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UK weighs response to Iran crisis with few good options

first_imgA boat of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard sails next to Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk, at Bandar Abbas port on 21 July. Photo ReutersBritain was weighing its next moves in the Gulf tanker crisis on Sunday, with few good options apparent as a recording emerged showing that the Iranian military defied a British warship when it boarded and seized a ship three days ago.Prime minister Theresa May’s office said she would chair a meeting of Britain’s COBR emergency response committee on Monday morning to discuss the crisis.Little clue has been given by Britain on how it plans to respond after Iranian Revolutionary Guards rappelled from helicopters and seized the Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday in apparent retaliation for the British capture of an Iranian tanker two weeks earlier.Footage obtained by Reuters from an Iranian news agency on Sunday showed the tanker docked in an Iranian port — with Iran’s flag now hoisted atop.The British government is expected to announce its next steps in a speech to parliament on Monday. But experts on the region say there are few obvious steps London can take at a time when the United States has already imposed the maximum possible economic sanctions, banning all Iranian oil exports worldwide.”We rant and rave and we shout at the ambassador and we hope it all goes away,” said Tim Ripley, a British defence expert who writes about the Gulf for Jane’s Defence Weekly.”I don’t see at this point in time us being able to offer a concession that can resolve the crisis. Providing security and escort for future ships is a different matter.”A day after calling the Iranian action a “hostile act”, top British officials kept comparatively quiet on Sunday, making clear that they had yet to settle on a response.”We are going to be looking at a series of options,” junior defence minister Tobias Ellwood told Sky News. “We will be speaking with our colleagues, our international allies, to see what can actually be done.”Our first and most important responsibility is to make sure we get a solution to the issue to do with the current ship, make sure other British-flagged ships are safe to operate in these waters and then look at the wider picture.”Months Of ConfrontationThe Iranian capture of the ship in the global oil trade’s most important waterway was the latest escalation in three months of spiralling confrontation with the West that began when new, tighter US sanctions took effect at the start of May.Washington imposed the sanctions after President Donald Trump pulled out of a deal signed by his predecessor Barack Obama, which had provided Iran access to world trade in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.European countries including Britain have been caught in the middle. They disagreed with the US decision to quit the nuclear deal but have so far failed to offer Iran another way to receive the deal’s promised economic benefits.Britain was thrust more directly into the confrontation on 4 July, when its Royal Marines seized an Iranian tanker off the coast of Gibraltar. Britain accused it of violating sanctions on Syria, prompting repeated Iranian threats of retaliation.While Iran’s official line is that its capture of the Stena Impero was because of safety issues, it has done little to hide that the move was retaliatory. The tactics it used — with masked troops rappelling from helicopters — matched those the British had used two weeks before.Parliament speaker Ali Larijani spelled it out more clearly on Sunday, telling a parliament session: “The Revolutionary Guards responded to Britain’s hijacking of the Iranian tanker.”Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, blamed Washington and Trump’s hawkish national security adviser John Bolton for luring Britain into conflict.”Having failed to lure @realDonaldTrump into War of the Century … @AmbJohnBolton is turning his venom against the UK in hopes of dragging it into a quagmire,” Zarif wrote on Twitter. “Only prudence and foresight can thwart such ploys.”Radio MessagesIn a letter to the UN Security Council, Britain said the Stena Impero was approached by Iranian forces in Omani territorial waters, where it was exercising its lawful right of passage, and that the action “constitutes illegal interference”.Britain’s warship in the Gulf, the HMS Montrose, contacted an Iranian patrol vessel in an effort to ward off a boarding of the Stena Impero, according to radio messages provided to Reuters by maritime security firm Dryad Global.”Please confirm that you are not intending to violate international law by unlawfully attempting to board,” the Montrose said in the radio message.The Iranian patrol boat is heard instructing the Stena Impero to alter course. Responding to the Montrose, it says it intends to “inspect the ship for security purposes”.Defence expert Ripley noted that Iran’s choice of target appeared to have been calibrated to test Britain’s response without provoking a bigger crisis.Unlike the Iranian tanker seized a fortnight earlier, which was carrying a valuable cargo of 2 million barrels of oil, the Stena Impero was on its way to the Gulf and empty at the time it was seized. The 23 crew are mainly Indians and include no British citizens, the presence of which might have led to calls in London to take more drastic action, Ripley said.He added that Iran is likely to view any British response through the wider prism of its conflict with the United States.”If the Americans are going to continue to enforce this embargo, there’s no incentive for the Iranians not to take more tankers. What have they got to lose?” said Ripley.An Iranian official who asked not to be identified made a similar point.”Iran is displaying its power without entering a military confrontation,” the official said. “This is the result of America’s mounting pressure on Iran.”last_img read more

