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  • MOSCOW, March 14- Russian stock indexes plunged to the lowest levels since 2009 on Friday, two days before a referendum in Crimea that is expected to provoke western sanctions against Russia.

  • MOSCOW, March 14- Russia's MICEX stock index fell more than 5 percent on Friday to its lowest level since October 2009, two days before Crimea holds a referendum to vote on joining Russia.

  • RUSSIAN MICEX STOCK INDEX FALLS 5.2 PERCENT, LOWEST SINCE OCTOBER 2009.

  • NEW DELHI, March 14- India's wholesale price-based inflation eased to a nine-month low in February as food and fuel prices moderated, raising expectations that the central bank would leave interest rates unchanged at its policy review next month.

  • MOSCOW, March 14- Hackers brought down the Russian central bank's website on Friday before a meeting on interest rates, the bank said. "The site of the central bank is experiencing problems due to a hacker attack," the Bank of Russia said in a statement.

  • MOSCOW, March 14- Russian coal miner and steelmaker Mechel is in talks with Alfa Bank, Russia's largest private bank, on paying off a $150 million debt early, Mechel said on Friday. The company's press-service said in an emailed comment that Alfa Bank had asked for the early repayment and the two sides were in discussions.

  • VANCOUVER, March 14- The Canadian and British Columbia governments and Port Metro Vancouver announced late on Thursday a 14- point action plan to end a labor dispute that has severely impacted operations at Canada's largest port.

  • *MSCI ex- Japan skids to one-month low, on track for weekly loss. Russia launched new military exercises near its border with Ukraine on Thursday, even as the U.S. cautioned that Moscow risked facing serious steps if annexation was the outcome of a referendum planned for Sunday in the Crimea.

  • HONG KONG, March 14- China shares fell and teetered around two-month lows on Friday, after online-payment-related companies slid as China's central bank called for halt to certain types of mobile payments. The CSI300 of the leading Shanghai and Shenzhen A-share listings slipped 0.8 percent on the day, and 2.1 percent on the week.

  • STOCKS OF RUSSIAN UTILITIES, STEELMAKERS, BANKS FALL SHARPLY ON FRIDAY.

  • TOKYO, March 14- Japanese stocks tumbled 3.3 percent to a one-month low on Friday, suffering their biggest weekly drop in nine months as concerns over Ukraine and slowing growth in China hurt risk-appetite and drove a safety-bid towards the yen. The Nikkei share average ended 488.32 points lower at 14,327.66, the weakest closing point since Feb. 14.

  • Russia's MICEX stock index falls 2.5 pct at opening Friday, 14 Mar 2014 | 2:11 AM ET

    MOSCOW, March 14- The MICEX index of Russian stocks fell 2.5 percent at opening on Friday, two days before a referendum in Crimea that is expected to provoke western sanctions against Russia. At 0610 GMT MICEX was down 2.4 percent at 1,219 points. The dollar-denominated RTS index had fallen 2.8 percent to 1,047 points.

  • SEOUL, March 14- POSCO's new chief executive said the South Korean steelmaker will restructure non-steel businesses and not make any major investment in increasing steelmaking capacity, in a marked break from the strategy of his predecessor.

  • March 14- Carlyle Group, along with other investors, has agreed to acquire a majority stake in metals trader Traxys Group, in the latest move by the U.S. private equity firm to boost its presence in commodities as big banks scale back.

  • *RUSSIAN MICEX STOCK INDEX FALLS 2.5 PCT AT OPENING Friday, 14 Mar 2014 | 2:02 AM ET
  • PARIS, March 14- The board of France's Vivendi is to meet on Friday to debate two competing bids to buy its mobile and fixed operator SFR, a deal that could reshape Europe's third-biggest telecom market.

  • SINGAPORE, March 14- Criminals may already have made off with up to $500 million worth of bitcoins since the virtual currency launched in 2009- and you can double that if it turns out they emptied Mt. "It's just growing pains," says Keith Jarvis, a security researcher at Dell SecureWorks.

  • *Hong Kong shares heading for worst week since May 2012. HONG KONG/ SHANGHAI, Mar 14- Hong Kong shares fell on Friday, dragged down by index heavyweight Tencent Holdings Ltd after the Chinese central bank called for a halt to certain types of mobile payments, causing a slide in online-payment-related stocks in China.

  • SINGAPORE, March 14- Brent crude rose towards $108 a barrel on Friday as heightened tensions in Ukraine stoked worries over Russian oil supplies, but the contract remained on track for a third weekly loss amid concerns over Chinese economic growth and rising U.S. stockpiles.

  • Rippe saw TransCanada Corp- the company that hopes to build the 1,200- mile Keystone XL segment as part of a network of pipelines that move oil from Canada to refineries on Texas's Gulf Coast- lay another section of the Keystone line nearby four years ago.