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  • BEIJING, Feb 27- China's Ministry of Commerce plans to issue new draft rules in the first half of this year giving the authority more say in global merger transactions that may have an impact on domestic customers.

  • SINGAPORE, Feb 27- Brent futures slipped towards $109 on Thursday on worries an easing of the severe chill in the United States will lower demand for heating fuels and remove a key support for oil, though supply-disruption concerns kept the losses in check. Brent crude dropped 30 cents to $109.22 a barrel by 0636 GMT, after settling almost unchanged overnight.

  • Essilor to buy Coastal Contacts for C$430 million Thursday, 27 Feb 2014 | 1:55 AM ET

    Feb 27- Essilor International will buy Coastal Contacts Inc, a digital retailer of eyeglasses and contact lenses, for C $430 million, Coastal said on Thursday.

  • *Baidu will continue aggressive investment strategy in 2014. SAN FRANCISCO/ BEIJING, Feb 27- Chinese Internet company Baidu Inc is poised to make more acquisitions this year to entice smartphone users to tap into its services, a strategy that will put it on a collision course with bigger rivals like Tencent Holdings Ltd..

  • TOKYO, Feb 27- Japan's Nikkei average fell for a second day on Thursday, moving further away from a four-week closing hit earlier this week as heightened tensions in Ukraine soured sentiment, dragging down index heavyweights like SoftBank.

  • MOSCOW, Feb 27- Russia will take part in discussions on an International Monetary Fund financial package for Ukraine and will not stand aside, Andrei Bokarev, head of the Finance Ministry's international relations department, was quoted as saying. Debt-stricken Ukraine has said it needs $35 billion over the next two years to stave off bankruptcy.

  • RUSSIA WILL TAKE PART IN DISCUSSIONS ON AN IMF FINANCIAL PACKAGE FOR UKRAINE, WILL NOT STAND ASIDE- FINMIN OFFICIAL QUOTED BY RIA.

  • SINGAPORE, Feb 27- Brent futures slipped towards $109 on Thursday on worries an easing of the severe chill in the United States will lower demand for heating fuels and remove a key support for oil, though supply-disruption concerns kept the losses in check. Brent crude dropped 19 cents to $109.33 a barrel by 0526 GMT, after settling almost unchanged overnight.

  • TOKYO, Feb 27- Japanese government bond prices were mostly steady on Thursday, with the super long zone weakening slightly after the Bank of Japan bought less than usual in those maturities via its regular purchasing operations the previous day. The yield on 10- year JGBs was flat on the day at 0.585 percent. The 20- year yield rose a basis point to 1.455 percent.

  • BEIJING, Feb 26- China's factory activity likely expanded only slightly in February, a Reuters poll showed, dropping to an eight-month low that would indicate a modest slowdown is continuing. China's official manufacturing purchasing managers' index may slip to 50.1, down from January's 50.5, according to the median forecast of 12 economists in the poll.

  • SYDNEY, Feb 27- Qantas Airways Ltd is axing 15 percent of its workforce, slashing spending and selling gas-guzzling older planes after stiff competition at home and overseas pushed the Australian flag carrier deep into the red in the first half.

  • Feb 26- The chief investment officer of Calpers, the largest pension fund in the United States, has died after a battle with cancer, his office said on Wednesday. Joe Dear, diagnosed with prostate cancer last year, had been on leave from the California Public Employees' Retirement System since last month for treatment.

  • *HSI +0.9 pct, H-shares +0.5 pct, Shanghai +0.6 pct. HONG KONG, Feb 27- Hong Kong shares rose again on Thursday, and mainland markets also firmed for a second day, led by oil giant Sinopec after a broker upgrade and an increase in China's gasoline and diesel prices.

  • NEW YORK, Feb 27- What can you do if you deposited bitcoins at Mt. Unlike bank accounts in the United States, bitcoin deposits have no government-backed insurance.

  • First lady Michelle Obama, who has used her White House position to launch the "Let's Move" campaign to fight childhood obesity, announced the proposal for the FDA. While the FDA already requires companies to list the amount of sugar in a product, under the proposal they would also be required to list the amount of added sugar.

  • Boeing's tamper-proof phone is aimed at government agencies and contractors who need to keep communication and data secure, according to Boeing and filings with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

  • *Ottawa leaves door open for Taseko to submit new development proposal. VANCOUVER, Feb 26- Canada's government has blocked the development of a controversial copper and gold mine owned by Taseko Mines Ltd, the second time in just over three years that it has halted the mine plan.

  • *U.S. warns Russia it would be' grave mistake' to intervene militarily in Ukraine. SYDNEY/ SINGAPORE, Feb 27- The U.S. dollar held near a two-week high against a basket of major currencies on Thursday, as heightening tensions in Ukraine helped support safe-haven demand for the greenback.

  • *Gold bar premiums in Singapore at 80 cents vs $1.50 last week. SINGAPORE, Feb 27- Gold extended losses on Thursday after the previous session's volatile trade, with a slow physical sector suggesting that jewellers and investors were waiting for prices to drop further from four-month highs.

  • - Yuan again opens weaker than midpoint, flat on the day Wednesday, 26 Feb 2014 | 10:43 PM ET

    HONG KONG, Feb 27- China's yuan briefly fell on Thursday and remained below the official fixing, which the central bank again set lower, a trend that is likely to continue as China prepares for market reforms.