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Banana producer Chiquita Brands International Inc said it would start takeover talks with Brazil's Grupo Cutrale and Safra Group after its shareholders voted against a proposed merger with Irish rival Fyffes Plc . Chiquita shares rose 2.9 percent to $14.16 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, below the recently sweetened offer of $14.50 from Cutrale-Safra. Fyffes' shares fell 5 percent to 94 euro cents in Dublin after the collapse of the deal, which would have created a company domiciled in low-tax Ireland. "While we are convinced (Fyffes) would have been a strong merger partner, we will now go forward as competitors," Chiquita Chief Executive Edward Lonergan said in a statement.
CAIRO (Reuters) - Three more members of Egypt's security forces were killed in an attack in a town in the Sinai Peninsula on Friday, hours after a car bombing claimed 25 lives, security sources said. Men opened fire at the security forces at a checkpoint in the town of al-Arish, they said. It was not immediately clear whether the dead were soldiers or police. (Reporting by Maggie Fick; editing by Andrew Roche)
By Stephanie Nebehay and Kate Kelland GENEVA/LONDON (Reuters) - Trials of Ebola vaccines could begin in West Africa in December, a month earlier than expected, and hundreds of thousands of doses should be available for use by the middle of next year, the World Health Organization said on Friday. Vaccines are being developed and made ready in record time by drugmakers working with regulators, the U.N. health agency said, but questions remain about their safety and efficacy which can only be settled by full clinical trials. "Vaccine is not a magic bullet, but when ready they may be a good part of the effort to turn the tide against the epidemic," senior WHO official Marie-Paule Kieny told a news briefing after a meeting in Geneva of industry executives, global health experts, drug regulators and funders. So this shows again how everything is really pushed forward and the massive effort which is undertaken by everybody to make this happen." While financing was discussed, there were no details of specific funding pledges for Ebola vaccines' development, distribution and deployment.
By David Lewis DAKAR (Reuters) - When Australia offered more than $2 million last month to the medical charity leading the fight against Ebola in West Africa, Medecins Sans Frontieres bluntly rejected it. On Thursday, a New York City doctor who worked for MSF in Guinea became the organisation's third foreign medic to contract the disease while treating people in West Africa.
By Rosa Tania Valdés HAVANA (Reuters) - High-ranking guerrilla commanders joined the Colombian peace talks taking place in Cuba on Friday, injecting a sense of urgency into negotiations seeking to end Latin America's longest-running war. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) called the presence of top commanders "political artillery," and they appeared before reporters in the latest round of talks with the government of recently re-elected President Juan Manuel Santos. Among the rebel leaders joining the talks were those going by the noms-de-guerre Pastor Alape and Carlos Antonio Lozada, who have moved from the battlefield to the negotiating table. Their real names are Felix Muñoz and Luis Losada, respectively.
By Sudip Kar-Gupta LONDON (Reuters) - Shares in luxury goods group Kering and chemicals company BASF fell on Friday after business updates, while new worries about the Ebola virus also weighed on European stock markets. Kering slumped 5.1 percent, making it the worst-performing stock on the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index after sales fell at its Gucci brand. Chemicals company BASF also declined by 3.2 percent after cutting its 2015 earnings forecast on weak demand in its European home markets. Joe Rundle, head of trading at ETX Capital, told Reuters Insider Television that one of the problems about Ebola was that investors still could not quantify the kind of impact it might have on the world economy.
The Caterham Formula One team has been handed over to an administrator in a race against time to find a new owner and stay in the sport. A statement on Friday said Finbarr O'Connell, who was already an administrator of the Caterham Sports Limited company that made the cars at the Leafield factory, was now running the team as well. The team, which has competed under various guises since its debut in 2010 as Lotus Racing but has yet to score a point, is officially entered in the world championship as 1Malaysian Racing Team (1MRT). Friday's move followed a war of words between 1MRT management and team founder Tony Fernandes, who also runs struggling Premier League soccer club Queens Park Rangers and the fast-growing AirAsia airline, over the transfer of ownership.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday urged North Korea to release two detained Americans to build goodwill with the United States, but ruled out providing a U.S. apology to Pyongyang to win their freedom.
By Alexei Anishchuk LAURA Russia (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a plea to the European Union and United States on Friday, asking them to help cash-strapped Ukraine raise funds to pay for Russian gas purchases and warning about escalation of the gas crisis. He also said he hoped a deal would be reached next week with Ukraine to end a long-running dispute in which Moscow has halted natural gas supplies to Kiev, part of the row at the heart of deepest East-West rift since the Cold War. The Russian and Ukrainian energy ministers are expected to hold more talks with the European Commission in Brussels next week on the dispute over Ukraine's unpaid bills and the price Kiev pays for its gas. One issue at the talks - which have dragged on since June, when Russian stopped gas flows to Ukraine due to unpaid bills - was Ukraine's inability to raise enough financing during a conflict with pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country.
By Julian Linden SINGAPORE (Reuters) - With a little help from her rivals, Serena Williams secured a place in the last four of the WTA Finals on Friday and clinched the year-end number one ranking for the fourth time in her illustrious career. The American was not involved in Friday's final group matches but still emerged as the big winner after Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic both bowed out of the tournament despite winning their final matches. Sharapova, who needed to go on and win the season-ending event to overtake Williams at the top of the rankings, had to beat Poland's Agnieska Radwanska in straight sets to reach the semis but blew her chance after a second set meltdown. I know I'm not moving forward, but I'm proud of that effort and to finish the year off on this way." Williams, who won two of her three group matches, faced another anxious wait before knowing whether she would play on the weekend.
