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  • European Union leaders opened a two-day meeting in Brussels on Thursday and took a critical step by agreeing to create a banking supervisor to oversee institutions in the 17 countries using the euro. South Korea's Kospi lost 0.9 percent to 1,942.47 and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.1 percent to 4,554.50.

  • BRUSSELS-- European Union leaders agreed early Friday to create a single supervisor for banks in countries that use the euro _ without saying when it would become fully operational.

  • BRUSSELS-- European Union leaders announced early Friday they had agreed to create a single supervisor for banks in countries that use the euro _ without saying when it would become fully operational.

  • BRUSSELS-- European Union leaders announced early Friday they had agreed to create a single supervisor for banks in countries that use the euro, and said it would "probably" become operational sometime next year. France has been pushing to get all 6,000 banks in the 17 euro countries under the supervision of one European body by the end of this year.

  • SCRAPPING: European Union leaders are tussling at a Brussels summit over how much power to cede to central authorities to ensure their debt crisis never repeats itself.

  • DESCENT INTO VIOLENCE: Hundreds of youths pelted riot police with fire bombs, bottles and chunks of marble at a Greek anti-austerity demonstration, less than a month after more intense clashes broke out during a similar protest.

  • BRUSSELS-- European Union leaders are tussling over how much power they want to cede to central authorities during a summit meeting in Brussels focused on how to ensure their debt crisis never repeats itself.

  • BRUSSELS-- European leaders were drawing battle lines Thursday as they headed for a summit in Brussels, with France pushing back against Germany's call for a new czar with wide powers to veto countries' budgets.

  • Though expectations have diminished in recent days that the 27- nation EU will agree on the terms of a banking union, investors are keen to hear updates on the economic fate of Spain, as well as Greece, which appears to be near to securing its next batch of bailout cash.

  • Authorities said around 70,000 protesters took to the street in two separate demonstrations in Athens during the country's second general strike in a month as workers across the country walked off the job to protest new austerity measures the government is negotiating with Greece's international creditors.

  • LONDON-- Markets were largely steady Thursday, after solid gains this week, on signs that China's economy is not slowing as quickly as feared, the U.S. is recovering and Spain will soon request a bailout.

  • BERLIN-- German Chancellor Angela Merkel endorsed a proposal for a top European Union official to be given the power to veto member governments' budgets, and suggested Thursday that the bloc could set up a new fund to finance projects in struggling countries.

  • BANGKOK-- Stock markets rose Thursday after an unexpectedly strong U.S. housing report renewed confidence in the world's biggest economy and the latest data from China suggested the worst of its slump is over.

  • BERLIN-- German Chancellor Angela Merkel is endorsing a proposal for a top European Union official to be given the power to veto member countries' budgets, and is suggesting the bloc could set up a fund to finance projects in struggling countries. Merkel addressed Germany's Parliament ahead of an EU summit starting Thursday.

  • BANGKOK-- Asian stock markets rose Thursday after an unexpectedly strong U.S. housing report renewed confidence in the world's biggest economy and the latest data from China suggested the worst of its slump is over.

  • BRUSSELS-- European leaders are gathering again in Brussels to discuss how to save the euro currency from collapse and support countries facing too much debt and not enough growth. The leaders of the 27 countries that make up the European Union will discuss how to support their banks, one part of the crisis.

  • ATHENS, Greece-- Labor unions in recession-hobbled Greece are holding another general strike against a new harsh austerity program, as European leaders beset by a deep debt crisis and economic stagnation gather for a summit meeting in Brussels.

  • BANGKOK-- Asian stock markets rose Thursday after an unexpectedly strong U.S. housing report renewed confidence in the world's biggest economy and enabled investors to overlook slower growth in China. The U.S. Commerce Department said builders started construction on new single-family houses and apartments at the fastest pace in more than four years.

  • BRUSSELS-- Europe is considering limiting the amount of food-based biofuels that can count toward its renewable fuel targets while a drought in the U.S. has pushed up food prices worldwide and millions around the world go hungry.

  • BRUSSELS-- Winemaker Cherie Spriggs had watched the bad weather over southern England's vineyards all season long. Thierry Coste, an expert with the European Union farmers' union, said Wednesday that France's grape harvest is expected to slump by almost 20 percent compared with last year.