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Oil countries will attend emergency meeting on crude prices

Six OPEC member states and two non-members have agreed to attend an extraordinary meeting should one be called, Venezuela’s Oil Ministry announced Wednesday.

OPEC members Iraq, Algeria, Nigeria, Ecuador, Iran and Venezuela plus non-member oil producers Russia and Oman would meet if a summit was called, the ministry told Bloomberg after Venezuelan Oil Minister Eulogio Del Pino held talks in Iran.

“The idea is to not just hold a meeting, but for all the countries to attend with the intention of reaching agreements,” Del Pino said in the statement. “Current prices are below equilibrium, and that encourages the speculators and market instability.”

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro sent Del Pino on a tour of oil producers in a last-ditch effort to soothe the effect the plummet in oil prices is having on the country’s finances. So far, he has visited Russia and Iran.

Del Pino has ended the first leg of an official tour that will take him to OPEC countries, including Qatar, Iran and Saudi Arabia, where he will also present his plan aimed at stabilizing global oil prices, which have dipped by more than 70 percent over the past 18 months.

Venezuela has been calling for an emergency OPEC meeting since oil prices began falling in 2014, but has faced a Saudi Arabia that insists on maintaining their current oil production in order to defend their share of the market in response to increasing shale production in the U.S. and the competition of a post-sanction Iran, that is not only entering the market but increasing their oil output by about 500,000 barrels a day.

Del Pino will try to persuade oil-rich countries to cooperate in cutting oil production to boost the price of oil to at least US$60 a barrel.

Brent crude has dropped from US$115 a barrel in June 2014 to less than US$30 last month.

Low prices have particularly affected commodity exporting countries like Venezuela, which rely almost exclusively on oil income to support their economy and social programs.

Saudi Arabia, which maintains huge influence in OPEC, is currently running into difficulties after their huge gamble last November opting to flood the market and drive out their rivals.

According to analysts, the oil-rich kingdom will start running into major trouble within two years as it relies on oil for 90 percent of its budget revenues.

Lack of industry and an expensive campaign of regional funding rooted in a foreign policy of countering Iranian influence, including the onslaught in Yemen, is expected to deplete Saudi financial resources.

In 2015, Standard & Poor's lowered their outlook of Saudi Arabia to “negative,” branding the country’s economy “undiversified and vulnerable.”

teleSUR

Six OPEC member states and two non-members have agreed to attend an extraordinary meeting should one be called, Venezuela’s Oil Ministry announced Wednesday.

OPEC members Iraq, Algeria, Nigeria, Ecuador, Iran and Venezuela plus non-member oil producers Russia and Oman would meet if a summit was called, the ministry told Bloomberg after Venezuelan Oil Minister Eulogio Del Pino held talks in Iran.

ANALYSIS: PDVSA's Role in the Geopolitics of Latin America	

“The idea is to not just hold a meeting, but for all the countries to attend with the intention of reaching agreements,” Del Pino said in the statement. “Current prices are below equilibrium, and that encourages the speculators and market instability.”

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro sent Del Pino on a tour of oil producers in a last-ditch effort to soothe the effect the plummet in oil prices is having on the country’s finances. So far, he has visited Russia and Iran.

Del Pino has ended the first leg of an official tour that will take him to OPEC countries, including Qatar, Iran and Saudi Arabia, where he will also present his plan aimed at stabilizing global oil prices, which have dipped by more than 70 percent over the past 18 months.

Venezuela has been calling for an emergency OPEC meeting since oil prices began falling in 2014, but has faced a Saudi Arabia that insists on maintaining their current oil production in order to defend their share of the market in response to increasing shale production in the U.S. and the competition of a post-sanction Iran, that is not only entering the market but increasing their oil output by about 500,000 barrels a day.

Del Pino will try to persuade oil-rich countries to cooperate in cutting oil production to boost the price of oil to at least US$60 a barrel.

Brent crude has dropped from US$115 a barrel in June 2014 to less than US$30 last month.

