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  • *Putin's comments ease fear of military conflict in Ukraine. TOKYO, March 5- Japanese stocks jumped on Wednesday after comments by Russian President Vladimir Putin eased worries about military confrontation in Ukraine for now, sparking short covering in battered shares like property developers.

  • WASHINGTON, March 4- The U.S. Air Force decided on Tuesday to start work on a new rescue helicopter by United Technologies Corp's Sikorsky Aircraft in fiscal 2015, a surprising turnaround hours after the Pentagon told Congress the program had been postponed.

  • SINGAPORE, March 5- Chicago corn and wheat futures edged down on Wednesday after rising in the previous session on worries over crop production in South America and unrest in Ukraine.

  • SYDNEY, March 5- London copper on Wednesday hovered near one-week highs hit the day before as tensions in Ukraine appeared to ease a touch, with investor focus shifting to major economic events this week in China and the United States. Copper hit its highest since March 26 at $7,068 a tonne on Tuesday, rebounding from three-month lows below $7,000 last week.

  • SHANGHAI, March 5- Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Science and Technology Co Ltd said it will not be able to meet interest payments on its bonds due on Friday in a rare bond default warning by a Chinese company.

  • WASHINGTON, March 4- The Obama administration will allow consumers to extend health insurance plans that fail to comply with President Barack Obama's healthcare law beyond 2014, according to three people familiar with the matter.

  • BEIJING, March 5- China will cut excess industrial capacity a year earlier than planned and fight pollution through reforms in energy pricing to boost non-fossil fuel power, the government said on Wednesday.

  • BEIJING, March 5- China announced on Wednesday it would maintain its economic growth target for 2014 at about 7.5 percent, as expected, signalling that its policy focus would be slanted in favour of reforms and rebalancing the economy.

  • SEOUL, March 5- U.S. crude oil futures held just above $103 a barrel on Wednesday after pulling back from 5-1/ 2 month highs hit earlier in the week, as tensions over Russian military intervention in Crimea calmed. *U.S. crude for April delivery gained 1 cents at $103.34 a barrel as of 0018 GMT after settling $1.59 lower at $103.33 in the previous session.

  • SINGAPORE, March 5- Gold was little changed on Wednesday following sharp overnight losses as safe-haven buying cooled on easing fears of imminent military action by Russia in Ukraine. Bullion prices were also kept in check by higher equities, which recovered after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would use force in Ukraine only as a last resort.

  • China budgets 2014 fiscal deficit of 2.1 pct of GDP Tuesday, 4 Mar 2014 | 7:25 PM ET

    BEIJING, March 5- China budgeted spending of 15.3 trillion yuan in 2014 and a deficit of about 2.1 percent of gross domestic produce, the Ministry of Finance said on Wednesday in its work plan unveiled at the annual parliament meeting.

  • BEIJING, March 5- China will target 17.5 percent annual growth in fixed-asset investment and 14.5 percent in retail sales growth in 2014, the country's top economic planning agency said on Wednesday.

  • Obama consults Germany's Merkel on Ukraine Tuesday, 4 Mar 2014 | 7:16 PM ET

    WASHINGTON, March 4- President Barack Obama spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday about the situation in Ukraine and discussed a potential resolution to the crisis, a senior Obama administration official said.

  • NEW YORK/ ABU DHABI, March 4- Ben Bernanke earned more in 40 minutes on Tuesday than he made all of last year as head of the U.S. Bernanke was paid at least $250,000 for his first public speaking engagement, in Abu Dhabi, since stepping down in January, according to sources familiar with the matter.

  • TOKYO, March 5- Japan's government plans to clarify how bitcoin transactions should be handled under existing laws, sources familiar with the situation said on Wednesday, following the collapse of Tokyo- based Mt. Japan's government is still trying to explain the collapse of Mt.

  • Chaori Solar warns of China corporate bond default Tuesday, 4 Mar 2014 | 7:07 PM ET

    The company said in a statement posted on the Shenzhen stock exchange website late on Tuesday it would be able to pay only 4 million yuan of the 89 million yuan interest payment due on March 7 due to "uncontrollable factors".

  • DIARY - Top economic Events to Mar 18 Tuesday, 4 Mar 2014 | 7:01 PM ET

    MEXICO CITY, Mexico- Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher speaks before the Mexican Bankers Association- 0000 GMT. TORONTO, Canada- Bank of Canada Senior Deputy Governor Tiff Macklem speaks at an event in Toronto- 0015 GMT.

  • OBAMA HAS OFFERED RUSSIA'S PUTIN A WAY OUT OF UKRAINE CRISIS THROUGH USE OF MONITORING IN CRIMEA AND PULLBACK OF RUSSIAN FORCES- SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL.

  • UNITED STATES WILL NOT PARTICIPATE IN G8 SUMMIT IN SOCHI, RUSSIA, UNLESS MOSCOW REVERSES ON UKRAINE- SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL.

  • TOKYO, March 5- Asian stocks rose and the dollar held firm in early trade on Wednesday, after remarks from Russian President Vladimir Putin allayed fears of an imminent military conflict in Ukraine. Putin said Russia reserved the right to use all options to protect compatriots who were living in "terror" in Ukraine, but that force was not needed for now.