US, UK Israel blame Iran for attack on Israeli-managed tanker

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The United States has joined the United Kingdom Israel in accusing Iran of carrying out a deadly drone strike that killed two aboard a tanker off Oman.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken made the announcement in a statement Sunday.

Blinken said: “Upon review of the available information, we are confident that Iran conducted this attack, which killed two innocent people, using one-way explosive (drones), a lethal capability it is increasingly employing throughout the region.”

He added that there was “no justification for this attack, which follows a pattern of attacks other belligerent behavior.”

This Jan. 2, 2016 photo shows the Liberian-flagged oil tanker Mercer Street off Cape Town, South Africa. The oil tanker linked to an Israeli billionaire reportedly came under attack off the coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea, authorities said Friday, July 30, 2021, as details about the incident remained few. 
(Johan Victor via AP)

Iran earlier denied being involved. Israel’s prime minister directly blamed Iran made a veiled threat about retaliating.

Calling it a “unlawful callous attack,” British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said his country its allies planned a coordinated response over the strike Thursday night on the oil tanker Mercer Street. It marked the first-known fatal attack after years of assaults on commercial shipping in the region linked to tensions with Iran over its tattered nuclear deal.

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While no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, Iran its militia allies have used so-called “suicide” drones in attacks previously, which crash into targets detonate their explosive payloads. However, Israel, the U.K. the responding U.S. Navy have yet to show physical evidence from the strike or offer intelligence information on why they blame Tehran.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett went further than Raab in remarks Sunday at a Cabinet meeting, making a point to stare directly into the camera slowly warn: “We know, at any rate, know how to convey the message to Iran in our own way.”

In this photo provided by the U.S. Navy, sailors assigned to an explosive ordnance unit board an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter on the flight deck of aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan to head to an oil tanker that was attacked off the coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea on Friday, July 30, 2021. 

In this photo provided by the U.S. Navy, sailors assigned to an explosive ordnance unit board an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter on the flight deck of aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan to head to an oil tanker that was attacked off the coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea on Friday, July 30, 2021. 
(Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Quinton A. Lee/U.S. Navy, via AP)

The drone attack blasted a hole through the top of the oil tanker’s bridge, where the captain crew commthe vessel, a U.S. official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as an investigation into the attack still was ongoing. The blast killed two crew members from the United Kingdom Romania.

The Navy said the American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan the guided missile destroyer USS Mitscher escorted the Mercer Street as it headed to a safe port. On Sunday, satellite-tracking information from MarineTraffic.com showed the tanker stopped off the coast of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates.

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In his statement, Raab said it was “highly likely” Iran attacked the tanker with one or more drones.

“We believe this attack was deliberate, targeted a clear violation of international law by Iran,” he said. “Iran must end such attacks, vessels must be allowed to navigate freely in accordance with international law.”

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett attends a cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem, Sunday, Aug. 1, 2021. 

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett attends a cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem, Sunday, Aug. 1, 2021. 
(Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP)

Earlier, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh described the allegation Iran carried out the attack as “baseless.”

“It’s not the first time that the Zionist regime occupying Jerusalem has made such empty accusations against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Khatibzadeh said. “Wherever this regime has gone, it has taken instability, terror violence with it.”

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He added: “Whoever sows the wind shall reap the whirlwind.”

Khatibzadeh spoke around an hour after Iran’s outgoing president acknowledged that his government at times “did not tell part of the truth” to the public during his term.

In this photo provided by the U.S. Navy, sailors on board an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter on the flight deck of aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan prepare to head to an oil tanker that was attacked off the coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea on Friday, July 30, 2021. An attack on an oil tanker linked to an Israeli billionaire killed two crew members off Oman in the Arabian Sea, authorities said Friday, marking the first fatalities after years of assaults targeting shipping in the region. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Quinton A. Lee/U.S. Navy, via AP)

In this photo provided by the U.S. Navy, sailors on board an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter on the flight deck of aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan prepare to head to an oil tanker that was attacked off the coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea on Friday, July 30, 2021. An attack on an oil tanker linked to an Israeli billionaire killed two crew members off Oman in the Arabian Sea, authorities said Friday, marking the first fatalities after years of assaults targeting shipping in the region. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Quinton A. Lee/U.S. Navy, via AP)

From Jerusalem, Bennett offered condolences to both the United Kingdom Romania for the killing of their citizens. He said Israeli intelligence had evidence linking Iran to the attack, but did not offer it.

