January 2, 2012 in Nation/World

In brief: Exxon Mobil wins Venezuela claim

From Wire Reports

CARACAS, Venezuela – An international arbitration body has awarded Exxon Mobil Corp. nearly $908 million in a dispute with Venezuela over compensation for the nationalization of its assets, the company said Sunday.

Exxon Mobil sought arbitration after President Hugo Chavez’s government nationalized an oil project in the country in 2007.

The decision by the International Chamber of Commerce confirmed that state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA “does have a contractual liability to Exxon Mobil,” company spokesman Patrick McGinn said in an email. He said the award is for $907,588,000.

Venezuelan officials did not respond Sunday to messages seeking comment.

Egypt defends sweeps of groups

CAIRO – A top Egyptian official responsible for overseeing civil society groups on Sunday defended sweeps through the offices of 10 human rights and pro-democracy organizations, rejecting denunciations from the U.S., U.N. and Germany.

It was the first comment from the Egyptian government since the sweeps Thursday that targeted, among others, U.S.-based groups invited to observe Egypt’s months-long election process.

International Cooperation Minister Faiza Aboul Naga defended the operation as a legitimate investigation into organizations suspected of operating without permits and receiving “political funding” against the law.

Aboul Naga pointed to repeated complaints from the judiciary and the ruling military about civil society groups accepting foreign funds to promote protests and instability and “influence public opinion in non-peaceful ways.” She said the order to investigate the groups came from independent judges.

Quake rattles off Tokyo coast

TOKYO – A 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck under the sea south of Japan on Sunday, shaking buildings in the capital but causing no apparent damage or tsunami.

The quake struck near the uninhabited island of Torishima in the Pacific Ocean, about 370 miles south of Tokyo, and its epicenter was about 230 miles below the sea, the Meterological Agency said. It did not generate a tsunami.

Tokyo area building shook, but no damage or injuries were reported.

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