National / International News

How big is Iraq's oil industry now?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-10 13:14

In Iraq, sectarian violence erupted in the city of Mosul. The Iraqi army fled their posts and much of the city is now under the control of Sunni Militants. Mosul is a key city for the Iraqi oil industry which has been ramping up production and exports steadily since the US led invasion in 2003. Iraq has overtaken Iran as the second largest oil producing country among the 12 OPEC nations.

In February, oil production in Iraq hit 3.6 million barrels, setting a 30 year record. “Most of it is concentrated in the south,” says Iraq Oil report Editor-in-chief Ben Lando, “80 to 90 percent of it in Basra Province alone.”

Since March, when the Iraq Turkey pipeline in the north was bombed, production has been restricted.  Attacks on repair workers have prevented the pipeline from being repaired.  “So that’s about 300,000 barrels a day that would have been exported now shut in.” says Lando.

The Kurdish government in the north is trying to get oil out independently. It recently shipped a million barrels of crude by tanker, through Turkey. “From what we can tell, there wasn’t a buyer ahead of time and they are essentially looking for a port,” says Chad Mabry is an analyst with MLV and Company.

Those tankers are basically circling the Mediterranean waiting for a buyer, says Mabry, “and you are seeing some pressure from the Iraqis, telling potential buyers, you better watch out if you take that on, we are going to apply some pressure from our end.”

Iraq has set very ambitious goals for oil. The country wants to nearly triple its current production, to 9 million barrels per day by 2020, a number that, is way above industry forecasts says IBIS world analyst Jeremy Crompton. “According to the International Energy Administration by 2020 Iraq could be producing about 6 million barrels per day.”

But even those forecasts may be optimistic, if the region faces more instability.

The oil cartel OPEC, of which Iraq is a member, meets in Vienna on Wednesday to discuss production quotas for the second half of the year. Which makes your wonder about the numbers behind Iraq's oil industry:

2

Iraq ranks as the second largest oil producer among the 12 OPEC nations, overtaking Iran. Saudi Arabia is the top producer.  (WSJ)

3.6 million

The number of barrels of oil Iraq produced per day in February, a 30-year high. The previous high-water mark was 3.5 million barrels per day, recorded in 1979 when dictator Saddam Hussein took power. (WSJ)

5

Iraq's rank among other nations around the world in terms of its proven crude oil reserves. (EIA)

9 million

The number of barrels of oil Iraq is expected to produce daily by 2020, according to Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussain al-Shahristani. He also expects Iraq to export 7.5 million barrels of oil per day in the same time frame. (UPI)

6 million

The number of barrels of oil International Energy Administration analyst Jeremy Crompton says Iraq will be capable of producing daily by 2020, a forecast much lower than the country's aspirations. (International Energy Administration)

300,000

The number of barrels of oil per day that otherwise would have been exported from Iraq, were it not for a March 2 bombing attack of the Iraq-Turkey pipeline, according to Ben Lando, editor-in-chief of the Iraq Oil Report. (Iraq Oil Report)

Lowry painting auctioned for £2.3m

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-10 13:08
A painting by LS Lowry - described by Sotheby's as one of his "most exciting works" - is sold at auction for £2.3 million.

Coca-Cola ventures again into U.K. waters

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-10 13:07

Ten years after the calamitous launch of its Dasani bottled water in Britain, Coca Cola is getting back into the British bottled water market. Later this summer the drinks giant will introduce its leading American brand – Glaceau Smartwater – into the United Kingdom.

Coke has good commercial reasons to take the plunge.

“Bottled water is a growing market in the U.K., and that’s something you can’t say about any other drinks category,” says Olly Wehring of Just-Drinks. “Bottled water sales are worth 1.4 billion pounds ($2.35 billion) a year and are growing at 6 percent annually in Britain. While other categories, like colas, are stagnating chiefly due to health concerns.” 

