2A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, January 31, 2005
OPEC: Oil prices
will remain high
VIENNA, Austria (AP) - Con-
sumers received no solace from the
Organization of Petroleum Exporting
Countries, which said yesterday that
oil prices near $50 per barrel would
remain high through the spring, even
as the cartel decided to keep its produc-
tion ceiling unchanged.
The decision, reached at a truncated
meeting of the 11-nation group, means
that consumers worried about the price
of winter heating oil and gasoline will
likely see no relief in their bills or costs
at the pump.
OPEC's current quota of 27 mil-
lion barrels a day was set in Decem-
ber, when the group agreed to shave
output by 1 million barrels. But the 10
members of the group subject to the
quota - Iraq is not bound by a limit
- have been overproducing by a total
of 500,000 barrels daily.
Kuwaiti oil minister Sheik Ahmad
Fahd al-Ahmad al-Sabah, who leads
the Organization of Petroleum Export-
ing Countries, said he was given per-
mission to conduct a telephone meeting
before the next gathering March 16 in
Iran to address output if market condi-
Al-Sabah said prices have been
driven higher amid fears of a cold
winter in Europe and North America,
where demand for heating oil is high.
He said OPEC's decision was aimed
at bringing more stability to the mar-
about the price of
winter heating oil and
gasoline will likely see
no relief in their bills
or cost at the pump.
ket, and called on consumers and
producers to "walk together ... for
prices to be acceptable."
"Although there is no shortage of
supply, the stocks have been built up,
and continue to be built up," he said.
"High prices led OPEC to arrive at the
decision in the interest of stability and
in the interest of the consumer, who
likes to have stability in prices."
The group also decided to temporar-
ily suspend its price band of $22 to $28 a
barrel, which was set in March 2000 and
has largely been ignored since last year.
OPEC's output decision also was a
signal that it doesn't believe that higher
prices for its oil to fuel development in
Asia, particularly in China, will cause
"We think the high price will not
affect the global economy," al-Sabah
said. "There won't be a strong negative
for the economy."
Ahmad AI-Sabah, secretary general of the Organization of Petroleum
Exporting Countries, speaks to journalists during a press conference
after an OPEC meeting yesterday at its headquarters in Vienna.
Report: U.S. loses $9 billion in Iraq
The U.S. occupation authority in Iraq was unable to keep track of nearly $9 bil-
lion it transferred to government ministries, which lacked financial controls, security,
communications and adequate staff, an inspector general has found.
The U.S. officials relied on Iraqi audit agencies to account for the funds but those
offices were not even functioning when the funds were transferred between October
2003 and June 2004, according to an audit by a special U.S. inspector general.
The findings were released yesterday by Stuart Bowen Jr., special inspector
general for Iraq reconstruction. Bowen issued several reports on the Coalition
Provisional Authority, the U.S. occupation government that ruled Iraq from
June 2003 to June 2004.
The official who led the CPA, L. Paul Bremer III, submitted a blistering, written
reply to the findings, saying the report had "many misconceptions and inaccuracies,"
and lacked professional judgment.
Bremer complained the report "assumes that Western-style budgeting and account-
ing procedures could be immediately and fully implemented in the midst of a war."
The inspector general said the occupying agency disbursed $8.8 billion to Iraqi
ministries "without assurance the moneys were properly accounted for."
RAMALLAH, West Bank
Palestinians to take control of four towns
Palestinian police commanders began preparations yesterday to take control of
four West Bank towns by midweek, after top Israeli and Palestinian officials agreed
on a security plan for the West Bank.
Transfer of the towns' control would be the first large-scale Israeli move on the
ground to acknowledge that violence has decreased significantly since Palestinians
elected Mahmoud Abbas to replace the late Yasser Arafat as their leader Jan. 9.
If the calm holds, Israel promises to move all its troops back to positions they held
before the latest Palestinian uprising began in September 2000, turning the popu-
lated areas of the West Bank back to Palestinian control and making a major step
toward resuming peace talks.
In another significant move, an Israeli official said amnesty would be granted for
fugitive Palestinians in the West Bank, ending Israel's relentless search for dozens of
extremists suspected in attacks on Israelis. In more than four years of conflict, doz-
ens of militants have been killed in Israeli raids and many more have been arrested.
SANTA MARIA, Calif.
Jackson's child abuse trial to begin today
The child molestation case against Michael Jackson is finally ready for a trial
that promises to be like no other.
Jury selection begins today, with Jackson expected to appear, in a case that has
become a symbol of the American obsession with celebrity. Early yesterday, Jack-
son issued a court-approved video statement on his website, calling recent media
leaks in the case "disgusting and false" and predicting he would be acquitted.
"Please keep an open mind and let me havemy day in court," Jackson said,
looking directly into the camera. "I deserve a fair trial like every other Ameri-
can citizen. I will be acquitted and vindicated when the truth is told."
The uphill task of finding jurors who have not prejudged the case is a mere
prelude to a courtroom contest that will include testimony from the boy who
accuses the pop icon of molesting him.
Darfur governor disputes reports of bombings
The governor of North Darfur state said reports that a Sudanese government
plane bombed villagers last week were fabricated by foreigners, according to the
official news agency yesterday.
Darfur rebels appealed yesterday to the African Union, which has truce moni-
tors in the western region, to send more troops to stop government forces from
attacking civilians. The request came as African leaders met in Nigeria to dis-
cuss ways of tackling conflicts, poverty and disease.
The United Nations, citing African Union observers at the scene, said Friday
that the Sudanese air force bombed civilians in the village of Shangil Tobaya in
North Darfur state, killing or wounding nearly 100 people. U.N. officials said
it was one of the most serious violations of a cease-fire signed last year by the
government and Darfur rebels.
- C(mnl 1dAfrom Daily wire rennrtv
Date: Monday, 31 January 2005
2:00-3:30, STS/History of Medicine Colloquium: Images of Objectivity
1644 SSWB, International Institute, 1080 S. University
Open to faculty and graduate students
4:30-6:00, STS Distinguished Lecture: Einstein's Clocks, Poincar6's Maps
Hussey Room, Michigan League
Free and open to the public - Reception following
Co-sponsored by the Departments of Philosophy and Physics
Science, Technology, and Society Program (STS)
tWME PflY W ON*W S SPR0r6RAM
-iurpte jrriUty wrerpu
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