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NEWS | IN BRIEF

Barclays cheers Lehman assets
Barclays boss Bob Diamond claimed yesterday that the assets the bank gained from Lehman Brothers are healthier than originally anticipated. Diamond made the comments at a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, over a year after Barclays bought up the US operations of Lehman Brothers, which fell apart last September. He also railed against breaking up larger banks deemed too big to fail, saying that making banks smaller would not help. “The debate of too big to fail has to step back. Assuming big is bad is wrong,” he said.

Iraq oil contracts lift production
Iraq’s oil deals have given it a strong hand in its future output negotiations with OPEC. The country, still battling the spectre of war and security issues, has awarded contracts with energy firms that will quadruple its production capacity. The contracts are expected to lift the country’s capacity to 12m barrels per day within the next six to seven years, an increase of 9.5m. This potential total would only be beaten by OPEC’s biggest and most powerful member, Saudi Arabia. Iraq, one of OPEC's founding members, had shrugged off talk of output curbs as it put some of its giant oilfields on the block during two bid rounds. But Iraq wants to maximise revenues rather than pump flat out.