National / International News

VIDEO: Ebola vaccine trial 'encouraging'

BBC - Wed, 2014-11-26 13:03
A trial looking at the safety of an Ebola vaccine has had encouraging results, says the chief executive of GSK.

GSK hails Ebola vaccine breakthrough

BBC - Wed, 2014-11-26 13:00
Sir Andrew Witty says "tantalising" prospect of viable vaccine becoming available next year

'Plebgate' trial: 'Powerful evidence'

BBC - Wed, 2014-11-26 12:55
The QC for former chief whip Andrew Mitchell in the so-called plebgate trial has said there was "powerful evidence" the MP did not use the term.

Texas Execution Nears For Murderer Whose Competence Was Debated

NPR News - Wed, 2014-11-26 12:53

Next week, Texas is slated to execute Scott Panetti for murder. He has a long history of mental illness but was allowed to defend himself at trial, where he insisted he was a movie character.

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VIDEO: Obama pardons Thanksgiving turkeys

BBC - Wed, 2014-11-26 12:49
Barack Obama carries out the annual White House tradition of pardoning two turkeys, preventing them from becoming Thanksgiving dinner.

How Ferguson Residents Are Giving Thanks This Holiday Season

NPR News - Wed, 2014-11-26 12:45

Following the grand jury's decision not to indict Darren Wilson, Ferguson residents are hoping to take this Thanksgiving to grow and heal their community — and give thanks to one another.

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VIDEO: Magazine for drug users goes on sale

BBC - Wed, 2014-11-26 12:37
A magazine which allows drug users to make money to fund their habit has gone on sale in east London.

Stolen strong painkillers seized

BBC - Wed, 2014-11-26 12:24
A substantial amount of high-strength prescription painkillers, believed to be stolen, are recovered by police in County Armagh.

VIDEO: Understanding America's 'ugliest accent'

BBC - Wed, 2014-11-26 12:12
Which US state do Americans love to bash?

Gleision deaths public inquiry call

BBC - Wed, 2014-11-26 12:11
The parents of one of the four miners killed in the Gleision mine disaster have called for a public inquiry into the incident.

Market forces catch up to OPEC

Marketplace - American Public Media - Wed, 2014-11-26 12:09

OPEC meets Thursday to set production levels, without much for its member countries to be thankful for. Oil prices have fallen quickly. And a new big rival is on the block: U.S. production of oil from fracking. Some analysts are already proclaiming “Move Over OPEC” and declaring “a new oil order.”

We’ll ask it this way: Are OPEC’s best days behind it?

Analyst Bob McNally, founder and president of the Rapidan Group, has argued for a while that OPEC is on the wane. In his view, it would be the third cartel-type oil group in history to peak and decline. The first:

“John Rockefeller and Standard Oil in the late 1800's,” McNally says, “who came along and thoroughly, some would say brutally, organized and controlled the pipelines, the refineries and the upstreams. And he brought stability to what was in the beginning wildly gyrating prices.”

Of course, trustbusters broke up Rockefeller’s company. Then came cartel 2.0: the Texas Railroad Commission. Starting in the 1930s, it pulled various levers to control prices.

The key was retaining so-called spare capacity. When prices rose and threatened to turn away consumers, the commission arranged to bring more oil to market and soften prices.

But by 1972, the North American supply tailed off. There was no spare left.

“What that meant was we were losing our ability to control the global oil price and to stabilize the market,” Rapidan says. “And that signified the transfer in power over to OPEC.”

Click below for more from Bob McNally:

 

OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, formed in 1960 to counter the power of multinational oil companies. Now it controlled elements of supply and prices. In 1973, OPEC’s Arab members cut off supply to the U.S. for political purposes.

Global crude analyst Jamie Webster at IHS Energy says a big moment recently for OPEC came in 2008: The group artificially withheld more than 2 million barrels of oil a day from the market. Oil prices revived.

Still, Webster says the world has changed. For one, embargoes may be history.

