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  • TOKYO— The plight of freelance journalist Kenji Goto, taken captive by Islamic State group militants, has gripped Japan, and the people's hopes for his safety are now on Facebook with a simple, unifying plea: "I am Kenji." "We want Kenji to come home," said Taku Nishimae, a Japanese filmmaker living in New York, who started the "I am Kenji" Facebook page, right after seeing last...

  • UPDATE 1-Facebook, Instagram suffer widespread outage Tuesday, 27 Jan 2015 | 2:11 AM ET

    Jan 27- Facebook and Instagram services were down Tuesday with the social media site saying it is working on fixing the issue, several users said. We're working on it and we'll get it fixed as soon as we can, "Facebook said on its website. Users in the United States and many countries in Asia and Europe reported that they were unable to log on to the website and mobile...

  • LONDON, Jan 26- European politicians at opposite ends of the spectrum celebrated the election victory of Greece's anti-austerity Syriza party on Monday, but Alexis Tsipras' post-communist triumph is forcing mainstream leftists to reconsider their position. "This is a slap at what I see as very right-wing economic policy in Europe," Finnish Foreign Minister...

  • *Core EPS $1.21 vs $1.18 forecast in Reuters poll. ZURICH, Jan 27- Swiss drugmaker Novartis forecast sales and profits to grow at a faster pace this year as recent drug successes and its portfolio overhaul help it weather the impact of generic competition. Novartis unveiled a transformative series of deals last year which will see it focus on a smaller number of...

  • LONDON, Jan 26- Pfizer is to cut the price of its pneumococcal vaccine Prevenar 13 by 6 percent to $3.10 per dose in poor countries as part of a commitment to the GAVI global vaccines alliance, the U.S. drugmaker said on Monday. Pfizer's move comes as GAVI holds a major funding conference in Berlin at which it hopes to raise $7.5 billion from donors to pay for increased...

  • BRUSSELS, Jan 26- Austria will spearhead fresh efforts by eleven European finance ministers to reach a deal on an elusive financial transactions tax, France's finance minister said on Monday. France and Austria sent a letter last week to the nine other European countries, proposing to make a fresh start with the talks and seek to apply it to a wide range of...

  • Overall, the losses were far from unusual for Greece's volatile markets. First, open threats of "Grexit" from the euro zone; second, any writedown of the country's private sector debts; or third, an easy capitulation of euro sovereign creditors that boosts support for other anti-austerity parties, such as Ireland's Sinn Fein or Spain's Podemos, that could sow...

  • ROME— Italy is making waves by turning stereotypes on their head— and selling the world its more serious side. People here are reacting with surprise at the possibility that Italy may have finally figured out how to market itself abroad— by acknowledging stereotypes only to show a different "Made in Italy" that Italians can be proud of. The ministry of economic...

  • LONDON, Jan 26- European politicians at opposite ends of the spectrum celebrated the election victory of Greece's anti-austerity Syriza party on Monday, but Alexis Tsipras' post-communist triumph is forcing mainstream leftists to reconsider their position. "This is a slap at what I see as very right-wing economic policy in Europe," Finnish Foreign Minister...

  • PARIS— France's Parliament has started debating a bill promoted by the Socialist government aimed at freeing up the country's labor rules and regulations, in order to boost hiring. Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron told the National Assembly on Monday that the bill will inject "more vitality, more justice and more transparency" into France's economy.

  • MOSCOW, Jan 26- The rouble and Russian stocks fell sharply on Monday, following a return to full-scale warfare in eastern Ukraine and threats of further Western sanctions against Russia. Washington and Brussels are both considering new sanctions against Russia after accusing it of openly supporting the latest rebel advance in Ukraine.

  • BERLIN— WikiLeaks on Monday criticized Google for failing to swiftly inform the secrets-spilling group about U.S. search warrants issued seeking emails and other personal information from three of its staff. The warrants, issued in March 2012, required the Internet giant to hand over the phone numbers, IP addresses, credit card details, contents of all emails...

  • PARIS— At Paris' high-octane couture week, what happens on the catwalk is only half the story. Academy Award winner Goldie Hawn and her daughter Kate Hudson made a surprise appearance at Atelier Versace in an atypical family night out in Paris. Her mother dressed more prudently in a black long sleeve cocktail dress with crystal zipper details from this year's...

  • LONDON, Jan 26- When Mario Draghi announced the European Central Bank's trillion-euro scheme to buy government bonds, he acknowledged that in the round of strategies to revive inflation and boost the economy, the bank had just played its last hand. Asked by reporters what would happen if the plan to purchase 60 billion euros of assets a month for 19 months failed,...

  • *Greece must get bailout extension, discuss reforms with its lenders. BRUSSELS, Jan 26- Europe showed a willingness on Monday to give Athens more time to pay its debts, but little sign that it would yield to a new Greek government's demands for debt forgiveness. Before any talks on more time for Greece to repay its debts can start, Athens must get an extension of its...

  • OSLO, Jan 26- Last year tied with 2010 as the hottest on record, in a new sign of long-term global warming stoked by human activities, according to British data on Monday that back up U.S. findings of record-breaking heat in 2014.. The worldwide data, compiled by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia from records stretching back to 1850, showed average...

  • BRUSSELS— For a man long seen as the eurozone's worst nightmare, Alexis Tsipras has had a smooth first day as prime minister of Greece. But concerns of a disastrous confrontation— in which, say, Greece might stop repaying its loans or the eurozone stop funding Athens— eased on Monday after both sides said they were open to negotiation. Besides calling for the...

  • *China pushing for greater recognition of yuan. LONDON/ WASHINGTON, Jan 26- China is expected to make another push for the inclusion of the yuan in the International Monetary Fund's in-house currency basket in a review later this year- and this time round its G20 partners may be willing to listen. One Asian G20 source said it would be welcomed by those like South...

  • BERLIN/ LONDON, Jan 26- An expensive fightback by top consumer goods brands is likely to provide only temporary relief as retailers improve the quality of their own products to attract thrifty European shoppers. For household goods companies like Nestle and Unilever, the advance of private labels has eaten into market share and dented prices and margins.

  • EU blacklists Sri Lanka over illegal fishing Monday, 26 Jan 2015 | 6:40 AM ET

    BRUSSELS— The European Union blacklisted Sri Lanka Monday for failing to combat illegal fishing, officially banning imports of fisheries products from Sri Lanka- flagged vessels into the EU. Officials said the decision to put Sri Lanka on the list was taken by EU fisheries ministers at their regular talks in Brussels. Sri Lanka is the second biggest exporter of...