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American energy giant Exxon Mobil on Thursday sold part of its controversial stake in a massive Iraqi oilfield to PetroChina and Indonesia's Pertamina amid a long-running row with Baghdad. The sale of the stake in the West Qurna-1 field in south Iraq, one of the country's largest, marks a key step towards resolving the dispute with the central government over Exxon's contracts with the autonomous Kurdish region. "The agreement was signed for Exxon Mobil to sell part of its 60 percent stake," oil ministry spokesman Assem Jihad told AFP. "Representatives of all the companies signed the deal today with the Iraqi government in the ministry."
By Barbara Goldberg NEW YORK (Reuters) - Americans gathered on Thursday to celebrate Thanksgiving, stuffing turkeys for feasts, braving high winds along parade routes and planning for the holiday shopping season, which starts one day earlier this year. Nose-diving morning temperatures after a rainy, snowy evening along the East Coast made for slick conditions during one of the nation's busiest travel times. But Mother Nature gave New York City a break with winds just below the level that would have grounded Snoopy, Sonic the Hedgehog and other giant helium balloons in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's prime minister begged protesters Thursday to call off their sustained anti-government demonstrations and negotiate an end to the nation's latest crisis. But the protesters marched instead to new targets, including the national police headquarters, where they cut power lines.
By David Adams MIAMI (Reuters) - The decision by a New York bank to close Cuba's checking account in the United States has presented an unusual diplomatic quandary that provides a test for new-found pragmatism in relations between the two longtime foes. Cuba announced on Tuesday that it is ceasing almost all consular services in the United States after M&T Bank closed its account, sending shock waves through the booming Cuba-U.S. travel industry and threatening to undermine the Obama administration's goal of closer "people-to-people" ties. Cuba blamed its unusual bank-less status on the longstanding U.S. economic embargo against the communist island, as well as sanctions resulting from it being included on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. Cuba has so far not threatened any reciprocal action against the U.S. diplomatic mission in Havana, and observers were watching for signs of restraint, which diplomats would take as further indication that Cuba is pursuing improved relations.
Gareth Bale believes Real Madrid have all it takes to end a 12-year Champions League title drought as they cruised into the last 16 with a 4-1 win over Galatasaray on Wednesday. Nine-time winners Madrid made light of Sergio Ramos’ sending off midway through the first-half as Bale opened the scoring with sumptuous dipping free-kick from 35 yards to put the hosts in front. Umut Bult levelled for Galatasaray a minute later, but, despite the numerical disadvantage, Madrid were rampant after the break as goals from Alvaro Arbeloa, Angel di Maria and Isco extended Carlo Ancelotti’s men’s unbeaten run to six games, in which they have scored 26 goals.
Four-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi will travel to his native Argentina on Friday to continue his recuperation from a torn hamstring, his club Barcelona confirmed on Thursday. Messi suffered his third and most serious muscle injury of the season earlier this month in a 4-1 win away to Real Betis and is not expected to return to action until after the La Liga winter break in January. "Once he has finished the first part of his recuperation, Lionel Messi will travel on Friday to Argentina, as had been planned, to begin the second phase under the supervision of the club's medical services," said a statement on the club's website. "Doctor Ricard Pruna and physical trainer Elvio Paulorroso will travel to Argentina in the middle of December to supervise the final part of his recovery from the injury.
A former bobsledder taking part in Russia's marathon Olympic torch relay ahead of next year's Winter Games in Sochi briefly caught fire while carrying the flame in Siberia. Homemade footage of the incident posted on Russian websites on Thursday showed the left sleeve of 2006 Turin Winter Games bobsleigh team member Pyotr Makarchuk bursting into flames from what appeared to be a leak in the torch. Makarchuk was at that moment running up to the podium for a formal Olympic cauldron lighting ceremony late Wednesday in the western Siberian city of Abakan. Russia has suffered through a string of misadventures with its much-vaunted Olympic torch, which is made by a renowned rocket production plant and which resembles a feather whose red and grey colours are supposed to symbolise fire and ice.