Iraq Oil Report's Daily Brief compiles the most important news and analysis about Iraq from around the web.

Shell lifts first crude oil from the Majnoon oilfield

Royal Dutch Shell said in a statement:

Shell announced today that the Majnoon oilfield it operates in partnership with South Oil Company (SOC), Petronas and Missan Oil in Southern Iraq has successfully exported its first shipment of crude oil to Shell trading, a significant milestone for the oilfield.

The achievement comes as production at the Majnoon oilfield has reached a current average of 210,000 barrels of oil per day, well in excess of the 175,000 barrels per day (bpd) First Commercial Production target which initiates the commencement of cost recovery and was achieved after extensive rehabilitation works at the oilfield.

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Iraq attacks kill 15 as soldiers ambush militants

Agence France-Presse reports:

Attacks in Iraq left 15 people dead Tuesday while security forces said they killed 25 militants near Baghdad amid worries insurgents are encroaching on the capital weeks ahead of elections.

The latest violence is part of a protracted surge in nationwide bloodshed that has left more than 2,400 people dead since the start of the year and sparked fears Iraq is slipping back into the all-out sectarian fighting that plagued it in 2006 and 2007.

 

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Bulgaria, Iraq discuss direct Sofia-Baghdad flights

Sofia News Agency:

Deputy Transport Minister Anton Ginev agreed on Tuesday with his Iraqi counterpart Bangen Rekani on a new document for bilateral air transport cooperation.

The agreement is expected to boost air traffic and lead to opening new lines, thus also creating jobs and enforcing Bulgarian-Iraqi trade.

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Wife of slain Iraq journalist breaks down in court

Agence France-Presse reports:

The wife of an Iraqi journalist shot dead at a Baghdad checkpoint for a "trivial reason" burst into tears when faced with his alleged killer in court on Monday.

Rafaa Jaafar demanded his killer receive a "fair punishment", speaking at the opening of the trial of an Iraqi Kurdish officer charged with murdering her husband Mohammed Bidaiwi.

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Iraq executes two despite international outcry

Agence France-Presse reports:

Iraq executed two people convicted on anti-terror charges today, the justice ministry said, despite international condemnation of Baghdad's use of the death penalty and criticism of the country's judicial system.

The executions, carried out by hanging, were the first to be confirmed since March 13, and brought to at least 46 the total number of people put to death so far this year, according to an AFP tally based on statements from the justice ministry and officials.

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Drugmaker GSK investigates alleged bribery in Iraq

Ben Hirschler of Reuters reports:

Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline, already facing corruption accusations in China, is now investigating allegations of bribery in Iraq, the British company said on Sunday.

The latest controversy centers on claims that the company hired government-employed physicians and pharmacists in Iraq as paid sales representatives to improperly boost use of its products.

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Petroceltic’s share price slumps after Kurdistan well abandoned

The Independent reports:

Shares in Petroceltic International, an Irish oil and gas explorer, suffered their biggest slump in almost two years during trading in London yesterday.

The major drop came after the company abandoned a well in Kurdistan because of a limited oil and gas find.

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State Department probes Blackwater spending in Iraq

Ali Weinberg for ABC News:

The controversial private security firm formerly known as Blackwater received $1 billion in funds that the State Department did not properly keep track of, a department inspector general report found.

While Blackwater was providing personal protection for State Department officials in Iraq in 2006 and 2007, the firm spent more than $100,000 of taxpayer money on nicer-than-coach-class airline tickets, skimping on the number of required security team members and purchasing (and then losing track of) at least one deep fat fryer.

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Young Iraqi hopes books will stop his peers from migrating

Jane Arraf reports for The Washington Post:

Bathed in the rainbow-colored light of an old Baghdadi window, Ali al-Makhzomy explained his plan to get technology-obsessed young Iraqis to read books — old-fashioned books, with pages.

Outside the cafe where he sat, concrete blocks protect businesses from car bombs. Eleven years after Saddam Hussein was toppled, young people who despair of a future in Iraq are still trying to emigrate. Many of those who remain hope that their country will someday emerge as a new version of ultra-modern, oil-rich Dubai.

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Polio spreads from Syria to Iraq, causing worries

Rick Gladstone of The New York Times reports:

Syria’s polio outbreak has now officially spread to Iraq, the first neighbor of the war-ravaged country to be hit by the crippling virus despite an ambitious Middle East inoculation effort, and global health officials warned Monday that dozens of vulnerable Iraqi children could potentially be infected.

The transmission of polio, a highly contagious disease that primarily afflicts children younger than 5 and can lead to partial and sometimes fatal paralysis, reflects one of the most insidious effects of the three-year-old Syria conflict, which has sent millions of refugees across the country’s borders and severely undermined its public health system.

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