Protester killed in Baghdad, dozens wounded across Iraq: medics
An Iraqi protester was killed on Tuesday in the capital Baghdad and dozens more wounded across the country's restive south as sit-ins turned violent, medics told AFP. The demonstrator died after being shot by a rubber bullet near Al-Ahrar bridge, which has been sealed off by security forces as it leads to a cluster of government buildings on the west bank of the river Tigris. A further 18 demonstrators were wounded near Al-Ahrar on Tuesday. At least 350 people have died and around 15,000 have been wounded since anti-government protests erupted in Baghdad and the Shiite-majority south nearly two months ago.
OPEC and allies led by Russia on Thursday agreed one of the deepest output cuts this decade to prevent oversupply in a deal that will apply for the first three months of 2020.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is meeting to discuss policy in Vienna. On Friday OPEC will meet with Russia and other producers, a group known as OPEC+.
Existing supply curbs of 1.2 million barrels per day, aimed at supporting oil prices and preventing excess supply, are set to expire in March.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said a panel of energy ministers including Saudi Arabia and Russia had recommended OPEC+ deepen the cuts by 500,000 bpd. A cut of 1.7 million bpd would amount to 1.7% of global supply.
NATO countries boost defense spending ahead of summit showdown with Trump
Bulgaria joins the top-level spending club — at least for one year.The top-tier spending club — with at least 2 percent of annual gross domestic product allocated for defense — expanded by one country and now includes Bulgaria, according to figures released by the military alliance.
"We really do see some risks of oversupply in the first quarter due to lower seasonal demand for refined products and for crude oil," Novak said.
He said cuts would last through the first quarter of 2020, a shorter timeframe than suggested by some OPEC ministers, who have called for extending cuts until June or December 2020.
OPEC+ has agreed voluntary supply cuts since 2017 to counter booming output from the shale fields of the United States, which has become the world's biggest producer.
Washington has forced an even steeper reduction in supply through sanctions on OPEC members Iran and Venezuela aimed at choking both countries' oil export revenue.
Producers face another year of rising output from the United States along with other non-OPEC producers Brazil and Norway.
Exclusive: U.S. troop drawdowns in Afghanistan 'not necessarily' tied to Taliban deal - Esper
Exclusive: U.S. troop drawdowns in Afghanistan 'not necessarily' tied to Taliban deal - EsperLONDON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Monday that any future troop drawdowns in Afghanistan were "not necessarily" linked to a deal with Taliban insurgents, suggesting some lowering of force levels may happen irrespective of the ongoing peace push.
"With a weaker U.S. dollar, improving economic data and OPEC aggressively managing supply, this should ensure a $60-$65 Brent oil price in the seasonally weak period of next year," said Gary Ross, founder of Black Gold Investors.
OPEC's actions have supported oil prices at around $50-$75 per barrel over the past year. Brent crude futures on Thursday extended this week's gains to trade above $63 per barrel.
Non-OPEC member Russia had previously opposed extending or deepening cuts as its companies are arguing that reducing output during winter months amid low temperatures damages the fields.
Saudi Arabia was more keen on reducing output as the kingdom needs higher oil prices to support its budget revenue and the initial public offering (IPO) of Saudi Aramco.
On Thursday, the state oil giant priced its IPO at the top of its price range, raising $25.6 billion and topping Alibaba's record $25 billion listing in 2014.
OPEC's actions in the past have angered U.S. President Donald Trump, but Trump has said little about OPEC in recent months. That might change if oil and gasoline prices rise ahead of the U.S. presidential election set for November 2020.
OPEC sources have said Riyadh was pressing fellow members Iraq and Nigeria to improve their compliance with quotas, which could provide an additional reduction of up to 400,000 bpd.
Gerrit Cole and New York Yankees agree to contract, report says .
Gerrit Cole will be ending his free agency sweepstakes and signing with x, according to reports.According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, MLB's top free agent will be signing with the New York Yankees.