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IMF Raises Global Oil Price Forecast until 2023

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts that oil prices will average $68.78 per barrel in 2019 and up to $60 in 2023, according to the World Economic Outlook report released on Tuesday.

“Oil prices are expected to average $69.38 a barrel in 2018 (higher than the April 2018 projection of $62.30 and the 2017 price of $52.80 a barrel). Global oil supply is expected to gradually increase over the forecast horizon, lowering oil prices to $68.76 a barrel in 2019, and further to about $60 a barrel in 2023,” the report said.

The Russian Economic Development Ministry earlier included in its budget planning scenarios the situation with oil prices for the Urals at $63.4 a barrel in 2019, $59.7 a barrel, and $57.9 a barrel in 2021.

Russia is one of the biggest oil producers in the world and has recently been trying to boost production, along with OPEC members, in order to curb global prices.

On Monday, Deputy Energy Minister Pavel Sorokin said Russia could extend the timeline for its oil production growth by at least five to seven years and attract “several hundred billion rubles” in additional investment into its oil industry each year if it adopts a range of incentives for the sector.

Russia’s finance and energy ministries are currently discussing how to incentivize the country’s oil industry amid expectations that current fields and regions with benefits will exhaust their growth potential as early as in 2022-2023.

Production growth coming to a halt around that time “will entail an extremely adverse impact on investments with the multiplication effect and will result in a dramatic reduction of budget revenues. Therefore, preventive measures should be undertaken,” Sorokin said.

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Greek Church recognizes autonomy of Orthodox Church of Ukraine

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The leading figures of the Church of Greece decided at a meeting this weekend to recognize the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), making it the first of the Eastern Orthodox churches to take such a step.

The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece recognized the autonomy of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in line with a request by the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios

The Orthodox Times says the Greeks’ formal recognition will take place October 19 in Thessaloniki, with Archbishop Ieronymos and the OCU’s Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine present.

The Patriarchate of Constantinople, generally considered the spiritual headquarters for Orthodoxy, granted the Orthodox Church of Ukraine independence in January in a move that was adamantly resisted by Moscow and the Russian Orthodox Church. The new Orthodox Church of Ukraine installed its first metropolitan, Epifaniy, at a ceremony in Kyiv on February 3 in a process that further established the new church body’s independence

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Indonesia’s security minister attacked by man with knife

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Indonesia’s Chief Security Minister Wiranto is conscious and in a stable condition after he was stabbed on Thursday by a man authorities suspect had been radicalized by Islamic State ideology, police said.

Television footage showed the minister slump to the ground beside his car after the attack in Pandeglang, in Banten province, west of the capital on the island of Java.

“His condition is stable and at the moment he is being evacuated to a hospital in Jakarta,” Tomsi Tohir, Banten police chief told Metro TV. A police photograph showed the minister, a former general, being carried on a stretcher into a nearby hospital. The minister had suffered two wounds to his stomach, hospital chief said.  

Police had arrested a man and a woman they suspected were a couple, and seized sharp weapons they were carrying, including knives and a pair of scissors, police chief said.

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Taiwan: China is threating international stability

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Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen has accused China of threatening international stability and pledged for boosting her country’s defence in the face of what Taipei sees as a growing threat from Beijing.

In a televised address to the nation Wednesday, the president stressed the international importance of Taiwan’s democratic values and raised concerns about Chinese infiltration. The remarks are seen as a sign of Taipei’s hardening resistance to Beijing’s opposition to her government.

“The people of Taiwan will never accept any attempt by external forces to unilaterally change the cross-Strait status quo. I am calling on the authorities in Beijing, as a responsible major power, to play a positive role in the region and the world, instead of being a source of conflict,” Tsai said.

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