“Iran is the one who carried out the attack against the ship,” he said. “Iran’s aggressive behavior is dangerous not only for Israel, but harms global interests in the freedom of navigation international trade.”

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Other Israel-linked ships have been targeted in recent months as well amid a shadow war between the two nations, with Israeli officials blaming the Islamic Republic for the assaults. Shipping in the region began being targeted in the summer of 2019, about a year after then-President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers.

Israel meanwhile has been suspected of conducting a series of major attacks in Iran on Iranian shipping. Also, Iran saw its largest warship recently sink under mysterious circumstances in the nearby Gulf of Oman.

The Mercer Street, owned by Japan’s Taihei Kaiun Co., is managed by London-based Zodiac Maritime, part of Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer’s Zodiac Group. In early July, the Liberian-flagged container ship CSAV Tyndall, once tied to Zodiac Maritime, suffered an unexplained explosion on board while in the northern Indian Ocean, according to the U.S. Maritime Administration.

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The attack marks the first major confrontation with Iran for Bennett, who took over as premier in June after a coalition deal unseated Israel’s long-serving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu is suspected of launching a series of attacks targeting Iran, including explosions at the country’s main enrichment site the killing of a prominent military nuclear scientist.

However, Bennett as well has made hawkish comments in the past about needing to attack “the head of the octopus” in Tehran as opposed to Iran’s regional militias like Hezbollah in Lebanon. The attack on the Mercer Street marks the first during his time as prime minister analysts suggest he could seek a major attack in retaliation.

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“Israel may wish to deliver a resounding blow; that’s the spirit of political sources’ comments in Jerusalem,” wrote Amos Harel, a longtime military analyst for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. “This blow will be aimed at ending things without a tit-for-tat that could escalate. But as usual, events also depend on the other side.”

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Anil Agarwal’s Sterlite Power Transmission hires two banks for IPO

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Sterlite Power Transmission Ltd., controlled by billionaire Anil Agarwal, has hired JM Financial Axis Capital for a planned initial public offering, according to people with knowledge of the matter.


The firm, part of the Vedanta group, plans to raise about 30 billion rupees ($403 million) in the financial year through March, the people said, asking not to be identified as the details are private. A prospectus is expected to be filed by September, they added.





The IPO will mainly consist of new shares, more bankers may be added as plans progress, one of the people said.


Emails to Sterlite Power, Axis Capital JM Financial weren’t answered outside of business hours in Mumbai on Sunday.

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CDC investigating E. coli outbreak possibly tied to raw cake batter

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The Centers for Disease Control has launched an investigation after several people have fallen ill across multiple states with a strain of E. coli.

According to the government agency, the outbreak is likely tied to the consumption of raw cake batter. Interviews with infected individuals have not tied the outbreak to a single brand, however.

A press release from the CDC states that, as of July 27, 16 people have been infected with a strain of E. coli across 12 states.
(iStock)

A press release from the CDC states that, as of July 27, 16 people have been infected with a strain of E. coli across 12 states. The first illness occurred on February 26 of this year, the most recent occurred on June 21.

Out of the known infected people, seven have been hospitalized. The infected range in age from 2 to 73 years old.

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The CDC believes that the number of sick people is likely higher, as it’s possible for people to get infected but simply recover on their own without seeking medical help. Also, more recent illnesses may not have been included in the numbers since it can take up to a month to tie an infection with a specific outbreak.

