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Global oil prices have surged after a tentative deal was reportedly cut to ease production and tackle a fresh supply glut.

US crude and Brent crude prices entered bear market territory last month – only weeks after hitting their highest level for four years – as growing supplies of US shale oil combined with fears around a slowing global economy.

On Friday, following a tough round of talks in Vienna, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) signalled output would fall next year – and by a greater margin than some market experts had predicted.

The headquarters of the OPEC cartel is in Vienna
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The headquarters of the OPEC cartel is in Vienna

It was understood that a combined cut of 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) was agreed by OPEC with Russia, which is not a member, also joining the effort.

However, the Reuters news agency said Russia’s output figure was yet to be fully nailed down.

:: Oil bear market shows US shale has teeth

A major sticking point had proved to be a demand by sanctions-hit Iran that it be exempt from some of the reduction restrictions, though Tehran later indicated it was happy with the outcome.

BNP Paribas strategist Harry Tchilinguirian told the Reuters Global Oil Forum: “(A cut of) 1.2 million bpd, if implemented promptly and fully, should be enough to largely attenuate, but not eliminate, expected implied global inventory builds in the first half of next year.”

Competition to Brent from US shale output has weighed on prices at a time when financial markets are worried about the health of the global economy and the fallout of the US-China trade war.

Production from the US, Russia and OPEC nations grew by more than three million bpd in 2018 – the majority of the gain a result of US output growth.

The outcome of the OPEC meeting will disappoint Donald Trump.

The US president had urged OPEC not to put economic growth at risk by cutting output and raising prices.

US light crude was trading up 4% at $53 a barrel on Friday afternoon while Brent was 5% higher at $63.

The shift higher is unlikely to have a big effect on petrol prices over the Christmas holiday period for UK motorists as pump costs have been slow to come down since the dramatic fall in oil prices began in October.

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NASA invites Stephen Curry to tour its lunar lab after NBA star claims moon landings were faked

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NASA has offered a top US basketball player a tour of its lunar lab after he claimed the moon landings were faked.

Stephen Curry, regarded by many as one of the best shooters in NBA history, made the comments in the Winging It podcast on Monday.

During the episode, Curry’s teammate Andre Iguodala asked the basketball player and presenters Vince Carter and Kent Bazemore if they believed the moon landings were real.

All three of them replied “no”.

In an apparent reference to Men In Black-style secret agents, Curry added: “They’re going to come and get us.

“Sorry I don’t want to start conspiracies.”

Buzz Aldrin stands on the surface of the moon in 1969
Image:
Buzz Aldrin stands on the surface of the moon in 1969

Another guest on the show Annie Finberg, a digital content coordinator for the Atlanta Hawks basketball team, then asked him to clarify.

Curry, who plays for the Golden State Warriors, confirmed that he did not believe the US had ever landed on the moon.

The group then had a short discussion about popular conspiracy theories, including one that the film director Stanley Kubrick staged the whole thing.

NASA in fact led six missions that put 12 astronauts on the moon between 1969 and 1972.

Allard Beutel, a spokesman from the space agency, told the New York Times: “We’d love for Mr Curry to tour the lunar lab at our Johnson Space Center in Houston, perhaps the next time the Warriors are in town to play the Rockets.

“We have hundreds of pounds of moon rocks stored there, and the Apollo mission control.

“During his visit, he can see firsthand what we did 50 years ago, as well as what we’re doing now to go back to the moon in the coming years, but this time to stay.”

Curry is far from alone when it comes to denying the legitimacy of the moon landings.

DIY SOS presenter Nick Knowles shocked viewers of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! when he claimed the lunar expeditions were faked.

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EU risks bank crisis from ‘no-deal’ Brexit, say UK officials

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UK officials have been warning EU27 nations that a “no-deal” Brexit places a high risk of financial disruption to their banks, Sky News understands.

It forms part of a move seen by some close observers as a perceived form of attempted leverage over the Brexit negotiation.

Dozens of banks, including some of Europe’s biggest in Germany and France, have complex outstanding financial contracts, known as derivatives, notionally worth tens of trillions of pounds, operated through the City of London.

The bulk of them will mature after March 2019.

Sky sources say that the names of specific EU mega-banks especially exposed to and reliant on UK cleared derivatives have been mentioned in discussions.



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May: Irish backstop must be temporary

Last month, the Bank of England warned there was high risk of disruption to the EU financial system from both “cleared” and “uncleared” derivatives markets, while it said risks to the UK itself were low and declining.

The European Commission has acted on some concerns to say it will temporarily continue to recognise UK “central counterparties” even after a no-deal Brexit.

But officials have warned that the lack of detail means that contracts need to be closed or transferred from the UK before March 2019, a process that needs to start this month, now that the deal has not passed the House of Commons.

Furthermore, the European Commission indicated to the Bank of England that risks from “uncleared” derivatives would not be dealt with at EU level, and was being left to individual EU nations to handle.



Jacob Rees -Mogg names Boris Johnson as his favoured candidate to take over from Theresa May, should  contest ensue








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Rees-Mogg: I want Johnson to replace May

In a recent report, the Bank of England concluded: “The movement of a large volume of contracts in a short time frame would be costly to, and disrupt the derivatives positions of, EU businesses and could strain capacity in the derivatives market.”

An EU source told Sky News: “We have not dealt with it yet but we have the mechanisms.”

The European Commission is waiting to ramp up no-deal preparations at the EU summit this week.

Sky News understands an emergency implementing act is being prepared for the EU Council and Parliament to consider as soon as next week.

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One dead in French Christmas market shooting

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One person has died and three people are seriously injured after shots were fired at a Christmas market in Strasbourg.

Just after 7pm on Tuesday gun shots were heard at the market in Place Kleber, in the centre of the city in eastern France.

Police armed with machine guns were seen running into the square moments later and it was evacuated.

Emmanuel Foulon, a press officer for the European Parliament, which is based in the city, said there was panic and everyone got to the ground in restaurants around the square.

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