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Briefs (left)

Oil Market Unnerved
By Signs of OPEC Cuts

By Jad Mouawad

The oil market was unnerved Thursday by speculation that OPEC was considering cutting its production to stem a recent decline in oil prices. After jumping as much as 2.5 percent early on, oil prices eased a bit by the afternoon.

A decision to cut production is still being discussed by oil ministers from the 11 members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which are considering whether to hold an emergency meeting in coming weeks, an OPEC delegate said.

Some news organizations, including The Financial Times and Reuters, citing unidentified OPEC delegates, said the organization planned to cut production by 1 million barrels a day, a reduction of nearly 4 percent from its current level of 27.6 million barrels. The cut would primarily come from Saudi Arabia, although most other OPEC members would also pare their output.

But there were conflicting reports from various representatives of OPEC’s member nations who said no agreement had been reached.

Turkish Law to Stifle Criticism
Leads to National Debate

By Ian Fisher

Not a week after a court dropped the case against a best-selling Turkish novelist, another well-known writer was charged with the same crime, one of the most ambiguous and contentious here, that of “insulting Turkishness.”

The newly accused Hrant Dink, editor of an Armenian-language newspaper, Agos, takes the charges, those against him and scores of other writers and publishers, as positive news.

“It is something good for Turkey,” said Dink, though he faces the prospect of three years in jail. “It is good for the dynamism. There is a strong movement from inside, and I can say for the first time we are seeing a real democratic movement.”

This has not been the usual interpretation since the law was passed last year, at a time when riot policemen guarded trials and the European Union issued dire warnings that the law, called Article 301, stood as a major obstacle to Turkey’s long ambitions for membership.

But some of the accused say that the turmoil is forcing a national debate about what it truly means to be a democracy.

World Study Finds
Abuse of Women is Widespread

By Elizabeth Rosenthal

Violence against women by their live-in spouses or partners is a widespread phenomenon, both in the developed and developing world, as well as in rural and urban areas, the most comprehensive and scientific international study on the topic has confirmed.

In interviews with nearly 25,000 women at 15 sites in 10 countries, researchers from the World Health Organization found that rates of partner violence ranged from a low of 15 percent in Yokohama, Japan, to a high of 71 percent in rural Ethiopia.

At six of the sites, at least 50 percent of women said that they had been subject to moderate or severe violence in the home at some point. At 13 of the sites, more than a quarter of all women said they had suffered such violence in the past year.

“Violence by an intimate partner is a common experience worldwide,” the authors wrote of the findings, which are being published Friday in The Lancet, the British medical journal. “In all but one setting, women were at far greater risk of physical or sexual violence by a partner than from violence by other people.”