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  • BRUSSELS, Feb 26- The European Union said on Thursday it was escalating a dispute with Russia at the World Trade Organization over what it said were excessive import duties on paper products, refrigerators and palm oil. The challenge is the latest in a series of WTO disputes with Russia, the EU's third-biggest trading partner, since Moscow joined the body in 2012,...

  • CARACAS, Feb 25- Venezuela has requested the annulment of a World Bank tribunal award that orders it pay Exxon Mobil Corp $1.6 billion in compensation for nationalizations, both sides said on Wednesday. The move contrasts with October, when Venezuela deemed the award a victory for its sovereignty and oil workers were shown on TV celebrating.

  • CARACAS, Feb 25- Venezuela has requested the annulment of a World Bank tribunal award that orders it pay Exxon Mobil Corp $1.6 billion in compensation for nationalizations, both sides said on Wednesday. "Venezuela has filed an application for annulment," the country's lawyer George Kahale told Reuters in an email, adding he didn't know yet when the tribunal was...

  • WASHINGTON, Feb 25- The International Monetary Fund on Wednesday said it was ready to assist Ukraine with its foreign currency issues, amid a steep fall in the country's hryvnia currency. The IMF also said it was still waiting for Ukraine to complete prior actions before it could bring the loan program for approval to its board. But it emphasized that the funds...

  • France avoids EU penalties over budget deficits Wednesday, 25 Feb 2015 | 11:53 AM ET

    BRUSSELS— France will avoid punishment for missing its budget deficit targets after the European Union gave it two more years to come into line. European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said Wednesday that France now has a 2017 deadline to get its budget deficit equal to or below 3 percent of annual gross domestic product.

  • Since the establishment in 1951 of the Coal and Steel Community, the precursor of the European Union, advocates of transnational unity have demanded closer cooperation on energy. The European Commission, the EU executive, says the clash with Russia over its seizure of Ukraine's Crimea region means there is the strongest case yet to pool resources across the EU,...

  • Papaconstantinou, who served under former socialist premier George Papandreou in 2009-2011, showed no emotion as he appeared before a special court in Athens. They are among the names of holders of HSBC accounts in Switzerland obtained by France in 2010 when Christine Lagarde, now the International Monetary Fund chief, was the country's finance minister.

  • EU police operation takes down malicious computer network Wednesday, 25 Feb 2015 | 7:09 AM ET

    European Union police coordination agency Europol said in a statement Wednesday that the network, known as the Ramnit botnet, was dismantled in an operation Tuesday by cybercrime experts coordinated from Europol's headquarters in The Hague. The operation involving investigators from Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Britain along with...

  • ATHENS, Feb 25- Greece has no immediate problem with government liquidity, but faces trouble in making debt payments to the IMF and European Central Bank in the spring and summer, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said on Wednesday. A finance ministry official said on Tuesday that Greece expected to start discussions immediately with its EU/IMF partners on...

  • JIZAN, Saudi Arabia, Feb 25- Saudi Arabia's Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said on Wednesday that oil demand is growing and markets are calm, in some of his first public comments since the price of crude rebounded from a near six-year low. Oil crashed by 60 percent between June and January to a post-2009 low of $45 a barrel, with losses accelerating after OPEC decided in...

  • RIYADH, Feb 24- Oil prices have started to stabilize around current levels of $60 a barrel and demand is showing signs of improving in Asia and other regions, a senior Gulf OPEC delegate said on Tuesday. Prices collapsed from $115 in June due to oversupply, in a decline that deepened after OPEC refused to cut output. The price decline since last year has hurt the...

  • GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador, Feb 24- Ecuador's President Rafael Correa said on Tuesday he agrees with a proposal for OPEC to call an extraordinary meeting, describing current global prices for crude oil as "unnecessarily" low. "Prices are unnecessarily low... and OPEC has capacity to regulate its production- together with Russia, which is not part of OPEC- to raise prices."

  • Prices faltered after being lifted by news the Sarir and the nearby oilfields in Libya were shut by a power cut, dealing another blow to exports from the embattled OPEC member nation. "The supply dynamic will be reinforced by the inventory reports and the data are simply too compelling to ignore, and it has consistently undermined the recent rallies," said John...

  • RIYADH, Feb 24- Oil prices have started to stabilise around current levels of $60 a barrel and demand is showing signs of improving in Asia and other regions, a senior Gulf OPEC delegate said on Tuesday. Prices collapsed from $115 in June due to oversupply, in a decline that deepened after OPEC refused to cut output. The price decline since last year has hurt the...

  • Russia last year aborted South Stream, a $40 billion pipeline that was to have passed under the Black Sea and via Bulgaria, in the face of objections from the European Union. With Moscow in financial crisis, it is not clear if its latest plan- a route passing through Turkey, Greece, Macedonia and Serbia, then into Hungary and perhaps on to Austria- will ever come to...

  • EU moves ahead with greenhouse gas trading reform Tuesday, 24 Feb 2015 | 12:33 PM ET

    BRUSSELS— European Union lawmakers have backed plans to reform the EU's vast greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme to protect it from fluctuations in the economy. The system sets limits on certain greenhouse gases that factories and power plants can emit and allows companies to trade allowances if they cannot avoid more emissions. Heavy fines are imposed...

  • ATHENS, Feb 24- Greece expects to start discussions immediately with its EU/IMF partners on filling the state's funding gap, a finance ministry official said on Tuesday. Following interest payments this month of about 2 billion euros to private bondholders and official lenders, Greece must repay an International Monetary Fund loan of around 1.6 billion that...

  • LONDON, Feb 24- Support for Britain remaining in the European Union has hit its highest in more than four years, according to a poll published on Tuesday, which coincided with a fall in support for the Eurosceptic UK Independence Party. Pollsters YouGov said 45 percent of people surveyed said they would vote to stay in the EU, compared to 35 percent who would opt to...

  • LONDON, Feb 24- Brent crude oil rose more than $1 to around $60 a barrel on Tuesday after Libya's largest oilfield stopped production. The Sarir oilfield in Libya shut because of a power cut, in a further blow to exports from the OPEC member. Brent for April was up $1.10 at $60.00 a barrel by 1435 GMT, recovering from an earlier low of $58.10.

  • Feb 24- Greece's reform plan is sufficient to continue giving the country aid but is lacking necessary detail, International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde said on Tuesday. In a letter to Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Lagarde said the Greek list was comprehensive but "not very specific". "In some areas like combating tax evasion and corruption I am...