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Business Central America

  • MADRID, Oct 23- The Spanish subsidiary of Mexico's top cement maker Cemex mulls cutting about one-fifth of its workforce in Spain, a trade union official told Reuters on Tuesday.

  • *Deal positions RBC as a leading auto lender in Canada. TORONTO, Oct 23- Royal Bank of Canada has agreed to buy the Canadian auto finance and deposit arm of Ally Financial Inc in a $4.1 billion deal to expand its vehicle-lending business at a time when loan growth overall is slowing in the country.

  • A four-year boom in U.S. oil production is accelerating so fast it could help soon make the U.S. the world's top producer of oil and liquid hydrocarbons. The U.S. passed Russia this year, and is now second behind Saudi Arabia. Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration.

  • Steve Murdock, former director of the U.S. Census Bureau and ex-state demographer of Texas, said studies are nearly unanimous in concluding that improved education is the key to bolstering earning power _ and thus could reverse the trend.

  • GENERAL ESCOBEDO, Mexico-- Even before the tour bus comes to a stop, the women rise from their seats and wait in the aisle to exit. "The goal is to come to look for them," said Virginia Olcot, 42, of Chimaltenango, Guatemala, who last heard from her husband in September 2009 when he arrived at the U.S. border in Sonora. "

  • WICHITA, Kan.-- When Candida L. Gutierrez's identity was stolen, the thief didn't limit herself to opening fraudulent credit and bank accounts. The scheme has been linked to illegal immigrants who use stolen Social Security numbers to get paid at their jobs, and authorities fear the problem could soon grow to ensnare more unsuspecting Americans.

  • MILAN-- An Italian investigation into alleged corruption in the awarding of international contracts to aerospace and defense giant Finmeccanica led to the arrest Tuesday of the company's former commercial director and has implicated a former Cabinet minister.

  • PANAMA CITY-- Hundreds of people opposed to Panama selling state-owned land in a duty-free zone on the Panama Canal have marched through the city of Colon a day after a violent protest resulted in a death and several injuries. No violence has been reported Saturday in the Caribbean port city.

  • SEOUL, South Korea-- South Korea says it has been chosen to host a new U.N. climate fund that aims to channel $100 billion a year in aid to developing nations. Seoul's Finance Ministry says the decision was made Saturday in a vote by the fund's 24- member board in Songdo, South Korea.

  • NEW YORK-- Earlier this month, NBA rookie Royce White disclosed that he is afraid to fly and said he expects to travel by bus to play in at least some of the basketball games for his team, the Houston Rockets.

  • "If we can get this fruit harvested, it's a perfect storm for Washington," said Todd Fryhover, president of the Apple Growers Association. " Washington is likely to have a harvest of 108 million bushels, its second highest number on record, industry representatives said.

  • What makes politics here different is who works in those skyscrapers _ not lawyers or accountants, but heavily unionized housekeepers, blackjack dealers and line cooks who have abruptly transformed Nevada into a swing-voting state. Her youngest daughter will soon graduate from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. "

  • TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras-- Honduras' Supreme Court has struck down a plan to build a series of model cities with their own independent tax and justice systems, a proposal that was meant to spur economic growth in this Central American country struggling with corruption and crime.

  • Property and casualty insurer ACE Ltd. said Thursday that it reached a deal to buy Ally Financial Inc.' s Mexican insurance business for about $865 million in cash. The company has more than 30 sales offices throughout Mexico and distributes its products through nearly 2,000 independent agents, along with auto dealerships, banks and direct channels.

  • WASHINGTON-- Cuba's surprise decision to make it easier for citizens to leave the country doesn't mean Cubans can book tickets on commercial planes and head for Miami. "This may end up being ado about nothing," said a Cuban-immigration expert, Jose Azel of the University of Miami's Institute for Cuban and Cuban American Studies.

  • NEW YORK-- Candy Crowley's signature moment as moderator of Tuesday's rough-and-tumble presidential debate came when she was called upon to referee a dispute over President Barack Obama's description of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya as an act of terror.

  • Among the earnings stories for Wednesday, Oct. 17, from The Associated Press. _ The Knight Capital Group Inc. trading firm said it lost $764.3 million in the third quarter because of a software glitch that flooded the stock market with trades one day in August, causing dozens of stocks to fluctuate wildly.

  • BEIJING-- In the simplistic narrative of U.S. presidential politics, China is a Hollywood villain, a monetary cheat that is stealing American jobs.

  • ARLINGTON, Texas-- First Cash Financial Services Inc.' s third-quarter net income rose 3 percent as the company made more money from its pawn shops and fees and saw continued strength in Mexico.

  • NEW YORK-- PepsiCo Inc.' s net income dipped 5 percent in the third quarter, as the food and beverage maker poured more money into bolstering its flagship brands and developing new products that position it for the future.