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  • SYDNEY, Dec 16- The self-styled sheik behind a siege at a Sydney cafe had been charged as an accessory to murder and with multiple sexual offenses. Last year Monis was charged as an accessory to the stabbing murder of his ex-wife, who was set alight in a Sydney apartment block. He was charged this year with more than 40 counts of sexual or indecent assault against...

  • TOKYO, Dec 16- Japanese stocks slumped on Tuesday to 6-1/ 2 week lows as free-falling oil prices boosted demand for the safe haven yen and fears of weak worldwide growth dampened risk appetite. The Nikkei benchmark shed 2 percent to close at 16,755.32, its lowest closing level since the Bank of Japan shocked markets by unexpectedly easing policy further on Oct. 31...

  • HONG KONG/ SINGAPORE, Dec 16- Standard Chartered is selling its Hong Kong and Shenzhen consumer finance businesses to a consortium that includes a Chinese state firm, helping the emerging markets-focused lender to clinch its biggest asset disposal as part of a restructuring. In what is expected to be the first of many divestitures, Standard Chartered has...

  • BEIJING, Dec 16- Activity in China's factory sector contracted in December for the first time in seven months, the latest in a string of weak economic indicators that will intensify calls for more stimulus measures to head off a hard landing. The flash HSBC/ Markit manufacturing purchasing managers' index fell to 49.5 in December from November's final reading of...

  • FORT MCMURRAY, Alberta, Dec 16- The boomtown in the heart of Canada's oil sands region is getting nervous. Fort McMurray, surrounded by the boreal forest of northern Canada, has long drawn thousands with jobs that paid six-figure salaries to a region that produces more crude than anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere. Suncor Energy Inc, Total SA and Statoil ASA...

  • TOKYO, Dec 16- Japanese government bond prices ticked up on Tuesday as sinking oil prices raised concerns over the global economic outlook, with the five-year yield falling to a record low following a strong auction result. The 2.7 trillion yen of five-year JGBs were sold at a higher price than market players had expected, triggering short-covering by traders.

  • In what is Sony's most detailed description on the types of data stolen, the company listed information such as social security numbers, credit card details, bank account information, healthcare information and compensation and other employment-related information. Hackers attacked Sony's computer network last month and released sensitive data over...

  • India moves closer to a nationwide sales tax Tuesday, 16 Dec 2014 | 12:45 AM ET

    NEW DELHI, Dec 16- India's plans to rationalise state and federal indirect taxes into a harmonised goods and service tax took a step closer to reality after New Delhi struck a deal with recalcitrant states, two government sources told Reuters. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley brokered a compromise on Monday evening that would pave the way for a key constitutional...

  • SINGAPORE, Dec 16- Oil prices fell on Tuesday, with Brent mired near a 5-1/ 2 year low close to $60 per barrel, as Chinese factory activity slowed for the first time in seven months and stumbling emerging market currencies dented demand expectations. Brent for January delivery was at $60.70 a barrel at 0520 GMT, down 36 cents and close to the 5-1/ 2- year low of $60.20 hit...

  • Online ventures target global Muslim consumer market Tuesday, 16 Dec 2014 | 12:04 AM ET

    A growing minority, however, want to certify more areas of their consumption as religiously permissible- a trend that appears partly due to rising incomes in majority-Muslim areas of the Gulf and southeast Asia, as well as to expanding choices for consumers. One is Singapore- based CrescentRating, a firm which focuses on the halal travel market.

  • Dec 16- Russia was forced to ramp up interest rates on Tuesday in a desperate attempt to rescue its rouble while factory activity in China shrank for the first time in seven months, marking an increasingly turbulent end to the year for the global economy. Russia had to take drastic action to defend its currency, raising interest rates by no less than 5.5 percentage...

  • *Dow Chemical to supply quantum dot material to LG. SEOUL, Dec 16- South Korea's LG Electronics Inc will launch a new range of high-tech TVs in early 2015, beefing up its line-up while it strives to cut costs that make its prized light-emitting diode sets too expensive for most consumers. A spokesman for the world's No. 2 TV maker after domestic rival Samsung...

  • BEIJING, Dec 16- China stocks climbed on Tuesday while Hong Kong shares fell, with the divergence between the prices of financial counters listed in both places widening. The index measuring price differences between dual-listed companies in Shanghai and Hong Kong stood at 117.21, compared with 114.61 at the end of Monday trading. A value above 100 indicates...

  • UPDATE 1-China Nov iron ore output down 7.5 pct on yr Monday, 15 Dec 2014 | 11:35 PM ET

    BEIJING, Dec 16- China's iron ore output plunged 7.5 percent in November from a year ago to 128.18 million tonnes, data from the statistics bureau showed on Tuesday, largely as a result of mandatory industry closures in northern China during the month. China ordered hundreds of steel mills and mining operations across northern China to suspend operations in...

  • UPDATE 1-China refined copper output at record in Nov Monday, 15 Dec 2014 | 11:26 PM ET

    *Copper, aluminium, zinc production at record highs. HONG KONG, Dec 16- China's production of refined copper rose 3.1 percent from the previous month in November, hitting a record for the fourth straight month as high processing fees prompted smelters to produce more metal. A 100,000- tonne-a-year copper smelter in China's northeastern Liaoning province...

  • Oil prices fall as China's factories slow Monday, 15 Dec 2014 | 11:23 PM ET

    SINGAPORE, Dec 16- Oil prices fell on Tuesday, with Brent mired near a 5-1/ 2 year low close to $60 per barrel, as Chinese factory activity slowed and concerns rose over the health of emerging market economies and their currencies. Brent for January delivery was at $60.81 a barrel at 0420 GMT, down 25 cents and close to the 5-1/ 2- year low of $60.20 hit on Monday.

  • *Yen firm on concerns of more trouble at energy producers. TOKYO, Dec 16- The yen hit a two-week high versus the dollar on Tuesday as investors shunned riskier assets, while the rouble- a major victim of plunging oil prices- rebounded after the Russian central bank hiked rates to halt its currency's collapse. The yen rose 0.4 percent to 117.30 to the dollar, its highest...

  • HONG KONG, Dec 16- China's yuan fell against the dollar on Tuesday as the central bank set a weaker midpoint, and on further indications that China will roll out more stimulus measures to shore up the sluggish economy. The yuan has been under pressure in the past month as demand for dollars from oil and coal companies increases near year-end, while a series of weak...

  • *Gold dropped 2.5 pct on Monday after oil slide. SINGAPORE, Dec 15- Gold edged higher on Tuesday after falling more than 2 percent the session before in its deepest slide in over a year following a sustained slump in oil prices. "You're likely to see a volatile market if they don't drop the' considerable time' phrase," said Victor Thianpiriya, analyst at Australia and New...

  • BEIJING, Dec 16- Activity in China's factory sector contracted in December for the first time in seven months as new orders declined, a preliminary private survey showed on Tuesday, fueling expectations that more stimulus will be needed to avert a sharper economic slowdown. The flash HSBC/ Markit manufacturing purchasing managers' index fell to 49.5 in...