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The $30-a-barrel price for crude oil futures will not hold for long now that Saudi Arabia has pledged to open the tap wider, industry analysts predicted. In a published interview Monday, Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said his government was seeking "in any way we can" to bring futures prices down to the target of $25 a barrel and would hike production unilaterally by 500,000 barrels a day to ensure it did. The surprise decision came less than two weeks after the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries OK'd a 708,000 barrel-a-day increase. But that June 21 move only served to push prices higher.

Having moved to block the merger between WorldCom and Sprint last week, the European Union's executive commission now is proposing to stop two US companies from taking joint control of the British cable-TV operator Tele-west Communications PLC, according to a published report. The European edition of The Wall Street Journal said the commission already has drafted a ruling that would block the $3 billion deal between Microsoft and Liberty Media Group for Telewest on grounds that Micro-soft could corner the market for digital television software.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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