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By Barani Krishnan NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil rose on Friday as concerns over fighting in Iraq extended short covering from the previous session, but crude prices were still poised for a seventh month of declines, the longest rout on record. A supply glut and OPEC's refusal to cut output has driven benchmark Brent and U.S. crude futures down 60 percent since June. A Reuters poll shows oil prices may post only a mild recovery in the second half of the year, with prices still averaging less in 2015 than during the global financial crisis. Crude was up in early trading Friday in New York on renewed violence in oil producer Iraq, where Islamic State militants had struck at Kurdish forces southwest of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.
By Aleksandar Vasovic and Andrei Makhovsky DONETSK, Ukraine/MINSK (Reuters) - Civilians were killed on both sides in heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine on Friday, while an attempt to reopen peace talks in neighboring Belarus was aborted before it began. Rebel delegates flew to the Belarus capital Minsk, only to announce that no talks would take place on Friday and they were flying straight back to Moscow. Any talks would be the first since a five-month-old ceasefire collapsed with a new rebel advance last week. The main rebel stronghold Donetsk echoed to the sound of heavy artillery fire, including salvoes from multiple rocket launchers and heavier thuds from artillery coming from the direction of the airport, a constant battlefield.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The pilots of a helium-filled balloon flying across the Pacific Ocean have surpassed a duration record as they approach North America after staying aloft for 138 hours and 27 minutes.