TIME Aviation

Balloonists Break World Record with Pacific Ocean Crossing

The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images A hot-air balloon of the U.S. balloonist Troy Bradley and Russian Leonid Tiukhtyaev soars in Saga, Japan, on Jan. 25, 2015

The U.S.-Russian duo are set to land in Mexico on Saturday after taking off from Japan a week ago

When Troy Bradley and Leonid Tiukhtyaev land in Mexico on Saturday in their large helium balloon Two Eagles, they will have broken at least one and possibly two world records.

After setting out from Japan on Sunday and flying across the Pacific, the duo are on course to set new records for longest distance flown as well as longest duration in a helium balloon, the BBC reports.

Bradley and Tiukhtyaev needed to surpass a 1981 distance record of 5,208 miles by 1% (which put their target at 5,260 miles) in order to lay claim to the first record, which they did on Thursday according to a tweet from the team’s account. The record for longest duration, set in 1971, is 137 hours, five minutes and 50 seconds.

The American-Russian pair had originally planned to land in the U.S. or Canada, but bad weather forced them to change course.

[BBC]

TIME energy

When Will Oil Markets Find a Bottom?

No one really knows the answer, but the data suggests that prices will find a bottom as soon as this balancing is felt by the market. Or not

Remember the Sesame Street song?

One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn’t belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?

OK. Which curve on this chart is not like the others?

EIATop15LiquidsProducingCountries

It’s the U.S. and Canada’s oil production curve over the past several years.

That’s why oil prices have fallen: too much oil for the demand in the world. The tight oil from North America is the prime suspect in the production surplus that’s pushing down oil prices.

Now that you know the answer, let’s talk about IEA’s January report that was released. Here are my main takes from the report:

1. The fourth quarter 2014 supply surplus was 890,000 barrels per day (see the chart below). That is the difference between supply and demand. We can argue about whether it was mainly supply or mainly demand-I’ve stated my belief that it’s mostly supply-but that’s the difference between them. That is why oil prices are falling.

2. This surplus amount is 170,000 barrels per day greater than in the previous quarter.

3. Demand in the first half of 2015 will be 900,000 barrels per day lower than in the fourth quarter (see the second chart below). 1st half demand is usually lower than 2nd half but that means that prices could fall again.

4. 3rd quarter 2015 demand will increase by 1,530,000 barrels per day and 4th quarter demand will increase another 420,000 barrels per day. That is a lot and would take demand to record highs. This should go a long way towards moving prices higher.

IEAWorldLiquidsSupplyDemand
IEADemandForecast2015

 

Now, these are only estimates and IEA is notoriously wrong in their forecasts but that’s what we have to work with. They don’t estimate production which is too bad but the report says that 2015 production is now revised down 350,000 barrels per day from previous estimates. IEA expects that most of that will happen in the 2nd half of 2015 after North American tight oil production starts falling.

So, where does that leave us? The problem is mostly about supply but demand has to increase if we’re going to fix the surplus problem in 2015 because supply is not expected to fall that much.

I think this means that prices will increase in 2015 but not a lot unless something else happens. That something else will probably be an OPEC and Russia production cut in June after the next OPEC meeting.

Remember, the supply surplus in the 4th quarter of 2014 was less than 1 million barrels per day. OPEC can easily accommodate this and has made bigger cuts as recently as 2009.

Some geopolitical crisis could also happen in the coming year and that might add $20/barrel or so. Negative things for a price increase could also happen like demand not growing as much as IEA forecasts or production not falling enough.

When do oil prices stop falling? No one knows and this data doesn’t have enough resolution much less reliability to help answer the question.

EIA, however, may offer some help here. EIA publishes monthly world data and, in the chart below, they show supply and demand in approximate balance for November and December of 2014.

EIASupply&Demand

That may signal that prices will find a bottom as soon as this balancing is felt by the market. Or not.

This article originally appeared on OilPrice.com.

