 20 per cent. Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attack on the Saudi Aramco facility that paralyzed production of more than half of Saudi Arabia's global daily exports and more than five per centof the world's daily crude oil production. Most of the output goes to Asia, where markets were mixed Monday in early trading. Japan's markets were closed for a holiday, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng dropped one per cent. The benchmark in Indonesia, which heavily depends on oil imports, dropped 1.6 per cent. "To take Saudi oil production down 50 per cent, that's shocking," said Jonathan Aronson, a research analyst at Cornerstone Macro. The attack may add to anxiety about the stability of the world's oil reserves. "Saudi Arabia has been a very reliable supplier of oil in the world," said Jim Burkhard, who heads crude oil research for IHS Markit. This attack is "adding a geopolitical premium back into the price of oil." That means oil prices would rise because of worries about more unrest hurting supply. Higher oil prices tend to hurt the economy as consumer costs rise.


Jamaica College player Terrence Francis being stretchered off the field of play at a Manning Cup football match against Wolmer's Boys' School at Stadium East in St Andrew on Monday afternoon, after a lightning strike during the game. (Photos: Job Nelson)

A bolt of lightning struck players in the ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup football match between Wolmer's Boys' School and Jamaica College (JC) at the Stadium East field, resulting in the match being called off by referee Karl Tyrell. Jamaica College player, Terrence Francis, along with Dwayne Allen of Wolmer's, were both taken to hospital for observation, with Francis having to be stretchered off the field after he failed to respond to treatment on the field of play. A closer view of Terrence Francis being stretchered off the Stadium East field after a lightning strike during a Manning Cup football match at the venue on Monday afternoon. Up to the time of publication, there were indications that all was not well with the JC player. Allen, who along with three of his teammates and another player from JC, went down immediately after the flash of lightning, got up and seemed okay at first, but upon observation by medical personnel, was advised to join Francis to be taken to the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI). It is so far unclear exactly what ailment the players sufferedfrom. Wolmer's were leading the contest 2-1 at the time of the incident, with approximately five minutes of play remaining.

South African-born, Cameron Bellamy, officially touched land in Saint Lucia on Sunday, September 15, 2019, after completing a two-day swim challenge, from Barbados to Saint Lucia. Bellamy began the 151 km swim across the channel on September 13, 2019, at 8.20 amfrom StPeter’s Bay, Barbados. Accompanying him on this journey was a support crew, backed by a team from Swim Barbados, headed by Kristina Evelyn, along with StLucia Channel Swim organizers. The swim began with calm seas which lasted throughout the day and was assisted by the full moonlight at night. Bellamy entered Saint Lucian waters overnight and at dawn on Sunday, September 15, the team could see the coast of Saint Lucia about 30 miles out, which gave Bellamy the push he needed to get to the coast. Due to the swift current, the expected “touch” time advanced from anywhere between 6pm and 8pm, to somewhere from 4 pmto 5 pm. The strong current however, meant that the intended landing spot of Sandy Beach had to be moved and at 4:43 pm, after 56 hours and 26 minutes (unofficial) of swimming, Cameron touched a rock at Moule-a-Chique in Vieux Fort, Saint Lucia, marking the completion of his swim journey. Scores of Saint Lucians gathered to witness history in the making, standing on jetties and the dock at the Vieux Fort Fisheries Complex, as the Marine Police vessel escorted Bellamy onto dry land. Included in the arrival party was Cameron’s mother, Janita Bellamy, who was joined by Prime Minister of Saint Lucia - Allen Chastanet. Representatives from the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority and the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association, Bay Gardens Resorts’ Managing Director- Sanovnik Destang and members of the St Lucia Aquatics Federation, also formed part of the delegation that welcomed Team Bellamy into Saint Lucia. [image_gallery] In preparation for the challenge, Bellamy trained for weeks in Barbados, by completing three 24-hour swim challenges. The swim from Barbados to Saint Lucia - a 94 mile expanse of open sea -was not the original swim feat that Bellamy had been planning, as his intention was to swim from Havana, Cuba to Key West, Florida when just 3 weeks ago, it was officially called-off due to permit regulation changes for the support boat. Bellamy and his team were ecstatic at being the first group to complete the journey and thanked all those who were responsible for making this achievement possible.