“The oil market has turned into a real, truly global interconnected market,’ Webster says. “You can’t just pick a country and say ‘We’re not going to deliver there.’ Somebody else will.”

Click below for more from Jamie Webster: 

And, many OPEC members today drill less oil than before. In the meantime, a supply competitor has shown up. Fracking in America coaxes oil from shale rock.

Shale oil has helped push today’s prices down. And the more they fall, the more likely shale could tail off and bounce prices back up. In other words, the U.S. may be the new price-controller.

“This massively undermines the ability of the OPEC nations,” says Ian Bremmer, president and founder of the Eurasia Group global consultancy.

In this low-price environment, Bremmer says OPEC countries like Saudi Arabia struggle fiscally. They rely heavily on selling expensive oil.

“The Saudis are trying to fund places like Egypt and Jordan to maintain stability in the region,” Bremmer says. “So they can’t really afford to try to drive prices down to compete with American producers. And so that means the United States is in the driver’s seat, right?”

Click below for more from Ian Bremmer:

Right? Perhaps, though outside the U.S. some analysts are calling hyperbole.

“I don’t think we need to talk about anything like a new pricing order,” says Robin Mills at Manaar Energy Consulting in Dubai, and author of “The Myth of the Oil Crisis.”

“There’s certainly no grand scheme behind this. It’s the simple working of the market and economics.”

As he sees it, this is just another bout of low prices, one that key OPEC countries can weather.

“They still have enormous sovereign wealth holdings that they can draw on for years to come to prop up a deficit,” Mills says. “And of course they can borrow. There’s nothing magical about borrowing.”

And perhaps nothing new about a new supplier on the block. Veteran OPEC watchers have seen this before.

“For example, in the North Sea and Norway and the U.K.,” says London energy economist Leo Drollas, who spent two decades at a think tank run by an ex-Saudi oil minister. “We’ve seen the great surge in Russian production in Kazakhstan. In a sense, the natural state of the oil business is one of imbalance.” 

But, how imbalanced is it today? How high and how long can the upstart U.S. shale story go? That is a key question for OPEC, tomorrow and beyond.

Spain minister resigns over scandal

BBC - Wed, 2014-11-26 12:04
Health minister Ana Mato resigns amid a court investigation into a massive corruption scandal over illegal payments in Spain.

Football broadcaster Montford dies

BBC - Wed, 2014-11-26 12:02
Former Scottish football broadcaster Arthur Montford, best known for STV's Scotsport programme, has died aged 85.

Why American Honey Importers Are Wary Of 'Turkish' Honey

NPR News - Wed, 2014-11-26 11:54

American honey importers say they've noticed an odd surge in cheap honey from Turkey. They think some of that honey really came from China, which is subject to U.S. trade restrictions.

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Commission to urge Scottish tax power

BBC - Wed, 2014-11-26 11:53
The commission on devolving powers to the Scottish Parliament is to recommend full control over income tax rates and bands, the BBC understands.

US police release boy shooting tapes

BBC - Wed, 2014-11-26 11:40
A 12-year-old shot and fatally wounded by police in the US city of Cleveland was told to show his hands three times before officers opened fire, say officials.

VIDEO: Should payday loan ads air before 9pm?

BBC - Wed, 2014-11-26 11:37
Payday loan advertising could be banned before the 9pm watershed after the government is asked to review the timings of the adverts.

AUDIO: Drunk honeymooner 'sorry', says brother

BBC - Wed, 2014-11-26 11:26
A honeymooner who was taken off a flight in Bermuda after becoming drunk is 'sorry and ashamed', says his brother.

Can Barbie conquer China?

BBC - Wed, 2014-11-26 11:22
Can the doll make it in China at the second attempt?

In Darren Wilson's Testimony, Familiar Themes About Black Men

NPR News - Wed, 2014-11-26 11:11

Wilson's descriptions of Michael Brown reminded some people of negative depictions of African-Americans in history. Recent studies suggest these perceptions have deeper psychological roots.

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