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  • TOKYO, Dec 31- After years of being overshadowed at home and practically unheard of overseas, Japan's whisky distilleries are expanding capacity as their malts become serious contenders against Scottish and Irish brands.

  • *Brent futures trade between $96.75 and $119.17 in 2013. SINGAPORE, Dec 31- Brent futures held above $111 a barrel on Tuesday on worries about a prolonged outage from OPEC member Libya, positioning the benchmark to end 2013 virtually unchanged.

  • *Eyes expansion in Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and Nordics. LONDON, Dec 31- With revellers raising a glass of bubbly to the new year, England's tiny sparkling wine industry is set for a lift in 2014 as established brands step up export plans and newcomers join the party.

  • NEWSMAKER-Deutsche Telekom's new CEO faces twin tests Tuesday, 31 Dec 2013 | 1:00 AM ET

    *Former finance chief Tim Hoettges becomes CEO on Jan 1. FRANKFURT, Dec 31- When Deutsche Telekom's new Chief Executive Tim Hoettges takes office on Wednesday, a revival of mergers and acquisitions in the sector and a dramatically changing competitive landscape in Germany will pose his biggest challenges.

  • BEIJING, Dec 31- China may buy more Iranian oil next year as a state trader is negotiating a new light crude contract that could raise imports from Tehran to levels not seen since tough Western sanctions were imposed in 2012, running the risk of upsetting Washington.

  • *Brent futures trade between $96.75 and $119.17 in 2013. SINGAPORE, Dec 31- Brent futures held above $111 a barrel on Tuesday on worries about a prolonged outage from OPEC member Libya, positioning the benchmark to end 2013 virtually unchanged.

  • SHANGHAI, Dec 31- China's yuan hit a record high for the third straight session and was headed for its best day in over two months on Tuesday, as the central bank steered the currency higher to meet a pre-determined full-year target, traders said.

  • Local residents heard five powerful explosions just a mile outside of the small town of Casselton after a westbound 112- car train carrying soybeans derailed. Residents within 5 miles of Casselton were urged to evacuate to avoid contact with the smoke.

  • SINGAPORE, Dec 31- The dollar held near a five-year high against the yen on Tuesday to be on track to end 2013 up nearly 21 percent, with efforts to revive the Japanese economy expected to see the trend of broad yen weakness extend into 2014..

  • HONG KONG, Dec 31- China shares rose in a choppy trade on Tuesday, with strength in securities and steel firms overshadowing concerns that the resumption of new share listings will drain liquidity from the market after a more than one-year freeze.

  • Hong Kong shares rise 0.3 pct for day, 2.9 pct in 2013 Monday, 30 Dec 2013 | 11:10 PM ET

    HONG KONG, Dec 31- Hong Kong shares rose during Tuesday's final trading session for 2013, adding to a small gain for the year as fund managers did some "window dressing" to improve the appearance of their portfolios.

  • The dollar last fetched about 104.93 yen, down 0.2 percent on the day and inching away from Monday's five-year high of 105.41 yen, the greenback's strongest level versus the yen since October 2008.

  • SINGAPORE, Dec 31- London copper edged higher on Tuesday to trade around a four-month high and aluminium rose for a third consecutive session to hover near a two-month top as an improved global economic outlook supported metals. Copper climbed to $7,415.50 a tonne on Friday, its highest since August 16.

  • NYMEX-U.S. oil steadies, set for 8 pct annual rise Monday, 30 Dec 2013 | 7:55 PM ET

    SINGAPORE Dec 31- U.S. crude oil futures edged higher on Tuesday, steadying after a fall in the previous session, as data showed that U.S. total fuel demand hit a 26- month high in October while a key Libyan oil export port remained shut. *U.S. crude futures for February delivery gained 7 cents to edge up to $99.36 a barrel by 0034 GMT, against $99.29 on Monday.

  • SINGAPORE, Dec 31- Gold staged a modest rebound on Tuesday after falling more than 1 percent in the previous session, but the precious metal was on track for its biggest annual loss since 1981 as investors shifted their money to equities. *Gold added $1.80 an ounce to $1,197.80 an ounce by 0028 GMT.

  • The Federal Aviation Administration already had approved limited use of drones in the United States for law enforcement, surveillance, atmospheric research and other applications. They also are a growing business for companies such as Boeing Co, Northrop Grumman Corp, Lockheed Martin Corp and AeroVironment Inc..

  • The location of the final assembly and wing fabrication is in question because union members rejected Boeing's contract offer, prompting Boeing to look for other locations around the country, and prompting 22 bids from rival states.

  • *Asian markets ending 2013 quietly with Tokyo shut. Activity was sparse on Tuesday with Asia absent its star performer as the Tokyo market is shut for the rest of the week. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan is essentially flat for the year, as were markets in Singapore, South Korea and the Philippines.

  • FARGO, N.D., Dec 30- A BNSF train carrying crude oil in North Dakota collided with another train on Monday setting off a series of explosions that left at least 10 cars ablaze, the latest in a string of incidents that have raised alarms over growing oil-by-rail traffic.

  • India clears Tesco's $110 mln supermarket investment Monday, 30 Dec 2013 | 6:10 PM ET

    India has approved a $110 million investment plan by Tesco, paving the way for the British retailer to venture into Asia's third-largest economy.

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