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  • CARACAS, Venezuela-- During his re-election campaign, President Hugo Chavez promised to deepen the "21st century socialism" that has meant an ever-greater state role in the economy. Chavez faces immediate economic time bombs beginning with a rapidly expanding public debt, one of Latin America's highest inflation rates and a weakening currency.

  • MELBOURNE, Oct 9- Australian shares eked out a 0.1 percent gain early on Tuesday, with support from higher iron ore prices countered by concerns about the global growth outlook after the IMF cut its economic forecasts for the second time since April.

  • LONDON, Oct 9- British retail sales posted a solid rise last month as Britons splashed out on sturdy shoes and warm clothes, the British Retail Consortium said on Tuesday, raising the chances of a more lasting economic recovery.

  • LONDON, Oct 9- Scientists have found two distinct genetic "signatures" for prostate cancer that may help doctors predict which patients have aggressive tumours, and designed experimental blood tests to read those genetic signs like barcodes.

  • LONDON, Oct 8- The decline in British house prices eased unexpectedly in September and surveyors forecast that sales would pick up in the wake of government efforts to make mortgages more readily available, a survey showed on Tuesday.

  • LONDON, Oct 8- A man was arrested on Monday on suspicion of defacing a painting by the Russian-American artist Mark Rothko in London's Tate Modern museum. The 26- year-old was detained at about 9 p.m. in connection with a case of criminal damage, London's Metropolitan Police said.

  • By Matt Falloon and Guy Faulconbridge. BIRMINGHAM, England, Oct 8- Britain's Conservatives would slash government spending on welfare by 10 billion pounds a year if re-elected, finance minister George Osborne said on Monday, though he offered few ideas on how to bring the economy out of recession.

  • CANBERRA, Oct 9- Australian shares are likely to lack strong direction early on Tuesday, with support from higher iron ore prices and an improvement in China's services sector countered by losses in copper prices and concerns about the global growth outlook.

  • LONDON, Oct 8- The International Monetary Fund cut its economic forecasts for Britain on Monday, and said more Bank of England stimulus-- and possibly higher public spending or tax cuts-- may be needed if the outlook darkens.

  • *No agreement yet by Britain, France, Germany on stakes. LONDON/ PARIS, Oct 8- Britain turned up the volume in a dispute over French state involvement in any tie-up of aerospace groups EADS and BAE Systems on Monday, leaving the European mega-merger on a knife-edge less than 48 hours before a deadline for the deal.

  • *World Bank says China economic slowdown may worsen. *Turkey retaliates again after mortar fire from Syria. NEW YORK, Oct 8- Oil prices eased on Monday in choppy trading on concerns that slower economic growth in China and the debt crisis in Europe will curb demand for petroleum, while the potential for Middle East turmoil to disrupt supplies limited losses.

  • NEW YORK-- A strong warning from the World Bank that growth in Asia may slow further dragged the price of oil Monday to its lowest close in two months. _ Benchmark crude fell 55 cents to close at $89.33 in New York. On the ICE Futures Exchange in London:.

  • FRANKFURT, Oct 8- Germany's markets regulator signalled support on Monday for the proposals of an EU advisory group that last week called for banks' deposit-taking business to be legally separated from higher-risk activities.

  • LONDON, Oct 8- Investors in EADS and BAE Systems are increasingly frustrated at the political wrangling over their proposed, $45- billion merger, concerned they are being frozen out of the decision-making and are unable to run their numbers.

  • MIAMI-- LeBron James is visiting China for the ninth time, which makes him one of the resident Miami Heat experts about the world's most populous nation. So maybe it's fortunate that the coming week won't exactly include a ton of free time for the Heat, who arrived in Beijing on Monday night for a weeklong trip.

  • Investors looked warily at forecasts for poor U.S. corporate earnings and weaker growth in Asia and decided there wasn't much reason to buy stocks. Companies in the S&P 500 index are expected to post an overall decline in profits for the first time in 11 quarters, according to FactSet.

  • PORTLAND, Maine-- Maine has always been proud of the commodities it claims as homegrown, among them Stephen King, L.L. Bean, lobster, and a host of political icons including Edmund Muskie, George Mitchell and Olympia Snowe. Independent Angus King hails from Alexandria, Va., attended Dartmouth College and moved to Maine, where he has settled in Brunswick.

  • LONDON, Oct 8- Liquefied natural gas will continue to be benchmarked to oil prices for several more decades, outgoing BG Group Chief Executive Frank Chapman said on Monday, despite complaints by top Asian importers that supplies are unaffordable.

  • *World Bank says China economic slowdown may worsen. *Turkey retaliates again after mortar fire from Syria.

  • DUBLIN, Oct 8- The Irish central bank on Monday announced the names of six lenders under investigation over mis-selling payment protection insurance and said it was considering enforcement action against them.