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  • 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...

  • *But Samaras discussed plans with Berlin, Brussels. But in contrast to a recent predecessor, he made sure before dropping the bombshell that Berlin and Brussels wouldn't stand in the way. With Berlin playing a decisive role in European aid for Greece, Samaras and Schaeuble spoke repeatedly by telephone in the days before the early vote was announced on Dec. 8,...

  • Business events scheduled for Thursday Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 1:38 PM ET

    WASHINGTON— Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims, 8:30 a.m.. WASHINGTON— Mortgage company Freddie Mac releases weekly mortgage rates, 10 a.m.. WASHINGTON— Conference Board releases leading indicators for November, 10 a.m..

  • EU leaders to endorse investment plan in search for growth Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 12:45 PM ET

    BRUSSELS, Dec 17- European Union leaders will agree on Thursday to set up a highly leveraged investment fund they hope can kick-start the bloc's economy and reduce high unemployment and public debt. The plan, presented by the executive European Commission last month and set to be endorsed by the 28 national leaders at a Brussels summit, is to use 21 billion euros...

  • 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...

  • ZURICH, Dec 17- The Swiss National Bank chose the first female director in its 107- year history on Wednesday as it braces for a potentially tough policy test if the European Central Bank starts full-blown quantitative easing in 2015.. Andrea Maechler, deputy division chief at the International Monetary Fund, will head the SNB department responsible for the...

  • Amazon workers in Germany extend strike Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 9:01 AM ET

    *Workers in Graben to keep striking until Dec. 24. Labor union Verdi launched a three-day strike on Monday at five of Amazon's nine distribution centers in Germany, adding a sixth warehouse from Tuesday, with more than 2,600 workers involved in the industrial action on Wednesday. An Amazon spokeswoman said the company had not seen any delays so far and had...

  • ZURICH, Dec 17- The Swiss government said on Wednesday it had chosen Andrea M. Maechler to become the first female member of the Swiss National Bank's governing board in the central bank's 107- year-history. Maechler will replace board member Fritz Zurbruegg, who will become vice-president of the bank on July 1 after the incumbent Jean-Pierre Danthine retires.

  • 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...

  • German court strikes down tax breaks for companies Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 6:18 AM ET

    BERLIN— Germany's highest court has struck down breaks on inheritance tax that benefit companies and ordered the government to come up with new rules. It said the government is entitled to allow small and medium-sized companies tax breaks "to secure their existence and preserve jobs" but told it to come up with new rules by June 2016. The court said 4.3 billion...

  • German Cabinet OKs car toll for foreigners Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 6:14 AM ET

    BERLIN— Beware foreign drivers: Germany's Cabinet has approved plans for a car toll on the country's highways that aims to raise money from foreign drivers and has caused friction with Brussels. Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt said the plan would raise 500 million euros per year. Dobrindt said the plan is "worthwhile, fair and just" and insisted it...

  • Swiss UBS to delist shares, make holding company Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 5:45 AM ET

    GENEVA— Switzerland's largest bank UBS AG is moving to delist its shares from trading on exchanges in New York and Zurich as part of a reorganization to offer a safeguard against catastrophic losses. The Zurich- based bank says its directors have resolved to apply to delist UBS AG shares from the New York Stock Exchange and the SIX Swiss Exchange.

  • BRUSSELS, Dec 17- The European Union will widen its ban on investment in Crimea to target Russian Black Sea oil and gas exploration, EU officials said on Wednesday, tightening sanctions first imposed over Moscow's annexation of the region. At a summit on Thursday and Friday in Brussels, EU leaders meeting in the European Council will announce the punitive...

  • European Commission concerned about Russian economy Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 5:18 AM ET

    BERLIN, Dec 17- The European Commission is worried about recent developments in Russia and has no interest in seeing the country's economy hobbled, a Commission official said on Wednesday. "We are all watching the economic developments in Russia with concern," the official said at a briefing in Berlin ahead of a summit of European Union leaders that starts on...

  • Philips to buy US medical imaging firm Volcano Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 2:17 AM ET

    AMSTERDAM— Royal Philips NV said Wednesday it has agreed to acquire U.S. medical equipment maker Volcano Corp. for $1.2 billion in a deal that would beef up its presence in technology which allows doctors to see inside patients' hearts and veins during treatment. In an agreement backed by Volcano's management, Philips will offer $1 billion for Volcano's stock,...

  • Russians flock to stores to pre-empt price rises Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 2:11 AM ET

    The Swedish furniture giant IKEA already warned Russian consumers that its prices will rise Thursday, which resulted in weekend-like crowds at a Moscow store on a Wednesday afternoon. Apple, for one, has halted all online sales in Russia. We are just a few days away from a full-blown run on the banks, " Russia's leading business daily Vedomosti said in an editorial...

  • 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.

  • *U.S. crude slips on API data, after closing up 2 cents near $56. NEW YORK, Dec 16- Brent crude futures fell for a fifth straight day on Tuesday to end below $60 a barrel while U.S. crude finished a volatile session slightly higher as trading of expiring options helped defend the price above $55. While both markets rebounded from session lows, U.S. crude saw frenzied...