first_imgOPEC and non-OPEC producers on Saturday reached their first deal since 2001 to curtail oil output jointly and ease a global glut after more than two years of low prices that overstretched many budgets and spurred unrest in some countries.With the deal finally signed after almost a year of arguing within the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and mistrust in the willingness of non-OPEC Russia to play ball, the market’s focus will now switch to compliance with the agreement.OPEC has a long history of cheating on output quotas. The fact that Nigeria and Libya were exempt from the deal due to production-denting civil strife will further pressure OPEC leader Saudi Arabia to shoulder the bulk of supply reductions.Russia, which 15 years ago failed to deliver on promises to cut in tandem with OPEC, is expected to perform real output reductions this time. But analysts question whether many other non-OPEC producers are attempting to present a natural decline in output as their contribution to the deal.”This agreement cements and prepares us for long-term cooperation,” Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih told reporters after the meeting, calling the deal “historic”.Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak told the same news conference: “Today’s deal will speed up the oil market stabilisation, reduce volatility, attract new investments.”Last week, OPEC agreed to slash output by 1.2 million barrels per day from Jan. 1, with top exporter Saudi Arabia cutting as much as 486,000 bpd. Falih said on Saturday that Riyadh may cut even deeper.On Saturday, producers from outside the 13-country group agreed to reduce output by 558,000 bpd, short of the initial target of 600,000 bpd but still the largest contribution by non-OPEC ever.Of that, Russia will cut 300,000 bpd, Novak said. He added it would be gradual and by the end of March Russia would be producing 200,000 bpd less than its October 2016 level of 11.247 million bpd – Russia’s highest production estimate so far.Russian output would fall to 10.947 million bpd after six months, Novak said.”They are all enjoying higher prices and compliance tends to be good in the early stages. But then as prices continue to rise, compliance will erode,” said veteran OPEC watcher and founder of Pira Energy consultancy Gary Ross.Amrita Sen from consultancy Energy Aspects said: “Compared to two months ago when the prospects of a deal were fading rapidly, this is a huge turnaround. Sceptics will argue about compliance but the symbolism in itself cannot be understated.”Ross added that OPEC would target an oil price of $60 per barrel as anything above that could encourage rival production.TWO YEARS OF PAINOil prices have more than halved in the past two years after Saudi Arabia raised output steeply in an attempt to drive higher-cost producers such as U.S. shale firms out of the market.The plunge in oil to below $50 per barrel – and sometimes even below $30 – from as high as $115 in mid-2014 has helped reduce growth in U.S. shale output.But it also hit the revenues of oil-dependent economies including Saudi Arabia and Russia, prompting the two largest exporters of crude to start their first oil cooperation talks in 15 years.In April in Doha, an attempt to clinch a deal collapsed. Novak said talks between OPEC and non-OPEC had been rescued after Saudi Arabia replaced veteran oil minister Ali al-Naimi with Falih, who “had fresh views and ideas”.Apart from Russia, the talks on Saturday were attended by or had comments or commitments sent from non-OPEC members Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bolivia, Brunei, Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Sudan and South Sudan.Novak said OPEC and the non-OPEC countries at the meeting were responsible for 55 percent of global output. Their joint reduction of around 1.8 million bpd would account for about 2 percent of global oil supply.Many non-OPEC countries such as Mexico and Azerbaijan face a natural drop in oil production and some analysts expressed doubts those declines should be counted as cuts.Oman said it would cut output by 45,000 bpd and Kazakhstan said it would try to reduce by 20,000 bpd next year.”While a lot of the countries are formalising natural declines, cuts by Russia, Kazakhstan and Oman are real. Russia and Kazakhstan were between them expected to add 400,000 bpd to production next year,” Sen of Energy Aspects said.last_img read more

first_imgMorshed Mishu. Photo: Prothom AloWe arrange a cartoon exhibition every year from Unmad (a satire monthly in Bangladeshi). A few years ago, we were preparing for such a programme. Everyone was submitting their work. Some were sending their work by post or by courier too. In such a busy time, a boy came up, holding some A-4 size papers.Have you brought a cartoon? I asked him. He nodded.I found he brought some feature-type cartoons for Unmad. With an editor-like seriousness I said, “See, the dustbin is over there—throw those there.” The young cartoonist was startled. I comforted him saying it was not what he thought it to be. We used the dustbin to keep the cartoons for the next issue.This is the rule at Unmad office. The selected cartoons are stored in the dustbin there. We made this rule after an incident. I said forget about this cartoon now and rather paint a big cartoon for our exhibition. Our cartoon exhibition was due in two days. But I did not tell him that his cartoon could not be selected at all. I told him the subject. The theme of the exhibition was environment. He departed thanking me.What a surprise! He returned in the afternoon with a big colourful cartoon. The idea was splendid too–a number of hands with an image of trees emerging out of the globe. It was an intellectual one. We loved it. It was placed in Unmad’s special exhibition on environment.This is how Morshed Mishu’s inauguration in cartoons took place directly at the gallery. Then, his cartoons began being published in Unmad regularly. He painted better than that of his usual age. Our chief features were generally done by the senior cartoonists. I assigned him once to do this. He did it easily and did the cover too. I thought, he was improving so fast and he could do more. We recruited him officially as an assistant editor.But all on a sudden he went missing. I arranged the search for him. One said, he (Mishu) was ‘destroying’ all the walls of Dhaka. I came to know that he was professionally illustrating the walls at certain expensive restaurants, auditorium, office, classrooms in Dhaka. They were huge tasks and could no be done with colour and brush. He was using peculiar things including nails, screws, trash iron and tires and so on. The restless young artist soon returned to cartoon. By this time his boyish looks changed into that of Che Guevara. The pattern of his drawing also underwent changes. He started sketching ‘Global Happiness Series’.We held an exhbition printing these in big volumes on the 40th year of Unmad. The rest is history. These cartoons spread into 26 countries of the world. Our ‘Morshed Mishu’ was named on the famous Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list. Abdullah Al Morshed is his full name.It is not uncommon that people get stardom overnight in sports or music. But Mishu proved it was possible through cartoons too. Congratulations, Mishu!*Ahsan Habib is an author, cartoonist and editor of monthly satire magazine Unmad. This piece originally published in Prothom Alo print edition has been rewritten in English by Nusrat Nowrin.last_img read more

