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5 hours ago

OPEC blames everyone else.

  Oil ministers from the UAE, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia (paywall) blamed “non-OPEC” oil producers—Russia and the US are the biggest—for the collapse in oil prices. “If they want to cut production they are welcome: We are not going to cut, certainly Saudi Arabia is not going to cut,” said the Saudi oil minister.
6 hours ago

The old guard claims victory in Tunisia.

  Beji Caid Essebsi, the 88-year-old leader of the secular Nidaa Tounes party, says he won Sunday’s presidential election; final results are expected Monday. Essebsi is seen as a return to the ancien régime, whose economic mismanagement set off the Arab Spring in 2011, over the Islamist Ennahda party.
6 hours ago

The US pulls a punch against North Korea.

  President Barack Obama said the hacking of Sony Pictures is not “an act of war,” but that the US may still put North Korea on its terrorism watch list. Pyongyang called for the US to take part in a joint investigation or suffer “grave consequences.” The US also called for help from China.
6 hours ago

Facebook angers Russian activists.

  At the Moscow’s behest, the social network blocked access to a page calling for a protest march on Jan. 15. (The page is still online, but people in Russia can’t see it.) Other pages quickly popped up to replace it.
December 20, 2014

Xiaomi closes in on new funding at an eye-popping valuation.

  A $1 billion funding round that could close as soon as Monday would value the Chinese smartphone maker at $45 billion (paywall)—more than four times what it was worth 16 months ago, according to the Wall Street Journal. The new funding round’s lead investor is the All-Stars Investment fund, run by former Morgan Stanley analyst Richard Ji.
December 20, 2014
Chart of the Moment

Students at US universities are surprisingly old-school.

December 20, 2014

The US government is seeking hefty fines against BP.

  The feds are asking for $18 billion in a non-jury trial to determine BP’s financial penalty for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. That penalty—which would be a record under the Clean Water Act—would handily eclipse the $3.5 billion that BP has set aside to cover its liabilities.
December 20, 2014

A key Taliban commander is killed in Peshawar.

  A day after killing 32 militants in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistani security forces said they killed the commander and at least four other militants in the province’s capital of Peshawar, where scores of schoolchildren were murdered by Taliban gunman earlier this week.  
December 20, 2014

Pay your bills, or we take the cat.

  Tax collectors in Russia have come up with an incredibly effective new tactic: threatening to seize debtors’ cats. The Siberian region of Tomsk, for example, placed four pedigree Scottish Fold kittens “under arrest.”

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