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Other News: OPEC Supply Cut Expected

March 13, 2009 at 6:10 PM EDT

JUDY WOODRUFF: In other news, oil prices ended the day with a loss after lurching up and down all week. The price in New York finished just above $46 a barrel after new forecasts of falling demand. The market is waiting to see what OPEC does on Sunday about a possible cut in output.

Today, President Obama telephoned King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia ahead of the meeting. A statement said they discussed international economic and security issues.

Two large banks — Wells Fargo and HSBC — were accused today of steering blacks into risky mortgages. The NAACP moved to file class-action lawsuits in federal court in Los Angeles. It claimed black homebuyers were pushed into subprime mortgages with high interest rates. It said whites with the same financial backgrounds got lower rates. Wells Fargo called the claim “totally unfounded.”

Judges in Minnesota today began deliberations in the fight over a vacant U.S. Senate seat. At issue is whether Democrat Al Franken’s lead of just 225 votes should be invalidated due to voting and recount problems. Republican incumbent Norm Coleman said today that he’s hopeful the court will count absentee ballots that elections officials rejected.

NORM COLEMAN, Republican Senate Candidate, Minnesota: As a result of these proceedings, there are going to be hundreds if not thousands of Minnesotans whose votes were not counted on Election Day that are going to be counted now. I hope there are enough so that I’ll be the winner.

JUDY WOODRUFF: But in closing arguments, Franken’s attorney said the judges should ignore the Coleman contentions.

KEVIN HAMILTON, Attorney for Al Franken: All these binders piled up all over this courtroom and all of the testimony from that witness stand over the long seven weeks, after all that, contestants stand bereft before the court with virtually no evidence to support any of their claims.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The verdict, when it comes, is subject to appeal.

The United States will no longer declare any terror suspects to be enemy combatants; the Obama administration confirmed that today in a federal court filing. It rejected President Bush’s use of his wartime powers to hold suspects indefinitely without charge. Instead, the new policy relies on congressional acts and international laws of war.

In Pakistan today, police blocked more anti-government protesters from reaching Islamabad for a sit-in next Monday, but there was talk of a possible deal. An aide to President Asif Ali Zardari said, “It looks like we are going towards some kind of resolution.”

Meanwhile, Pakistani officials reported 22 people killed in U.S. missile strikes yesterday in the northwest. The target appeared to be a house used by the Taliban.