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OPEC, allies agree to limited boost in oil output

The OPEC oil cartel led by Saudi Arabia and allied countries agreed to a limited boost in output in the coming months during a meeting on Thursday, with member states anticipating recovering demand this year. The announcement caused oil prices to spike, with Brent crude rising nearly 1.9% to $64.63 (€54.90). The oil-producing nations agreed to slowly increase output as the global economy recovers. The group will boost output by 350,000 barrels per day in May, 350,000 in June and 400,000 in July. A statement released by OPEC after the meeting said that ministers have seen improvements in international markets due to stimulus packages and vaccination …

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US welcomes EU, Iran nuclear meeting

The US on Thursday welcomed a meeting announced by the EU with Iran to discuss the 2015 nuclear accord. “We obviously welcome this as a positive step,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price. The EU announced virtual talks that will take place on Friday with nations that remain in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — UK, China, France, Germany, Russia and Iran — in anticipation of a return by the US. “We are ready to pursue a return to compliance with our JCPOA commitments consistent with Iran also doing the same,” added Price.
Iran nuclear deal — treaty under threat The deal …

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Belgium: Police clash with April Fool’s Day party crowd

Police on Thursday dispersed some 2,000 people gathered in the “Bois de La Cambre” park in Brussels in defiance of Belgium’s coronavirus lockdown.  People gathered for a fake concert dubbed “La Boum” (the party), although the organizers announced on social media that it was an April Fool’s Day prank. Hundreds of police, many in riot gear and some on horseback, used water cannon trucks and teargas to break up the crowds. Police told the Associated Press that four people were arrested and three police officers were injured. Many in the crowd pumped their fists and chanted “freedom” and some threw bottles …

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Microsoft to supply US army with augmented reality headsets

Microsoft Corp snatched a highly lucrative contract to provide US soldiers with augmented reality headsets, US media reported on Wednesday. The deal with the Pentagon could end up being worth close to $22 billion (€18.8 billion) over the course of 10 years, a Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to Reuters. In a blog post, Microsoft Technical Fellow Alex Kipman said the headsets were designed to deliver “enhanced situational awareness, enabling information sharing and decision-making in a variety of scenarios.” The technology behind the headsets is based on Microsoft’s HoloLens product and backed up by Azure cloud computing services. What are augmented reality headsets? In line …

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Venezuela: Two soldiers killed by land mine near Colombia border

The explosion also left nine members of Venezuela’s military injured, the defence ministry says.Venezuela on Thursday said two of its soldiers were killed by a land mine during operations to confront armed groups along the Colombian border that have forced the displacement of thousands of civilians.
The news follows a March 22 announcement by the government of President Nicolas Maduro that two soldiers were killed in clashes with “irregular armed groups” in the southwestern Apure state.
The explosion “left nine members of the military injured, who are now receiving medical attention in military health network,” the defence ministry said …

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US: We we will work in ‘lockstep’ with Japan, S Korea on N Korea

US State Department says approach to North Korea will have to be done in concert with close allies.Denuclearisation will remain at the centre of United States policy towards North Korea and any approach to Pyongyang will have to be done in “lockstep” with close allies, including Japan and South Korea, State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Thursday.
Price made the comments at a regular media briefing in Washington ahead of a scheduled meeting between President Joe Biden’s National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and his counterparts from Japan and South Korea.
Price said the meeting would be an …

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Mother tried to save 9-year-old boy in California mass shooting

One of the four fatal victims in a shooting rampage in suburban Los Angeles on Wednesday was a nine-year-old boy who may have died in his wounded mother’s arms as she tried in vain to save him, officials said on Thursday.“It appears that a little boy died in his mother’s arms as she was trying to save him during this horrific massacre,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer told a news conference.
“Our hearts today go out to the victims, and I’m here to tell you that we’re going to do everything in our power …

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German court suspends surveillance of AfD, for now

Germany’s domestic intelligence agency must not declare the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party a case for surveillance until proceedings brought by the party to challenge such a move have concluded, a court order stated on Friday. German media had reported a day earlier that the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) had placed the entire AfD under surveillance. The BfV was apparently unable to announce the decision officially due to the ongoing legal dispute. What is happening in the courts? The AfD filed two legal cases and two emergency motions against the BfV, German press agency …

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Germany agrees on energy company payout over nuclear shutdown

Germany has agreed on Friday to compensate energy companies with around €2.4 billion ($2.9 billion) for their losses as the country phases out nuclear power, ending years of litigation.  Berlin had announced an end to nuclear power in Germany following the Fukushima disaster that hit Japan in March 2011. This came just months after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government of the time had finished signing new deals with nuclear power operators extending their running times.
What is the payout? The payout compensates companies for residual electricity volumes that they can no longer generate and their investments that were affected by Merkel’s decision.  Nuclear energy …

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