first_imgBangladesh Road and Transport Authority (BRTA) launches a 10-day-long training for bus drivers in Dhaka on Monday. Photo: UNBBangladesh Road and Transport Authority (BRTA) on Monday launched a 10-day-long training for bus drivers in Dhaka, reports UNB.Road transport and highways division secretary Nazrul Islam inaugurated the training workshop at BRTA office in Banani aiming to reduce road accidents and raising awareness among drivers.At least 100 bus drivers started training in the first phase and another 100 will attend in the 2nd phase. Gradually drivers from inter-bus services will attend the programme.Transport expert and Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) professor Shamshul Huq spoke in the first day of training.BRTA chairman Moshiar Rahman presided over the training where BRTA director Sirajul Islam, Sarak Paribahan Malik Samity (Road Transport Owners Association) general secretary Enayet Ullah, Dhaka Sarak Paribahan Malik-Shramik Oikya Paribahan member secretary Sadiqur Rahman Miah were present.last_img read more

first_imgA collaborative production inspired by the stories, struggles, dreams and hopes of a motley group of teenagers titled Walk! was staged at Studio Safdar on May 22 – 23. The show was born out of a four month intensive arts-for-social-change curriculum, in which 12 teenagers, cutting across barriers of caste, class, gender, religion, and nationality, came together to teach each other about the social issues that affect them most deeply as well as the changes they dream of.  Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Walk! was based on the lives and stories of the cast members; while no one plays their own part, the stories are all true. Facilitated by Tasawwur, a collective of artistes and educators, the show brought together song, choreography, tableaus, and stories to take the audience through the world these young people inhabit and the more inclusive world that they dream of.Tasawwur was started by Delhi based poet and educator, Aditi Rao. Tasawwur brings together a diverse group of teenagers to explore and transform some of the most complex social issues they grapple with. Using creative writing and performing arts to support these young people on their explorations, Tasawwur helps them discover their unique voices and stories, while creating an atmosphere of care and respect for the voices and stories of others, and ultimately using their collective voice to effect positive change in the world.last_img read more

first_imgWomen face weight-based prejudice at the workplace – even when their body mass index (BMI) is within the healthy range, the study found. “Many organisations in the service sector, such as shops, bars and hotels, seek to employ people with the right ‘look’ which will fit with their corporate image,” said one of the researchers Dennis Nickson, Professor at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland.“This study shows how women, even within a medically-healthy BMI range, still face discrimination in service sector employment,” Nickson noted. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfIn the study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, participants were asked to rate people for their suitability for jobs in the service sector, based on their appearance.The study asked 120 participants to rate eight pictures of men and women for their suitability for jobs working in a customer-facing role, such as a waiter or sales assistant in a shop, and for a non-customer facing role, such as a kitchen porter or stock assistant. Participants in the study were told that applicants were equally qualified and were shown faces that reflected a ‘normal’ weight and a subtle ‘heavier’ face.“The results found that both women and men face challenges in a highly ‘weight-conscious’ labour market, especially for customer-facing roles. However, women faced far more discrimination,” Nickson added.“We found that women, even within a normal BMI range, suffered greater weight-based bias compared to men who were overtly overweight,” Nickson noted.last_img read more

first_imgKolkata: State Finance and Industry, minister Amit Mitra on Tuesday said that both Tantuja and Manjusha have seen a remarkable turnaround in the last seven years since the Mamata Banerjee government took over in 2011.Tantuja, that had suffered a loss of Rs 12.69 crore in the year 2010-11 has registered an operational profit of Rs 10.26 crore in the 2017-18 fiscal. In reply to a poser by Trinamool Congress MLA Samir Kumar Jana at the state Assembly, Mitra, who is also in charge of the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and Textiles department stated that Tantuja, in the year 2010-11, has made a business of Rs 55.09 crore and incurred a loss of Rs 12.69 crore. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life”In 2011-12, the very first year we assumed office, we made a profit of Rs 69 lakh. In the 2017-18 fiscal, our turnover has gone up to Rs 204. 90 crore with a profit of Rs 10.26 crore,” the minister said. He also added that Tantuja has made a business of Rs 167.70 crore in the last seven months and the operational profit has been Rs 3.39 crore. According to Mitra, the operational profit for Manjusha has been Rs 5.87 crore in the 2017-18 fiscal and it has also registered a turnover of Rs 91.04 crore. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killed”Manjusha has made a business of Rs 167.70 crore from April to October this year and has made a profit of Rs 7.39 crore,” he said. Elaborating on the reasons behind the turnaround, the minister said Tantuja has gone for massive product diversification in terms of bringing in the latest designs in sarees and has introduced jackets, scarves etc. “The state design centre is coming up with new designs and the weavers are being encouraged to incorporate new and latest designs in sarees,” Mitra added. According to him, the state government has eliminated the role of middlemen in the entire process by introducing the sale of products through e-commerce sites and also doing away with the manual calculation of sale proceeds. “The products are now purchased directly from the Self-Help Groups and the weavers through camps in various parts of the state and payments are made directly to their bank accounts,” Mitra reiterated.last_img read more