Read more from Oilprice.com:

TIME Canada

Winnipeg’s Boil-Water Advisory Isn’t Over Yet

Wednesday's tests for the bacteria came back negative, but the city advises boiling water as a precaution

Even though new tests show that Winnipeg water is safe for drinking, the city will continue to advise people to boil it as a precaution against E. Coli, at least until more results come in Thursday.

Abnormal test results that confirmed E. Coli in the water prompted the city to issue a warning Tuesday night, and officials are waiting for Manitoba’s chief medical officer to give the okay to lift the advisory, CBCNews reports.

“In terms of why the precautionary boil-water advisory is still in effect is there’s a decision tree, there’s a requirement to go through a process, there has to be a second set of resampling at those locations,” said Geoff Patton, the city’s acting director of its water and waste department,

Patton added that while water must be boiled before it’s used for drinking or cooking, people can still wash their hands with tap water.

Read more at CBCNews.

TIME Canada

Hero of Ottawa Attack Gets Rewarded With Ambassadorship

Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers is applauded in the House of Commons in Ottawa
Chris Wattie—Reuters Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers is applauded in the House of Commons in Ottawa October 23, 2014.

Kevin Vickers will become the Canadian ambassador to Ireland

The sergeant-at-arms of Canada’s House of Commons who took down the gunman in the October attack is now being rewarded for his bravery with the post of Ambassador to Ireland.

Kevin Vickers has little experience in diplomacy outside of protecting visiting dignitaries — including members of the British royal family — but his actions so impressed Prime Minister Stephen Harper that he was deemed well equipped for the (currently vacant) job.

“I think [his actions] speak for themselves and speak to his character, and I know he will do a tremendous job as ambassador,” said Prime Minister Harper.

“As a Canadian with family on both sides hailing from Ireland,” said Vickers, “there could be no greater honor.”

[NYT]

TIME celebrities

Bill Cosby Warns Woman About Drinking Around Him During Canada Show

Bill Cosby
Phelan M. Ebenhack —AP Bill Cosby performs at the Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts, in Melbourne, Fla.

Following the comment, which was intended as a joke, a heckler accused the comedian of being a rapist

Bill Cosby reportedly told a woman during his stand-up routine in London, Ontario on Thursday night to be careful drinking around him.

The comment came after a woman seated in the front row was exiting the Budweiser Gardens’ theater. After Cosby asked the woman were she was headed, the unidentified audience member said she was planning to buy a soda in the lobby.

Cosby then responded: “You have to be careful about drinking around me.”

Following what the comedian claims was a joke, a member from the Canadian audience heckled Cosby for being a rapist. The heckler was then removed from the crowd by security, according to the Associated Press.

The iconic comedian brushed off the accusation and later commended the evening’s patrons for being “loyal.”

“One outburst but over 2600 loyal, patient and courageous fans enjoyed the most wonderful medicine that exists for humankind,” said Cosby in a statement.

More than a dozen women have come forward during the past year claiming they were sexually assaulted, often after being drugged, by Cosby.

[AP]

TIME celebrities

Demonstrators Picket Bill Cosby’s Performance in Canada

Canada Cosby Shows
Hannah Yoon — AP Protesters stand against doors at the entrance to the Centre in the Square theater in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada on Jan. 7, 2015 to protest Bill Cosby.

His show took place uninterrupted, however

More than a dozen demonstrators weathered subzero temperatures to protest Bill Cosby’s appearance in Kitchener, Canada on Wednesday night with signs deriding the comedian and chants aimed at fans attending his performance.

Inside the venue, Cosby took the stage donning a sweater that read “hello friend” and greeted the crowd with a “thank you” before beginning his routine with remarks about the cold weather, according to the Associated Press. No disruptions were reported during Cosby’s routine.

The iconic comedian has been immersed in a firestorm of allegations from at least 15 women who claim he sexually assaulted them in the past. Cosby has repeatedly denied the allegations.

Earlier this week, three women, who claim to have been assaulted by Cosby, filed a defamation lawsuit against the comedian, after he publicly described them as liars.

