WORLD NEWS IN BRIEF: Chinese activist permitted to study abroad; oil prices drop below $100

Friday, May 4, 2012 | 7:03 p.m. CDT
This undated photo provided by the China Aid Association shows blind Chinese legal activist Chen Guangcheng, right, with his son, Chen Kerui, and wife, Yuan Weijing, in Shandong province, China. Chen, a blind activist, sought sanctuary in the U.S. Embassy after fleeing persecution by local officials in his rural town.

U.S., China forge tentative deal on Chinese activist


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BEIJING — Legal activist Chen Guangcheng can apply for travel permits to study abroad in the U.S. after the U.S. and China outlined a deal Friday to end the diplomatic standoff over allowing Chen to travel to the U.S.

The emerging deal over Chen's future shows a renewed resolve by Washington and Beijing to end one of their most delicate diplomatic crises in years.

A blind, self-taught lawyer and symbol in China's civil rights movement, Chen triggered the standoff after he escaped abusive house arrest in his rural town and sought refuge in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing last week.

He left six days later under a negotiated deal in which he and his family were to be reunited at a hospital and then safely relocated in China so he can formally study law. But he then upended the agreement by saying they wanted to go abroad.

Obstacles such as applying for and obtaining a passport still remain for Chen.

Jobs lost to recession trickle back, but wages lag

WASHINGTON — Since the Great Recession, which has eliminated 8.3 million jobs, only 43 percent of jobs have been regained 34 months later.

Job growth decreased in April for the second straight month suggesting that the economy is steadily growing. However, the number of people looking for jobs has decreased, resulting in a drop in the unemployment rate.

This steady, but sluggish economic growth could tighten the presidential race as no incumbent president since 1956 has lost when unemployment fell in the two years leading to an election.

Breast cancer is rare in men, but they fare worse

CHICAGO — On average, men who contract breast cancer live two years less than women with the disease, according to the largest study conducted as of yet of men with breast cancer. However, the study doesn't indicate whether the patients died of breast cancer.

There are no guidelines for detecting breast cancer in men, according to the American Cancer Society. According to the study, many men are slow to recognize symptoms of the disease and many doctors dismiss symptoms that would be automatic red flags in women. It also showed that men are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer later in life, at an average age of 63, compared to 59 for women.

The study analyzed 10 years worth of national data on breast cancer cases. A total of 13,457 male patients were diagnosed during those years, whereas 1.4 million women were diagnosed with the disease during those same years.

Oil drops below $100 for first time since February

The price of oil dropped $5 per barrel by midday for the first time since February, leaving the cost per barrel below $100. This dramatic drop is easing fears that high energy prices would cripple the struggling U.S. economy.

The weaker than expected report on job growth in the U.S. added to recent signs that the global economy is weakening, meaning demand for oil should slow. World oil supplies are growing while demand is falling.

Gasoline prices in the U.S. appeared to be on track to soar past $4 per gallon nationwide, but that prediction has disappeared. In the U.S., gasoline prices have fallen to $3.80 per gallon from April's peak at $3.94, and they are expected to go as low as $3.50 by July 4.

Oil prices haven't dropped this much since Dec. 14, 2011, when the benchmark price fell by $5.19, or 5.2 percent, to $94.95 per barrel. The U.S. benchmark has crossed the $100 mark 21 times during the past year.

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