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Russia Threatens to Revoke Oil Company’s Licenses

By Andrew E. Kramer

In a sign of continuing turmoil in the Russian oil industry, the government threatened on Monday to revoke oil field licenses held by the country’s largest private energy concern, Lukoil.

The action affected 19 of 406 licenses owned by Lukoil, a company that is 20 percent owned by ConocoPhillips of the United States. Lukoil said in a statement that it expected to resolve the complaints soon, and analysts agreed that was likely.

Still, the enforcement action was significant because the same environmental regulator who is behind it suspended a permit last month for a $22 billion project operated by Royal Dutch Shell on Sakhalin Island. That regulator, Oleg L. Mitvol, deputy director of the environmental agency Rosprirodnadzor, has become a closely watched figure by Moscow energy analysts.

Mitvol vowed that he would eventually inspect all energy companies working in Russia. In the politically tinged atmosphere of Russian energy politics, that statement seemed intended to counter criticism from diplomats and oil analysts that Mitvol had selectively enforced the rules against Shell.

FBI Searches Home Of Congressman’s Daughter

By David Johnston

Federal agents executed search warrants on Monday at the homes of Rep. Curt Weldon’s daughter and a longtime political associate in an investigation into whether Weldon, R-Pa., improperly aided their efforts to obtain lobbying and public relations contracts, law enforcement officials said.

FBI agents searched four homes and other locations in the vicinity of Philadelphia and two other sites near Jacksonville, Fla. as the part of the inquiry. Debbie Weierman, a spokeswoman for the bureau’s Washington office, confirmed the searches, but would not say why the locations were searched.

Weldon’s residence and his congressional office were not among the locations that were examined, but other law enforcement officials said that Weldon is the subject of an intensifying corruption inquiry. Affidavits citing why agents wanted to carry out the searches were sealed.

Suicide Bomber Kills 94
In Sri Lanka

By Shimali Senanayake

A suicide bomber rammed a truck packed with explosives into a military convoy on Monday, killing at least 94 people and wounding 150. The explosion, about 100 miles northeast of the capital, was one of the deadliest attacks since a 2002 cease-fire between the government and separatist Tamils.

The government blamed the rebels, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, for the attack, a charge the group neither acknowledged nor denied. The vast majority of those killed and injured were sailors, but a military spokesman said some civilians were caught in the explosion.

“This is a barbaric terrorist act,” said Keheliya Rambukwella, the government’s military spokesman. “It clearly shows that peace is not on the agenda of the LTTE and they don’t care about international opinion.”

But he said the government planned to attend peace talks with the rebels, which are being brokered by Norway and are to resume Oct. 28 in Geneva after an eight-month hiatus. The separatists have said they may back out of the talks.