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A Saudi Aramco sign is pictured at an oil facility in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia.

REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

The Saudis’ big oil cut begins. How long will it last?

The Saudis’ controversial plan to slash oil production by 1 million barrels per day officially kicked off on July 1. The kingdom hopes that these voluntary cuts will help raise oil prices, which have remained sluggish for the better part of 2023. (The OPEC+ cartel – which include resource-rich countries in the Middle East, Latin America, and Africa, plus Russia – surprised observers when they announced some output cuts back in the spring that briefly drove up prices.)

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Garbage bags that have been piling up on the pavement as waste collectors are on strike since March 6 to protest against the French government's proposed pensions reform, in Paris on March 27, 2023.

Quentin Veuillet/ABACAPRESS.COM via Reuters Connect

Hard Numbers: Eiffel Tower of trash, ELN attack, Saudi-China lovefest, drill baby drill is back, dream on Lesotho

10,000: Sanitation workers in Paris finally returned to work Wednesday, ending a weekslong strike over the government's controversial law to raise the minimum retirement age to 64. The City of Lights is now a stinker buried under 10,000 metric tons of trash — roughly the same weight as the iconic Eiffel Tower.

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The Graphic Truth: China-Saudi trade — who has the upper hand?

In what was widely viewed as a snub to Washington, Beijing and Riyadh last week inked a slate of trade agreements topping $50 billion during Xi Jinping’s trip to Saudi Arabia, though they remained mum on the details. For years, the world’s largest oil consumer (China) and the world’s largest oil exporter (Saudi Arabia) have cultivated strong ties based on mutually beneficial economic interests. But relations have expanded in recent years, with the two becoming more aligned geopolitically as well. Riyadh, feeling jilted by Washington, is keen to boost ties with the world's second largest economy. China, for its part, wants to gain more of a foothold in the energy-rich Middle East. Who's in the driver's seat? We take a look at China-Saudi trade since 2000.

Police secures the area in Berlin after 25 suspected members and supporters of a far-right group were detained during raids across Germany.

REUTERS/Christian Mang

What We’re Watching: German coup plotters, Peru’s self-coup, Xi’s Saudi visit, TSMC’s big investment

A thwarted German Jan. 6?

Is there a single German word for "narrowly averted right-wing coup attempt"? We aren't sure, but on Wednesday German authorities arrested 25 people accused of belonging to a domestic terror organization with plans to overthrow the government and replace it with German nobility in a throwback to pre-Weimar times. Some 3,000 police conducted raids in several German states as well as in Austria and Italy, detaining people associated with the Reichsbürger, a right-wing German conspiracy group, the far-right Alternativ für Deutschland party, and at least one Russian citizen. You’ll likely remember that a member of the AfD – a euroskeptic party that has capitalized on anti-immigrant sentiment in recent years to grow its base – tweeted after the Jan. 6 riot at the US Capitol that "Trump is fighting the same political fight — you have to call it a culture war." Harboring beliefs that Germany is being run by a “deep state'' (sound familiar?), the group reportedly planned to launch an armed attack on the Reichstag, Germany’s parliament. This is just the most recent reflection of a far-right extremist problem in Deutschland. Last year, the German government placed the AfD under surveillance for its far-right extremist affiliations, and early this year the government found that more than 300 employees in Germany's security apparatus harbored far-right views.

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