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  • BRUSSELS-- A 24- hour strike by Belgian rail workers on Wednesday paralyzed train traffic throughout Belgium and the international high-speed service to London and Paris.

  • LONDON, Oct 3- Brokerage Marex Spectron has appointed former UBS investment banker John Wall as its new chief executive, the company said on Wednesday.

  • LONDON-- Tesco PLC, Britain's largest supermarket operator, has reported a 12 percent fall in half yearly pre-tax profit to 1.7 billion pounds, as a downturn in Asia and Europe offset stronger sales in Britain. Group sales were up 1.4 percent to 36 billion pounds in the half-year period, while sales in Britain rose 2.2 percent to 23.9 billion pounds.

  • *Brent crude slips under $111 a barrel* Euro trades under $1.29, little changed from U.S. levels. LONDON, Oct 3- European shares and oil fell on Wednesday after weak data from China and Australia deepened concerns about the global economy, while the euro held steady as traders waited for Spain's next move in solving its debt problems.

  • Oct 3- British soft drinks group Britvic and Irn-Bru maker AG Barr have been given more time to decide on the 1.3 billion pound merger. Britvic, which makes and sells PepsiCo brands in Britain and Ireland, could not immediately be reached for comment.

  • MOSCOW, Oct 3- Promsvyazbank, one of Russia's largest privately owned lenders, set an indicative price range on Wednesday for its initial public offering of stock at $10- $12 per Global Depository Receipt.

  • DUBAI, Oct 3- Qatar Islamic Bank, the Gulf Arab state's largest sharia-compliant lender, is set to issue a $750 million five-year Islamic bond on Wednesday, a document from the lead arrangers said. Final price guidance for the sukuk tightened to 175-180 basis points over midswaps after substantial demand for the deal, with order books over $6 billion.

  • ASTANA, Oct 3- Kazakhstan's oil pipeline monopoly plans to raise more than $100 million through an initial public share offering as part of the central Asian country's "people's IPO" programme, the deputy head of its parent company said.

  • The government announced in August that it was awarding a 13- year franchise to run the west coast London- to- Scotland service to Virgin's rival, FirstGroup. Branson, who had at the time questioned whether FirstGroup could meet its financial commitments, on Wednesday praised transport authorities for reconsidering their decision.

  • LONDON, Oct 3- Stagecoach Group PLC:. *Notes the announcement by DfT that current competition for Intercity West. *Will be in discussions with the DfT regarding these developments.

  • OSLO, Oct 3- Norwegian gas exports rose to Germany and France on Wednesday morning, data from Norway's gas system operator Gassco showed. Total exports to Europe including Britain were up by 19.8 million cubic metres to 291.8 mcm per day at 0600 GMT, compared with an average a day before.

  • OSLO, Oct 3- Full restart of Norway's Kollsnes gas processing plant was delayed again for one day until Thursday, gas system operator Gassco said in a market message on Wednesday. Kollsnes, which processes Norwegian gas for export to Britain and continental Europe, will see its output reduced by 30 million cubic metres per day until 0400 GMT on Thursday.

  • LONDON, Oct 3- Brent crude oil futures fell $1 a barrel on Wednesday, dented by concerns about global growth and the outlook for oil demand.

  • LONDON, Oct 3- Britain's top share index fell on Wednesday, dragged down my mining stocks after poor Chinese data raised fresh concerns about raw material demand in the world's biggest metals consuming country.

  • LONDON, Oct 3- Firstgroup PLC:.

  • MELBOURNE, Oct 3- Australian shares edged up to a 14- month closing high on Wednesday as banks and broader stocks were boosted by an interest rate cut and a weaker local dollar, enhancing export prospects. He noted markets were cautious after Spain said a request for European aid was not imminent.

  • LONDON, Oct 3- Pearson PLC:. *Incoming CEO says ft group is a part of the business I value. *CEO says parts of US education are turning around.

  • Tesco CFO Discusses Weak Sales

    Tesco CFO Laurie McIlwee discusses why the UK supermarket chain has suffered negative same-store sales for 18 months. Tesco's reported earnings early on Wednesday.

  • *Legal& General Investment Management, one of the UK's biggest shareholders, has stepped up efforts to crack down on excessive pay by voting against 18 remuneration committee chairmen on company boards so far this year.

  • MOSCOW, Oct 3- Promsvyazbank, one of Russia's largest privately owned lenders, set an indicative price range on Wednesday for its initial public offering of stock at $10- $12 per Global Depository Receipt.