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  • Alcoa to close Point Henry smelter in Australia Monday, 17 Feb 2014 | 5:51 PM ET

    Feb 17- Aluminum producer Alcoa Inc said it will permanently close its Point Henry smelter and two rolling mills in Australia, after a two-year review found that the smelter had "no prospect of becoming financially viable."

  • PARIS, Feb 17- France published a decree on Monday to prevent the planting of genetically modified maize as a stopgap measure, while the government works on changes to domestic and European laws to ensure a longer-term ban. Annual sowing of maize in France gets under way in the second half of March.

  • MELBOURNE, Feb 18- BHP Billiton reported a 31 percent rise in first-half profit on Tuesday and signalled it would consider a dividend hike in August, as it cuts debt towards levels that may prompt a share buyback.

  • Feb 17- Former AIG boss Maurice "Hank" Greenberg's Starr Investment Holdings LLC said on Monday it had agreed to take over health insurance claims processor MultiPlan Inc in what is by far its biggest private equity investment to date. Since its launch in 2012, all of Starr Investment Holdings' previous private equity deals have been below $1 billion.

  • MELBOURNE, Feb 18- BHP Billiton reported a 31 percent rise in first-half underlying profit on Tuesday, well above market forecasts, bolstered by aggressive cost cutting and volume growth. Underlying attributable profit rose to $7.76 billion for the six months to December, up from $5.94 billion a year earlier.

  • CARACAS, Feb 17- Venezuela ordered out three U.S. diplomats on Monday, accusing them of recruiting students to lead protests that were the OPEC nation's most serious violence since President Nicolas Maduro's April election and in which three people were killed.

  • Obama had been in office only a month when he signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a $787 billion stimulus that Democratic majorities in both the Senate and House of Representatives passed over the objections of Republicans.

  • BANGKOK, Feb 18- Any comfort investors in Thailand draw from what happened four years ago, when economic growth, the stock market and foreign investment all surged despite deadly unrest in Bangkok, may be sorely misplaced.

  • *Weak spending raises questions about economic outlook. TOKYO, Feb 18- Japanese consumers ended last year with a whimper instead of the bang many had expected, reinforcing a nagging worry that the prime minister's aggressive policies are struggling to find support among those key to its success.

  • *Governor Kuroda to brief media at 0630 GMT. TOKYO, Feb 18- The Bank of Japan is expected to keep monetary policy steady on Tuesday and maintain its upbeat view on the economy, unfazed by recent signs of slower growth and suggesting that any additional stimulus will be some time away.

  • WASHINGTON, Feb 17- A conservative group that helped defeat an organizing campaign by the United Auto Workers in Tennessee will take its anti-union fight to other auto plants in the South, its leaders said on Monday.

  • WASHINGTON/ MEXICO CITY, Feb 17- North America's three leaders will discuss a controversial pipeline project that would transport Canadian crude deep into the United States at a trade summit this week, Mexico's top diplomat said on Monday, adding he does not see it as a competitive threat.

  • NEW YORK, Feb 14- Soros Fund Management, one of the hedge fund industry's most closely watched investors, trimmed its stakes in J.C. Penney and Herbalife late last year, marking a notable shift in course only months after buying into the companies.

  • BUENOS AIRES, Feb 17- Argentine media conglomerate Grupo Clarin can break up its operations into distinct companies and avoid a forced dismantling to comply with a new media ownership law, the state media regulator said on Monday.

  • By Gilles Guillaume and Laurence Frost. PARIS, Feb 17- PSA Peugeot Citroen's founding family gave the go-ahead on Monday for a 3 billion euro tie-up with China's Dongfeng that would draw a line under one of France's oldest industrial dynasties, sources said.

  • BUSINESS-NEWS-SCHEDULE AT 3 PM ET/ 1800 GMT Monday, 17 Feb 2014 | 3:13 PM ET

    Russia boosts Ukraine's Yanukovich with $2 billion fresh credit. KIEV- Russia says will give Ukraine a fresh cash injection of $2 billion to support its heavily indebted economy in a boost to the embattled president in Kiev, who has been forced onto the back foot by 12 weeks of unrest.

  • LONDON, Feb 17- Financial markets may be more vulnerable to traders' stress levels than previously thought, according to a scientific study which found that high levels of the stress hormone cortisol can induce risk aversion.

  • CARACAS, Feb 17- Venezuela ordered out three U.S. diplomats on Monday, accusing them of recruiting students to lead protests that were the OPEC nation's most serious violence since President Nicolas Maduro's April election and in which three people were killed.

  • Feb 17- U.S. electric power company Duke Energy Corp said on Monday that it was looking to sell off its Midwest commercial generation business, including stakes in 13 power plants, saying they offered "volatile returns" in a competitive market.

  • That pushed the jackpot to $400 million for the next drawing, scheduled for Wednesday, according to the Multi-State Lottery Association, which runs the Powerball game. Over the past two years, Powerball prizes have nearly doubled in size after ticket prices rose to $2 from $1 and California, the nation's most populous state, joined the game.