Today 04 December
OPEC agreed on Wednesday to hold its crude production ceiling at 30 million barrels per day despite oversupply concerns and competition from cheaper shale oil. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which pumps out about one third of the world's oil, failed again to decide on a new secretary-general amid group tensions, instead keeping Libya's Abdullah El-Badri as its administrative head for 2014. And Libya, where output of crude oil has fallen sharply on unrest in the country, will assume the cartel's rotating presidency for next year, OPEC added in a communique. The cartel, which could see higher production from its members Iran, Iraq and Libya in coming months, nevertheless faces competition from non-OPEC producers of shale oil.
Tozeur (Tunisia) (AFP) - Tunisia's southern Tozeur region ground to a halt on Wednesday, as the latest in a growing number of strikes around the country was called to protest a lack of development. "This movement is taking place because the authorities have ignored our demands," the UGTT trade union confederation's regional chief, Haroun Bouagga, told AFP. The strike organisers, who include the Utica bosses' organisation as well as the UGTT, estimated that 98 percent of public offices, shops and businesses observed the strike in Tozeur, some 450 kilometres (280 miles) southwest of Tunis. The UGTT and Utica are demanding state aid to develop the tourism and agriculture sectors, the two main employers in the oasis town, which lies on the edge of the desert, not far from the Algerian border.
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Key states where the illegal ivory trade flourishes have pledged to take urgent measures to try to halt the illicit trade and secure elephant populations across Africa, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, or IUCN, said Wednesday.
Twenty-one bodies were found overnight Tuesday in a mass grave near Bamako, believed to be the remains of soldiers close to Mali's ousted president Amadou Toumani Toure, officials said. "We have found 21 bodies, probably of 'red beret' soldiers, in a mass grave in Diago. A security official told AFP that "identity cards found in the mass grave seem to confirm that they were missing 'red beret' soldiers." The discovery near the capital Bamako comes a week after the arrest and detention of Amadou Haya Sanogo, leader of the March 22, 2012 coup against Toure that plunged Mali into chaos.
Adelaide (Australia) (AFP) - England face a critical challenge to their four-year Ashes reign in the second Test against Australia starting in Adelaide on Thursday against a re-energised home team looking to drive home their advantage. Alastair Cook's tourists were swept away by the Mitchell Johnson-inspired home side in the first Test, going down by an enormous margin of 381 runs in a match overshadowed by a sledging barrage from Australian captain Michael Clarke. It was England's first defeat in 14 Tests since losing to India in Ahmedabad a year ago and another loss in Adelaide could prove an insurmountable blow in their bid to hold on to the Ashes after three successive series wins dating back to 2009. England urgently need to regroup after wilting under Australia's bowling and verbal barrage in Brisbane, their task made all the more difficult by having to find a replacement at number three following the shock departure of Jonathan Trott with a stress-related illness.