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    We’re currently experiencing serious technical problems on the site, and as a result are unable to update the news – even though our market data is running as per normal. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused and hope to be up and running again this evening. Thank you for your patience in this regard. – David McKay (editor) & team
    Oil near one-month high as investors await OPEC outcome
     
    London - Oil held near the highest price in more than a month as industry data showed US crude stockpiles declined before OPEC meets to decide on extending supply curbs.
    Futures dropped as much as 0.5% in New York. US inventories fell by 1.5 million barrels last week, the American Petroleum Institute was said to report. The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies came closer to prolonging their supply deal after a ministerial committee was said to recommend another nine months of cuts.
    Oil has climbed as Saudi Arabia and non-OPEC member Russia rally support for a nine-month extension ahead of a ministerial meeting in Vienna on Thursday. While the curbs have succeeded in denting stockpiles in the US, inventories still remain above the five-year average while American drillers add more rigs and boost production.
    “I would say the market is in a waiting position before the OPEC meeting tomorrow,” said Carsten Fritsch, a commodity analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. “With all these comments coming in, a nine-month extension is priced in.”
    West Texas Intermediate for July delivery was at $51.26 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down 21 cents, at 13:49.
    Total volume traded was about 65% above the 100-day average. Prices ended on Tuesday at $51.47, the highest since April 18.
    Brent for July settlement was down 10c at $54.05 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, and traded at a $2.79 premium to WTI. The global benchmark crude rose 28c to $54.15 on Tuesday.
    While the API was said to report a 1.5 million-barrel drop in US inventories, a Bloomberg  survey estimated a 2 million-barrel decrease. That would be the seventh weekly decline after supplies rose to the highest in more than three decades at the end of March. The Energy Information Administration will release stockpile data later Wednesday.
    Oil-market news:
    Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee will discuss several options for extension of OPEC non-OPEC supply cuts including 12 months, Kuwait Oil Minister Issam Almarzooq told reporters in Vienna before the meeting.
    Russia supports a nine-month extension of the oil deal, as does Venezuela, their energy ministers said in the Austrian capital.  Moody’s Investors Service cut its rating on China’s debt for the first time since 1989, challenging the view that the nation’s leadership will be able to rein in leverage while maintaining the pace of economic growth.
    Iraq is mulling an oil-hedging program to lock in prices for future crude sales, potentially topping a similar deal run by Mexico that is considered the largest energy trade in Wall Street.
    Read
     
     
    Most Read
    University of Kent
    The
    unprecedented arrests and detentions
    in Kenya of seven members of parliament and a senator capped a wave of rising political tensions and violence on the streets. These tensions were inflamed when a member of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee political party appeared to
    call for the assassination
    of opposition leader Raila Odinga.
    Police arrested Member of Parliament Moses Kuria, along with the others, pending court hearings on charges of incitement to violence. A university student leader was also held. Prosecutors said more specific charges of hate speech and inciting ethnic hatred could follow. The detention of senior politicians is highly unusual – they are usually given bail and rarely see the inside of a jail.
    The history of hate speech and incitement to violence in Kenya is a long, widespread and unhappy one. Hate speech and the fanning of ethnic discord was
    linked with violence
    after the fraudulent 2007 elections that left nearly 1,500 dead and 600,000 displaced.
    That violence led to the
    failed prosecution
    by the International Criminal Court of President Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto and broadcaster and political activist Joshua arap Sang. Sang was specifically charged with using Kalenjin-language radio station Kass FM to broadcast incitement of hatred of the Kikuyu and incitement to violence.
    Long and unhappy history
    Politicians have sought to manipulate community grievances to whip up support in every contested election since the restoration of a multiparty system in Kenya in 1992. The grievances revolve around land, employment and access to the material benefits of political office. Criminal gangs or unemployed youths are often used to intimidate opponents and evict their supporters from areas the politicians claim to be theirs. This manipulation has routinely involved the creation and escalation of ethnic suspicion and hatred.
