Oil price falls ahead of Opec meet; Denmark is most connected country; Ferguson lessons

1 Oil price falls ahead of Opec meet (BBC) The price of oil has fallen as Opec oil producers prepare for their meeting on Thursday and data showed crude stocks rose last week. Inventories of commercial US crude oil increased by 1.9 million barrels from the previous week, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Brent crude future’s price slid 0.8 to $77.75 a barrel after the data.

The drop came as Saudi Arabia indicated it would not push for output cuts to help push up oil prices. US crude finished Wednesday’s business down 40 cents at $73.69 a barrel. The oil market will “stabilise itself eventually”, said Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi. Saudi Arabia is the largest producer of the 12 members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec).

The oil cartel is split over how to react to the sharp slump in oil prices. The price of Brent crude has plunged 30% since June, triggered by a sharp rise in US shale oil output and weakening global demand. Among the Opec members, Venezuela and Iraq have called for output cuts. Russia, which produces an estimated 11% of global oil, said it would not co-operate with any production cut.


2 Denmark is most connected country (Straits Times) Denmark has overtaken South Korea as the world’s top country for cellphone and Internet use, a study has said. In third place was Sweden, followed by Iceland and Britain, emphasising European dominance in the connectivity stakes, according to the International Telecommunication Union, a leading analyst for information and communication technologies, or ICTs.

Hong Kong led Asia, in ninth place in the world rankings, and the US came 14th. The Central African Republic was last, part of a long list of African countries bringing up the tail of the list. The International Telecommunications Union’s ICT development index takes into account Internet and mobile phone access and use, and the population’s competence with the technology.


3 Ferguson lessons (Khaleej Times) American society is in a dilemma as race-related violence has raised its ugly head again. The protests across the US, which emanated in Ferguson on Monday night over a grand jury’s decision not to indict a White policeman who shot a black teenager in Missouri in August, have stirred a national debate on the scope of law, as police officers are seldom punished for their action during the discharge of duties.

The White policeman, Darren Wilson, who shot dead the 18-year-old teenager, Micheal Brown, says that he discharged his duties in true professional spirit, and his ‘conscience is clear’. The grand jury too believes that the officer cannot be tried under state criminal laws over the shooting. People across the US are now calling for a better introspection of law, irrespective of the race of the people involved.

This is no less than a catch-22 situation for the first Black African-American president, who had risen above race and personal considerations to appeal for calm. It goes to his credit that he didn’t push charges of race discrimination in an attempt to make political mileage out of it. He spoke his heart for the aggrieved community when he said the “jury’s decision had deep roots in many communities of colour who have a sense that our laws are not being enforced uniformly or fairly”. The nation should rally behind the president who has called for building trust in communities and for ensuring that enforcement of law is fair.

A glance at America’s socio-political psyche reveals that the society is sensitive when it comes to race-related incidents. What it indicates is that it is all about the level of tolerance in society, especially when a certain community interprets a tragedy in the backdrop of traditional grievances. Trayvon Martin’s killing in a similar manner in February 2012 is a case in point.

The attorney general, who is also a Black, can do a better job by personally taking the Ferguson victim family and its constituents into confidence and letting the true circumstances of the killing be interpreted in a more rational and lawful manner. Until then there is no need to get judgmental by either community.


About joesnewspicks

This blog captures interesting news items from around the world for those strained by information overload and yet need to stay updated on global events of significance. The news items displayed are not in order of merit. (The blog takes a weekly off — normally on Sundays — and does not appear when I am on vacation or busy.) I am a journalist for nearly three decades.
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