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  • DETROIT, Dec 19- General Motors Co has developed contingency plans in case recalls of potentially lethal Takata- made air bag inflators widens, forcing the U.S. automaker to repair millions of vehicles, the company said on Friday. GM's plans include directing Takata to share with rivals TRW and Autoliv the No. 1 U.S. automaker's air bag specifications and data so...

  • LONDON, Dec 19- Brent crude oil rose to around $60 a barrel on Friday, rallying from near a 5-1/ 2- year low as investors squared books ahead of the year-end festive break after six months of falling prices. Oil prices were on track for a fourth straight week of declines after OPEC members last month decided against cutting production despite a huge global overhang...

  • Sony hack adds to security pressure on companies Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 6:14 AM ET

    The Sony attack, which U.S. officials blamed on North Korea, was unusual because it included threats of violence if the Hollywood studio released its movie "The Interview," a comedy that depicts the assassination of the North's leader. He said his company has received a growing number of requests from financial institutions and other businesses alarmed by...

  • TOKYO, Dec 19- Japan's Nissan Motor Co and French partner Renault SA have stopped taking orders for some cars in Russia and could raise prices on others if the rouble's plunge continues, alliance Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said on Friday. Russia is Nissan's fifth-largest market and the Japanese firm's alliance with Renault SA, of which Ghosn is chairman and...

  • LONDON, Dec 19- Brent crude oil rose above $60 a barrel on Friday, recovering from near a 5-1/ 2- year low as investors squared books ahead of the year-end festive break after six months of falling prices. Oil prices were on track for a fourth straight week of declines after OPEC members last month decided against cutting production despite a huge global overhang of...

  • *CPI, jobs and household spending data due 2330 GMT Dec 25. TOKYO, Dec 19- Japan's annual core consumer inflation probably slowed for a fourth straight month in November, mirroring a slide in oil prices, a Reuters poll showed, underscoring a tough task for the Bank of Japan to achieve its 2 percent inflation target. "Consumer spending lacks strength and prices of items...

  • TOKYO, Dec 19- Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda voiced confidence the bank will meet its ambitious price target, seeking to dispel speculation a global oil rout will slow inflation and force it to ease again soon. Offering a brighter view of the economy at his first news conference since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's landslide victory in a Dec. 14 election,...

  • Expectations of more Japan stimulus weighs on yen. LONDON, Dec 19- The yen fell on Friday amid expectations of further stimulus next year to bolster Japanese inflation and also on a revival of global risk sentiment after battered oil prices and Russia's rouble stabilised. BoJ chief Haruhiko Kuroda said Japan was still halfway towards meeting an inflation goal...

  • TOKYO, Dec 19- Japan's Nissan Motor Co and French partner Renault SA have stopped taking orders for some cars in Russia and could raise prices on others if the rouble's plunge continues, alliance Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said on Friday. Russia is Nissan's fifth-largest market and the Japanese firm's alliance with Renault SA, of which Ghosn is chairman and...

  • *Gold cuts weekly loss, other precious metals also firmer. SINGAPORE, Dec 19- Gold edged up above $1,200 an ounce on Friday as buyers helped the metal hold up against rising equity markets, paring losses fueled by worries over a looming hike in U.S. interest rates. A surge in gold prices to above $1,230 an ounce last week from around $1,140 a week earlier has spurred...

  • Japan scientist quits as cell research discredited Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 12:10 AM ET

    Haruko Obokata said in a statement Friday that she was leaving the Riken Center for Developmental Biology after the lab concluded the stem cells she said she had created probably never existed. But questions about the validity of the research prompted Riken scientists, including Obokata, to retract two scientific papers. The allegations of research...

  • Japan scientist quits as cell research discredited Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 10:57 PM ET

    TOKYO— The Japanese researcher whose claim of a major breakthrough in stem cell research was discredited has resigned after the government lab where she worked failed to replicate her results. Haruko Obokata said in a statement Friday that she was leaving the Riken Center for Developmental Biology after the lab concluded the stem cells she said she had...

  • *White House not in position to confirm North Korea responsible. WASHINGTON/ LOS ANGELES, Dec 18- Washington made the woes of cyberattack victim Sony Pictures its own on Thursday as the White House acknowledged that the devastating strike against the big Hollywood studio was a matter of national security that would be met by a forceful government response.

  • TOKYO, Dec 19- The Bank of Japan is set to keep monetary policy steady on Friday and may offer a brighter view of the economy, clinging to hope that joint efforts with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to reflate the economy will prod companies into boosting wages and investment. The rate review will be the first since Abe's landslide victory in a Dec. 14 election that gave...

  • Sony film took aim at North Korea's biggest taboo Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 9:47 AM ET

    TOKYO— If the U.S. government's claim is correct that North Korea was involved in the unprecedented hack attack on Sony Pictures that scuttled Seth Rogen's latest comedy, no one can say they weren't warned. But nowhere could it be expected to generate more official outrage and possible reprisals than in North Korea, home to the world's most intense cult of...

  • FOREX-Interest rate cut shocks Swiss franc lower Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 8:00 AM ET

    LONDON, Dec 18- The Swiss franc hit a 28- month trough against the dollar and also fell against the euro on Thursday after the Swiss National Bank said it would introduce negative interest rates to stop further currency appreciation. Against the dollar, the franc fell to 0.9848 francs, a level not seen since August 2012, before recovering to 0.97865 francs, down 0.6...

  • FRANKFURT/ LONDON/ WASHINGTON, Dec 18- The world's major central banks are scrambling to work through the implications of the near halving of the price of oil in the second half of 2014, and they are coming up with very different conclusions. Perhaps unsurprisingly, policymakers looking at robust economic recoveries such as in the United States and Britain are...

  • 'Interview' ordeal at Sony just its latest crisis Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 6:36 AM ET

    Sony Corp. is sealed within a hermetic cone of silence as executives try to prevent the slow motion train wreck at Sony Pictures from damaging the rest of the sprawling business empire. Sony's miseries with its television and smartphone businesses were bad enough. For now, Sony's damage control strategy in Japan appears to be waiting out the crisis in silence.

  • Hackers who said they were incensed by the film attacked Sony Corp last month, leaking documents that drew global headlines and distributing unreleased films on the Internet. "Sony has no further release plans for the film," a Sony spokeswoman said on Wednesday when asked whether the movie would be released later in theaters or as video on demand.

  • Sony executives told theatres the studio would not pull the comedy. The unidentified hackers have exposed thousands of Sony's internal documents and emails to public scrutiny. "I explained that we wanted to act in a responsible fashion and that the film was designed to entertain and not to make a political statement," Lynton said, in the June 26 email to Sony...