- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 26, 2002

VENEZUELA

OPEC compliance with quotas to be urged

CARACAS Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez told a newspaper during the weekend that Venezuela will call for fellow members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to increase compliance with cartel quotas at the producer group's Dec. 12 meeting.

"Venezuela considers it necessary to strengthen compliance with the quotas. This will be our position at the December meeting," Mr. Ramirez was quoted as saying in the daily El Universal.

OPEC crude-oil output beyond the quotas rose to 3.21 million barrels per day in October as members opened the taps wider to take advantage of high oil prices. Fear of a supply disruption in the event of a U.S. attack on Iraq had pushed crude prices up to $30 per barrel in September, but rising output from the cartel pushed down prices to less than $27 a barrel recently.


NICARAGUA

Strike turns violent at Canadian-run mine

MANAGUA At least 12 persons were injured and 50 arrested in clashes with police during protests at sports stadium against a Canadian gold-mining company, union leaders said Sunday.

Police fired tear gas at about 1,000 people protesting Canadian mining company Triton Minera at Maipaisillo, 65 miles west of the capital, late Saturday. The protests followed a monthlong strike by miners demanding better pay and health care.

More than 100 police brought in to quell Saturday's upheaval fired hundreds of tear-gas cannisters at miners and residents.


BRAZIL

Soggy graveyard slides into house

RIO DE JANEIRO Bones, coffins and crosses crashed through the kitchen wall of a house during the weekend after torrential rain washed out part of a nearby cemetery, officials said.

"It happened during the rain on Saturday night. Part of the cemetery wall fell and earth mixed with body parts, coffins and pieces of tombstones invaded the house down the hill," said an official at the cemetery.


Weekly notes

Argentine President Eduardo Duhalde calls growing International Monetary Fund demands on his country discouraging. "In general, [talks] are moving ahead, but it is sometimes discouraging because whenever it looks as though we come close to an agreement, new issues come up," he said in a weekend national radio address. One IMF demand, that utility rates be raised by 30 percent, will not be met, he said. Mr. Duhalde said his government will seek a balance "between the need for profitability to maintain service on the business side and people's ability to pay." Chilean painter and sculptor Roberto Matta, often described as "the last surrealist," has died at age 91. Mr. Matta, a driving force in abstract art, died overnight Saturday at a hospital in Civitavecchia near Rome, where he spent his last years. Chilean President Ricardo Lagos announced three days of national mourning for the artist.


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