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In the press release, the CDC advises against eating raw cake batter, since it can contain harmful bacteria. This includes both homemade batter batter that’s been made from a mix. This bacteria will normally be killed when the batter is properly baked or cooked.

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As part of the investigation, public health officials are interviewing infected individuals about the foods that they ate in the week before they got sick. Of those interviewed, six have reported that they ate raw cake batter made from a mix, although they were not all from the same brand.

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629,000 homes valued at Rs 5 trn delayed or stalled in top-7 cities: Report

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About 629,000 residential units have substantially delayed or completely stalled in the country’s top 7 cities, says a new report.


At least 71 per cent of these delayed units fall within the Rs 80 lakh under price bracket, 18 per cent in the premium segment, 11 per cent in the luxury category, says the report by Anarock Property Consultants.





Launched in 2014 or earlier, the total value of the currently stuck/delayed housing stock exceeds Rs 5.05 trillion. Nearly 28 per cent (about 173,730) of these units are completely stalled, the report said.


NCR has overtaken the Mumbai Metropolitan Region with a 52 per cent share of the stuck/delayed stock, the highest in the top 7 cities with a value of Rs 2,49,540 crore, it said.


MMR reduced its overall share with several projects getting completed in the last year. Currently, it has 28 per cent of the total affected stock with a value of Rs 1,52,105 crore, Anarock said,


Pune, the other major western market, has an eight per cent share of stuck/delayed units with a value of Rs 29,390 crore, it said. In southern cities, housing projects are mostly on track. Hyderabad, Bengaluru Chennai together have just 11 per cent of the total delayed/stuck units, with Chennai comprising a mere two per cent. The approximate value of delayed/stuck projects in these three cities is Rs 56,420 crore. Kolkata has a 5 per cent share valued at Rs 17,960 crore.


Prashant Thakur, Director & Head-Research, Anarock Property Consultants said, “For the 2019-end tally of 576,000 units, we considered projects launched in 2013 or before. Now, more than one half years later, we have included projects launched in 2014 as well. Thus, there is a rise in the numbers – as of H1 2021-end, we have nearly 629,000 units that are yet to be completed across the top 7 cities.”


“Previously, NCR had a 35 per cent share of total delayed units (in 2019). However, its share now increased to 52 per cent as several projects launched in NCR in 2014 are also included, he says. “There are many possible reasons, including Covid-19, funding issues, litigation. The decrease in delayed units in Pune MMR is remarkable – from 16 per cent 36 per cent by 2019-end to 8 per cent 24 per cent by H1 2021-end.”

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information commentary on developments that are of interest to you have wider political economic implications for the country the world. Your encouragement constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed updated with credible news, authoritative views incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

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The creator of streaming ‘Star Trek’ shows will stay with CBS through 2026

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Paramount+ effectively revolves around Alex Kurtzman given its continued dependence on Star Trek, it’s clear CBS will do whatever it takes to keep the director producer aboard. CBS Studios has signed a deal that will have Kurtzman his Secret Hideout unit exclusvely producing shows for Paramount+ other platforms through 2026. He’ll continue to lead Star Trek efforts for the “next six years,” CBS said.

CBS didn’t say how much it paid, although Deadline sources understood the agreement was in the “$150 million range.” Kurtzman had two years left on an existing deal, but that was worth far less at ‘just’ $25 million.

Kurtzman has no less than six Star Trek shows underway, including existing productions Discovery, Picard Lower Decks as well as upcoming efforts like Strange New Worlds, Prodigy the currently unnamed Section 31 spinoff. He’s also responsible for Showtime offerings like the upcoming The Man Who Fell to Earth TV remake, has Secret Hideout working on projects like a Stephen King short story adaptation. 

It’s not surprising that CBS would pay a premium for Kurtzman as a result. While he’s not the only one creating well-known shows for Paramount+, losing him Secret Hideout would risk leaving a giant gap in CBS’ streaming strategy. The risk, of course, is that CBS is further tying its fate to one person one production company — Paramount+ might be in a tough spot if there are ever major problems with Kurtzman’s shows.

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