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  • WASHINGTON, March 7- U.S. hiring likely picked up enough in February to keep the Federal Reserve on track in reducing its monetary stimulus. "Without adverse weather we could have ended with something above 200,000," said Harm Bandholz, chief U.S. economist at UniCredit Research in New York.

  • *Crimea's Moscow- backed parliament votes to join Russia. SINGAPORE, March 7- Brent crude climbed towards $108.50 per barrel on Friday, rising for a second straight session as worsening diplomatic relations between Ukraine and key oil producer Russia stoked supply fears.

  • SHANGHAI, March 7- China's yuan edged higher against the dollar on Friday for the fourth straight session after the central bank set another stronger midpoint, but the momentum appeared to be slowing, traders said.

  • SHANGHAI, March 7- China's first domestic bond default looked set to occur as expected on Friday as there was no sign of a last-minute bailout for solar equipment producer Chaori Solar, an event seen as a landmark for market discipline in the world's second-largest economy.

  • LONDON, March 6- As bankers, traders and investors gathered at Gazprom's London offices for its annual champagne reception, the message from the world's most powerful gas trader was clear: the Russians don't want another gas war with Ukraine.

  • *Investors cheer Sinopec chairman comments, lift PetroChina too. HONG KONG, March 7- Chinese oil giants Sinopec and PetroChina outperformed the broader Hong Kong and China stock markets early on Friday, on hopes that both companies will be beneficiaries of policy reforms at the ongoing National People's Congress.

  • TOKYO/ SINGAPORE, March 7- The euro held steady near a two-month high against the dollar on Friday, pausing in the wake of a European Central Bank inspired rally, as trade turned cautious ahead of U.S. jobs data.

  • *Copper has lost over 4 pct on China demand worries. SINGAPORE, March 7- Nickel held near nine-month highs on Friday, heading for a seventh session of gains in what would be its longest rally since October 2010, with global supply tightened by Indonesia's ban on ore exports.

  • *Crimea's Moscow- backed parliament votes to join Russia. SINGAPORE, March 7- Brent crude climbed towards $108.50 per barrel on Friday, rising for a second straight session as worsening diplomatic relations between Ukraine and key oil producer Russia stoked supply fears.

  • TOKYO, March 7- JGB prices slipped on Friday, with the 30- year yield hitting a six-week high, as investors' risk appetite picked up following better-than-expected U.S. jobless claim figures, but yields on short-term bills dipped to new eight-year lows.

  • TOKYO, March 7- Asian stocks rose on Friday, buoyed by Wall Street's gains the previous day, but investors remained cautious ahead of the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report later in the session.

  • Tony To, the studio's executive vice president of production, will oversee the co-development program, which could allow for easier releases of English-language films in China. A 37- member Film Censorship Committee vets every movie in China for nudity, violence and politically sensitive scenes.

  • SHANGHAI, March 7- China's yuan opened at 6.1000 per dollar on Friday morning, leaping up 0.3 percent from Thursday's close, as the currency continued to recover strongly from a dramatic slide in recent weeks.

  • State giants China National Petroleum Corporation, Sinopec Corp and China Railway Corporation have said they were seeking investments from private capital and also social capital, or funds sourced from pension funds and insurance companies.

  • MEXICO CITY, March 6- Mexico's telecoms regulator said on Thursday it would introduce measures to boost competition in a market dominated by billionaire Carlos Slim's phone giant America Movil.

  • SINGAPORE, March 7- Nickel held near nine-month highs on Friday and is on track for its biggest weekly gain since mid-January with supply tightened by Indonesia's ban on ore exports, while copper steadied on concerns over demand from top consumer China.

  • WASHINGTON, March 6- The U.S. Navy plans to add 22 Boeing electronic attack jets to a list of "unfunded" priorities requested by Congress, but the document must still be vetted by senior Pentagon officials, who have underscored their commitment to Lockheed Martin Corp's next-generation F-35 fighter jet, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

  • TOKYO, March 7- Japan's Nikkei share average rose to a new five-week high on Friday morning as a weak yen lifted risk appetite following Wall Street's gains on better-than-expected U.S. jobless claims and the European Central Bank's decision to keep its rates unchanged.

  • Japan says not fully apprised of bitcoin situation Thursday, 6 Mar 2014 | 8:24 PM ET

    TOKYO, March 7- Japan's government said it was not yet fully apprised of the situation around bitcoins, showing it was still struggling to determine its approach to the virtual currency a week after the collapse of Tokyo- based bitcoin exchange Mt.

  • CARACAS, March 6- Venezuela on Monday will begin operations of a new currency platform designed to ease the OPEC nation's dollar shortages through a market-based mechanism, the country's top economic official said on Thursday.