    Former President
    Daniel arap Moi
    can be said to have started this when, ahead of the 1992 elections, he perceived a threat to his dominance in the Rift Valley. He and his Kenya African National Union party sought to incite his Kalenjin-speaking support base against Kikuyu and other non-Kalenjin speakers in the area. This led to
    widespread killings and effective ethnic cleansing
    . This was repeated in subsequent elections. More than 2,000 people died and 500,000 were displaced in the Rift Valley in deliberately incited violence in the 1990s.
    Ethnic stereotyping and stoking suspicions between communities was used extensively during the bitterly fought
    constitutional referendum
    in 2005. On one side were supporters of Moi’s successor, President Mwai Kibaki. On the other, those of Raila Odinga and William Ruto.
    The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights reported that political leaders on both sides had used
    dehumanising descriptions
    of opposing political groups and the ethnic communities that supported them.
    This was also the case in 2007, according to the commission’s report
    Still Behaving Badly
    . The commission said that the election campaign had been marked by hate speech and incitement to violence. The messages were often delivered in vernacular languages to specific communities to generate hatred of other communities.
    The vernacular radio stations, which had come into being after the millennium with the relaxation of media controls, played a role in broadcasting hate speech by politicians. Some broadcasters targeted the Luo, Kalenjin and Kikuyu communities. Many of the local radio stations, while ostensibly independent, were closely linked with political leaders. These included Ruto, Kenyatta and Odinga.
    The violence that followed the very obviously rigged election results was marked by ethnic conflict incited and manipulated by politicians for their own political ends. It did not represent a well of endemic ethnic hatred.
    During the elections many Kikuyu politicians regularly referred to the Luo supporters of Odinga as “
    beasts from the west
    ”. The Kalenjin supporters of William Ruto (then in alliance with Odinga) called the Kikuyu vermin. They used the expression “
    the mongoose has stolen the chickens
    ” to refer to alleged Kikuyu seizure of land that the Kalenjin claimed as theirs.
    The Kalenjin propagandists also referred to themselves, because of their pastoralist traditions, as the “people of the milk”. They called on people to go out and clear the weeds from the grass, a coded reference to clearing non-Kalenjin from the Rift Valley.
    This had echoes of the language used by the murderous
    Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines
    during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. But it must be stressed that the scale and nature of hate broadcasting in Kenya has never reached the proportions seen in Rwanda.
    Social media propagandists
    Hate speech in the form of widely disseminated text messages or the use of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook was prevalent in the years running up to the 2013 elections. This time around Ruto and Kenyatta were allies targeting their propaganda against Odinga and his supporters.
    Some bloggers and tweeters became notorious. The
    institution set up to monitor hate speech
    after the 2008 election violence identified the six most notorious. It said they were particularly active in creating suspicion, disseminating inflammatory statements and spreading hate speech by social media. Two of the six accused of spreading hate speech over the web were named and one was formally charged with incitement.
    The other four suspects were not named but were identified as a military officer, a teacher, a student and a prison warder.
    The London-based
    Institute for War and Peace Reporting
    said that there were hundreds of cases where offensive material had been posted on social media sites to incite hatred or suspicion before or during the 2013 elections.
    Impunity breeds hate propaganda
    The nature, extent and consequences of inflammatory and hate speech in Kenya are pretty evident. They emerge at times of political tension or conflict and in the run-up to and during election campaigns. Those charged or accused of hate speech are rarely successfully prosecuted. Cases either drag on without result or are dropped – often for political reasons.
    Successful propagandists become valuable instruments for political leaders and for their parties. The failure of prosecutions, such as the international case against Joshua arap Sang, gives those who engage in hate speech for political ends a feeling of impunity. The violence that often accompanies political disputes or elections is testimony to the efficacy of hate propaganda as a tool in the political arsenal of Kenyan politicians.
    Keith Somerville
    University of Kent
    This article was originally published on
    The Conversation
    . Read the
    original article
    .
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