Low prices have particularly affected commodity exporting countries like Venezuela, which rely almost exclusively on oil income to support their economy and social programs.

Saudi Arabia, which maintains huge influence in OPEC, is currently running into difficulties after their huge gamble last November opting to flood the market and drive out their rivals.

RELATED: US Manipulation of Oil Price Backfires on Saudi Arabia	

According to analysts, the oil-rich kingdom will start running into major trouble within two years as it relies on oil for 90 percent of its budget revenues.

Lack of industry and an expensive campaign of regional funding rooted in a foreign policy of countering Iranian influence, including the onslaught in Yemen, is expected to deplete Saudi financial resources.

In 2015, Standard & Poor's lowered their outlook of Saudi Arabia to “negative,” branding the country’s economy “undiversified and vulnerable.” 

This content was originally published by teleSUR at the following address: 
"http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Venezuela-Announces-Oil-Countries-Agree-to-Emergency-Meeting-20160203-0043.html". If you intend to use it, please cite the source and provide a link to the original article. www.teleSURtv.net/english

Prominent Pro-Government Journalist Murdered in Venezuela

Venezuelan journalist Ricardo Duran was killed outside his home early Wednesday.

Ricardo Durán, a Venezuelan journalist working for state-owned outlets, was killed outside his home Wednesday during the early hours of the day.  

News of Durán’s death was shared on social media and confirmed by Minister of Communication Luis José Marcano.  

Durán, a well-regarded figure inside Venezuela, was a strong supporter of the governments of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro and was also working for the government of the Capital District of Caracas at the time of his death.  

His work colleague, Daniel Aponte, told VTV, “They did not take anything from Ricardo Durán, not his wallet, nor money, nor his cell phone, nor his side arm, not even his car.”

As Minister of Communication Luis José Marcano acknowledged, he was one of the journalists who stayed at the presidential palace in Caracas during a short-lived coup attempt against President Chávez in 2002 and helped expose the coup.

teleSUR

Venezuela Launches Economic Council, Expands Schooling Program

The newly inaugurated National Council of the Productive Economy includes Vice President Aristobulo Isturiz (C) and economic vice president Luis Salas (L).

Venezuela launched an initiative Monday aimed at developing policy to tackle the country's economic downturn. The newly inaugurated National Council of the Productive Economy includes Vice President Aristóbulo Isturiz and Vice President for the Economy Luis Salas.

The first session of the council will include input from state and local governments. 

The council will work on creating a “productive map … to attend to real needs,” President Nicolas Maduro said Friday. 

He said the main aim of the council would be to find way to generate foreign currency income in the face of falling oil prices – currently Venezuela’s main source of income. Maduro called for structures that would allow varies stages and parts of the industrial and productive processes that currently or previously depended on imports, to be substituted. 

The government has also launched the first stage of the “Robinson II” education program, an effort to reinvigorate the country's literacy efforts. Robinson II has aided thousands of Venezuelans who missed primary school education. The program is an expansion of Mission Robinson, which teaches basic literacy skills. 

Some 17,591 voluntary and professional facilitators or teachers will form part of this productive wing of the social program, starting classes Jan. 23. People who are taught through the program will then be incorporated into the productive economy, with the aim of strengthening it. 

The projects have been credited by the United Nation's cultural organization UNESCO for significantly contributing to the eradication of illiteracy in the country. 

The Robinson program was itself inspired by the efforts of the Cuban government to eliminate illiteracy there after the triumph of the 1959 Cuban Revolution, led by Fidel Castro. It was named after Simon Robinson, the Venezuelan intellectual and teacher who helped educate and heavily influenced Simon Bolivar, who later helped liberate much of South America from Spanish rule in the 19th century. 

Before the Robinson program, 1.5 million Venezuelans were considered illiterate, and 2 million had not finished primary school. The latter would receive their primary education through Robinson II. 

