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Europe Top News and Analysis Belgium

  • LONDON-- Carmaker Ford announced Thursday it will cut 1,500 jobs in Britain, closing a plant and eliminating a stamping and tooling facility, as it warned that losses in Europe will exceed $1.5 billion this year. Ford Motor Co., which on Wednesday announced the closure of another plant in Brussels, is struggling in Europe, as are many major carmakers.

  • LONDON, Oct 25- Ford will announce on Thursday that it is closing its van factory at Southampton, ending more than a century of vehicle production by the company in Britain, trade unionists and a source close to the U.S. car maker said.

  • LONDON-- A union representing Ford workers says the company will cut 1,500 jobs in Britain, closing a transit van plant in Southampton and eliminating a stamping and tooling facility in east London.

  • FRANKFURT, German-- Another drop in lending to companies in the 17- country eurozone showed the economic downturn is deepening, as a brighter mood on financial markets fails to catch on with businesses.

  • BRUSSELS-- The European Parliament has rejected Luxembourg's top central banker to a post at the European Central Bank in protest at the lack of women among the top leadership of the bank.

  • BRUSSELS, Oct 24- The European Union's former health commissioner vowed on Wednesday to challenge the findings of an EU anti-fraud investigation linking him to bribery, which led to his resignation last week.

  • SEOUL, Oct 25- Hyundai Motor Co drove up sales in France by 40 percent last month and had a record September in the United States, but it has since had nearly $7 billion wiped off its market value as investors query the South Korean automaker's go-slow on expanding capacity.

  • LONDON, Oct 24- Copper closed near six-week lows on Wednesday as the dollar rose and investor sentiment soured on weak euro zone data, but signs of recovery in top metals consumer China limited losses.

  • GENK, Belgium/ MADRID, Oct 24- Ford Motor Co will close a Belgian factory employing more than 4,000 workers, shifting production to Spain as the U.S. automaker scrambles to cut costs and stem European losses. Ford said it would shut its Genk plant in eastern Belgium, with the loss of about 4,300 jobs by the end of 2014, transferring the work to a plant in Valencia.

  • *Greece says to get 2 more years to meet bailout target. *Germany, Draghi say no decision yet on Greece. BERLIN, Oct 24- European Central Bank President Mario Draghi gave a robust defence of his bond-buying plan to ease the euro zone debt crisis, telling sceptical German lawmakers that fears of illegal funding of governments or stoking inflation were misplaced.

  • PARIS/ GENK, Belgium, Oct 24- Car makers suffered a day of reckoning on Thursday when Ford announced Europe's third plant closure this year, Peugeot accepted state aid and even Volkswagen reported a big drop in profits.

  • BILL COMES DUE: After an extended decline, the state of the automobile industry in Europe, which has been wracked by a broadening recession, became abundantly clear Wednesday. France was forced to throw a lifeline to the continent's No. 2 carmaker, Peugeot Citroen, and Ford announced it would close its massive factory in Belgium, costing 9,500 jobs.

  • LONDON, Oct 24- Copper was steady on Wednesday on signs of recovery in top consumer China, although gains were capped by weak euro zone data, including in Germany, and ahead of a Federal Reserve policy statement due later on Wednesday. Benchmark three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange was $7,825 at 1434 GMT from $7,831 a tonne at the close on Tuesday.

  • *Warsaw wants to be at EU's decision-making core. WARSAW, Oct 24- Polish policymakers are shedding their doubts about joining the euro and starting to favour accession again because they believe the risks of being left outside the core of Europe outweigh the danger of joining a single currency still in the grip of crisis.

  • *Production to be transferred to Spain. GENK, Belgium/ MADRID, Oct 24- Ford Motor Co will close a Belgian factory employing more than 4,000 workers, shifting production to Spain as the U.S. automaker scrambles to cut costs and stem European losses.

  • *City seen as bastion of loyalty to Assad before uprising. *Businessmen hit by attacks, kidnapping, extortion. AMMAN, Oct 24- Top Syrian businessman Fares Shehabi says he lives in constant fear of being kidnapped by rebels fighting loyalist forces for control of his home city Aleppo.

  • *Peugeot gets state guarantee, close to bank deal. With its costly domestic production and high exposure to southern European markets, Peugeot is bearing the brunt of the region's slump as unemployment and government austerity weigh on consumer spending.

  • *Group beer volumes fall in western Europe, rise elsewhere. *Shares down 2.6 pct, among weakest in Europe. BRUSSELS, Oct 24- Heineken NV, the world's third-largest brewer, reported stronger than expected third-quarter group revenue on Wednesday, boosted by U.S. and emerging market strength and price hikes, but investors focused on weakness in Europe.

  • LONDON, Oct 24- London copper rose from a six-week low on signs of recovery in top consumer China, though gains were capped by weak euro zone data, including in Germany, and ahead of a Federal Reserve policy statement due later on Wednesday. Benchmark three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange edged up 0.51 percent to $7,871 a tonne by 1015 GMT.

  • BRUSSELS, Oct 24- EU regulators do not have any reason to open an investigation into Microsoft's operating system for tablets, the EU's antitrust chief said on Wednesday. ``There are no grounds to pursue an investigation on this issue,'' EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia told a news briefing.