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  • CHENNAI, India, Dec 4- Rains eased in the flood-hit city of Chennai in southern India on Friday, raising hopes that rescue efforts could pick up, after the death of 18 patients at a private hospital added to the official toll of 280 confirmed killed in the disaster. The commercial airport of Chennai will also be partly opened on Saturday after being shut for the past...

  • NEW YORK, Dec 4- The trustee liquidating Bernard Madoff's firm on Friday began distributing another $1.19 billion to victims of the swindler's Ponzi scheme. Irving Picard, the trustee, said the payout will boost distributions to more than $9.16 billion. Picard said he will make individual distributions ranging from $1,298 to $202 million.

  • LONDON/ SAO PAULO, Dec 4- Grupo BTG Pactual SA Chairman Persio Arida said in a letter to investors that he is "now comfortable" with the investment bank's liquidity position and vowed to push for further sales of assets over the weeks to come. In a letter to clients, Arida said that initial actions by the São Paulo-based bank's new management have been aimed at...

  • SAO PAULO, Dec 4- The Colombian peso underperformed mostly flat Latin American currencies, tracking a decline in oil prices after news that OPEC was planning to maintain its production near record highs. The group decided to increase its collective output ceiling to 31.5 million barrels per day from the previous 30 million, two OPEC sources told Reuters,...

  • However, the OPEC decision triggered a stark turnaround in bond yields, a reversal by the dollar against the euro, and caused U.S. crude to drop through $40 a barrel. "The outcome of the meeting looks bearish- especially in the context of today's nonfarm payrolls report, which gives the Fed the green light to embark on its much-anticipated tightening cycle at this...

  • OTTAWA, Dec 4- Canada shed more jobs than expected in November, while exports tumbled in October, suggesting the economy was off to a weak start in the final quarter of 2015 after just recently emerging from a mild recession. "We're effectively back to square one," said Doug Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets. But the unemployment rate in Alberta, which has...

  • The dispute over the retention and sharing of passenger name records-- PNR-- became a shibboleth in Brussels. Islamist attacks in Paris this year, in January and last month, lent impetus to France and other governments to press the EU parliament to relent. "The compromise agreed today will enable the EU to set up an effective PNR system which fully respects...

  • NEW YORK, Dec 4- The U.S. dollar was nearly flat against the euro on Friday despite stronger-than-expected U.S. monthly jobs data, as markets continued to digest Thursday's unexpectedly small stimulus from the European Central Bank. U.S. nonfarm payrolls increased 211,000 last month, the Labor Department said on Friday. "There was so much pain in the market...

  • NIKE ON FIFA-RELATED DOJ PROBE- THERE IS NO ALLEGATION IN DOCUMENTS THAT ANY EMPLOYEE WAS AWARE OF OR KNOWINGLY PARTICIPATED IN ANY BRIBERY SCHEME.

  • WARSAW, Dec 4- Poland's new government is reviewing two major military tenders started by the previous administration, a deputy defence minister said late on Thursday, signalling the country's large-scale army modernisation scheme may face delays. In April, Poland provisionally selected Airbus Group's utility helicopters and said it would buy Raytheon's...

  • SAO PAULO, Dec 4- Brazil's deposit guarantee fund on Friday provided Grupo BTG Pactual SA a credit facility worth 6 billion reais, bolstering cash at Latin America's biggest independent investment bank after its founder's arrest last week sent clients scrambling to withdraw their money. In a statement, BTG Pactual said it placed a pool of outstanding loans as...

  • *OPEC maintains near record output by raising ceiling. NEW YORK, Dec 4- Oil prices fell on Friday after news that OPEC was planning to maintain its production near record highs despite depressed prices, as the producer group continued to seek share of an oversupplied market. Energy company shares, including those of U.S. oil major Exxon Mobil and oil service...

  • PHILADELPHIA, Dec 4- A freshman Federal Reserve policymaker added his voice to the majority expecting an interest rate hike this month, saying on Friday he would prefer to start tightening sooner than later to keep the economy on track and to protect the central bank's credibility. In his first public comments on policy since taking the job in July, Philadelphia...

  • LONDON, Dec 4- A global task force is to encourage businesses to make voluntary disclosures to help investors compare the risks that they face from climate change, Financial Stability Board Chairman Mark Carney said on Friday. In September, Carney, who is also governor of the Bank of England, said one of the reasons for better disclosure was the risk that large...

  • LONDON, Dec 4- Gold rose 1.6 percent to a two-week high on Friday, after a U.S. non-farm payrolls report, seen as likely to pave the way for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates this month, failed to aid the dollar's ascent. "The second consecutive strong jobs report only briefly blunted the gold rally as renewed euro strength and U.S. dollar weakness has driven...

  • *NXP set to close $11.8 bln Freescale deal on Monday. *Specialist firms like Melexis, AMS could be targets-analysts. Already, Infineon has reportedly begun talks to take a stake in Japan's Renesas.

  • TRUJILLO ARRESTED OFF CRUISE SHIP AT PORT CANAVERAL, FLORIDA, BY U.S.

  • *VW-brand sales dropped 20 pct y/y in Britain last month. LONDON/ BRUSSELS, Dec 4- Volkswagen's emissions scandal has so far had little impact on the broader European car market, Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn said on Friday, though data showed VW itself saw a plunge in sales in Britain last month. Data on Friday showed sales of VW-branded cars last month plunged...

  • VIENNA, Dec 4- OPEC maintained its policy of pumping near-record volumes of oil at a meeting on Friday, according to sources at the group, taking no steps to reduce one of the worst crude gluts in history which has driven down prices. The group, which produces a third of global oil, decided to increase its collective output ceiling to 31.5 million barrels per day from...

  • *OPEC sets output ceiling at 31.5 mln bpd- sources. Only the energy index was weaker after sources said OPEC would maintain its production outlook in an oversupplied market. Oil prices slumped following the OPEC news.