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  • SAN FRANCISCO, April 2- Microsoft Corp on Wednesday formally announced it has developed a voice activated phone assistant feature called Cortana, a direct rival to Apple Inc's Siri.

  • *MannKind shares soar as diabetes drug gets FDA backing. NEW YORK, April 2- U.S. stocks inched higher on Wednesday, pushing the S&P 500 to another intraday record, after data suggested the economy was slowly building momentum after a winter-related pullback earlier in the year.

  • Scientists unveil first wiring diagram of mouse's brain Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 | 1:00 PM ET

    WASHINGTON, April 2- A year to the day after U.S. President Barack Obama announced a $100 million "BRAIN Initiative" to accelerate discoveries in how gray matter thinks, feels, remembers, and sometimes succumbs to devastating diseases, scientists on Wednesday said they had achieved a key milestone toward that goal.

  • WASHINGTON, April 2- An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.8 hit Panama on Wednesday, the U.S. Geological Survey said. The Panama quake was centered about 38 miles south of David, Panama, at a depth of 17.3 miles.

  • SANTIAGO, April 2- Chilean authorities on Wednesday were assessing the damage from a massive earthquake that struck off the northern coast, causing a small tsunami, but the impact was mostly limited, according to early indications.

  • April 2- Belgium's Materialise NV, which provides 3 D printing software to industrial manufacturers and medical equipment makers, filed with U.S. regulators on Wednesday for an initial public offering of American Depositary Shares.

  • NEW YORK/ SAN FRANCISCO, April 2- Amazon.com Inc unveiled a $99 video streaming device called Fire TV that the e-commerce company promised would be more powerful and easier to use than rival services by Apple Inc, Google Inc and Roku. Fire TV, which is available on Amazon.com, can access Netflix, Hulu and other providers of streaming video content.

  • LONDON/ ANKARA, April 2- Iran and Russia have made progress towards an oil-for-goods deal sources said would be worth up to $20 billion, which would enable Tehran to boost vital energy exports in defiance of Western sanctions, people familiar with the negotiations told Reuters.

  • Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told Reuters the worst of the crisis was behind Greece and it was considering issuing new bonds within the next three months. The chairman of euro zone finance ministers Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on Tuesday that Greece was fully funded for the next 12 months and hoped to finance itself on the market afterwards.

  • *EARTHQUAKE OF MAGNITUDE 6.2 HITS PANAMA -USGS Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 | 12:21 PM ET
  • *Trade deficit stands at about 61 bln euros. PARIS, April 2- French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who has stood out in an otherwise unpopular government for his firm handling of international crises, is to take on responsibility for improving the country's weak trade performance, diplomatic sources said.

  • *Copper prices rise to over three-week high. SANTIAGO, April 2- Copper operations in Chile, the world's top producer, were unscathed by a major earthquake that struck the mineral-rich north on Tuesday night and prompted the evacuations of some workers.

  • WASHINGTON, April 2- General Motors Co came under withering attack for its decade-long failure to notify the public about defective parts linked to fatal crashes, as a U.S. Senate hearing opened on Wednesday with accusations that the company fostered "a culture of cover-up."

  • ROME/ ABU DHABI, April 2- Etihad Airways has finished examining Alitalia's books and will soon present a plan to revamp the loss-making Italian airline that is likely to include demands for job cuts and debt restructuring, several sources familiar with the matter said.

  • LONDON/ LAUSANNE, Switzerland, April 2- Western banks involved in global commodity trade flows are tightening payment procedures for steel and grain deals with Russia, having already taken similar steps for Ukraine due to its political upheaval. "Until the geopolitical situation is clear, most banks are reducing risk in Russia as well as Ukraine.

  • *Some companies are shelving or cancelling projects in Russia. WARSAW/ MOSCOW, April 2- Elektrobudowa, a Polish firm that builds power plants, is interested in buying its partner out of a Russian company they jointly own, but there is a problem: the partner firm is owned by a pro-Moscow Crimean politician on the EU's sanctions list.

  • WASHINGTON, April 2- The European Central Bank should ease monetary policy to combat dangerously low inflation that could crimp euro zone output and consumer spending, the head of the International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday.

  • Belgian 3D printing company Materialise files for IPO Wednesday, 2 Apr 2014 | 11:47 AM ET

    The company told the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in a filing that Piper Jaffray and Credit Suisse are the lead underwriters of the offering.

  • *Weir seeks Metso deal, but key Metso shareholder against. Britain's IMI, Switzerland's Sulzer and Metso all have market values of between $5 billion and $7 billion, while Weir is just a bit bigger at $9 billion.

  • SHANGHAI, April 2- Investors in a small construction materials firm in China that defaulted on its bond payment last week will receive their payouts in about a month, two sources with knowledge of the situation said on Wednesday.