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  • HAVANA, Dec 26- Luis Abel Bango spent seven years searching for his dream car, a 1957 Chevy Bel Air. Out in the provinces, central Cuba. Cuba and the United States agreed last week to restore diplomatic ties that were cut off after the revolution, when the tail fin was still a recent innovation in automotive design.

  • AUSTIN, Texas, Dec 26- With high-speed rail in the United States long on plans and short on construction, a Texas company is aiming to fast-track service between Dallas and Houston. The Texas Central Railway Company plans to use private investment and Central Japan Railway bullet train technology to run a line between two of the largest U.S. cities.

  • MOSCOW, Dec 26- Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev sees inflation at 10 percent by the end of next year, he told Rossiya 24 television on Friday, as the rouble crisis persists. Russia has been forced to support banks and hike interest rates in recent weeks to try to arrest the currency's slide and avoid spiralling inflation after years of stability, a...

  • Dec 26- Brazil's state-run oil company Petroleo Brasileiro SA and some of its executives were hit with a U.S. class action lawsuit by investors in $98 billion of the company's securities over an alleged kickback and bribery scheme. The latest case was filed on Dec. 24 in Manhattan's federal court by the Labaton Sucharow law firm on behalf of the city of Providence,...

  • Dec 26- Amazon.com Inc said on Friday it drew more than 10 million new members to its Prime shipping and digital content service over the holidays and intends to offer one-hour shipping to more cities in 2015.. Amazon considers its $99- a-year Prime membership, which confers free two-day shipping and streaming of select movies and songs, essential to driving its...

  • NEW YORK, Dec 26- U.S. stocks rose on Friday, with major indexes hitting records and on track for a second straight weekly advance, though trading was light with many traders still out for the Christmas holiday. The advance continued Wall Street's recent upward bias, with the S&P up about 6 percent from a recent closing low hit earlier this month.

  • PANAMA CITY, Dec 26- The consortium working on the extensive Panama Canal expansion has submitted two new claims for cost overruns of almost $740 million, the canal administrator said on Friday. A dispute between the canal and the consortium over cost overruns temporarily halted work on the expansion earlier this year and arguments over the project are now...

  • Dec 26- Consumers spent actively on lodging and restaurants during the holiday season, while sales of electronics were flat, reflecting an ongoing shift toward spending on "experiences" rather than goods, MasterCard said in a holiday spending report. MasterCard said the growth was in line with its forecast for the holiday season and underscored the impact of an...

  • SONY PICTURES' "THE INTERVIEW" GROSSES MORE THAN $1 MLN ON DEC. 25 AT U.S.

  • NEW YORK, Dec 26- U.S. stocks pushed higher on Friday and major indexes hit new records, while oil and natural gas fell on worries of a supply glut and on mild U.S. weather. Europe, Canada, Latin America and a number of Asian markets were closed for a holiday the day after Christmas. "The overall trend remains higher, but we're reaching a point where we're overbought," said...

  • A year and a half after the $50 billion project to build a canal across Nicaragua was launched by President Daniel Ortega, a former Marxist guerrilla, the doubts have only grown. So far the company, the HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co Ltd, or HKND Group, of telecoms entrepreneur Wang Jing, has identified only $200 million in funding.

  • Dec 26- Consumers spent actively on lodging and restaurants during the holiday season, while sales of electronics turned negative, reflecting an ongoing shift towards spending on "experiences" rather than goods, MasterCard said in a holiday spending report. Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president at MasterCard Advisors, told Reuters in an interview that casual...

  • Dec 26- Amazon.com Inc said more than 10 million new members worldwide tried its Prime subscription service for the first time during the current holiday season. Amazon Prime users get unlimited free two-day shipping for $99 a year. They can access books, songs, movies, TV episodes and upload unlimited photos on Amazons Cloud Drive.

  • NEW YORK, Dec 26- U.S. stocks rose on Friday, with major indexes hitting records and on track for a second straight weekly advance, though trading was light with many traders still out for the Christmas holiday. The advance continued Wall Street's recent upward bias, with the S&P up about 6 percent from a recent closing low hit earlier this month.

  • MOSCOW, Dec 26- Russia's central bank said on Friday it would provide up to 1.1 trillion roubles at a three-month credit auction secured by non-marketable assets on Jan. 12. That would be a record amount offered at this type of auction. The central bank is taking steps to alleviate a shortage of roubles in the money market.

  • Dec 26- Microsoft Corp's Xbox Live was back up on Friday while Sony Corp's PlayStation Network remained offline for a second day after a hacker group claimed responsibility for attacking the two Internet gaming services. A Microsoft website that keeps track of the status of Xbox services listed Xbox Live's "core services" as up and running on Friday.

  • RUSSIAN CENTRAL BANK SAYS WILL PROVIDE UP TO 1.1 TRILLION ROUBLES AT A 3- MONTH CREDIT AUCTION ON JAN 12.

  • U.S. holiday sales show steady growth - MasterCard Friday, 26 Dec 2014 | 10:30 AM ET

    Retail sales during Black Friday through Christmas Eve increased 5.5 percent, in line with forecasts, MasterCard Advisors said.

  • NEW YORK, Dec 26- Oil traded declined slightly Friday, after paring gains from early in the session, as a supply glut in top consumer the United States trumped worries about falling production from Libya. "The numbers on Wednesday were really bearish, and it's possible the market is still trying to digest them," said Andrew Lebow of Jefferies in New York.

  • FOREX -Dollar gains in light, post-Christmas trading Friday, 26 Dec 2014 | 10:09 AM ET

    *Japan inflation slows, highlights BOJ's struggles. There's going to be a dip-buying mentality "said Rob Zukowski, senior technical analyst at 4 Cast Ltd. based in New York. Data on Tuesday that showed the U.S. economy growing at its fastest quarterly pace in 11 years underscored the divergence in paths between the world's largest economy and those of Japan and...