Millions more face big energy price increases

· Up to 34% rise as last two big suppliers get into line
· Government urged to act as more face fuel poverty


Photograph: Steve Taylor/Getty Images

This summer’s misery for energy consumers reached a climax yesterday when the last two of the big six suppliers raised prices for millions of household customers.

ScottishPower, which has just over 5 million customers, said gas bills would rise by 34% from the beginning of next month, and electricity by 9%. Npower said it was putting up gas prices by 26% and electricity by 14% for its 6.6 million customers with immediate effect.

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Gustav May Hit Gulf Platforms Harder Than Katrina

Aug. 31 (Bloomberg) — Hurricane Gustav threatens to hurt U.S. oil and natural-gas production and refining more severely than hurricanes Katrina and Rita did three years ago.

Gustav, downgraded to a Category 3 storm by the National Hurricane Center in Miami this morning, may strengthen to Category 4 later today and will make landfall as a “major” hurricane. The storm shut three-quarters of oil output in the region and refineries operated by Valero Energy Corp., the largest U.S. refiner, ConocoPhillips, Marathon Oil Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp. There will be a special trading session today at the New York Mercantile Exchange.

“This storm will prove to be a worst-case scenario for the production region,” Jim Rouiller, senior energy meteorologist for Planalytics.com, said yesterday in an e-mailed message. “This storm will be more dangerous than Katrina.”

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Blackwater Issues Mercenary Call For Hurricane Gustav

Security for Hurricane Gustav

Blackwater is compiling a list of qualified security personnel for possible deployment into areas affected by Hurricane Gustav.
Applicants must meet all items listed under the respective Officer posting and be US citizens. Contract length is TBD.

Law Enforcement Officers (all criteria must apply)

1. Current sworn [may be full time, part time or reserve]
2. With arrest powers
3. Armed status (must indicate Armed and/or Semi Auto. Revolver only not accepted) expiration must be greater than 60 days out
4. Departmental credentials (not just a badge)

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Bush quietly seeks to make war powers permanent, by declaring indefinite state of war

As the nation focuses on Sen. John McCain’s choice of running mate, President Bush has quietly moved to expand the reach of presidential power by ensuring that America remains in a state of permanent war.

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New Orleans Orders Mandatory Evacuation

AP changed the title to “New Orleans residents get out of Gustav’s way”
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(AFP/Matthew Hinton)

NEW ORLEANS – As dawn broke Sunday over a city under siege, bumper-to-bumper traffic was reported in nearly every direction as residents heeded orders to flee an only partially rebuilt New Orleans. Police and National Guard troops were on the streets, preparing to patrol evacuated neighborhoods. And officials nervously watched the track of Hurricane Gustav, a Category 3 monster that threatens a city still recovering nearly three years after Hurricane Katrina.

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Thailand sinks into crisis as demonstrators close airports and railways


Unions urged airline and railway workers to take “sick leave” to support the protests (Sakchai Lalit/AP)

Thailand sank deeper into political chaos yesterday as anti-government demonstrators forced the closure of airports and railway lines, stranding foreign and domestic passengers and increasing fears of yet another military coup.

In the capital, Bangkok, a crowd of 2,000 people faced a barrage of teargas as they attempted to take over police headquarters. In other parts of the country, members of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Samak Sundaraveg shut down airports in Hat Yai and the tourist resorts of Phuket and Krabi.

“This is embarrassing in front of the world,” Mr Samak said, three days after being forced out of his office by demonstrators. “I have several tools at my disposal, but I am not using any of them because I want to keep things calm. I will not quit. If you want me out, do it by law, not by force.”

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‘Environmental volunteers’ will be encouraged to spy on their neighbours

Councils are recruiting residents to report anyone who drops litter, fails to recycle their rubbish properly, or who allows their dog to foul the streets.

Advertisements looking for people to sign up for the unpaid “environmental volunteer” jobs have been posted across the country in recent months.

Critics said the scheme is encouraging a Big Brother society where friends and neighbours will be encouraged to “snoop” on one another.

The recruitment drive follows news that the Home Office is granting police powers to council staff and private security guards, allowing then to hand out fines for low-scale offences and ask for personal details.

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Hurricane Gustav Near Cuba With 230 kph Winds


Men pull boat out of water as Hurricane Gustav approaches in Havana, 30 Aug 2008

U.S. forecasters say Hurricane Gustav’s winds have strengthened to nearly 230 kilometers per hour as the deadly storm closes in on western Cuba.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center has upgraded Gustav to a category 4 hurricane on the scale that measures a storm’s intensity.

At last report, the eye of Gustav was expected to pass over western Cuba later Saturday.

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Iran: Any aggression will start a world war

A senior Iranian military commander has warned that any US or Israeli attack on the Islamic republic would start a new world war, the state news agency IRNA reported on Saturday.

“Any aggression against Iran will start a world war,” deputy chief of staff for defence publicity, Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri, said in a statement carried by the agency.
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Related article: De Telegraaf: “Attack on Iran expected”

AMSTERDAM – The Dutch intelligence agency AIVD has conducted an ultrasecret operation in Iran with the purpose of infiltrating and sabotaging the weapons industry in the islamic republic.

The operation, deemed extremely succesfull, has recently been cancelled because of an imminent aerial attack on Iran. Targets include sites that are connected to the Dutch spying.

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Iran is under international pressure to halt uranium enrichment, a process which lies at the core of fears about Iran’s nuclear programme as it can make nuclear fuel as well as the fissile core of an atom bomb.

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