[AP]

TIME weather

‘Snow Squall’ Causes New Year’s Day Pileup on Canadian Highway

Dozens of vehicles were involved in a series of collisions on a highway in Ontario

This video, captured by Mark Jesley en route from Toronto to Montreal Thursday, shows the aftermath of several multi-vehicle accidents caused by slippery road conditions across Canada.

“Within two minutes we saw a transport hit another car that was in front of us,” Jesley told TIME. The Ontario Provincial Police confirmed to The Weather Channel that “dozens of vehicles” were involved in a series of collisions on Highway 401 near Odessa, Ontario, on New Year’s Day.

“A lot of the cars around us didn’t have their lights turned on,” Jesley said. “The fact that we had ours on was at least partially to play that we didn’t get rear ended.”

An Ontario Provincial Police spokesperson told time that officers were still on the road following the crash, which occurred around 12 p.m. ET.

A public weather alert had been issued Thursday for snow squalls in the area.

TIME elections

These Are the Elections to Watch Around the World in 2015

From Greece to Argentina, elections could transform the international political landscape

This past year was marked by monumental elections that ushered in new political regimes in countries like the India, and Tunisia, and solidified or extended others in places like Egypt, Brazil and Japan.

The year 2015 is shaping up to be a respite from the chaos of democracy, with the electorate of some of the world’s largest countries sitting on the sidelines. But a spate of political developments has infused global importance into elections around the world and prompted two previously unexpected votes in Greece and Israel that will have major repercussions for their respective regions.

Here’s a look at what to expect:

United States

Three of the five largest cities are electing their mayors this year. In Chicago, former Obama adviser Rahm Emanuel is running for reelection in February and holds a strong lead in polls. In Houston, the biennial vote in November will select a successor to Democratic Mayor Annise Parker, who has reached her term limit. It will be a similar situation in Philadelphia, where Democratic Mayor Michael Nutter can’t run for a third term.

Meanwhile, Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi are electing governors in November, including replacements for Kentucky’s Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear and Louisiana’s Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, both of whom have reached their term limits.

Greece

The Greek Parliament’s refusal to elect Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s choice for president earlier this week triggered snap general elections set for January 25. Opinion polls have placed the radical leftist opposition party Syriza in the lead, raising the prospect of an anti-bailout government that could move to default on its massive debt and prompt a new eurozone crisis.

Nigeria

A stumbling economy and a persistent Islamist insurgency in the north have drained some public support for President Goodluck Jonathan, in office since 2010, and the vote on Feb. 14 is expected to be close. Jonathan will go up against Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler campaigning on a platform of security and anti-corruption. But the biggest determinant of who becomes the leader of Africa’s biggest economy may fall along ethnic and regional lines: Buhari is a Muslim northerner, while Jonathan is a Christian from the south.

Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu disbanded his already tenuous centrist coalition in early December and called for early general elections set for March 17, expecting to win a new mandate for himself and a more right-leaning government. But polls show that a new left-leaning coalition could beat Netanyahu’s Likud party, though the incumbent could stay in power if he successfully forms a coalition with rightist parties.

Sudan

The April 13 election is all but likely to ensure that President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, wanted on genocide charges by the International Criminal Court, will extend his 25-year rule, even as violence continues between Khartoum and rebel groups in Darfur and elsewhere.

Britain

The United Kingdom is heading for what may be the closest election in a generation—and the first since a divisive vote in Scotland to remain part of the 307-year-old Union—as the Labour party seeks to unseat Prime Minister David Cameron and his Conservative party in elections slated for early May. The rest of the European Union will be closely watching this vote, as Cameron has promised a referendum on EU membership in 2017, while Ed Milibrand, head of Labour, has rejected the idea.

Argentina

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has drawn some public support for her obstinate stance against U.S. investors and U.S. courts who are demanding Argentina repay $1.3 billion in debt plus interest. But the skirmish has scared off investors and helped put longterm economic growth largely on hold until the dispute is resolved or, as is likely, a more market friendly president takes office following elections in October. As for Fernandez, her tenure is up after reaching her two-term limit.

