MELBOURNE, Oct 4- Australian shares were up 0.2 percent on Thursday as banks rose while miners fell, with sentiment dented by soft retail sales figures for August and declines in oil and copper prices. Top banks continued this week's post rate-cut gains, led by a 1.2 percent rise in Westpac Banking Corp.
Our biggest challenge is converting the 25 to 35 year old to becoming participants in our industry, "said Brian Gamache, chief executive of slot machine maker WMS Industries Inc at the annual Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas.
MELBOURNE, Oct 4- Australian shares rose 0.2 percent early on Thursday as gains in banks offset weaker miners, with sentiment supported by encouraging jobs growth data in the United States.
Rail passengers face years of uncertainty over who will run some of Britain's busiest train routes after the Government admitted a huge blunder in awarding the franchise for the West Coast main line. FirstGroup is considering legal action against the Department for Transport after it pulled the controversial West Coast rail bid.
*Russia may be irritated with calls for new sanctions-envoys* Israel has threatened military action against Iran By Louis Charbonneau.
By Karen Jacobs Oct 3- Hotel operator Marriott International. A demand recovery in North America and rising room rates in the face of limited supply growth is helping Marriott offset softness in Europe. North America accounts for 75 percent of business at Marriott, whose brands include Ritz-Carlton, Residence Inn and Courtyard.
LONDON, Oct 4- The Bank of England will shy away from increasing its economic stimulus programme of government bond purchases on Thursday as the economy is showing some signs of growing again.
The Turkish prime minister announced on Wednesday night that Turkey had fired artillery at targets in Syria, in retaliation for Syrian mortar fire that fell in a Turkish border town and killed five Turkish civilians, the New York Times reports.
STOCKHOLM, Oct 3- Hackers shut down the website of Sweden's central bank on Wednesday and targeted two other official sites after activist group Anonymous was reported to have threatened it would launch a cyber attack in support of Internet file sharers. Several websites in Sweden have come under attack this week and crashed.
*China, Europe services PMI disappoint. NEW YORK, Oct 3- Oil prices fell sharply on Wednesday as disappointing economic data from China and Europe reinforced concerns about slowing growth and a weakening demand for petroleum, even as supportive U.S. data strengthened the dollar.
NEW YORK-- Oil prices fell the most in five months on Wednesday as China's slowing economy raised questions about the strength of global oil demand. On the New York Mercantile Exchange:. Benchmark crude fell $3.75, or 4.1 percent, to finish at $88.14 per barrel.
But the chief executives of Las Vegas- based MGM Resorts International and Las Vegas Sands Corp. differed during a keynote panel discussion with four other industry leaders at the Global Gaming Expo about whether states or the federal government are best able to provide oversight.
The asset management and investment firm hired vetran brokers E.H. Stanley Jr. and Geddings H. Crawford Jr, who previously worked at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, the brokerage majority-owned by Morgan Stanley. The asset management business of Aviva Plc named Patrick Brien as chief executive of its Asia Pacific region.
*Economy Minister to meet potential investors in London. MADRID, Oct 3- Spain's Economy Minister will meet investors in London on Thursday in the hope of tempting them to buy into a' bad bank' that will house billions of euros of the country's soured real estate assets.
is entering into a US $100 million revolving credit facility and a US $250 million term loan to refinance its existing credit facilities as part of its C $1.1 billion management buyout, backed by funds from London- based private equity investor Apax Partners LLP.
By Huw Jones and Steve Slater. LONDON, Oct 3- The European Union's banking watchdog is sticking to a capital target for banks to help shield them from the euro zone debt crisis, saying lenders that fall short won't be able to pay dividends or big bonuses.
*Benchmark euro interbank rates hit record lows. ADVISORY- Reuters plans to discontinue its daily report on the money markets in New York as of Oct. 15.
*Illumina machine turns around diagnosis in two days in pilot study. Stephen Kingsmore, director of the Center for Pediatric Genomic Medicine at Children's Mercy medical center in Kansas City, Missouri, whose study was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
LONDON, Oct 3- Britain's Halfords Group picked former Pets at Home boss Matt Davies as its new chief executive, to drive a sales recovery at the car parts and cycles retailer.
Oil firm Surgut was believed to have awarded its tender for three cargoes from the Baltic port of Primork to Shell, Repsol and Litasco with prices of the prompt cargo pegged at around dated Brent minus $1.7 per barrel. Later cargoes were believed to be sold at dated Brent minus $1.50, some 20 cents stronger than prices earlier this week.