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  • Cuba debt, often inert, moves on political winds Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 2:14 PM ET

    NEW YORK, Dec 19- The historic breakthrough in U.S.- Cuba relations closes a Cold War chapter but leaves unresolved issues that investors need to pick through carefully, with Cuba's opaque economics and financial health poorly understood in world markets. Cuba has effectively been shut out of global financial markets for decades. said Thomas Herzfeld, a Miami...

  • Air France-KLM stock drops on profit warning Friday, 19 Dec 2014 | 11:47 AM ET

    PARIS— Air France-KLM shares have plunged more than 8 percent in the wake of the airline's warning that weak demand on several long-haul routes and other factors would wipe hundreds of millions off profits this year. In a statement late Thursday, Air France-KLM said a combination of factors, including weak demand, higher costs from a crippling pilots' strike, and...

  • But the global context together with new reforms due to kick in next year are leading some to bet that France can achieve its 1 percent growth target for next year- modest by many standards but more than twice the 2014 growth estimate of 0.4 percent. "The chances of the government getting the 1 percent growth it based its budget on have risen quite substantially,"...

  • EU grain to enjoy spoils of Russian export curbs Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 12:05 PM ET

    *Australia, Argentina, Canada, Ukraine could also benefit. PARIS, Dec 18- European Union grain exporters will be the main beneficiaries of Russia's pullback from international grain markets as Moscow races to cool domestic prices in the face of economic crisis, analysts and traders said. "At current prices, it's clearly European wheat that will benefit," Andree...

  • Rise of the car-sharing apps poses threat to auto sector Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 10:15 AM ET

    The rise of the likes of car hire app Zipcar and car-pooling rival BlaBlaCar are expected to present new challenges to mass-market carmakers such as Ford, GM, Volvo, Renault and Volkswagen while presenting fresh opportunities for existing rental networks. Online taxi business Uber is another seeking a slice of the market with its UberPop operation, which...

  • EU leaders agree to fund for jumpstarting growth Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 9:21 AM ET

    BRUSSELS— European Union leaders agreed Thursday to create a strategic investment fund that could generate up to 315 billion euros in private- and public-sector money to upgrade infrastructure, jumpstart the EU's sluggish economies and ignite job growth. The plan approved by leaders of the 28- nation EU at their one-day summit meeting in Brussels calls for...

  • Russian sailors leaving France without warship Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 8:29 AM ET

    The Vladivostok helicopter carrier is part of a strange and divisive arms deal now on hold— and perhaps on the verge of collapse— because of the conflict in Ukraine. France built it for Russia's navy but is now having second thoughts, notably amid heavy U.S. criticism of the deal. His change of heart reflects Europe's evolving relationship with Russia, a powerful...

  • LONDON, Dec 18- The Swiss franc tumbled on Thursday after its central bank announced a charge on deposits, wary of a flood of money exiting Russia and likely inflows from the euro zone if the ECB starts full-scale money printing early next year. The jitters of recent weeks calmed a touch as oil rose for a second day, although the pressure was still on Russia's rouble...

  • Canada man finds woman for free trip around world Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 7:59 AM ET

    TORONTO— A Toronto man who made headlines last month by offering a free round-the-world air ticket to a woman with the same name as his ex-girlfriend has found Ms. Jordan Axani, 28, and his then girlfriend, named Elizabeth Gallagher, booked heavily discounted round-the-world air tickets in May, but their relationship ended and he didn't want her ticket to go to...

  • France fines 13 firms $1.2 bln for price-fixing Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 7:24 AM ET

    PARIS— Penalizing a dirty business involving cleaning products, French regulators fined 13 consumer-products makers about 950 million euros for price fixing on goods like shampoos, detergents and toothpaste. France's competition authority said Thursday that the companies sought to maintain "artificially high" prices in negotiations with supermarkets...

  • *Carrefour raises cash for Brazil expansion, Diniz back in retail. PARIS, Dec 18- Carrefour has sold a 10 percent stake in its Brazilian business to billionaire Abilio Diniz, in a first step towards a possible separate listing, as Europe's largest retailer looks to raise cash to accelerate growth in its second-largest market. With its core French market on the mend,...

  • French parliament passes deficit-cutting 2015 budget Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 6:08 AM ET

    Dec 18- The French parliament approved President Francois Hollande's revised 2015 deficit-cutting budget on Thursday, although it remains to be seen whether the European Commission will demand further efforts early next year. The budget has been at the center of a stand-off between the European Commission and France after Paris broke a promise to bring its...

  • LONDON, Dec 18- The Swiss franc tumbled on Thursday as its central bank slapped a charge on deposits, wary of a flood of money exiting Russia and the likely pressure from the euro zone if the ECB starts full-scale money printing early next year. The jitters of recent days also calmed a touch as Russia managed to stabilise its rouble ahead of an end-of-year address...

  • SNCF mulls buyout of UK govt's Eurostar stake-report Thursday, 18 Dec 2014 | 1:43 AM ET

    PARIS, Dec 18- French rail operator SNCF is considering using its pre-emption purchase rights on the Eurostar train service to block certain bidders for the stake put up for sale by its partner, the British government, according to Les Echos newspaper. The paper said the British government was about to name a shortlist of bidders for its 40 percent holding in the...

  • SAO PAULO, Dec 17- Brazilian billionaire Abilio Diniz agreed to buy a 10 percent stake in Carrefour SA's Brazilian unit, a source with direct knowledge of the situation said on Wednesday, potentially strengthening its ability to take on the supermarket chain Diniz's father founded. Under terms of the deal, Diniz, whose Peninsula Participações holding...

  • Dec 17- French telecom group Orange SA confirmed on Wednesday that it has been sued in California by San Francisco- based startup Telesocial in an intellectual property case, but said that the startup's claims were unfounded. Orange said Telesocial has already taken the company to two French courts including the Paris Court of Appeal based on the same...

  • FRANKFURT/ PARIS, Dec 17- European Central Bank policymakers are discussing how best to act to revive the euro zone economy rather than whether to do so, ECB board member Benoit Coeure said, as France pressed for a "more suitable" monetary policy for the common currency area. Coeure, a Frenchman close to ECB President Mario Draghi, said there was support on the bank's...

  • BRUSSELS, Dec 17- The International Monetary Fund estimates Ukraine needs another $15 billion in financing to withstand an economic crisis but the European Union has only limited capacity to help, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Wednesday. Ukraine will need $15 billion in addition to what is already planned, "he told the European...

  • BRUSSELS, Dec 17- The International Monetary Fund estimates Ukraine needs another $15 billion in financing to withstand an economic crisis but the European Union has only limited capacity to help, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Wednesday. "Ukraine will need more help. Ukraine will need $15 billion in addition to what is already...

  • NYC premiere of Rogen film canceled as threats fly Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 12:05 AM ET

    The New York premiere of "The Interview" canceled. The Department of Homeland Security said there was "no credible intelligence to indicate an active plot against movie theaters," but noted it was still analyzing messages from the group, dubbed GOP. The warning did prompt law enforcement in New York and Los Angeles to address measures to ramp up security.