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Russia still deciding on oil output cuts, energy minister says

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The Russian Energy Ministry has not yet fully developed its position on the possibility of reducing oil production in 2019 within the framework of an agreement with the OPEC production cartel, TASS news agency reported.

According to energy minister Alexander Novak, the decision will also depend on the forecast of the balance of supply and demand in the first and second quarters of 2019.

“Now I will not tell you the position in advance, since we are still at the stage of developing and assessing the situation, especially in the first and second quarters, forecasting the balance of supply and demand. As you know, the ministerial meeting will take place in the first decade of December. And I am confident that together with our colleagues from OPEC and non-OPEC countries, we will find a coordinated consolidated solution that will benefit the oil market,” Novak said.

His comments come after a report by Reuters claimed that Russia has acknowledged the need for oil production cuts and is negotiating terms with Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members.

Citing two industry sources, the news agency reported that Russia is becoming increasingly convinced it needs to reduce oil output in tandem with OPEC but is still bargaining with Saudi Arabia.

The Russian Energy Ministry held a meeting with the heads of domestic oil producers on Tuesday, ahead of a gathering in Vienna of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies on Decеmber 6-7.

“The idea at the meeting was that Russia needs to reduce. The key question is how quickly and by how much,” said one source familiar with the talks between Russian oil firms and the ministry.

Meanwhile, oil reversed course and rose as much as 2 percent on Thursday, after information emerged that Russia could accept the need to cut production. Prices in November were down nearly 22 percent so far, set for the biggest monthly fall since the depths of the financial crisis in 2008.

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South Korea Terminates Intelligence-Sharing Treaty with Japan

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The Republic of Korea has decided to abandon the military intelligence-sharing agreement with Japan, South Korean Yonhap News Agency reported on Thursday, citing deputy head of the country’s National Security Council Kim You-geun.

“The government decided to terminate intelligence sharing with Japan. Tokyo will receive the official notification through diplomatic channels,” Kim You-geun said at a briefing in Seoul.

He underlined that “Japan failed to explain the reasons behind excluding South Korea from the list of trusted trade partners, citing undermined relations of trust between Seoul and Tokyo, which caused these changes in defense-related cooperation of the two countries.”

Moreover, Kim You-geun announced that “maintaining the agreement signed for the purposes of sharing important military intelligence no longer conforms with South Korea’s national interests.”

On August 2, the Japanese government approved the proposal to remove South Korea from the list of countries receiving Japanese nanomaterials and high-tech components in a streamlined manner and without any restrictions. The decision will officially come into force on August 28.

On July 1, Tokyo tightened control over the export of three types of materials to South Korea, needed to produce semiconductors and displays of various electronic gadgets. The decision was particularly made due to suspicion that some of these components can be illegally delivered to North Korea from the South. Seoul flatly rejected such an idea and responded by introducing similar restrictions against Japan.

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UK Channel 4 to Shoot Documentary About Putin’s Influence on Modern World

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UK’s Channel 4 will produce a ground-breaking three-part documentary series on Russian President Vladimir Putin, the channel said in a press release. The film will include interviews with the Russian leader himself, his close circle and those most impacted by his actions, as well as archive materials.

“To understand what is happening in the world right now, it is necessary to understand Vladimir Putin. Putin has shown his staying power as one of the most formidable politicians of the 21st century. This series will explore how as a former spy he has redefined politics and the impact this has had globally”, Executive Producer James Rogan said, as quoted in a press release.

According to the press release, the series will show how his power has changed the modern world.

“This landmark series will show how Putin brought his knowledge of spy-craft to define the presidency of a nuclear power … It will explore how Putin’s personal experiences have influenced his politics, how modern Russia has been created through an acute sense of betrayal, pride and anger, and how Putin’s values have been exported around the world — from Crimea to Salisbury to Washington DC”, the press release read.

The series will be filmed in Russia, the United States, Europe and the United Kingdom.

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Syria Opens Humanitarian Corridor to Enable Civilians’ Exit From Idlib

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Syria has opened in the village of Suran, located in Hama province, a humanitarian corridor for civilians who want to leave the terrorist-controlled areas in Idlib, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“Syria has opened a humanitarian corridor in the village of Suran, located in the north of Hama province, under protection of the Syrian army, to enable citizens who want to leave terrorist-controlled territories to do so,” the ministry said.

The corridor has been opened to “reduce Syrians’ suffering,” the ministry added, noting that all the demands of the civilians would be met.

In early August, a long-discussed truce in Idlib entered into force. However, the leadership of the Syrian Armed Forces said it would stop military actions if Turkey implements its obligations under the Moscow-Ankara deal, which was reached in Sochi, Russia last September.

The truce deal stipulates the withdrawal of medium and heavy weapons from the contact line in the area. Syrian government forces have renewed their activities in the northwest of the country due to the militants’ non-compliance with the agreement brokered by Russia and Turkey.

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