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Saudi oil chief says price drop not a conspiracy

United Arab Emirates

Saudi oil chief says price drop not a conspiracy

Saudi Arabia's oil chief on Sunday dismissed allegations that his kingdom conspired to bring down oil prices in order to harm other countries and told a summit of Arab energy leaders in the United Arab Emirates that he was confident the market would stabilize. The kingdom, which is dependent on oil revenues, is able to weather lower oil prices due to large reserves built up over the years. Non-OPEC member Russia and other nations like Iraq, Iran and Venezuela need prices substantially above present levels to meet budget goals and want to drive prices up. Saudi Arabia maintains it is opposed to cutting production because of fears its market share could erode. "The best thing for everybody is to let the most efficient produce," Saudi Petroleum Minister Ali Naimi said in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates capital. He was addressing the Arab Energy Conference, a gathering held every four years. The price of U.S. oil has dipped below $60 a barrel, its lowest in five years.

Tunisia

Former official wins presidency, polls say

Polling firms in Tunisia declared Beji Caid Essebsi, an 88-year-old official from previous regimes, as the winner of Sunday's presidential runoff, cementing his dominance over a country where his party already controls Parliament. The runoff election marks the culmination of a rocky transition to democracy after Tunisians overthrew dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, kicking off pro-democracy uprisings around the region in what became known as the Arab Spring. The Sigma Conseil company's exit polls gave Essebsi 55.5 percent of the vote and his opponent Moncef Marzouki, the outgoing interim president, 44.5 percent. Other polling companies gave between 52 and 54 percent to Essebsi.

Nigeria

Video shows militant group killing captives

A new video from Nigeria's Boko Haram extremists shows gunmen mowing down civilians lying face down in a dorm, and a leader saying they are being killed because they are "infidels," or nonbelievers. There are so many corpses the gunmen have difficulty stepping to reach bodies still twitching with life. Most appear to be adult men. The video released to journalists late Saturday came two days after fleeing villagers reported that the extremists are rounding up elderly people and killing them in two schools in Gwoza, in northeast Nigeria.

New York

Tom Brokaw says his cancer is in remission

Tom Brokaw says his cancer is in remission. The 74-year-old NBC newsman announced Sunday that, after months of chemotherapy for multiple myeloma, he soon will begin a drug maintenance program. Sharing with colleagues what he called "very encouraging news," Brokaw's internal memo noted that a year ago his future was "more uncertain than I cared to acknowledge."

Elsewhere

Haiti: Health Minister Florence Duperval Guillaume was named as Haiti's interim prime minister on Sunday following the resignation of her predecessor a week ago amid a stalemate over delayed legislative elections.

Australia: An Australian woman was charged with murder on Sunday in the deaths of seven of her children and her niece, whose bodies were found inside her home, police said.

France: A driver deliberately slammed his car into crowds around the city of Dijon in eastern France on Sunday, raising concerns at a time when Islamic extremists are calling for attacks in the country. Police arrested the driver after he injured at least 11 people.

Associated Press

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