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Friday, Dec 19th

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Gulf markets plunge as OPEC says 'no set price' for oil

Gul markets plungeThe head of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, Abdalla Salem el-Badri, said Sunday that OPEC has no set price target for oil, according to the Wall Street Journal.

His comment, made at an event in Dubai, is likely to add further uncertainty to the turbulent oil market. The price of a barrel of light, sweet crude fell to $57.49, down from $98.17 at the end of 2013 -- a 41% decline.

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Washington undecided on U.N. resolution for Israel-Palestine

Wahington undecided on UN Israel-Palestine resolutionIsrael said it hoped the United States would veto any moves at the United Nations to set a time frame for its withdrawal from territory Palestinians seek for state, but a senior U.S. official said it was too early to say.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Rome on Monday to discuss various proposals for a Palestinian state that are circulating at the United Nations.

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Britain to seek access to CIA torture report

UK parliamentA U.K. parliamentary panel wants access to information not made public in a U.S. Senate report that may pertain to Britain's role in the interrogation and rendition of terror suspects following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Malcolm Rifkind, chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee, told the BBC on Sunday that the panel investigating allegations of British involvement in torture would request access to the Senate's findings related to Britain.

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Ex-Mossad chief: Peace will elude us until we treat Palestinians with dignity

Efraim HaleviThere will never be peace in the Middle East as long as Israelis don’t treat the Palestinians as equals, Efraim Halevy said last week, accusing senior government officials of advancing “condescending” policies toward the Palestinians.

In a wide-ranging interview with The Times of Israel, the former head of the Mossad intelligence agency accused the outgoing government, especially Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, of having violated the fragile status quo in Jerusalem. The elections of March 2015 are not merely a referendum on Israel’s leadership, he said, but constitute an unprecedented opportunity to determine Israel’s policy vis-à-vis the peace process.

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Hong Kong Dismantles Pro-Democracy Protest Camp

Hong Kong protest site clearedHong Kong workers cleared large parts of the main pro-democracy protest site near the heart of the financial center on Thursday, marking an end to more than two months of street demonstrations that have choked parts of the Chinese-controlled city.

The mainly peaceful protests to demand free elections have represented one of the most serious challenges to China's authority since the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations and bloody crackdown in and around Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

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FBI investigation into ex-US diplomat casts cloud over relations with Pakistan

Robin RaphaelA high-flying US diplomat betraying her country to spy for Pakistan may sound like an outlandish plotline of the spy drama Homeland, but in recent weeks that real life allegation has added extra intrigue to the volatile relationship between the two supposedly allied countries.

The news that a former US ambassador called Robin Raphel has been the subject of an FBI counter-intelligence investigation shocked the foreign policy establishments of both Washington and Islamabad when it was reported last month.

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CIA Made False Claims Torture Prevented Heathrow Attacks

CIA false claims The Central Intelligence Agency repeatedly and falsely claimed that its use of torture had enabled it to stop attacks on London’s Heathrow Airport and Canary Wharf, according to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The report into “enhanced interrogation techniques” published in Washington yesterday said that “thwarting of the Heathrow Airport and Canary Wharf plotting is one of the eight most frequently cited examples” that the agency gave to justify torture. In reality, neither plot was advanced, and both had been effectively disrupted when the people the CIA tortured for the information were captured.

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