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  • SAO PAULO, Feb 6- Brazil's government tapped Paulo Rogério Caffarelli, a senior vice president at state-run Banco do Brasil SA, to assume the finance ministry's No. 2 post, two sources with direct knowledge of the situation told Reuters on Wednesday, in a move aimed at shoring up investor confidence in economic policy.

  • SYDNEY, Feb 6- London copper marked time near two-month lows on Thursday, supported by expectations of improving- if fragile- economic growth this year, and as traders expected a pickup in prices when China returns after a holiday week on Friday.

  • MEXICO CITY, Feb 5- Mexico became only the second country in Latin America to earn a coveted "A" grade sovereign rating after Moody's upgraded it on Wednesday, citing major economic reforms that President Enrique Pena Nieto has pushed through Congress.

  • NEW YORK, Feb 5- A U.S. judge on Wednesday ordered Citgo Petroleum Corp to pay more than $2 million for violations of U.S. environmental laws over toxic emissions at the company's refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas, from 1994 to 2003.. Clean Air Act, said the U.S. Department of Justice.

  • LOS ANGELES, Feb 5- Drought-stricken California farmers facing drastic cutbacks in irrigation water are expected to idle some 500,000 acres of cropland this year in a record production loss that could cause billions of dollars in economic damage, industry officials said.

  • *Emerging markets rout affecting Japan markets- BOJ Nakaso. *Deputy governor maintains upbeat view on economy. TOKYO, Feb 6- Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Hiroshi Nakaso on Thursday expressed readiness to expand monetary stimulus if risks from the emerging markets rout undermine the central bank's efforts to achieve its inflation goal.

  • Feb 5- A U.S. judge on Wednesday declared a mistrial in a lawsuit brought by private patent owner Intellectual Ventures against Google Inc's Motorola Mobility unit after jurors could not unanimously agree, according to an Intellectual Ventures statement.

  • *U.S. crude gained 11 cents at $97.49 a barrel as of 0011 GMT after settling 19 cents up at $97.38.

  • SINGAPORE, Feb 6- Gold held on to small overnight gains on Thursday as global equities remained volatile amid lower risk appetite and concerns over economic growth. *Spot gold was little changed at $1,257.56 an ounce by 0025 GMT, after posting a 0.2 percent gain in the previous session.

  • WASHINGTON, Feb 5- The Republican-led House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill that would roll back federal rules to provide more water for farmers and municipalities in California's Central Valley as the state copes with its worst drought in decades.

  • TOKYO, Feb 6- Asian shares took a tentative step forward on Thursday as investors remained wary after the recent selloff in emerging markets raised concerns about the global economic outlook. That will be a catalyst for markets to stabilise, "said Tohru Yamamoto, chief fixed income strategist at Daiwa Securities.

  • SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 5- A U.S. judge on Wednesday declared a mistrial in a lawsuit brought by private patent owner Intellectual Ventures against Google Inc's Motorola Mobility unit, according to a Intellectual Ventures statement.

  • LOS ANGELES, Feb 5 (Reuters)- Media company Walt Disney Co reported higher profit for the quarter that ended in December, beating Wall Street expectations due to growth at sports network ESPN and the blockbuster performance of its animated hit film "Frozen."

  • *Bank of England set to announce no change to policy. *Focus now on inflation report next week. LONDON, Feb 6- Bank of England officials are likely to use their meeting on Thursday to work out how to steer interest rate expectations now their previous plan has been overtaken by Britain's strong economic recovery.

  • VANCOUVER, Feb 5- Canadian forest products company Canfor Corp posted a higher fourth-quarter profit on Wednesday, boosted by strong lumber prices and an increase in pulp production and shipments.

  • CHICAGO, Feb 5- U.S. grain futures edged higher on Wednesday on technical buying, while profit-taking pushed soybean meal futures down sharply after a rally in the previous session. U.S. soymeal has been in demand as output has slowed from Argentina, the world's top supplier of the livestock feed.

  • TORONTO, Feb 5- Canadian National Railway Co reached a deal on Wednesday to avert a strike by conductors and yard workers after the Conservative government said it would use back-to-work legislation to keep the country's biggest railway operating.

  • OTTAWA/ WASHINGTON, Feb 5- Canada and the United States on Wednesday unveiled a tax information-sharing pact, advancing the Obama administration's fight against tax dodgers, although challenges remained to implementing a U.S. international tax transparency law.

  • GENEVA, Feb 5- Kazakhstan's central bank governor Kairat Kelimbetov expects to see a lot of emerging market currency devaluations this year, with the Russian rouble likely to be "close to collapse again," he said in Geneva on Wednesday.

  • NEW YORK, Feb 5- The U.S. Defense Department remains skeptical of mergers involving its major contractors, a Pentagon official said on Wednesday, amid industry expectations that defense deal-making could revive this year.