The man suspected of shooting dead a Canadian soldier on Wednesday had sought a Libyan passport in recent days but had been unsuccessful, an official at the Libyan embassy in Ottawa said on Friday. "Even if your father was born in Libya, there are many documents that are required in order to get a passport. The suspected shooter, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, 32, was a Canadian citizen who may also have held Libyan citizenship, Canadian police said on Thursday.
David Cameron furiously rejected a demand from Brussels for more than two billion euros in backdated charges at a summit Friday, setting up a new showdown over Britain's place in the EU.
The United States is looking into reports that Islamic State fighters used chlorine gas against Iraqi security forces, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday. Kerry, speaking to reporters after meeting his South Korean counterpart, said he was unable to confirm media reports that chlorine gas was used against Iraqi police officers last month. The Washington Post reported on Friday that 11 Iraqi police officers were rushed to a hospital north of Baghdad last month with symptoms that are consistent with chlorine poisoning.
The coalition is set to split over English votes for English laws this week, leaving the Conservatives facing the prospect of defeat in the Commons.
By Humeyra Pamuk and Sylvia Westall ISTANBUL/BEIRUT (Reuters) - A senior Syrian Kurdish official on Friday rejected a report from Turkey's president that Syrian Kurds had agreed to let Free Syrian Army fighters enter the border town of Kobani to help them push back besieging Islamic State insurgents. The Free Syrian Army is a term used to describe dozens of armed groups fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad but with little or no central command. They have been widely outgunned by Islamist insurgents such as Islamic State. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is a leading opponent of Assad and has allowed his more secular, Western-backed opponents such as FSA fighters to use Turkey as a base and sanctuary.
By Brian Homewood BERNE (Reuters) - Serbia have been awarded a 3-0 walkover against Albania for last week's abandoned Euro 2016 qualifier but they have also been docked three points, UEFA said on Friday. Serbia have been ordered to play their next two home games in Group I behind closed doors, while both teams have been fined 100,000 euros (78,726 British pounds) European soccer’s governing body added. The match, played on Oct. 14 with no away fans permitted, was interrupted when a flag depicting so-called Greater Albania, an area covering all parts of the Balkans where ethnic Albanians live, was flown over the pitch by a remote-controlled drone. Serbian player Stefan Mitrovic grabbed the flag at the Partizan stadium, prompting an angry reaction from the Albania team.
* Both teams fined for chaos at Euro 2016 qualifier * FAs plan to appeal against UEFA punishments (Updates with Albanian FA reax) By Brian Homewood BERNE, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Serbia have been awarded a 3-0 walkover against Albania for last week's abandoned Euro 2016 qualifier but they have also been docked three points, UEFA said on Friday. Serbia have been ordered to play their next two home games in Group I behind closed doors, while both teams have been fined 100,000 euros ($126,900), European soccer's governing body added. The match, played on Oct. 14 with no away fans permitted, was interrupted when a flag depicting so-called Greater Albania, an area covering all parts of the Balkans where ethnic Albanians live, was flown over the pitch by a remote-controlled drone. Serbian player Stefan Mitrovic grabbed the flag at the Partizan stadium, prompting an angry reaction from the Albania team.
(Reuters) - Nine cases of Ebola have been seen in the United States since the beginning of August. A Liberian man who died Oct. 8 in a Dallas hospital was the first person diagnosed with the virus on U.S. The following are details of cases of the hemorrhagic fever seen in the United States: NEW YORK DOCTOR Dr. Craig Spencer, 33, returned to the United States on Oct. 17 via Belgium after working for Doctors Without Borders charity in Guinea. He tested positive for Ebola on Oct. 23.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel thanked ECB President Mario Draghi for spelling out to leaders at an EU summit that governments must play a role in boosting the faltering euro zone economy, and said it was their firm intention to do so. "I am very thankful to Mario Draghi for holding up a mirror for us once again," Merkel told a news conference in Brussels on Friday, a day after Reuters reported tensions in the relationship between Berlin and the Italian ECB president. "Monetary policy can do some things, that is the job of the independent European Central Bank. She added that leaders had expressed their "clear intention" to do all this in response to the weak economy.
By Julian Linden SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Serbia's Ana Ivanovic just missed out on a place in the semi-finals of the season-ending WTA Finals despite beating Simona Halep in the final group match on Friday. Under the rules of the round-robin competition, Ivanovic needed to win in straight sets to leapfrog Serena Williams in the group standings and snatch the last available semi-final spot. Although she won two of her three group matches and handed Halep her only defeat, she missed out on the semis because she lost one more set in her three matches than both the Romanian and Williams. "I started to enjoy life more on and off the court and over the last year, I have worked harder and it's starting to show now and I am enjoying competing." Halep, runner-up at this year's French Open, faces Agnieska Radwanska in Saturday's semi-finals while Williams, who is chasing a hat-trick of WTA Finals titles, meets Caroline Wozniacki in a rematch of last month's U.S.