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  • MILAN, Dec 17- Italy's top administrative court has given Emirates permission to continue operating direct flights between Milan Malpensa airport and New York, rejecting a request by rival airlines to stop the flights. An Italian court had initially backed their case and barred Emirates from flying on the New York- Milan route. Emirates is a direct competitor...

  • Dec 17- U.S. stocks are expected to climb in 2015 as concerns about the prospect of a Federal Reserve interest-rate hike are being offset by hopes for strong consumer spending as oil prices fall, according to a Reuters poll. That would represent a near 12 percent rise for 2015 from a Dec. 16 close of 1,972.74. "The market's ability to withstand higher rates is the big...

  • *Oil minister Hawrami "hopeful" on final Baghdad deal. LONDON, Dec 17- Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government will ramp up oil exports in the coming months, moving it closer to economic self-sufficiency while it works to clinch a final deal with Baghdad on crude sales and revenue sharing. KRG natural resources minister Ashti Hawrami told a...

  • *Lenders lift markets in Qatar, Abu Dhabi. DUBAI, Dec 17- Most Gulf stock markets regained strength on Wednesday as oil's slide paused, with blue chip banks pushing Abu Dhabi up sharply and Saudi Arabia's bourse jumping after the kingdom's finance minister said the government would continue spending heavily. Brent crude held below $60 a barrel on Wednesday, at...

  • Gulf sell-off fuelled by credit, lax regulation Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 7:18 AM ET

    The stock markets of the Gulf were among the best performers in the world earlier this year, but panicked selling in recent weeks has wiped out all the year's gains in Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The UAE authorities have noted the negative impact, with a senior central bank official saying on Dec. 9 it was studying proposals for new rules...

  • Gulf sell-off fueled by credit, lax regulation Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 7:18 AM ET

    The stock markets of the Gulf were among the best performers in the world earlier this year, but panicked selling in recent weeks has wiped out all the year's gains in Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The UAE authorities have noted the negative impact, with a senior central bank official saying on Dec. 9 it was studying proposals for new rules...

  • LONDON, Dec 17- The rouble's opening bounce fizzled on Wednesday as the currency shrugged off the latest hard currency sales against a backdrop of general bearishness on Russia and mounting pressure across emerging markets. Central banks from Brazil to Indonesia have stepped in this week to curb losses in their currencies which have sold off versus the...

  • SPECIAL REPORT-Inside Iraq's "killing zones" Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 5:37 AM ET

    BAGHDAD, Dec 17- Shi'ite militias and Iraqi security forces, engaged in an all-or-nothing struggle with radical Sunni group Islamic State, are blasting the Sunni farmlands that encircle Baghdad with heavy weapons. "In these parts, there are no civilians," said Lieutenant Colonel Haider Mohammed Hatem, deputy commander of the armed forces around Abu Ghraib, just...

  • Iraq's Kurdistan says to deepen ties with Iran Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 5:11 AM ET

    LONDON, Dec 17- Iraqi Kurdistan plans to strengthen its relationship with Iran, the prime minister of the semi-autonomous region said on Wednesday in an acknowledgement of the deepening ties between Arbil and Tehran. Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said in a statement a new oil deal between Arbil and Baghdad would not impact the Kurdistan Regional...

  • Britain's message for UAE visit: Nice, not naughty Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 5:06 AM ET

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates— Britain wants to make sure its citizens are more nice than naughty while soaking up the Persian Gulf sun this holiday season. A social media campaign by British Embassy staff in the United Arab Emirates running this week is a play on the classic poem "' Twas the Night Before Christmas," and includes travel advice aimed at keeping...

  • Keystone pipeline to top Senate agenda next year Tuesday, 16 Dec 2014 | 3:19 PM ET

    WASHINGTON— Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell declared Tuesday that approving the Keystone XL pipeline will top the Senate agenda in January, potentially setting up an early veto confrontation with President Barack Obama. The $8 billion pipeline would carry oil from Canada into the United States and eventually to the Texas Gulf Coast.

  • President Barack Obama is expected to sign in coming weeks two bills passed by Congress despite concerns raised by U.S. officials that they could add time and cost to the already complex process for approving foreign arms sales. The other would require more elaborate explanations about how major arms sales to the Middle East would affect the "qualitative...

  • *Russi energy min shares OPEC view market will stabilize itself. A near- $20 drop in prices since OPEC declined to cut output at a Nov. 27 meeting has yet to prompt the Gulf members- who overruled calls for output cuts by poorer members such as Venezuela- to reverse course. Russia has said it would not cut production even if oil prices fell below $60 per barrel- far below...

  • Qatar energy minister: OPEC monitoring oil's slide Tuesday, 16 Dec 2014 | 9:23 AM ET

    DOHA, Qatar— Qatar's energy minister says OPEC is monitoring the drop in oil prices closely following a months-long slide that has left crude trading at its lowest point in more than five years. Energy and Industry Minister Mohammed bin Saleh al-Sada told reporters in Doha on Tuesday that OPEC is "watching the market closely," but he gave no indication the bloc...

  • *Panic returns; UAE minister tries to reassure investors. *UAE markets hit 1- year lows, Oman at 2-1/ 2- year low. DUBAI, Dec 16- A fresh wave of panic selling wiped out $49 billion of stock market value across the Gulf Arab economies on Tuesday as the price of Brent crude oil dropped below $60 a barrel for the first time since 2009..

  • DUBAI, Dec 16- The Arab energy exporting states of the Gulf can cope comfortably with sliding oil prices, an International Monetary Fund official said on Tuesday, as a plunge in regional stock markets showed some local investors were panicking. If those levels persist next year, the six rich nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council will face the most dramatic...

  • LONDON, Dec 16- Russia's failed defense of the rouble and a plummeting oil price added to a global emerging markets rout on Tuesday that sent bourses lower in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. The MSCI emerging stocks index traded 1.6 percent lower, on track for an eighth day in the red while the Asia excluding Japan benchmark dropped 0.7 percent.

  • GLOBAL MARKETS-Scramble for safety as rouble, oil sink Tuesday, 16 Dec 2014 | 8:05 AM ET

    *Moscow stock markets plunge, help drag Europe lower. LONDON, Dec 16- Oil's plunge below $60 and the failure of Russia's huge emergency rate hike to stabilize the rouble jolted global markets on Tuesday, adding to a growing sense of crisis and a volatile end to 2014.. After a bumper few years driven by huge amounts of cash pumped into the financial sector by the...

  • DOHA, Dec 16- Russia said on Tuesday it would not cut oil output to help prop up prices and refrained from calling on OPEC to do so despite its economy showing signs of severe stress and its currency collapsing to record lows. Oil prices dropped to near $59 per barrel on Tuesday for the first time since 2009 after OPEC member the United Arab Emirates reinforced on...

  • Dubai and Abu Dhabi stocks close at lowest of year Tuesday, 16 Dec 2014 | 6:02 AM ET

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates— Dubai's main stock market and Abu Dhabi's index closed on Tuesday at their lowest points of the year amid mounting anxiety over plunging oil prices. Dubai's stock market lost 7.3 percent on the day, while Abu Dhabi's slid 6.9 percent. Arabtec, Dubai's largest construction company, and Dubai Investments, a major investment company...