A third education program was launched, known as Mission Ribas, to provide high-school-level certification, while the Sucre Mission increased access to further education.

teleSUR

Venezuela's Extreme Poverty Continues to Drop

President Nicolas Maduro says he will continue to fight against an "economic war" against his government and the country

Venezuela's rate of extreme poverty has continued to decline despite what the government has described as an “economic war,” according to new figures released Sunday.

Approximately 4.78 percent of Venezuelans now live in extreme poverty, according to the latest official statistics. That figure is slightly lower than those reported in November 2015, which put the extreme poverty rate at 4.9 percent.

When Venezuela's socialist government first came to power in 1998, 21 percent of Venezuelan households suffered extreme poverty.

President Nicolás Maduro said the latest figures illustrated his government has prioritized the welfare of Venezuela's poorest, despite an economic downturn.

“Socialism is the only model that can move us through these difficult times – not neoliberalism!” Maduro stated.

The poverty data was released two days after the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV) released new economic figures showing what it said was the impact of an “economic war” aimed at destabilizing the country.

The BCV report found Venezuela's inflation rate hit 141.5 percent in 2015. Some of the highest price rises were reported in food costs, which rose by 55.7 percent in the third quarter. Food goods are among the most smuggled and hoarded products in Venezuela.

“Venezuela is suffering a new generation economic war,” the bank warned.

The data also shows the country's GDP contracted by 4.5 percent in the first nine months of the year, with a 7.1 percent drop in GDP in the third quarter from the previous year.

teleSUR

Venezuela: Right-Wing Politicians Accept Supreme Court Ruling

Three right-wing Venezuelan politicians have finally decided to follow the rule of law and accept the Supreme Court ruling that suspended their election victories until an investigation into allegations of vote buying is concluded.

During National Assembly’s session Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruling was read aloud inside the chamber.

National Assembly President Henry Ramos Allup then affirmed that the leadership of the assembly would “abide by the ruling of the Supreme Court.”

Socialist lawmakers, who had been demanding the Supreme Court’s ruling be respected, responded with vehement applause.

The three suspended lawmakers wrote to the leadership of the National Assembly Tuesday seeking that their swearing-in be reversed. The majority MUD coalition swore in the lawmakers despite the court order in a defiant provocation last week.

Ramos Allup told CNN that he had received a letter from the three suspended politicians Tuesday evening.

Julio Ygarza, Nirma Guarulla and Romel Guzamana, representing the right-wing MUD coalition, were elected in the state of Amazonas during parliamentary elections held last month. But the electoral chamber of the Supreme Court accepted a challenge to the results over allegations of vote-buying and electoral irregularities.

​The court ordered that all candidates elected in the state of Amazonas be temporarily suspended while an investigation is conducted.

However, the MUD coalition defied the Supreme Court and had the three suspended candidates sworn in. In response, socialist PSUV lawmakers went before the Supreme Court to protest the MUD's violation of the constitution.

The Supreme Court agreed and ruled Monday that the leadership of the National Assembly were in contempt and any decisions made by the National Assembly would be void after the right-wing MUD alliance swore in the three legislators.

A fourth candidate from the state of Amazonas, a socialist from the PSUV, was also suspended, but he did not attempt to take his seat in the assembly.

The MUD won a two-thirds supermajority in the Dec. 6 elections, granting it powers to make sweeping changes, including overhauling the constitution and calling a recall referendum on the presidency of President Nicolás Maduro.

teleSUR

aZSWThree right-wing Venezuelan politicians have finally decided to follow the rule of law and accept the Supreme Court ruling that suspended their election victories until an investigation into allegations of vote buying is concluded.

During National Assembly’s session Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruling was read aloud inside the chamber.

National Assembly President Henry Ramos Allup then affirmed that the leadership of the assembly would “abide by the ruling of the Supreme Court.”

Socialist lawmakers, who had been demanding the Supreme Court’s ruling be respected, responded with vehement applause. 

