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Washington: President Barack Obama took a victory lap highlighting his successes of 2015 from thawing relations with Cuba to halting Iran’s nuclear programme to bringing China, India and Brazil on board for a historic climate deal.

The Paris climate change agreement “would not have happened without American leadership,” he said addressing a year-end press conference at the White House Friday before flying off to Hawaii for a two-week vacation with his family.

“…working with other countries, culminating in the joint announcement with China, bringing in India, bringing in Brazil and the other big, emerging countries, working with the Europeans and getting this done.”

“And, by the way, the same is true for the Iran nuclear deal. The same is true for the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” said Obama. “The same is true for stamping out Ebola — something, you guys may recall from last year, which was the potential end of the world.”

“This year, what you really saw was that steady, persistent leadership on many initiatives that I began when I first came into office,” he said.

Obama also claimed progress against ISIS, saying the group has lost 40 percent of the area it once held in Iraq and is losing ground in Syria, but acknowledged that the government could not stop all potential strikes in advance.

“We are going to defeat ISIS,” Obama said, insisting that US airstrikes in Syria and Iraq were hitting the group “harder than ever” and were taking the group’s leaders, commanders and forces off the battlefield.

But he warned the group would continue to be a menace: “In any fight, even as you make progress, there are still dangers involved.”

Obama admitted that ISIS’ new focus on orchestrating and inspiring spontaneous terror attacks on the West — often by radicalised individuals — would be much more difficult to stop in advance than the more intricate plots once organized by Al Qaeda.

“It is very difficult for us to detect lone wolf plots or plots involving a husband and wife,” Obama said, referring to the San Bernardino, California, attack by a Pakistani-origin couple earlier this month that killed 14 people.

Obama also took a jab at Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying he had predicted that the Russian operation in Syria would not change the shape of the battlefield between Moscow-backed President Bashar al-Assad and his internal foes.

“I do think you have seen from the Russians that after a couple of months they are not really moving the needle that much,” he said.

Obama insisted that he would use his final year to continue to try to close a detention camp for terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, arguing that it remained an important recruiting tool for jihadists around the world.(Arun Kumar, IANS)

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Petrol Prices On The Reverse Trend For The Last 13 Days: Prices Fall

Both in Delhi and Kolkata, diesel prices in the fortnight have declined

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Petrol Prices On The Reverse Trend For The Last 13 Days: Prices Falls
Petrol Prices On The Reverse Trend For The Last 13 Days: Prices Falls, flickr

Domestic petrol prices, which had hit record levels for 16 consecutive days in May, have been on the reverse trend for the last 13 days, including Monday, but the relief for consumers has been slow in coming.

The pace of decline has been less than half the rate of surge.

Percentage-wise, since May 30, when prices started to take a downturn, petrol prices have slipped 2.35 per cent in Delhi, compared to the 5.5 per cent in the previous 16 days.

In absolute terms, prices have gone down by Rs 1.85 a litre since May 30, compared to the increase of Rs 3.8 per litre in the during May 14-29. On Monday, fuel was sold at Rs 76.58 per litre in the national capital, down 20 paise from Sunday’s level, the IndianOil Corp’s website showed.

In Mumbai, where petrol prices were the highest in the country last month, the decline has been much slow at Rs 1.23 per litre so far, against the rise of Rs 3.76 a litre during May 14-29.

On Monday, petrol price in Mumbai was Rs 84.41 per litre against Rs 84.61 on Sunday. Similarly, in Kolkata and Chennai, the fuel was sold at Rs 79.25 and Rs 79.48 respectively.

In Kolkata and Chennai too, the decline has been Rs 1.81 and Rs 1.65 per litre in the last 13 days, around 50 per cent of the previous rate of increase.

In tandem with petrol prices, diesel too has seen a decline, but of only around 2 per cent in all the major cities including Delhi, compared to over 5 per cent rise in the previous fortnight.

Petrol station
Petrol station, flickr

Both in Delhi and Kolkata, diesel prices in the last 13 days have declined by Rs 1.36, and in Mumbai and Kolkata, the fall was of Rs 1.44 and Rs 1.45 per litre respectively.

Also read: Petrol price slashes by 32 paise and diesel price by 85 paise

On Monday, prices of the fuel in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai were at Rs 67.95, Rs 70.50, Rs 72.35 and Rs 71.73 per litre, respectively. (IANS)