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  • MADRID, March 23- Voters in southern Spain dealt a blow to Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's hopes of winning a second term this year on the strength of the country's economic recovery, abandoning his centre-right Popular Party for upstarts and the opposition Socialists. One of the countries worst-hit by Europe's economic crisis, Spain is now one of the...

  • *Schlumberger sees higher oil prices in second half of 2015. NEW YORK, March 23- Brent crude oil prices slipped towards $55 in the last hour of trading after an announcement from Saudi Arabia that its daily oil production neared record highs outweighed a weakened dollar. Saudi Arabia has stood firm on its decision to maintain production levels, saying it would...

  • YASMIN HAMMAMET, Tunisia, March 23- The European visitors strolling Tunisia's Hammamet resort are an encouraging sign for a government determined to minimise the fallout of last week's shooting of 20 tourists in the nearby capital. Japanese, Spanish, Italian and Colombian tourists were among the victims when at least two gunmen opened fire on their buses as...

  • RIYADH, March 23- Saudi Arabia's cabinet on Monday approved a proposal to tax undeveloped land in urban areas, a policy which could help to end a shortage of affordable homes and spur economic growth. The decision was the first major economic policy initiative announced by the government since King Salman took the throne in January, and may indicate he intends to...

  • Fireman's Fund to pay $44 mln to settle U.S. charges Monday, 23 Mar 2015 | 1:45 PM ET

    March 23- Fireman's Fund Insurance Co agreed to pay $44 million to settle U.S. charges that it knowingly issued policies that did not qualify for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's federal crop insurance program and falsified documents, the U.S. Department of Justice said on Monday.

  • SAO PAULO, March 23- Brazil's biggest opposition party has no interest in impeaching President Dilma Rousseff despite recent street demonstrations calling for her ouster, former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso told Reuters. Cardoso, who at 83 remains an influential leader in the centrist Brazilian Social Democracy Party, said removing Rousseff so...

  • WASHINGTON, March 23- U.S. intelligence agencies in June will stop bulk collection of data documenting calls by U.S. telephone subscribers, unless Congress extends a law authorizing the spying, U.S. officials said on Monday. Efforts by Congress to extend the law so far have proved fruitless, and Congressional aides said that little work on the issue was being done...

  • BRUSSELS, March 23- Greece can choose its own reforms to unblock the flow of loans from international creditors and stave off bankruptcy, but it will have a hard time avoiding privatizations and a pension reform because of their budget impact, European officials said. A new left-wing government and euro zone creditors agreed last week that Athens would present...

  • WASHINGTON, March 23- The owners of Andorra's Grupo Banca Privada d' Andorra are launching their own investigation of U.S. allegations the bank laundered money for criminals across the world, two members of the family that owns the institution said on Monday. Andorra, a tiny principality wedged between France and Spain, took control of BPA this month after the U.S....

  • WASHINGTON, March 23- U.S. home resales rebounded modestly in February against the backdrop of a persistent shortage of properties on the market, a trend that could undermine the spring selling season. The Fed singled out housing as a sector that remains slow, and it still is, but that doesn't mean the Fed shouldn't hike rates, "said Joel Naroff, chief economist at...

  • An attorney for the New York and Tennessee Republican parties urged the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to toss out the Securities and Exchange Commission's rule, saying it tramples on the free speech rights of asset managers. He cited a sworn statement submitted by Tennessee state Senator Jim Tracy, who testified that his campaign was hurt by...

  • ZURICH, March 23- Liechtenstein's biggest bank LGT does not expect to suffer any fallout from assets it bought from HSBC's private bank months before that business was embroiled in a scandal over allegedly helping clients to dodge taxes. Vaduz- based LGT, owned by the principality's royal family, snapped up 7.1 billion Swiss francs of private banking assets...

  • BRUSSELS, March 23- Businesses' demand for bank loans is resurgent in the euro zone as cheaper credit makes new investment projects more attractive, and this will support an economic recovery, ECB President Mario Draghi said on Monday. Speaking to European lawmakers in Brussels, Draghi said the ECB's deployment of monetary stimulus policies was accelerating...

  • *Larger volumes flows to U.S., Asia, Europe. Iraq, Venezuela, Russia and Kazakhstan all saw their oil partially replaced by Saudi crude in Asia, the United States and even Europe, with its lackluster demand, as traders said the kingdom offered customers more oil, and more cheaply. Gary Ross, the founder and executive chairman of PIRA, the first consultancy to predict...

  • SEATTLE, March 23- Microsoft Corp's Office apps will be pre-installed in some Samsung tablets running Google Inc's Android system, extending an agreement to put some Microsoft apps on the new Samsung Galaxy S6 phone. Microsoft said Monday that Samsung will pre-install Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Skype and its note-taking and cloud storage apps on certain tablets...

  • US STOCKS-Wall St little changed as energy pares gains Monday, 23 Mar 2015 | 12:29 PM ET

    *Dollar weakens, supporting crude prices. NEW YORK, March 23- U.S. stocks were little changed on Monday, following strong gains in major indexes the previous week, as investors assessed gyrations in the dollar and crude prices and their impact on equities. "The market has been in a back-and-forth motion for the last couple of weeks, caught between the potential for...

  • WASHINGTON, March 23- A former executive at Bechtel Corp was sentenced to 3-1/ 2 years in prison on Monday for accepting $5.2 million in kickbacks for state-run power contracts in Egypt. Asem Elgawhary, who lives in Maryland but was a general manager at a joint venture Bechtel ran with Egypt's state-owned electricity company, pleaded guilty in early December to...

  • BERLIN/ ATHENS, March 23- Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, pressing for cash to keep his country afloat, began talks with Germany's Angela Merkel on Monday after Berlin ruled out any breakthrough in differences with the euro zone over Athens's international bailout. Tsipras' pledge to submit a full reform package within days to unlock money that Greece...

  • *Schlumberger sees higher oil prices in second half of 2015. NEW YORK, March 23- U.S. crude oil climbed above $47 a barrel on Monday as a declining dollar offset global oversupply concerns stemming from an announcement by Saudi Arabia that it was pumping around 10 million barrels per day, near a record high. Houston- based Schlumberger Ltd, the world's top oilfield...

  • March 23- The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to revive a lawsuit by singer-songwriter Todd Rundgren and his wife Michele accusing JPMorgan Chase of wrongfully attempting to foreclose on the couple's Kilauea, Hawaii home. JPMorgan spokesman Jason Lobo declined comment. The Rundgrens' dispute stems from a $3 million refinancing loan the couple arranged...