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  • JERUSALEM, Dec 29- Israel's central bank raised its growth estimate for next year on Monday, saying the recovery from the Gaza war should accelerate, and its economists indicated interest rates could stay on hold until an increase in early 2016.. At its monthly policy meeting the Bank of Israel kept its benchmark interest rate at 0.25 percent for a fourth...

  • JERUSALEM, Dec 29- Israel's central bank raised its economic growth estimate for next year on Monday and indicated interest rates would stay on hold until an increase in early 2016.. At its monthly policy meeting the Bank of Israel kept its benchmark interest rate at 0.25 percent for a fourth straight month, as expected, saying it expected the economy's recovery...

  • China challenges India's polished diamond throne Thursday, 25 Dec 2014 | 7:18 PM ET

    *India seeks help from Russia to defend market share. NEW DELHI, Dec 26- India's long-held position as the world's top diamond polisher is being challenged by soaring output from China, compelling the south Asian country to seek help from ally and top rough diamond supplier Russia to defend its market share. India has traditionally relied on the middlemen in...

  • Faithful flock to Bethlehem for Christmas Wednesday, 24 Dec 2014 | 9:19 AM ET

    BETHLEHEM, West Bank— Several thousand Christian pilgrims on Wednesday flocked to the biblical town of Bethlehem for Christmas Eve celebrations at the traditional birthplace of Jesus, lifting spirits after a year of conflict and failed peace efforts. A Palestinian host welcomed members of Gaza's tiny Christian community, who were permitted to cross...

  • *Delek and Noble hold 85 pct of Leviathan. JERUSALEM, Dec 23- Israel's competition regulator recommended on Tuesday breaking up what it says is a monopoly control of the country's offshore gas reserves by Noble Energy and Delek Group, who together hold 85 percent of the giant Leviathan field. Following heavy political pressure, Commissioner David Gilo has...

  • Israel challenges natural gas developers over monopoly Tuesday, 23 Dec 2014 | 6:18 AM ET

    JERUSALEM— Israel's antitrust authority said Tuesday it will challenge the ownership structure of the country's natural gas resources, a decision that could rattle an increasingly important industry. A conglomerate of companies including Texas- based Noble Energy and Israel's Delek Group has been developing Israel's offshore natural gas deposits,...

  • It may be the biblical town of grottos and shepherds' fields in the minds of many around the world, but Bethlehem is a modern densely populated town of 28,000 with a dizzying weave of small streets that practically guarantee traffic jams. "Bethlehem is going through a crisis," said Anton Salman, a city councilor. Bethlehem is sandwiched on three sides by other towns.

  • Report: At least 60 journalists killed in 2014 Tuesday, 23 Dec 2014 | 12:31 AM ET

    NEW YORK— At least 60 journalists around the world were killed in 2014 while on the job or because of their work, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Tuesday, making the past three years the deadliest for journalists since the organization began keeping track more than two decades ago. AP video journalist Simone Camilli and his freelance translator, Ali...

  • JERUSALEM, Dec 22- Israel's antitrust authority said Monday it may revoke an arrangement permitting an Israeli and a U.S. company to develop Israel's largest natural gas field by branding them a cartel. The authority summoned representatives of Israel's Delek Group and Texas- based Noble Energy and told them it was "still considering to announce that buying...

  • Egypt receives 10 Apache helicopters from U.S. - sources Saturday, 20 Dec 2014 | 12:39 PM ET

    CAIRO, Dec 20- Egypt received 10 Apache helicopters from the United States in the past week, security sources said on Saturday, a sign of easing tensions between the long-time allies confronting Islamist extremism across the region. Egypt is fighting an Islamist insurgency targeting mostly security personnel and based mainly in the lawless Sinai Peninsula...

  • TEL AVIV, Dec 15- Israel is proud to call itself a "Start-up Nation", with more tech firms listed on Nasdaq than any other country outside the United States and China. She has brought her company to the brink of commercial success-- pre-clinical safety studies and plans for regulatory approval are underway-- thanks to investment from the office of Israel's chief...

  • Nov 26- Bank Leumi Le Israel BM is close to a $400 million settlement with U.S. authorities following a probe into whether it helped Americans evade taxes, Bloomberg News reported, citing a person with knowledge of the matter. Israel's second-largest lender would pay about $270 million to the Justice Department and $130 million to New York's Department of...

  • *Investors pump $48 million into nano-technology company. TEL AVIV, Nov 24- An Israeli company says it has developed technology that can charge a mobile phone in a few seconds and an electric car in minutes, advances that could transform two of the world's most dynamic consumer industries. The company has raised $48 million from two rounds of funding, including...

  • *Israel helped India in shift to micro-irrigation. Since Modi came to power in May, ties between Israel and India have been in overdrive, with the two signing a series of defence and technology deals that have underscored their burgeoning commercial and political relationship. In October, India closed a $520 million deal to buy Israeli anti-tank missiles.

  • LONDON, Nov 18- The rouble jumped 0.8 percent on Tuesday and Russian shares rose after the European Union held off imposing new sanctions though broader emerging equities slipped for the fourth day, their mood soured by weak Chinese housing data. The rouble rose to a five-session high to the dollar as European Union governments sounded the alarm on an upsurge in...

  • *Finance Ministry says 2014 growth will be 2.4 percent. JERUSALEM, Nov 16- Israel's economy contracted for the first time in more than five years in the third quarter, as growth was hit by the effects of a war with Islamist militants in Gaza. "We are talking about a one-time result and will not have a long-term impact," the Finance Ministry said in a statement, noting it...

  • JERUSALEM, Nov 16- Israel's economy contracted for the first time in more than five years in the third quarter, as growth was hit by the effects of a war with Islamist militants in Gaza. Growth for all of 2014 is projected at 2.2 percent, with Israel's 50- day war in July and August having shaved off about half a percentage point. The Bank of Israel had previously said...

  • *Tensions high in Jerusalem over contested holy site. *Early elections widely expected in Israel. That cautious approach has harmed Israel's ties with Jordan, which oversees the holy site- known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and Jews as Temple Mount- prompting Amman to withdraw its ambassador for the first time since a 1994 peace treaty.

  • JERUSALEM, Nov 5- Israel arrested 14 people, including a senior UBS investment adviser, as part of an investigation into Israelis allegedly holding undisclosed bank accounts with UBS worth hundreds of millions of euros, the Tax Authority said on Wednesday. In addition to the unnamed senior investment adviser at UBS who was arrested in June in Tel Aviv, 12...

  • IBSHAR, Egypt, Nov 5- At Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip, families are emptying their homes- lugging mattresses and furniture onto waiting vans as soldiers look on from armoured cars. The operation's resulting no-mans-land- a security buffer 13.5 km-long and 500 metres deep- will provide greater visibility and, Egypt hopes, deter any future passage of arms from...