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  • BRUSSELS, June 19- European Union countries need stricter controls to protect citizens from spying, a top data protection official said on Thursday, a warning that may rekindle a debate about snooping before an EU summit next week.

  • MOSCOW, June 19- Russian Energy Minster Alexander Novak said on Thursday some partners in the South Stream gas pipeline project had come under pressure from the European Union, Interfax news agency reported on Thursday.

  • SOFIA, June 18- Bulgaria must push ahead with the Russian-backed South Stream gas pipeline project only if it complies with all European Union laws, opposition leader Boiko Borisov, the front-runner to be the next prime minister, told Reuters on Wednesday. The proposed pipeline to bring Russian gas under the Black Sea to Europe will make landfall in Bulgaria.

  • EU poised to dethrone US as world's top wheat exporter Wednesday, 18 Jun 2014 | 11:38 AM ET

    LONDON/ CHICAGO, June 18- The European Union is likely to surpass the United States to become the top world wheat exporter next season as high freight rates help EU suppliers tighten their grip on nearby markets in the Middle East and expand sales in Asia.

  • LONDON, June 18- When Britain elects a new government in May next year, business faces a difficult choice: Conservatives who could pull the country out of the European Union, or Labour waving the threat of tougher regulation.

  • GENEVA, June 18- Members of the Group of 20 leading economies are still doing more to restrict trade than to liberalise it, according to a report published by major world agencies on Wednesday.

  • DUBLIN, June 18- Ireland's High Court on Wednesday asked the European Court of Justice to clarify European Union data protection rules in light of allegations that Facebook shared data from EU users with the U.S. National Security Agency.

  • ROME, June 17- Italy's economic recovery remains fragile and Matteo Renzi's government needs to take rapid steps to increase the country's growth potential and cut debt, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday.

  • *More budget leeway key for Italy's support for Juncker. BRUSSELS/ ROME June 17- The European Union, supported by Germany, is working to meet an Italian demand to shift focus from austerity towards growth, in a deal that could help cement Jean-Claude Juncker as the next European Commission president.

  • Iraq is the second-largest producer in OPEC and its northern exports have been offline since March. OPEC output has also been hit by unrest in Libya, sanctions on Iran and oil theft in Nigeria.

  • BRUSSELS, June 17- The European Union is working on an interpretation of its budget rules to accommodate Italy's demand to shift policy focus to growth, the outgoing leader of the European Parliament's Socialists and Democrats group, Hannes Swoboda said on Tuesday.

  • MOSCOW, June 17- Norway's Statoil could increase gas supplies to the European Union but would not be able to replace Russian gas, CEO Helge Lund said on Tuesday, a day after Moscow cut off supplies to Ukraine over a price dispute.

  • MOSCOW- NORWAY'S STATOIL CEO LUND SAYS COULD INCREASE GAS SUPPLIES TO EUROPEAN UNION BUT COULD NOT REPLACE RUSSIAN GAS.

  • *Lack of finance a major hurdle for Africa's development. *World Bank leading program to promote credit bureaus. LUSAKA/ LAGOS, June 17- When Joyce Musonda wanted to start a business two years ago selling kitchen tiles from her backyard in an up-and-coming district of Zambia's capital of Lusaka, she braced herself for a battle to find a start-up loan.

  • *Sunni Islamists intensify grip on northern Iraq. NEW YORK, June 16- Brent crude oil futures rose on Monday as advances by Sunni insurgents in Iraq fueled concerns over a potential disruption to oil exports from the second-largest OPEC producer.

  • WASHINGTON, June 16- The European Union has presented a "fair and reasonable" compromise to resolve a gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine, the State Department said on Monday after Moscow cut off gas supplies to Kiev because of unpaid bills.

  • *IMF cuts 2014 U.S. growth forecast to 2 percent. WASHINGTON, June 16- The International Monetary Fund cut its growth forecast for the United States on Monday and said the economy would not reach full employment until the end of 2017, allowing interest rates to be held near zero for longer than financial markets expect.

  • EU to team up with South Korea in global 5G race Monday, 16 Jun 2014 | 11:34 AM ET

    BRUSSELS, June 16- The European Union is teaming up with South Korea to jointly research the next generation of mobile broadband technology, hoping the Asian country's expertise will help it catch up in a field crucial for economic growth and jobs.

  • *Sunni Islamists intensify grip on northern Iraq. NEW YORK, June 16- Crude oil futures pushed higher in choppy trading on Monday as advances by Sunni insurgents in Iraq fueled concerns over a potential disruption to oil exports from the second-largest OPEC producer.

  • WASHINGTON, June 16- Weak economic growth in the United States is a temporary phenomenon, with limited impact on the rest of the world, the head of the International Monetary Fund said on Monday. U.S. growth in the first quarter contracted due to a harsh winter, but the IMF said it is likely to rebound.