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  • Dec 17- A U.S. judge has dismissed Steve Wynn's lawsuit accusing prominent short-seller Jim Chanos of slander over an alleged statement that the casino mogul violated a U.S. anti-bribery law. District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco ruled on Tuesday that Chanos was giving an opinion protected under the U.S. Chanos, founder of New York- based hedge fund...

  • ABUJA, Dec 17- Nigeria has slashed its forecast for economic growth in 2015 due to the plunge in global oil prices, the finance minister's budget presented to parliament on Wednesday showed. Oil accounts for the bulk of government revenue in Nigeria, but global crude prices have almost halved over the last six months. The 4.3 trillion naira budget is based on a...

  • Announcing the end of what he called a "rigid" policy of isolation of Cuba that had been ineffective, Obama said the United States would move toward normal ties and would open an embassy in Cuba. Castro spoke in Cuba as Obama made his announcement on a policy shift made possible by the release of American Alan Gross, 65, who had been imprisoned in Cuba for five years.

  • UPDATE 1-New York bans fracking after health report Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 1:31 PM ET

    Dec 17- New York governor Andrew Cuomo's administration said on Wednesday it will ban hydraulic fracturing in the state after a long-awaited report concluded that the oil and gas production process poses health risks. Governor Andrew Cuomo, answering questions from journalists, said the decision on whether to allow this kind of drilling in New York was up to...

  • MILAN, Dec 17- Italy's top administrative court has given Emirates permission to continue operating direct flights between Milan Malpensa airport and New York, rejecting a request by rival airlines to stop the flights. An Italian court had initially backed their case and barred Emirates from flying on the New York- Milan route. Emirates is a direct competitor...

  • NEW YORK, Dec 17- Crude oil jumped nearly 5 percent on Wednesday as important chart support prices held fast after nearly a week of selling, leading to technical buying that turned the market around abruptly. "I think it was triggered by some short-covering, and once it gets going it feeds upon itself," said John Saucer at Mobius Risk Group in Houston.

  • *FedEx shares fall after earnings. NEW YORK, Dec 17- U.S. stocks climbed in early afternoon trading on Wednesday as energy sector shares surged more than 4 percent, though investors were preparing for a Federal Reserve statement that may set the stage for interest rate hikes in 2015.. "Volatility should be expected after the statement because so much is riding on...

  • WASHINGTON, Dec 17- The renewal of full diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba could be the start of a long thaw in decades of animosity but the path is full of obstacles, not least the U.S. sanctions on the Communist-run island. Only Congress can overturn the law, and with Republicans due to take control of both the House of Representatives and the...

  • WASHINGTON, Dec 17- The U.S. credit union regulator said on Wednesday it filed a lawsuit against U.S. Bank and Bank of America over mortgage securities sold in the years leading up to the financial crisis. The regulator accused U.S. Bank and Bank of America of knowing about defects in the mortgage loans but not providing required notices to the investors.

  • CALGARY, Alberta, Dec 17- Canadian oil producers deepened 2015 spending cuts on Wednesday, as Husky Energy, MEG Energy and Penn West Petroleum joined those hacking back capital budgets in response to tumbling crude prices. Penn West, one of Canada's largest conventional oil producers, also cut its dividend to 3 Canadian cents per share from 14 Canadian cents.

  • *China copper output rises in Nov from month before. *Fears over Russia currency crisis pause. Global equities stabilised from earlier falls as the oil price rebounded and as fears over a full-blown currency crisis in Russia subsided.

  • N.Y. extends fracking ban after health report Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 1:01 PM ET

    Dec 17- New York Environmental Commissioner Joseph Martens said Wednesday he will issue an order early next year banning fracking in New York "at this time", extending an already six-year halt to fracking in the state. Martens made his comments after the state's Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said there is not enough scientific information to conclude that...

  • Pimco's funds have suffered from ill-timed investment bets in Russia, Brazil and Venezuela along with the ongoing flight by investors from emerging markets, exacerbated by the management shakeup following the dramatic departures of co-founder Bill Gross and Chief Executive Officer Mohamed El-Erian. The $9.8 billion Pimco Emerging Local Bond Fund, which...

  • US retailers curb holiday borrowing, avoid inventory glut Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 1:00 PM ET

    "We are just not seeing huge borrowings by anyone," said Irene Marks, managing director of retail finance at Wells Fargo Capital Finance, which committed $11 billion in loans to retailers this year. GE Capital's senior managing director of retail finance Tim Tobin estimated that the percentage of credit used by retailers they had loaned to was on par or below the...

  • OTTAWA, Dec 17- The Federal Court of Canada agreed on Wednesday to order Apple Inc's Canadian subsidiary to turn over documents to the Competition Bureau to help investigate whether Apple unfairly used its market power to promote the sale of iPhones. In seeking the order, the Competition Bureau said agreements Apple negotiated with wireless carriers may have...

  • EU lawmakers fail to approve tar sands oil veto Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 12:56 PM ET

    BRUSSELS, Dec 17- An attempt by some European politicians to veto the import of tar sands oil failed on Wednesday after a European Parliament vote, giving a boost to Canada but dismaying green campaigners. After years of lobbying from Canada, the European Commission published a new plan in October on reporting the greenhouse gas intensity of transport fuels.

  • *Russia concerns cause DAX to underperform. LONDON, Dec 17- European equities staged a late recovery on Wednesday, as a rebound in energy stocks and new signs of economic stimulus measures from the European Central Bank lifted shares. Energy stocks added the most points to the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which had spent much of the day mired in negative...

  • TREASURY SAYS NO CUBA FINANCIAL SANCTIONS TO BE LIFTED IMMEDIATELY, TO ISSUE AMENDMENTS IN' COMING WEEKS'.

  • NEW YORK STATE COMMISSIONER SAYS NOT ENOUGH SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION TO CONCLUDE THAT FRACKING IS SAFE.

  • EU leaders to endorse investment plan in search for growth Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 | 12:45 PM ET

    BRUSSELS, Dec 17- European Union leaders will agree on Thursday to set up a highly leveraged investment fund they hope can kick-start the bloc's economy and reduce high unemployment and public debt. The plan, presented by the executive European Commission last month and set to be endorsed by the 28 national leaders at a Brussels summit, is to use 21 billion euros...