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Another tightening of the world's oil-supply taps - the third this year - appears almost certain by Sept. 1, key members of OPEC said over the weekend. Such a move already has the support of Saudi Arabia, the world's No. 1 producer, to try to stabilize prices at $25 a barrel. Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi told Reuters that the current slump in demand, which dropped prices to below $23 late last week, "lead[s] us to believe that we are heading to a crisis." OPEC isn't due to meet again until Sept. 26, but a get-together could be convened sooner amid evidence of excess supply, especially in the US. The cartel dropped production by 1.5 million barrels a day Jan. 17 and by another 1 million March 17. A third cut likely would be in the 1.5 million range, al-Naimi said.

Walt Disney Co. is close to announcing plans to buy Fox Family Worldwide, a set of children's cable channels, for $3.3 billion from Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. and Saban Entertainment, sources familiar with negotiations said. Disney also would assume $2 billion in debt. The deal would generate much-needed cash for Murdoch as he pursues talks to buy General Motors' DirecTV satellite service. While Disney is the frontrunner for the Fox holdings, AOL Time Warner and Viacom Inc. also were looking into the company, reports said.

Qwest Communications International terminated most of a $1.65 billion deal with Citizens Communications to sell 530,000 rural telephone lines in nine states. A Qwest spokesman said that Stamford, Conn.-based Citizens refused to complete the transaction and that the issue would likely go to arbitration. Qwest, based in Denver, said the move won't affect a $40 million sale to Citizens of 20,000 lines in North Dakota.

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(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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