By Drazen Jorgic and Edmund Blair NAIROBI (Reuters) - South Sudan's oil fields have become a battleground in the struggle for power in Africa's newest nation, encouraging Western nations and regional mediators to consider international monitoring of crude revenues as a way to remove a major bone of contention from such conflicts. South Sudan sits on Sub-Saharan Africa's third-biggest crude reserves, and its oil fields were early targets in fighting that erupted in December and has rumbled on despite two ceasefire deals and U.N. warnings that a man-made famine looms. "If there is a clearer control of oil revenue, that may remove from the table one of the incentives over which people are divided or will fight," said one senior Western diplomat, close to peace talks being held in the Ethiopian capital. Monitoring could range from putting oil earnings into an independently managed escrow account, which South Sudan rebel leader Riek Machar called for, to less intrusive mechanisms where allocations of revenues were checked.
By Leila Abboud and Arno Schuetze PARIS/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Telecoms group Iliad has lined up BNP Paribas and HSBC to finance its bid for T-Mobile US, people familiar with the matter said, as it pursues a deal that could overturn expectations of industry consolidation in both the United States and France. Shares in Paris-based Iliad dropped as much as 13 percent on Friday, as analysts questioned the wisdom and cost of its surprise $15 billion offer for 56.6 percent of T-Mobile US, the No.4 U.S. mobile operator. Shares in rival French companies Bouygues and Orange also fell on speculation that Iliad's interest in a U.S. deal meant it might not seek a tie-up at home that could ease competition in a cut-throat market. "The offer may even not be meant absolutely seriously," said Frank Heise, fund manager at Metzler Asset Management and an owner of Iliad shares.
KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan (AP) — The 12,000 people who fled in fear of more gas pipeline explosions in Taiwan's second-largest city returned to their homes Friday after authorities said there was no more risk of blasts like the series that devastated a more than 2 square kilometers (1 square mile) area, killing 26 people and injuring 267.