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Updated: 38 min 47 sec ago

France to slow deficit reduction, will respect targets - minister

5 hours 28 min ago

France has won backing from its European partners to slightly slow the reduction of its public deficit, but it will respect its EU-imposed deficit targets, French Finance Minister Michel Sapin said on Thursday. The French government aims to bring the deficit in line with an EU limit of 3 percent of national income next year, a target most economists consider out of reach. The government has fallen behind on deficit reduction after the hole in the public finances came to 4.3 percent last year, missing its target of 4.1 percent. Sapin said he had not sought backing from Brussels for extra time to cut the deficit, but rather had discussed and "partly" won support for changing the speed at which the deficit is reduced.


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Clone candidates clutter Indian election contests

5 hours 34 min ago
By Nandita Bose MAVAL, India (Reuters) - Voters in a parliamentary constituency in western India could be forgiven for asking the real candidates to please stand up. The race in Maval, a constituency of 1.9 million voters in Maharashtra state, has two real contenders: One is Shrirang Barne of the Shiv Sena, an ally of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that is on track to form the next government. The other is Laxman Jagtap of the Peasants and Workers Party (PWP), an ally of the ruling Congress Party.
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China economy stronger than data suggests - government

6 hours 8 min ago

By Aileen Wang and Adam Rose BEIJING (Reuters) - China's economy is doing better than official data suggests, the Commerce Ministry said a day after figures showed growth at an 18-month low, adding that targets for exports and imports this year should be met despite some caution over the trade outlook. Ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said a rise in export deliveries, a customs department poll of exporters and growth in trade in individual provinces all showed that the economy was in good shape.


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Bain, Carlyle among bidders for StanChart's HK consumer unit - sources

17 April, 2014 - 00:24

(Reuters) - Private equity firms Bain Capital and Carlyle Group are among first round bidders for Standard Chartered's Hong Kong consumer finance unit, a business valued at up to $700 million (415 million pounds), people familiar with the matter said. Orix Corp , one of Japan's largest financial services conglomerates, and some Chinese non-bank finance companies also placed bids this week, they added. The sale of PrimeCredit is expected to be the first of several sales of non-core businesses by Standard Chartered as it seeks to boost shareholder returns and braces for slower profit growth after a decade of earnings expansion that ended in 2013. A Standard Chartered spokesman said the bank is exploring strategic options for the consumer finance business but no formal decision has been made.


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Citi received mixed signals from the Fed on 'stress test' - WSJ

17 April, 2014 - 00:08

(Reuters) - The Federal Reserve indicated to Citigroup Inc that the bank would get more time to fix certain "stress test" planning problems before rejecting its capital plan last month, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people close to the company. The Fed had agreed to give Citigroup a 2015 deadline to address a series of shortcomings identified by the regulator in the wake of the 2013 test, the report said.


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Brazil unveils $10 billion infrastructure budget for Rio Olympics

17 April, 2014 - 00:04

By Pedro Fonseca RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazilian authorities unveiled an infrastructure budget of 24.1 billion reais (6.39 billion pounds) for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, 25 percent more than planned, as they try to reassure the world they can deliver facilities on time. The budget covers 27 projects in urban development and public transport, including 8 billion reais for a newly added fourth metro line for Rio, Brazil's congested second largest city, where getting around town is an ordeal. Other initially envisaged projects were excluded, such as the upgrade to Rio's international airport Galeao, which has been handed to private operators. Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes said the higher budget was due to the inclusion of new projects and inflation, which has blown up costs by 30 percent since Rio won hosting rights for the event in 2009.


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Argentina's fight with bondholders reaches U.S. top court

17 April, 2014 - 00:03

By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday wades into Argentina's multi-billion dollar legal fight with bond investors who turned down two debt restructuring offers after the country's 2002 default. The relatively narrow case that the nine justices are due to hear concerns whether the investors can force banks in New York with which Argentina does business to disclose information about the country's non-U.S. assets as the investors seek repayment. A bigger case, in which Argentina is challenging a court judgment ordering it to pay $1.33 billion (790.25 million pounds) to the so-called "holdout" bond investors or face a potential default if it refuses to do so, waits in the wings. Argentina has been battling for a decade with the bondholders led by hedge funds NML Capital Ltd, a unit of billionaire Paul Singer's Elliott Management Corp, and Aurelius Capital Management.