Suitable options to pair with your wine

first_imgWine and food pairing is not that difficult as it sounds. One just needs to keep in mind that the selection of wine must compliment the taste of food ordered, say experts. Experts share tips on most suitable options to pair with your wine. -One can pair their favourite wine with other delicious food too. The most common food items that you can pair your wine with is pizzas, pastas, salads, burgers, pies, seafoods to name a few. These are some of the food items that we eat on any normal day, so we should also be thinking of pairing our wines with them. Also Read – Add new books to your shelf-One must remember the thumb rule for wine and food pairing; white wine compliments white meat and red wine is great with red meat. -Cabernet Sauvignon is indeed the undisputed King of red wines. France, Italy and Napa Valley are the best producers. You can pair your spicy meat pizza with a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Pinotage and is also best paired with red meats like black peppered tenderloin and lamb chops in five spices. -Veg pizza would brilliantly go with Merlot. The idea is to not overpower the wine but to blend in. One can also try pork loin, slow cooked lamb stew and shepherd’s pie with a good Merlot. Merlots are normally light to medium bodied and often are blended with other grapes. France and Italy are top producers. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsive-Pinot Noir, one of the most versatile red grapes, best produced in France, United States and Germany. It is generally paired with food having strong earthy flavours. Try it with mushroom and greens with tofu in soya sauce, spaghetti bolognaise or a grilled salmon. -Similarly, you could have your red sauce pasta with a Shiraz, medium bodied grape with a hint of tannin is best produced in France, Australia and Spain. This can also be paired with roast lamb, grilled beef and lamb chops. -Sauvignon Blanc or Rose would go well with salads and also with mussels, char grilled lobsters, tajine and creamy tuscan chicken. -If seafood is your soul food, then the go to wine is Chardonnay, one of the most popular white grapes, or a riesling or a sparkling. -Another favourite food and wine pairing is the Indian street food. Try a pani puri with a Chenin Blanc or a samosa with Riesling. Try the quintessential tikki chat with a Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir.-Chenin Blanc has floral aromas, mostly young wines are produced in Loire Valley. Have it with shish taouk or risotto with chicken and scallions.last_img read more

Sony Now Predicts a 11 Billion Loss Shuts Down PC Business

first_img Problem Solvers with Jason Feifer Hear from business owners and CEOs who went through a crippling business problem and came out the other side bigger and stronger. February 6, 2014 Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. 3 min read Sony is shuttering its computer business, refocusing its TV division on high-end units and laying off 5,000 people. It is also predicting a massive loss of 110 billion yen, or $1.1 billion, for the fiscal year, a drastic change from its prediction three months ago of a 30-billion yen profit ($294 million).There was a time, long ago, when it looked as if Japanese electronics companies — and foremost among them Sony — would take over the world. But no longer. Apple and Samsung dominate the consumer market for tablets and smartphones, and Sony is now being forced to undergo costly restructuring to survive.Sony’s TV business has long been a loser. It has cost the electronics giant $7.8 billion over the past decade, according to Reuters. Sony plans to spin it off into a subsidiary company by July of this year, hoping to streamline processes and return it to profitability by the end of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2015.To some observers, this move could look like preparation for disposing of the TV division altogether. But Sony chief Kazuo Hirai told reporters in Tokyo that “we have absolutely no plan” to sell off the TV business, according to Reuters. The way forward, Hirai thinks, lies in high-end models, especially ultra-high-definition 4K TVs, which have yet to go mainstream.Related: 10 Thoughts on Tech, Trends and Innovation at CES 2014Sony will be posting a net loss for the fifth time in six years. As part of restructuring, the Japanese electronics maker will let go more than 3 percent of its global work force by March 2015. The company expects the layoffs to save 100 billion yen, or $1 billion, in annual costs. As of September 2013, Sony had 145,800 employees.Sony’s computer business is also a goner. After spring 2014, when its final lineup of personal computers will launch, Sony will stop manufacturing and selling computers. Its PC business will be sold to Japan Industrial Partners, an investment fund, and about 250 to 300 Sony employees will move to the new company which the fund will set up to manage the PC business.Even Sony’s successes are somewhat muted. Its Playstation 4 gaming console is on pace to beat sales expectations of 5 million units by the end of March. But this latest iteration of the popular Playstation was so expensive to develop that it will take two years to break even on the console, Sony said.One Sony division is performing admirably, however. The financial services unit did so well in the fiscal quarter from October to December 2013 that Sony managed to post an operating profit of more than 90 billion yen, nearly twice the previous year’s amount.Related: This New Startup Aims to Revolutionize Selling Your Old Electronics Listen Nowlast_img read more