But the rollout of Glaceau Smartwater has revived painful memories for Coca Cola. The Disani launch in 2004 was a marketing and manufacturing disaster. 

"The problem was they were discovered to be using tap water bought from the Thames Water utility, filtering it, putting it in a bottle and charging a wonderful margin,” says marketing expert Allysson Stewart-Allen.

“Matters got even worse when Coke learned that as a byproduct of the filtering process, you got a chemical in the water: bromate. And this bromate is - at high levels - a potential toxin.” 

Coke pulled half a million bottles off the supermarket shelves and pulled the brand out of Britain.

Ten years on, does the bitter aftertaste of that debacle linger among British consumers, and will it put them off buying Coke’s new offering? Marketplace sampled the views of some bottled water drinkers in a small shopping centre outside London. 

“I would probably try Smartwater just out of curiosity,” ventured Dick Pimm. “To be honest I didn’t know about the Dasani disaster.”

Rosie Pearce said she would probably not buy the new drink. “I’m a bit anti-Coca-Cola because it’s a large contributor to obesity. It’s probably getting more into bottled water as a way of deflecting criticism away from some of its more harmful products.”

Peter Woodman was not so hard on the drinks giant.

“I would probably try Smartwater. I think it would probably be fine,” he said

“And no I won’t be put off Coca-Cola products by the Dasani disaster. I’d give them a second chance!” 

Coca-Cola is steering well clear of tap water this time around. The new product will be distilled from vaporized spring water with electrolytes added. The company has clearly been chastened by the ill-fated Dasani rollout and has now set its sights on a major new goal. While it has the third largest share of the world’s bottled water market , it has only a 1 percent share of Britain’s. Coke is aiming to slake the U.K.’s growing thirst while feeding its own ferocious hunger for expansion and profit.

Don't Be A Jerk. There's A Lot More To Island Cooking

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-10 13:05

Drawing on a history both savory and sweet, two sisters are reintroducing Caribbean cooking to the world beyond the islands. And they'd like to make one thing clear: It's not just about jerk spice.

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Mickelson keen to end US Open hoodoo

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-10 12:46
Phil Mickelson admits trying to win the US Open for the first time has created extra pressure for this year's event.

Ukraine to let civilians leave east

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-10 12:43
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko orders the creation of humanitarian corridors for civilians to escape areas of the east hit by conflict.

Boosting student achievement with video games

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-10 12:40

Hey teachers, do you have low-performing students, who have trouble paying attention? The solution could be video games.

That’s according to a survey of nearly 700 teachers, who use games in the classroom, which was conducted by the Games and Learning Publishing Council. (Potential self-interest noted).  Forty-seven percent of teachers said that low-performing students were the main beneficiaries of gaming in the classroom, and 28 percent said students with emotional or behavioral issues benefited most.

Also from the survey of teachers:

  • 55 percent use gaming in the classroom at least once a week;  9 percent use it daily.
  • 55 percent said the games were most valuable as motivators of low-performing students and special education students.
  • 30 percent have students use games individually; 20 percent have kids work in small groups; and 17 percent play as a class.
  • Teachers rely most on other teachers for game recommendations.
  • Why aren’t more teachers using games?  Most cited not enough time. But cost and lack of tech resources were also popular answers.
  • The Games and Learning Publishing Council  is a coalition of game developers, industry leaders, investors, scholars and education experts focused on expanding game-based learning.

The survey doesn't make game recommendations, but one blogger and teacher recently listed his favorite options here.   There is an even longer list at the techlearning.com website.  

Among those options on both lists is Minecraft, a game that has more than a few teacher devotees.  A whole library of Minecraft-based learning games created by enthusiastic educators can be found here.

Improving student achievement with video games

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-06-10 12:40

Hey teachers, do you have low-performing students, who have trouble paying attention? The solution could be video games.