Canada

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party has seen an uptick in support in recent days, putting it ahead of the Liberal party. But his party’s support took a hit this year and he’s far from guaranteed a win in elections in 2015, currently slated for Oct. 19. His biggest rival will likely be Justin Trudeau, head of the Liberal Party and son of long-serving Premier Pierre Trudeau.

Burkina Faso

In the wake of longtime President Blaise Compaoré’s ouster amid mass protests, the interim leadership agreed to hold new elections in November. If that plan holds, the Burkinabé people will select a government not headed by Compaoré for the first time since he seized power in 1983.

Spain

The nascent anti-establishment party Podemos has skyrocketed in popularity and is now competitive with the two stalwarts in a country still burdened by an economic crisis (unemployment stands at around 24 percent). Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of the right-leaning Popular Party, is already under pressure from an empowered Catalan independence movement, and the populist movement does not augur well for him in next years elections, which must take place on or before Dec. 20. But he’s hoping that economic reforms and early indications of a recovery will boost his standing.

Myanmar

The vote in late 2015 could mark a significant step in Myanmar’s heralded-but-stumbling process of political reform, but that’s not certain. Though the elections will be the first since a semi-civilian government assumed power after half-a-century of military rule, the military is still highly influential and key constitutional reforms called for by the opposition are unlikely to pass ahead of the vote. Among them is a measure to repeal a law that prevents opposition leader and Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi from running. For now, Shwe Mann, the speaker of parliament and a retired general, is the front-runner.

TIME Canada

Nine People Have Been Found Dead in a Mass Murder in Canada

Edmonton Deaths
Jason Franson—AP Police investigate the scene where multiple deaths occurred overnight in Edmonton, Alberta, Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014.

Police are calling it an act of domestic violence

The bodies of nine people, including two children, have been found at three separate crime scenes in the Canadian city of Edmonton, Alberta in what police are calling a “mass murder.”

Seven bodies — including three women, two men and two young children — were found in the same house, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The body of a middle-aged woman was found at another residence in the city.

The suspect’s body was found in a restaurant in Fort Saskatchewan. He is believed to have killed himself.

Edmonton’s police chief Rod Knecht said the killings were related and that there was no risk to the general public.

[L.A. Times]

TIME Canada

Life in Prison for Murderer Who Sent Victim’s Limbs to Schools

Rocco Luka Magnotta, also known as Eric Clinton Newman and Vladimir Romanov, is shown in this undated handout photo released by Montreal Police
Reuters Rocco Luka Magnotta, also known as Eric Clinton Newman and Vladimir Romanov, is shown in this undated handout photo released by the Montreal Police to Reuters on May 30, 2012

Shipments of body parts horrified Canada

A Canadian jury sentenced a 32-year old former porn actor to life in prison Tuesday for a grisly murder that shocked the nation.

Luka Magnotta was convicted of killing and dismembering his Chinese lover, Jun Lin, 33, and shipping his body parts to Canadian schools and political organizations. He even detailed his plan to a British reporter six months before the crime, according to the Associated Press.

Magnotta’s lawyer, Luc Leclair, argued that his client has schizophrenia and was unable to comprehend the immorality of his actions. Speaking on Magnotta’s behalf, Leclair recognized that the life-sentence was to be expected.

“[Magnotta] accepts the verdict,” he said. “For quite some time now he has been preparing for the verdict with his father, some friends and his therapist. He has been focusing on rebuilding his life.”

In May 2012, Jun Lin’s severed foot arrived at Canada’s Conservative Party headquarters; the Liberal Party received his hand. His torso was later found in a dumpster outside of Magnotta’s apartment complex, and a week later his other foot and hand turned up at two schools in Vancouver.

Jun Lin was a Chinese national who is said to have fallen in love with Montreal and had been living in the city since 2011.

Magnotta will be eligible for parole after 25 years.

[AP]

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