England batsman Joe Denly.

Joe Denly narrowly missed out on a first Test century but England punished the Australia attack to close day three ofthe fifth and final Ashes Test with a 382-run lead. Needing a win to draw the series having already missed out on regaining the urn, England began day three with an advantage of78 at The Oval. Denly, whose wife gave birth to their second child on Friday, was the talisman for the hosts as they pressed home that advantage, the right-hander confident and fluent in compiling the highest score of his brief Test career. The opener struck 14 fours and a six and combined with Ben Stokes (67) for a crucial third-wicket partnership of 127 to take away any realistic chance the tourists had of winning the match. Australia face the prospect of having to bat out the majority of the final two days to claim a first series win in England since 2001. They did, however, deny Denlyasthe Kent batsman fell six runs shy of his maiden three-figure score in the longest format, though that will come as little solace following a chastening day in the field that ended with England 313-8and 382runs ahead. Denly and opening partner Rory Burns provided an early indication of what was to follow by adding 45 to their overnight total before the latter bottom-edged Nathan Lyon (3-65) behind. Lyon bolstered Australia's hopes by removing Joe Root cheaply for 21, but England's Headingley hero Stokes provided the ideal partner for Denly. Their entertaining 221-ball stand saw the duo build an advantage that should prove a match-winning one, though they were each the subject of fortunate reprieves. Stokes was dropped by Steve Smith and he and Denly, who reached his fourth Test half-century by striking Josh Hazlewood for four, made Australia count the cost of that missed opportunity. In a theme that developed throughout the day, they consistently dispatched anything pitched wide, while Stokes showed relish in attacking the spin, sweeping Lyon for a four and six in successive deliveries. He brought up his fifty by smacking a Marnus Labuschagne full toss for six, compounding Australia's frustration after Denly survived an lbw appeal off Mitchell Marsh they elected not to review, Hawkeye showing the ball would have hit the stumps. Stokes, playing as a specialist batsman due to a shoulder injury, went to a stunning delivery from Lyon that should provide encouragement for England spinner Jack Leach in the final innings. Denly came up short three overs later when he edged Peter Siddle(2-52) to slip, though his departuredid not halt England's momentum. Jos Buttler ​–who also escapedwhat should have been a successful claim for lbw – unfurled a series of wondrous cover drives en route to an eye-catching 47. He and Chris Woakes (6) were each dismissed by stunning catches as Australia made late inroads on a difficult day for the tourists. A GAME TOO FAR FOR AUSSIES The Australia attack, led by Pat Cummins, has had the edge for the majority of the series, but they looked tired, frustrated and out of ideas as England piled on the runs. Perhaps this was a game too far for Cummins and company. STOKES ROUNDS OFF INCREDIBLE SUMMER From his World-Cup winning display in arguably the greatest game ever at Lord's to his heroics in the third Test in Leeds, this truly has been the summer of Stokes for England. Though unable to contribute with the ball in this match, the all-rounder was again imperious with the bat in the second innings, and his stand with Denly looks like being one that ensures a drawn series. MOMENT OF THEDAY Denly will have been bitterly disappointed not to get to his century, with Siddle earning his reward for applying consistent pressure after he reached the nineties. However, the ovation he received as he left the field was richly deserved following a performance that should do his hopes of retaining a place in the line-up the power of good. OPTA FACTS - Ben Stokes has more 50s in this Test series than in any other (4). - Stokes has surpassed 400 Ashes 2019 runs - the only England batsman to do so. - Joe Root has averaged 32.5 in this Ashes; only once before has he recorded a lower rate in a multi-game home Test series (v Sri Lanka, 2016 - 21.8). - Only the wicketkeepers have claimed more catches than Steve Smith (12) in the series. - Only Alastair Cook and Keaton Jennings have scored more Test runs as an opener for England since Andrew Strauss' retirement than Rory Burns.

