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Obama Proposes Crackdown On Oil Speculators

U.S. Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama has proposed a clampdown on energy speculation which he believes is responsible for record-high oil prices.

Senator Obama Sunday announced the proposal, which would close a legal provision that exempts energy commodies from government oversight.

Critics say the deregulation measure, signed in 2000 by then-President Bill Clinton, opened the way to uncontrolled speculation in the oil markets.

The price of gasoline has become a campaign issue between Obama and presumptive Republican nominee John McCain. Senator McCain wants Congress to lift a ban on offshore oil drilling, while Obama says such a measure would not help the problem in the short term.

Obama's announcement concides with a major energy summit in Saudi Arabia on ways to rein in the high oil prices.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.