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  • *Ecuador joins Colombia, Peru in group with EU trade deals. BRUSSELS/ QUITO July 17- Ecuador sealed a free-trade deal with the European Union on Thursday, giving the Andean nation greater access to the EU's 500 million consumers and offering the EU's fragile economy another market for its cars, whisky and luxury goods.

  • Ukraine: Pro-Russia rebels downed Malaysian plane Thursday, 17 Jul 2014 | 11:39 AM ET

    HRABOVE, Ukraine— A Malaysia Airlines passenger plane carrying 295 people was shot down over war-torn eastern Ukraine on Thursday, Ukrainian officials said, and both the government and the pro- Russia separatists fighting in the region denied any responsibility for downing the aircraft.

  • MOSCOW, July 17- Talks between the European Commission and Russia over the supply of gas to Ukraine have been postponed until next week, the Russian Energy Ministry said on Thursday, as ties between Moscow and Brussels hit a new low.

  • BRUSSELS, July 17- Euro zone countries must beware of bending budget rules in the quest for economic growth, the EU's new economics czar said on Thursday, suggesting some proposals from France and Italy sought too much leeway.

  • LONDON, July 17- Russia is stepping up a public relations effort in support of its controversial South Stream gas pipeline project to supply southern Europe, but a rival project to bring gas from Azerbaijan is also upping its game.

  • WASHINGTON/ MOSCOW, July 17- President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on some of Russia's biggest firms for the first time, striking at the heart of Vladimir Putin's powerbase by targeting companies closest to him over Moscow's failure to curb violence in Ukraine.

  • *Russia warns it will hit back. WASHINGTON/ MOSCOW, July 17- President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on some of Russia's biggest firms for the first time, striking at the heart of Vladimir Putin's powerbase by targeting companies closest to him over Moscow's failure to curb violence in Ukraine.

  • WASHINGTON/ MOSCOW, July 16- President Barack Obama imposed the toughest U.S. sanctions yet on Russia, striking at the heart of Vladimir Putin's powerbase by targeting companies closest to him over what Washington says is Moscow's failure to curb violence in Ukraine.

  • For US and Europe, divisions over Russia penalties Thursday, 17 Jul 2014 | 12:24 AM ET

    WASHINGTON— The United States and Europe are seeking to maintain a united front against Russia with coordinated announcements of new economic sanctions, but divisions persist over how aggressive the West should be in punishing Moscow for its threatening moves in Ukraine.

  • WASHINGTON, July 16- President Barack Obama imposed the biggest package of U.S. economic sanctions yet on Russia on Wednesday, hitting Russia's largest oil producer Rosneft and other energy, financial and defense firms, with what he called significant but targeted penalties.

  • *EU to suspend new loans for Russia through EIB, EBRD. BRUSSELS, July 16- European Union leaders agreed on Wednesday to sanction Russian companies that help destabilize Ukraine and to block new loans to Russia through two multilateral lenders.

  • *EU steps up sanctions vs Russia over Ukraine. The 28 leaders did agree to step up sanctions against Russia over separatist violence in eastern Ukraine shortly after Washington also tightened the screw.

  • The 28 leaders did agree to step up sanctions against Russia over separatist violence in eastern Ukraine shortly after Washington also tightened the screw.

  • WASHINGTON, July 16- The United States on Wednesday imposed its most wide-ranging sanctions yet on Russia's economy, including Gazprombank and the Rosneft Oil Co, and other major banks and energy and defense companies. Washington has steadily escalated its financial sanctions on Russia over what it views as Moscow's interference in its neighbor Ukraine.

  • WASHINGTON, July 16- The United States will insist that India and other World Trade Organization members stick to promises around a global deal to lower trade barriers and speed up the passage of goods through customs, a top trade official said on Wednesday.

  • WASHINGTON, July 16- The United States will insist that fellow World Trade Organization members stick to promises around a global deal to lower trade barriers and speed up the passage of goods through customs, a top trade official said on Wednesday.

  • EU leaders order tougher sanctions against Russia Wednesday, 16 Jul 2014 | 11:10 AM ET

    BRUSSELS— European Union leaders have ordered tougher sanctions against Russia because of its actions in Ukraine, asking the asked the European Investment Bank to sign no new financing agreements with Moscow.

  • *EU set to step up sanctions vs Russia over Ukraine. The 28 leaders were also set to step up sanctions against Moscow over separatist violence in eastern Ukraine, according to a draft statement seen by Reuters.

  • ROME, July 16- Federica Mogherini is the front runner to be nominated on Wednesday as the European Union's new foreign policy chief for five years, even though the 41- year-old has only been Italy's foreign minister since February.

  • US preparing unilateral sanctions on Russia Wednesday, 16 Jul 2014 | 12:36 AM ET

    WASHINGTON— Struggling to defuse the persistent crisis in Ukraine, both the U.S. and European Union imposed new economic sanctions on Russia Wednesday, with President Barack Obama declaring that Russian leaders must see that their actions supporting rebels "have consequences."