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Olympics-Brazil unveils $10 bln infrastructure budget for Rio

16 April, 2014 - 23:26
By Pedro Fonseca RIO DE JANEIRO, April 16 (Reuters) - Brazilian authorities unveiled an infrastructure budget of 24.1 billion reais ($10.76 billion) for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, 25 percent more than planned, as they try to reassure the world they can deliver facilities on time. The budget covers 27 projects in urban development and public transport, including 8 billion reais for a newly added fourth metro line for Rio, Brazil's congested second largest city, where getting around town is an ordeal. Other initially envisaged projects were excluded, such as the upgrade to Rio's international airport Galeao, which has been handed to private operators. Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes said the higher budget was due to the inclusion of new projects and inflation, which has blown up costs by 30 percent since Rio won hosting rights for the event in 2009.
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China releases blogger on bail, jails another amid rumour crackdown

16 April, 2014 - 22:20

A Chinese-American venture capitalist known for his controversial blogs has been released on bail after nearly eight months in detention because of a "serious illness", Beijing police said amid a crackdown on online dissent. Charles Xue, also known as Xue Manzi, was detained in August on a charge of visiting prostitutes, an accusation that activists said stemmed from China's efforts to rein in social media. China's crackdown on online "rumour-mongering" is widely seen as a tool to halt criticism of the ruling Communist Party and has chilled political discourse, with high-profile bloggers saying they have reined in sensitive posts for fear of detention. State television showed Xue on television on Wednesday night confessing to his crime, saying he was extremely sorry to his wife and children.


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China commerce ministry - Economy faring better than data shows

16 April, 2014 - 21:50
BEIJING (Reuters) - China's economy is faring better than released data shows and, while there is a need to be cautious over the trade outlook, the country is likely to achieve its trade growth target for this year, the commerce ministry said on Thursday. Trade growth could show signs of improving from the second quarter, ministry spokesman Shen Danyang also told reporters at a briefing on FDI figures. (Reporting by Aileen Wang and Jonathan Standing)
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Dengue outbreak at Australian detention centre sparks fresh concerns

16 April, 2014 - 20:49
By Matt Siegel SYDNEY (Reuters) - An outbreak of dengue fever at an Australian refugee detention centre in the tiny Pacific island nation of Nauru sparked calls on Thursday for greater oversight at the facility, which has been criticised by rights groups and the United Nations. Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison's office said that medical officers at the centre had confirmed three cases of the potentially fatal tropical disease, which is transmitted by mosquitoes. But Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, immigration spokeswoman from the opposition Greens Party, said that outbreaks are inevitable in crowded camps like the one on Nauru and called for greater independent oversight of the overseas refugee detention system. Australia uses detention centres in Nauru and on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea to process would-be refugees sent there after trying to get to Australia, often in unsafe boats after paying people smugglers in Indonesia.
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Freight train industry to miss safety deadline

16 April, 2014 - 20:08
WASHINGTON (AP) — Only one-fifth of its track will be equipped with mandatory safety technology to prevent the most catastrophic kinds of collisions and derailments by the deadline set by Congress, the freight railroad industry said Wednesday.
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Mayer aims to persuade Apple to choose Yahoo over Google - Re/code

16 April, 2014 - 19:34

(Reuters) - Yahoo Inc's Chief Executive Marissa Mayer is working on a plan to persuade Apple Inc to ditch Google as its default search engine in favour of Yahoo, technology news site Re/code reported, citing sources within Yahoo. Mayer's effort is in advanced stages, with a detailed pitch already prepared for Apple executives, the website said.