The three suspended lawmakers wrote to the leadership of the National Assembly Tuesday seeking that their swearing-in be reversed. The majority MUD coalition swore in the lawmakers despite the court order in a defiant provocation last week.

Ramos Allup told CNN that he had received a letter from the three suspended politicians Tuesday evening.

Julio Ygarza, Nirma Guarulla and Romel Guzamana, representing the right-wing MUD coalition, were elected in the state of Amazonas during parliamentary elections held last month. But the electoral chamber of the Supreme Court accepted a challenge to the results over allegations of vote-buying and electoral irregularities.

RELATED: New Evidence of Electoral Irregularities in Amazonas	

​The court ordered that all candidates elected in the state of Amazonas be temporarily suspended while an investigation is conducted.

However, the MUD coalition defied the Supreme Court and had the three suspended candidates sworn in. In response, socialist PSUV lawmakers went before the Supreme Court to protest the MUD's violation of the constitution.

The Supreme Court agreed and ruled Monday that the leadership of the National Assembly were in contempt and any decisions made by the National Assembly would be void after the right-wing MUD alliance swore in the three legislators.

ANALYSIS: Venezuela’s Upcoming Double-Confrontation	

​A fourth candidate from the state of Amazonas, a socialist from the PSUV, was also suspended, but he did not attempt to take his seat in the assembly.

The MUD won a two-thirds supermajority in the Dec. 6 elections, granting it powers to make sweeping changes, including overhauling the constitution and calling a recall referendum on the presidency of President Nicolas Maduro. 

This content was originally published by teleSUR at the following address: 
"http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Venezuela-Right-Wing-Politicians-Accept-Supreme-Court-Ruling-20160113-0018.html". If you intend to use it, please cite the source and provide a link to the original article. www.teleSURtv.net/english
Three right-wing Venezuelan politicians have finally decided to follow the rule of law and accept the Supreme Court ruling that suspended their election victories until an investigation into allegations of vote buying is concluded.

During National Assembly’s session Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruling was read aloud inside the chamber.

National Assembly President Henry Ramos Allup then affirmed that the leadership of the assembly would “abide by the ruling of the Supreme Court.”

Socialist lawmakers, who had been demanding the Supreme Court’s ruling be respected, responded with vehement applause. 

The three suspended lawmakers wrote to the leadership of the National Assembly Tuesday seeking that their swearing-in be reversed. The majority MUD coalition swore in the lawmakers despite the court order in a defiant provocation last week.

Ramos Allup told CNN that he had received a letter from the three suspended politicians Tuesday evening.

Julio Ygarza, Nirma Guarulla and Romel Guzamana, representing the right-wing MUD coalition, were elected in the state of Amazonas during parliamentary elections held last month. But the electoral chamber of the Supreme Court accepted a challenge to the results over allegations of vote-buying and electoral irregularities.

RELATED: New Evidence of Electoral Irregularities in Amazonas	

​The court ordered that all candidates elected in the state of Amazonas be temporarily suspended while an investigation is conducted.

However, the MUD coalition defied the Supreme Court and had the three suspended candidates sworn in. In response, socialist PSUV lawmakers went before the Supreme Court to protest the MUD's violation of the constitution.

The Supreme Court agreed and ruled Monday that the leadership of the National Assembly were in contempt and any decisions made by the National Assembly would be void after the right-wing MUD alliance swore in the three legislators.

ANALYSIS: Venezuela’s Upcoming Double-Confrontation	

​A fourth candidate from the state of Amazonas, a socialist from the PSUV, was also suspended, but he did not attempt to take his seat in the assembly.

The MUD won a two-thirds supermajority in the Dec. 6 elections, granting it powers to make sweeping changes, including overhauling the constitution and calling a recall referendum on the presidency of President Nicolas Maduro. 

This content was originally published by teleSUR at the following address: 
"http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Venezuela-Right-Wing-Politicians-Accept-Supreme-Court-Ruling-20160113-0018.html". If you intend to use it, please cite the source and provide a link to the original article. www.teleSURtv.net/english

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