Monday, September 19, 2005


Ecuadorean oil buy reveals nation’s need

BEIJING — China National Petroleum Corp.’s (CNPC) $1.4 billion acquisition of the Ecuadorean oil assets of Canada’s EnCana Corp. this week highlights the country’s increasing thirst for energy.

Andes Petroleum, a joint venture of state-run companies CNPC, Sinopec and Sinochem, will acquire 143 million barrels of proven reserves, output of 75,000 barrels a day and a stake in a 300-mile pipeline.

Last year, China became the second-largest importer of crude oil after the United States and accounted for 30 percent of the increase in energy demand. Growing demand from India and China is often cited as the main reason for rising oil prices and reflects increasing geopolitical concerns over energy security.


Leftist ex-mayor aims at presidency

MEXICO CITY — A former mayor of this metropolis, leading in polls to become president in elections next year, has become the de facto candidate of the leftist Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD).

The PRD was to vote for a candidate on Sunday, but because Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a former Indian-rights activist, was the sole contender, he automatically became the PRD candidate.

PRD leader Javier Hidalgo said party officials will meet with Mr. Lopez Obrador in late November, when he is expected to be confirmed as PRD candidate. “It’s a formality,” Mr. Hidalgo said.


Ruling party seeks new leadership

SAO PAULO — Members of the ruling Workers’ Party (PT) were to elect a new leader Sunday in a vote that could shape President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s ability to ride out a damaging corruption scandal a year before he can run for re-election.

The internal vote highlighted longstanding divisions along ideological lines that have deepened since the leadership of the PT, Latin America’s largest leftist party, was accused in June of bribing congressmen.

Final results were not expected for a few days, but analysts predict that the left will force a runoff vote on Oct. 9.

Weekly notes

Canada and Denmark failed yesterday to resolve a protracted dispute over who owns a tiny Arctic island, but agreed to act in “a low-key and restrained manner.” Both countries lay claim to half-square-mile Hans Island between Canada’s Ellesmere Island and Greenland, which belongs to Denmark. Both nations suspect that Hans, about 620 miles from the North Pole, could lie atop rich natural resources. Visits to the island by one side usually trigger a protest from the other. … Public-health nurses in Peru returned to work yesterday after their 38-day strike resulted in a deal, but not a contract. The nurses union and the Health Ministry agreed that their respective bargaining units would work to improve pay for the nurses under a negotiating calendar. The public-health nurses were seeking compensation in line with that of social security system nurses.

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