PSG's Neymar celebrates his goal during the French League One football match against Strasbourg at the Parc des Princes Stadium in Paris, France, Saturday Sept.14, 2019. (AP Photo/Francois Mori).

Amid loud jeers and insulting banners from his own fans, Neymar scored a stunning bicycle kick during injury time for French league leader Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) to beat Strasbourg 1-0 on Saturday. Neymar met Abdou Diallo's left-wing cross as it drifted behind him, brilliantly hooking it in with his left foot as he was falling backward. Even as Neymar celebrated, PSG ultras behind the goal where he scored still jeered him. He angered those fans with his public desire to rejoin former club Barcelona in the offseason. The forward, who scored for Brazil last week, sat out four league games as he tried to force a move back but talks broke down. Two offensive banners insulting Neymar — and his father who has also represented him in transfer talks — were also deployed at Parc des Princes. One of those referenced Neymar's reported willingness to spend 20 million euros ($22 million) of his own money to push through the deal, which would reunite him with his friend and former teammate Lionel Messi. Neymar thought he scored a second goal with seconds left, but Angel Di Maria was ruled offside before squaring to give him a tap-in. Aside from the spectacular goal, it was mostly a rough afternoon for Neymar. Some fans whistled and made offensive hand gestures when he ran out onto the field for the pre-match warmup. Then, when Neymar's name was read out over the loudspeaker as the teams were announced, PSG's ultras jeered loudly. His first few touches of the ball were also met with loud boos. He was loudly whistled when he took a first-half corner and jeered again after trying an audacious lob over the goalkeeper from far out. The vitriol from PSG ultras behind the goal continued in the second half, although other sections of the crowd cheered him. His sheer determination to leave the club, along with an interview recounting how much he enjoyed playing in Barca's 6-1 humiliation of PSG in the Champions League in 2017, led to hostile chanting against him by PSG ultras in a home game last month. One banner held aloft during that game urged him to "Get Lost." Neymar faced Strasbourg again, having been injured when the teams met in a physical French Cup match in January. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Keylor Navas made his PSG debut after joining on a long-term contract from Real Madrid. He made a crucial save in the 18th, diving low to his left to stop Ludovic Ajorque's stinging shot reaching the bottom corner, and denied the striker again with 15 minutes left. Striker Mauro Icardi, who joined PSG on a season loan from Inter Milan, came off the bench in the second half. In later matches, third-placed Nice faced a tough match away to southern rival Montpellier. Also, there were: Bordeaux vs. Metz, Brest vs. Rennes, and Dijon vs. Nimes. Lyon drew at Amiens 2-2 on Friday.


Authorities say record rainfall in southeastern Spain has claimed two more lives, taking the death toll to six from the storms that have flooded roads and towns. A fifth victim was found late on Friday night by police in the village of Redován. News agency Europa Press reported that police said the 58-year-old man was swept away by rushing waters when he got out of his vehicle. A sixth victim was confirmed by authorities on Saturday — a 41-year-old man in the town of Orihuela, where the river Segura overflowed its banks on Friday. Rescue workers saved thousands of people from rising waters on Friday as the record rainfall pounded southeastern Spain, closing airports, trains, roads and schools. Acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez flew over the devastated areas on Saturday.

The White House says Hamza bin Laden, the son of the late al-Qaida leader who had become an increasingly prominent figure in the terrorist organization, has been killed in a U.S. counterterrorism operation in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. A White House statement gives no further details, such as when Hamza bin Laden was killed or how the United States confirmed his death. The statement says Hamza bin Laden's death "not only deprives al-Qaida of important leadership skills and the symbolic connection to his father, but undermines important operational activities of the group." As leader of al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden and others plotted the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. U.S. Navy SEALs killed him in a raid on a house in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in 2011.