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‘Energy transition? Leave us out,’ say African energy leaders By Reuters

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© Reuters. A vertical gas flaring furnace is seen in Ughelli, Delta State, Nigeria September 16, 2020. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde/Files

By Sabrina Valle and Arathy Somasekhar

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Developing countries should not have to target renewable energy sources and turn away from fossil fuels, Nigerian and Equatorial Guinea energy officials said on Wednesday, joining other emerging oil-producing nations reluctant to embrace the global energy transition trend.

Emerging economies must contend with higher fuel costs at a time when millions lack access to reliable energy sources while also dealing with extreme climate events.

Some 900 million people in the world, most of them in Africa, still have no access to energy for basic needs, Nigeria’s oil Minister Timipre Marlin Sylva said during the CERAWeek energy conference in Houston.

“We are still in transition from firewood to gas,” Sylva said. “Please allow us to continue with our own transition.”

Equatorial Guinea Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons Gabriel Obiang Lima echoed those concerns, saying pressure over renewables is “very unjust”, with a discussion on how to transition only possible after the energy security crisis is over.

The 38 members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), some of the richest countries worldwide, along with Russia, China and India, account for more than two-thirds of the world’s oil demand. The rest, which includes Africa, most of Asia and Latin America, accounts for just 31%, according to OPEC data.

“Every emerging economy has to have the right to access reliable, safe energy,” said Tengku Muhammad Taufik, president and CEO of Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas.

Other countries with oil discoveries still in development, including Ghana, Guyana and Suriname, also have said they cannot be expected to give up the chance to benefit from oil and gas that helped build more developed economies.

“They want all of us, including those of us without food, to carry the burden of transition,” Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) general manager Bala Wunti said.

Nigeria now faces a double blow from high prices of gas for cooking that it imports and lack of investment in its oil industry, Sylva said, as banks and funds have been pushing to restrict investment in oil globally to cut greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change.

Nigeria has had to cut oil production from 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) to less than 1.5 million bpd due to lack of financing to maintain its facilities, Sylva said.

That lost production could have helped contribute to global supply as the world now seeks alternatives to Russian oil after buyers halted purchases over its invasion of Ukraine, he said. Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation”.

Investors backing renewable fuels have cut financing for oil projects, reducing production of oil, gas and coal faster than renewable sources of energy could replace them, pushing prices up, he said.

“It was expected we were going to arrive at this point where we have an energy crisis,” Sylva said. “There is a gap.”

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Teladoc Tumbled 38% After Big First-Quarter Loss. Is It Just a Pandemic Play?

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After pandemic drop, Canada’s detention of immigrants rises again By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Two closed Canadian border checkpoints are seen after it was announced that the border would close to “non-essential traffic” to combat the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the U.S.-Canada border crossing at the Thousand Isla

By Anna Mehler Paperny

TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada is locking up more people in immigration detention without charge after the numbers fell during the pandemic, government data obtained by Reuters shows.

Authorities cite an overall rise in foreign travelers amid easing restrictions but lawyers say their detained clients came to Canada years ago.

Canada held 206 people in immigration detention as of March 1, 2022 – a 28% increase compared with March 1 of the previous year. Immigration detainees have not been charged with crimes in Canada and 68% of detainees as of March 1 were locked up because Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) fears they are “unlikely to appear” at an immigration hearing, according to the data.

The rise puts Canada at odds with Amnesty International and other human rights groups that have urged Ottawa to end its use of indefinite immigration detention, noting CBSA has used factors such as a person’s mental illness as reason to detain them.

A CBSA spokesperson told Reuters that “when the number of entries (to Canada) goes up, an increase in detention is to be expected.” CBSA has said in the past it uses detention as a last resort.

A lawyer told Reuters her detained clients have been in Canada for years.

In the United Kingdom, too, immigration detention levels rose last year after dropping earlier in the pandemic, according to government statistics. Unlike Canada, the United States and Australia, European Union member states have limits on immigration detention and those limits cannot exceed six months.

The rise in detentions puts people at risk of contracting COVID-19 in harsh congregate settings, refugee lawyers say.

Julia Sande, Human Rights Law and Policy Campaigner with Amnesty, called the increase in detentions “disappointing but not surprising,” although she was reluctant to draw conclusions from limited data.

The number of immigration detainees in Canada dropped early in the pandemic, from a daily average of 301 in the fourth quarter (January through March) of 2019-20 to 126 in the first quarter (April through June) of 2020-21.

FEW NO-SHOWS AS DETENTIONS DROPPED

Detaining fewer people did not result in a significant increase in no-shows at immigration hearings – the most common reason for detention, according to Immigration and Refugee Board data.

The average number of no-shows as a percentage of admissibility hearings was about 5.5% in 2021, according to that data, compared to about 5.9% in 2019.

No-shows rose as high as 16% in October 2020, but a spokesperson for the Immigration and Refugee Board said this was due to people not receiving notifications when their hearings resumed after a pause in the pandemic.

Refugee lawyer Andrew Brouwer said the decline in detention earlier in the pandemic shows Canada does not need to lock up as many non-citizens.

“We didn’t see a bunch of no-shows. We didn’t see the sky fall … It for sure shows that the system can operate without throwing people in jail,” Brouwer said.

He added that detainees face harsh pandemic conditions in provincial jails – including extended lockdowns, sometimes with three people in a cell for 23 hours a day.

Refugee lawyer Swathi Sekhar said CBSA officials and the Immigration and Refugee Board members reviewing detentions took the risk of COVID-19 into account when deciding whether someone should be detained earlier in the pandemic but are doing so less now.

“Their position is that COVID is not a factor that should weigh in favor of release,” she said.

“We also see very, very perverse findings … [decision-makers] outright saying that individuals are going to be safer in jail.”

The Immigration and Refugee Board did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

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Nasdaq futures rise as market attempts comeback from April sell-off, Meta shares soar

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Stock futures rose in overnight trading as the market shook off the April sell-off and investors reacted positively to earnings from Meta Platforms.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 70 points or 0.2%. S&P 500 futures gained 0.7% and Nasdaq 100 futures jumped 1.2%.

The moves came as shares of Meta surged more than 18% after hours following a beat on earnings but a miss on revenue, a sign that investors may see signs of relief in the beaten-up tech sector. Shares were down 48% on the year heading into the results.

Meanwhile, shares of Qualcomm gained 5.6% in extended trading on the back of strong earnings while PayPal rose 5% despite issuing weak guidance for the second quarter.

“I think a lot of people want to believe that earnings are going to pull us out of this, but earnings are not what got us into this,” SoFi’s Liz Young told CNBC’s “Closing Bell: Overtime” on Wednesday. “… But the reality is there are so many macro headwinds still in front of us in the next 60 days that the market is just hard to impress.”

The after-hour activity followed a volatile regular trading session that saw the Nasdaq Composite stoop to its lowest level in 2022, as stocks looked to bounce back from a tech-led April sell-off. The index is down more than 12% since the start of April.

In Wednesday’s regular trading, the tech-heavy Nasdaq ended at 12,488.93, after rising to 1.7% at session highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 61.75 points, or 0.2%, to 33,301.93 propped up by gains from Visa and Microsoft, while the S&P 500 added 0.2% to 4,183.96.

Investors await big tech earnings on Thursday from Apple, Amazon and Twitter, along with results from Robinhood. Jobless claims are also due out Thursday.

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