That’s according to a survey of more than 700 teachers, who use games in the classroom, It was conducted by the Games and Learning Publishing Council. (Potential self-interest noted).  Forty-seven percent of teachers said that low-performing students were the main beneficiaries of gaming in the classroom, and 28 percent said students with emotional or behavioral issues benefited most.

Also from the survey of teachers:

  • 55 percent use gaming in the classroom at least once a week;  9 percent use it daily.
  • 55 percent said the games were most valuable as motivators of low-performing students and special education students.
  • 30 percent have students use games individually; 20 percent have kids work in small groups; and 17 percent play as a class.
  • Teachers rely most on other teachers for game recommendations.
  • Why aren’t more teachers using games?  Most cited not enough time. But cost and lack of tech resources were also popular answers.
  • The Games and Learning Publishing Council  is a coalition of game developers, industry leaders, investors, scholars and education experts focused on expanding game-based learning.

The survey doesn't make game recommendations, but one blogger and teacher recently listed his favorite options here.   There is an even longer list at the techlearning.com website.  

Among those options on both lists is Minecraft, a game that has more than a few teacher devotees.  A whole library of Minecraft-based learning games created by enthusiastic educators can be found here.

May rejects passport crisis claims

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-10 12:17
Theresa May rejects claims of a crisis in the passport applications system despite "unprecedented" demand.

Screening marks 50 years of Zulu

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-10 12:16
Zulu Prince Mangosuthu Buthelez is among those attending the 50th anniversary screening along with Prince Harry.

Brewers Have Been All Bottled Up, But Now They're Canning It

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-10 12:15

Cans are making a comeback in the beer world. They're cheaper and lighter, and have an old-school cachet. But those ubiquitous bottles aren't going away anytime soon, say brewers.

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Green Berets Are Killed In A Possible Case Of Friendly Fire

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-10 12:13

Five U.S. soldiers were killed in Afghanistan, the result of what might have been friendly fire from an American plane. The deaths, if confirmed, would be the worst case of friendly fire in the war.

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Honored Puerto Rican Army Unit Made A Name For Itself In Korean War

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-10 12:13

The Army's 65th Infantry Regiment was a segregated military unit, begun in 1899 and composed of Puerto Ricans. President Barack Obama is signing a bill to honor the unit with one of the highest civilian honors, the Congressional Gold Medal.

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Key Iraqi City Falls To Islamist Militants

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-10 12:13

Extremists have taken over most of the Iraqi city of Mosul, a key commercial hub. Hundreds of thousands are fleeing as the group, known as ISIS, is capturing weapons caches and government buildings.

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With 2 Days Till Kickoff, World Cup Host City Is Stricken By Strike

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-10 12:13

The World Cup kicks off in two days, and fans are pouring into Brazil. But in Sao Paulo, the site of the opening game, metro workers are striking over pay, fueling fierce clashes.

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FN rift grows in 'anti-Semitism' row

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-10 12:11
The founder of France's National Front (FN) hits out at his daughter, Marine Le Pen, in a row over a remark condemned as anti-Semitic.

Switching To Newer Insulin For Type 2 Diabetes Comes At A Cost

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-10 12:08

More people are using insulin to control Type 2 diabetes, and most of those people are using newer analog forms. But patients pay more out of pocket for these drugs, a study finds.

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Bye-Bye To The Home Of A Favorite Internet Conspiracy Theory

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-10 12:00

The U.S. military is closing a facility scientists have used to study the edge of Earth's atmosphere. Conspiracy theorists suspect it's also been used for nefarious activity — like mind control.

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Clinton Position On Cuba Signals New Political Era

NPR News - Tue, 2014-06-10 11:54

In her new book, Hillary Clinton says she urged President Obama to end the U.S. embargo on Cuba, a position that reveals just how much the political climate has changed — especially in Florida.

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US investigates friendly-fire deaths

BBC - Tue, 2014-06-10 11:46
US military officials investigate the reported friendly-fire incident in southern Afghanistan that killed five American soldiers and two Afghans.
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