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Pro-Russian gunmen make inroads in eastern Ukraine

16 April, 2014 - 19:33

SLOVYANSK, Ukraine (AP) — The well-armed, Moscow-backed insurgency sowing chaos in eastern Ukraine scored a new victory Wednesday, seizing armored vehicles and weapons from underequipped government forces, then rolling through two cities to a hero's welcome.


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Survivors still alive on South Korean ferry - father

16 April, 2014 - 18:58

By Narae Kim JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Several people appear to have survived in an air pocket of a capsized South Korean ferry, the father of one of the school children aboard the boat told a Reuters reporter accompanying families out to the scene of the disaster on Thursday. About 290 people are still missing out of 450 passengers on the Sewol ferry, which capsized in still-mysterious circumstances off the Korean peninsula on Wednesday in what could be the country's worst maritime accident in 20 years. Coastguard and navy divers resumed searching on Thursday after the ferry capsized in sight of land on a trip from the port city of Incheon to the holiday island of Jeju, about 100 km (60 miles) south of the peninsula. One parent, Park Yung-suk, told Reuters she had seen the body of her teenage daughter's teacher brought ashore earlier in the morning.


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U.S. calls for more investment-friendly Indian government

16 April, 2014 - 18:57

By David Brunnstrom WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Wednesday urged the Indian government that emerges from ongoing elections to follow economic policies that encourage investment, saying Washington would like to see bilateral trade grow to $500 billion (297.5 billion pounds) a year. Nisha Biswal, U.S. assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, said future economic growth in South Asia hinged on India as the region's growth engine. However, Biswal said that while Indian leaders had targeted $1 trillion in infrastructure investment over five years to close gaps preventing growth in manufacturing, policies still inhibited foreign investment. She said India ranked a poor 134 out of 189 countries as a place to invest and start a business.


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Obama - Russia faces consequences for destabilizing Ukraine: CBS

16 April, 2014 - 18:55
President Barack Obama said on Wednesday Russia can expect further sanctions if it steps up support for separatists in eastern Ukraine. "What I have said consistently is that each time Russia takes these kinds of steps that are designed to destabilize Ukraine and violate their sovereignty, that there are going to be consequences," he said in an interview with CBS. The president spoke about the crisis in Ukraine, which he blamed squarely on Moscow, on the eve of a meeting in Geneva in which Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the European Union will try to defuse the standoff. U.S. officials said they are prepared to impose a new round of sanctions on Russia if the talks fail to ease tensions.
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Graft trial of son of Senegal's ex-president to start in June

16 April, 2014 - 18:52

Karim Wade, son of Senegal's ex-president, will go on trial in two months to face corruption charges, a year after he was accused of illegally amassing a fortune of $1.4 billion (833 million pounds) during his father's rule, a government official said. The decision ends hopes that Wade, who was the most powerful figure in his father Abdoulaye Wade's 2000-2012 government, could see the case thrown out of the Court for Illegal Enrichment that handles corruption issues. "The court has taken the decision for Karim Wade to face trial in two months from now," Soro Diop, an adviser to the justice ministry, told Reuters.


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Putin risks upstaging talks on defusing Ukraine crisis

16 April, 2014 - 18:50

By Stephanie Nebehay and Christian Lowe GENEVA/MOSCOW (Reuters) - Foreign ministers from East and West will try to defuse the Ukraine crisis on Thursday in Geneva, once frequently the scene of Cold War negotiations, but will risk being upstaged by Russian President Vladimir Putin. With Russian troops massed on the border with Ukraine, prospects of significant progress at the four-way talks appear slim. By contrast, what Putin says during his annual "hotline" session with the Russian people may have far greater influence on events in Ukraine's rebellious east. Thursday's talks will bring the ministers of Russia, Ukraine and the United States together with the European Union's foreign policy chief to discuss a crisis in which Kiev is struggling to reassert its authority in eastern towns largely controlled by armed pro-Russian separatists.


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'Don't scrap 2021 census' say MPs

16 April, 2014 - 18:48

The 2021 census should not be scrapped, as alternative methods for collecting information about the country's population would not provide a proper replacement, MPs have said.


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