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December 9, 2008

Hints that OPEC may announce a "severe" cut in production sent oil prices rebounding Monday on world markets. Crude futures were trading near $44 a barrel after sinking to a four-year low of $40.50 on Friday. The cartel is scheduled to meet again Dec. 17, and in an interview last weekend its president did not dispute predictions that a 2-million-barrel-a-day decrease may be forthcoming to help push prices up again.

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Authorities in Greece worried that rioting over the shooting death of a student could worsen if it becomes linked to a nationwide strike against the government's pension-reform plans. The strike is planned for Wednesday. Meanwhile, rioting extended into a third straight day in Thessaloniki Volos, Komotini, Chania, and the islands of Corfu and Crete.

In a quick rebuke to President-elect Obama, Iran's foreign ministry spurned his idea of offering new incentives in exchange for a halt in nuclear development. Obama discussed the proposal on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday. But a ministry spokesman said the "carrot-and-stick policy has no benefit ... [and is] unacceptable." The exchange came as International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei told the Los Angeles Times that efforts to stop Iran's nuclear activity "haven't really moved one inch."

A lawsuit filed by families whose children died or were sickened by drinking tainted formula was disallowed by a court in China's Hebei Province. The suit, believed to be the first of its type, sought $2 million in compensation from Sanlu Group, a state-owned dairy at the center of the scandal. Lawyers for the plaintiffs said they were told the case couldn't be heard because government investigators have not completed their work. At least six babies died after ingesting melamine-laced milk and 294,000 others were made ill.