OPEC TRIES DAMAGE CONTROL ON OIL PRICES OPEC is trying to prevent crude prices from crashing. After Saudi Arabia refused to trim supply, others in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries were scrambling. With an excess of oil on the markets, prices have skidded to some of their lowest levels in five years. The average price is now more than $7 a barrel under a $21 target. Officials, speaking to reporters yesterday after a two-day meeting in Geneva, said most of the dozen ministers wanted to slash production by a million or so barrels a day in the April-June quarter. The group is producing about 24.8 million barrels a day, 300,000 barrels a day over its current supply ceiling. EU drafts compromise
The European Union yesterday drafted a byzantine deal for power sharing when Austria, Finland, Sweden, and Norway join its ranks next year as planned. The deal, worked out at a weekend meeting of the 12 EU foreign ministers in Ioannina, Greece, must be approved by their governments by tomorrow. EU nations currently vote according to their populations. Under the compromise, if opponents to a decision can muster at least 23 votes there must be more talks among the members. Group of 15 nations meet
Fifteen poor nations with large markets plan to seek better economic deals from industrialized nations at a three-day summit that begins today in New Delhi. The Group of 15 with member countries from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean will seek closer cooperation with the G-7 group of the largest industrialized nations: the US, Canada, Italy, France, Germany, Japan, and Britain. Russia-Kazakhstan talks
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev arrived in Moscow yesterday for talks with President Boris Yeltsin about the fate of the Baikonur cosmodrome and the destruction of Kazakhstan's nuclear weapons. Mr. Yeltsin had returned from a Black Sea vacation that provoked rumors about coup plots and his health. Karachi shut down
Much of Karachi, Pakistan, was shut down yesterday in response to a strike called by a political opposition group. This city, Pakistan's business capital, has been troubled by confrontations between the security forces and the Mohajir Qaumi Movement, a political party opposed to Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's government. Turkish plane drops bomb
A Turkish military plane accidentally dropped a bomb in a southeastern village of Kocakli during a military operation on Saturday, killing 12 people and wounding 10. There is an ongoing operation in the southeast to crack down on a Kurdish group seeking autonomy.