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Oil topped $30 a barrel for the first time since the 1991 Gulf War and was more than three times higher than at this time a year ago. On the International Petroleum Exchange in London, the per-barrel price of benchmark Brent crude for April delivery rose 63 cents over Monday's close, hitting $30.26 before falling back to $30.14. US light crude closed higher still, at $32.60. The agreement by members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to cut production, which has shrunk supplies and driven up the price, expires in 3-1/2 weeks.

In a stock deal valued at about $21 billion, VeriSign Inc., a leading provider of Internet encryption technology, said it would buy Network Solutions Inc. The latter, based in Herndon, Va., is a registrar of Internet domain names. VeriSign's headquarters are in Mountain View, Calif.

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Unable to overcome US opposition, the European Union's candidate to head the International Monetary Fund withdrew from consideration. Deputy German Finance Minister Caio Koch-Weiser also is a veteran of 25 years with the World Bank but was seen in Washington as unqualified for the IMF post. Reports said he would be replaced by another German, Horst Koehler, chief of the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society


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