OPEC adjourns without cutting production

CAIRO, Egypt: OPEC held off on announcing new oil output cuts yesterday, but its alarm over falling demand and a slumping economy potentially laid the groundwork for a big reduction when it meets again in a matter of weeks. Chakib Khelil, Algeria's oil minister and the group's president, said the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries ministers noted "with concern the continued deterioration of the global economic situation and its impact on oil demand." The ministers, he said in a statement, agreed to "take any additional action ... to balance oil supply and demand, and achieve market stability" during their Dec. 17 extraordinary meeting in Oran, Algeria. The outcome of yesterday's meeting in Cairo, convened about a month after the group decided to pull 1.5 million barrels per day of oil from the market, seemed unlikely to put a floor beneath crude prices that have fallen by about 60 percent from their mid-July highs of $147 per barrel.


Airport protesters, security forces clash

BANGKOK, Thailand: Anti-government protesters occupying Bangkok's two commercial airports clashed at least twice with security forces yesterday, raising tensions in the four-day standoff. Thai police said they would continue their efforts to negotiate with protesters and called the first clash a misunderstanding. The Thai airport authority said Suvarnabhumi Airport would be closed until at least this evening, dashing hopes for a quick resolution of the national crisis.


Plea deal offered to boy, 8, in Arizona killings

PHOENIX: Prosecutors have offered a plea deal to an 8-year-old boy charged with murder in the shooting deaths of his father and another man in their St. Johns home, court records show. Complete details of the offer weren't spelled out in a court filing posted yesterrday on the Apache County Superior Court's Web site. But Apache County Attorney Criss Candelaria wrote that he has "tendered a plea offer to the juvenile's attorneys that would resolve all the charges in the juvenile court contingent on the results of the mental health evaluations." The boy is facing charges in the shooting deaths of his father, Vincent Romero, 29, and Timothy Romans, 39, this month. Defense attorney Benjamin Brewer said yesterday that the deal would resolve the case without it being transferred to adult court, but he declined to provide additional details.

'Iffy' weather could hinder shuttle landing

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.: Their work in orbit accomplished, space shuttle Endeavour's seven astronauts got the green light yesterday to return to Earth but were warned that "pretty iffy" weather at the main landing site could send them across the country or keep them up an extra day.