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U.S. approves oil exports to Mexico

Monday, 17 August 2015 | 00:00
The Obama administration approved limited crude-oil trading with Mexico on Friday, further easing the longstanding U.S. ban on crude exports that has drawn consternation from Republicans and energy producers.
Mexico’s state-run oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, has sought to import about 100,000 barrels of light crude a day and proposed a deal last year in which Mexico would trade its own heavier crude for lighter U.S. crude. A major crude exporter for decades, Mexico’s oil production has fallen in recent years.
The license applications to be approved by the U.S. Commerce Department allow for the exchange of similar amounts of U.S. and Mexican crude, said a senior Obama administration official, who wasn’t authorized to comment by name. The official didn’t disclose whether all 100,000 barrels requested would be allowed.
The move to allow trading with Mexico marked a significant shift and an additional sign that the Obama administration may be open to loosening the export ban. Exchanges of oil are one of a handful of exemptions permitted under the export ban put in place by Congress. The export ban is a relic of the 1970s, after an oil embargo by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries led to fuel rationing and high prices. But Republicans have argued that lifting the ban could make the United States an energy superpower and boost the economy.
Republicans from energy-producing states hailed the decision, as did trade groups representing the oil industry. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) called it a positive step but added that she would still push for full repeal “as quickly as possible.”
A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit accusing a large Jordan-based bank of sharing responsibility for a wave of Hamas-sanctioned suicide bombings in the early 2000s that left several Americans dead or wounded, lawyers said Friday.
Details of the deal between more than 300 plaintiffs and Arab Bank weren’t disclosed. It came three days before the damages phase of the case was scheduled to go to trial in federal court in Brooklyn.
A spokeswoman for one of the plaintiff law firms, Motley Rice, confirmed that there was a settlement and said the framework will be finalized over the next few months. Arab Bank declined to discuss details.
The high-stakes legal offshoot of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had pitted American victims of terror attacks in the early 2000s against an international bank with several branches in Gaza and the West Bank. The victims sued in 2004, accusing the bank of knowingly helping Hamas fund a “death and dismemberment benefit plan” for martyrs from the territories.
It marked the first time a bank had faced a trial under the Anti-Terrorism Act, which allows victims of U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations to seek compensation. The U.S. State Department designated Hamas a terrorist group in 1997.
Source: Associated Press
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