Al-Qaida breakaway formally declares Islamic State

Al-Qaida breakaway formally declares Islamic State

BAGHDAD (AP) — The al-Qaida breakaway group that has seized much of northern Syria and huge tracks of neighboring Iraq formally declared the creation of an Islamic state on Sunday in the territory under its control.

The spokesman for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, made the announcement in an audio statement posted online. Islamic extremists have long dreamed of recreating the Islamic state, or caliphate, that ruled over the Middle East for hundreds of years.

More at:

http://news.yahoo.com/al-qaida-breakaway-formally-declares-islamic-state-184155646.html

Militant group’s surge in Iraq fans regional fears

Militant group’s surge in Iraq fans regional fears

BEIRUT (AP) — An al-Qaida breakaway group’s seizure of territory in Iraq and Syria has sent tremors across the Middle East, jolting neighboring countries into action over fears that the Islamic militants may set their sights on them next.

More at:

http://news.yahoo.com/militant-groups-surge-iraq-fans-regional-fears-050902911.html

‘Hunger Games’ Salute Used as Protest in Thailand

‘Hunger Games’ Salute Used as Protest in Thailand

'Hunger Games' Salute Used as Protest in Thailand

By Jocelyn Gecker and Jake Coyle

BANGKOK (AP) — The three-finger salute from the Hollywood movie The Hunger Games is being used as a real symbol of resistance in Thailand. Protesters against the military coup are flashing the gesture as a silent act of rebellion, and they’re being threatened with arrest if they ignore warnings to stop.

Thailand’s military rulers said Tuesday they were monitoring the new form of opposition to the coup. Reporters witnessed the phenomenon and individuals were captured on film making the raised-arm salute.

“Raising three fingers has become a symbol in calling for fundamental political rights,” said anti-coup activist Sombat Boonngam-anong on his Facebook page. He called on people to raise “3 fingers, 3 times a day” — at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. — in safe public places where no police or military are present.

The gesture emerged over the weekend as protesters joined small flash mobs, or stood alone, flashing three fingers in the air.

“We know it comes from the movie, and let’s say it represents resistance against the authorities,” Col. Weerachon Sukhondhapatipak, a spokesman for the junta, told The Associated Press.

Read more at:

https://www.yahoo.com/movies/hunger-games-salute-used-as-protest-in-thailand-87736694877.html

 

Oil capped near $97 on oversupply possibility

Oil capped near $97 on oversupply possibility

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Oil remained above $97 a barrel Thursday on lower U.S. stockpiles but concerns of oversupply in the Middle East capped gains.

Benchmark U.S. crude for January delivery was up 4 cents at $97.24 a barrel at midafternoon Kuala Lumpur time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract gained $1.16 to close at $97.20 on Wednesday.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed Wednesday to maintain its daily production target of 30 million barrels a day.

However, it faces the prospect of overproduction after Iran announced plans to pump up to 4 million barrels a day once sanctions on its crude exports are lifted. Libya also hopes to increase output to 2 million barrels a day once unrest ebbs.

In all, OPEC members would have to reduce their production to keep prices from dropping sharply and hurting oil revenues that underpin their economies. This sparked concerns of a production war inside the cartel.

Jitters over the OPEC meeting offset positive news from the U.S. after the Energy Department said crude oil supplies fell by 5.6 million barrels, or 1.4 percent, last week, ending 10 straight weekly increases. The decline was more than four times bigger than analysts had predicted.

At 385.8 million barrels, the nation’s supply of oil is still 3.8 percent above year-ago levels.

Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils, was down 13 cents at $111.75 a barrel on the ICE exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline fell 0.9 cent to $2.71 a gallon.

— Heating oil shed 0.2 cent to $3.057 a gallon.

— Natural gas fell 0.4 cent to $3.956 per 1,000 cubic feet.

World stocks down over fears of Fed stimulus cut

World stocks down over fears of Fed stimulus cut

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — World stock markets were in the red Thursday after strong U.S. economic data renewed fears that the Federal Reserve may start cutting its monetary stimulus this month.

In Europe, most markets were muted ahead of European Central Bank and Bank of England policy meetings. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares was flat at 6,509.39 while Germany’s DAX was also almost unchanged at 9,142.31. The CAC-40 in France shed 0.1 percent to 4,143.35.

Futures pointed to lackluster trading on Wall Street, with Dow and S&P 500 futures little changed.

A run of stronger economic reports has sparked anxiety that the Fed may decide to begin tapering off its $85 billion of monthly asset purchases at a Dec. 17-18 policy meeting.

A private payrolls report Wednesday from ADP said that U.S. businesses did the most hiring in a year in November, adding 215,000 jobs. October’s increase was also revised up to 184,000. The official data will be released Friday.

Stan Shamu, market strategist with IG in Melbourne, Australia, said new home sales were also very strong, up 25 percent in October and the highest monthly percentage gain since 1980.

“This ADP print certainly raises upside risk to Friday’s November payrolls which are expected to come in at 184,000. A non-farm payrolls print around 200,000 is what many analysts feel is needed to reinforce the December taper argument,” he said.

Since the stimulus has helped shore up stock markets for several years, its potential withdrawal has raised roiled investors, even if it is predicated on an improving economic outlook.

BP pushes technical limits to tap extreme fields

BP pushes technical limits to tap extreme fields

HOUSTON (AP) — BP’s strategy after the Deepwater Horizon tragedy: Go deeper.

BP is leading an industry-wide push to develop technology that can retrieve oil from formations that are so deep under the sea floor, and under such high pressure and temperature, that conventional equipment would melt or be crushed by the conditions.

One BP field in the Gulf of Mexico, called Tiber, makes the Macondo field that the Deepwater Horizon rig was probing look like simple puddle of oil. It is thought to hold twenty times the amount of oil as Macondo. At 35,000 feet below the sea floor — 6.6 miles into the earth’s crust — it is about twice as deep.

There’s an extraordinary amount of oil in similar discoveries around the world, several of which are controlled by BP. But BP first must figure out how to get it. New equipment, including blowout preventers far stronger than the one that failed on the Deepwater Horizon, must be developed. Then BP must convince regulators it can tap this oil safely.

Another disaster could threaten BP’s existence, but success could restore the company’s fortunes — and perhaps its reputation. “There’s 10 to 20 billion barrels of oil just for BP in this,” says Kevin Kennelly, who runs BP’s global technology operations. At today’s prices, that’s worth up to $2 trillion.

China gives no ground to Biden in air zone dispute

China gives no ground to Biden in air zone dispute

By JOSH LEDERMAN

BEIJING (AP) – Giving no ground, Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden traded strong arguments Wednesday over China’s contentious new air defense zone, with little indication of progress toward defusing a situation that is raising anxieties across Asia and beyond.

Though Biden made clear the deep concern of the U.S. and other countries during the 5  1/2 hours of talks – themselves highly unusual for an American vice president and Chinese president – Xi vigorously made his case, too, for China’s declaration of new rules concerning a strip of airspace more than 600 miles long above disputed islands in the East China Sea.

Speaking to American business leaders here the next morning, Biden said he had been “very direct” about the firm U.S. position and Washington’s expectations for Beijing in his conversation with Xi.

“China’s recent and sudden announcement of a new air defense identification zone has, to state the obvious, caused significant apprehension in the region,” Biden said.