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Wires

  • BRASILIA, Feb 19- Brazil's political affairs minister Carlos Marun said on Monday that passage of a bill to overhaul the country's costly social security system has effectively ground to a halt in Congress and would become a campaign issue in this year's election. Marun, the cabinet minister charged with mobilizing coalition support in Congress, said pension...

  • JERUSALEM, Feb 20- Israel's OrCam, which has developed a visual aid for the blind, has completed a funding round that values the company at $1 billion, putting it on track for a planned initial public offering, its chief executive said on Tuesday. The company raised $30.4 million by selling an approximate 3 percent stake to investors including Israel's Clal...

  • MADRID, Feb 19- Widely credited with steering Spain through its worst recession in decades, its outgoing Economy Minister Luis de Guindos will hope to bring pragmatism and tenacity to the European Central Bank when he takes over as vice president in June. He showed calm under political fire by pushing through tight budgets and unpopular labour reforms during...

  • His energy minister, Yuval Steinitz, called it the most significant export deal with Egypt since the neighbours signed their historic peace treaty in 1979.. "Egypt is becoming a real gas hub," Yossi Abu, CEO of Delek subsidiary Delek Drilling LP, told Reuters. Molla's comments refer to Egypt's challenge to a 2015 ruling by the International Chamber of Commerce...

  • Feb 19- U.S. oil company Chevron Corp on Monday said it had resumed drilling operations in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. "Chevron can confirm that it has resumed its activities in the KRI and we have restarted drilling operations at our Sarta 3 field," Chevron spokeswoman Sally Jones said in a statement. Before that, Chevron in September had drilled an oil well at its...

  • BRUSSELS, Feb 19- A post-Brexit customs arrangement with the European Union could start with Britain sticking to the same external trade tariffs as the bloc, a senior European lawmaker said on Monday. The EU is waiting for London to outline what sort of future relationship it wants with the other 27 nations, with one of the most politically sensitive issues being...

  • BRASILIA, Feb 19- Brazil's political affairs minister Carlos Marun said on Monday that passage through Congress of a bill to overhaul the country's costly social security system has effectively been halted and would not be put to a vote.

  • *Namibia, South Africa operations could be expanded. The rally in zinc prices to their highest since 2007 has helped to boost the overall profits of Vedanta, which has zinc projects in India, South Africa and Namibia. It also has licenses in Ireland and is discussing possible joint ventures to develop them following the closure in 2015 of the Lisheen mine it...

  • PALM BEACH, Fla./ WASHINGTON, Feb 19- The White House said on Monday that President Donald Trump supports efforts to improve federal background checks for gun purchases, days after a shooting at a Florida school killed 17 people. Trump spoke to Senator John Cornyn, a Republican, on Friday about a bipartisan bill that he and Democratic Senator Chris Murphy...

  • SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico— A federal judge on Monday approved a $300 million loan for Puerto Rico's power company that officials say will help keep the troubled agency operating until late March. The judge had said officials did not provide sufficient evidence proving Puerto Rico's Electric Power Authority needed the money, so the board submitted a revised...

  • PITTSBURGH— An Australian investment firm has acquired The Mall at Robinson, one of the larger retail venues in the Pittsburgh area. Cleveland- based Forest City Realty Trust said Monday that it had completed the previously announced sale of its interest in the mall to QIC. QIC already had an ownership stake in the mall, which Allegheny County recently...

  • MOSCOW, Feb 19- Russian businessman Mikhail Prokhorov has agreed to sell a 6 percent stake in Russian aluminum giant Rusal to a consortium of investors led by billionaire Viktor Vekselberg and his partners, the consortium said on Monday. The consortium said in a statement that after the deal, Vekselberg and his partners will hold 26.5 percent in Hong Kong- listed...

  • VANCOUVER, Feb 19- British Columbia said on Monday that it will formally challenge a ban of its wine by Alberta under Canada's national free-trade pact, as a battle between the two provinces over a crude oil pipeline expansion project rages on. British Columbia, a top Canadian wine producer, said it had notified oil-rich Alberta it was seeking consultation under...

  • Attorney General Andy Beshear in the lawsuit accused Cardinal of unfair, misleading and deceptive business practices that he said led to the excessive distribution of opioids in Kentucky. "I'm committed to hauling each of these opioid companies into a Kentucky court to answer for their actions that have devastated our families, communities and state,"...

  • LOS ANGELES, Feb 19- Disney-Marvel's "Black Panther" is heading for a stunning $235 million debut over the four-day President's Day weekend at 4,020 North American locations, estimates showed Monday. "Black Panther," starring Chadwick Boseman and directed by Ryan Coogler, has blown away its original tracking in less than a month. The film, which carries an...

  • LONDON— Latvia's top banking official, a key member of the European Central Bank, has been accused by local bank Norvik of seeking kickbacks, trying to launder Russian money and retaliating against the bank when it refused to play by the "rules of the game." Norvik bank has filed an international legal complaint against Latvia in which it alleges that a "Senior...

  • *ABLV Bank denies claims of sanctions busting, money laundering. RIGA, Feb 19- Latvia's ABLV Bank sought emergency support on Monday after U.S. officials accused it of helping breach North Korean sanctions while the country's central bank chief faced bribery allegations, turning up the spotlight on its financial system. Last year, two Latvian banks were fined...

  • *Speculators cut net gold longs in the week to Feb. 13. LONDON, Feb 19- Gold prices were down slightly on Monday as the dollar clawed back some recent losses and stocks rose, but worries about U.S. inflation kept buyers in the metal. The safe-haven appeal is a bit in question but it has a lot to do with movements in the dollar which has recovered somewhat, "said ABN AMRO...

  • His energy minister Yuval Steinitz called it the most significant export deal with Egypt since the neighbours signed their historic peace treaty in 1979.. "Egypt is becoming a real gas hub," Yossi Abu, CEO of Delek subsidiary Delek Drilling LP, told Reuters. " The partners have also been trying to finalise a long-term export deal with a Royal Dutch Shell PLC plant in...

  • *Some focus turns to Israel- Iran tensions. LONDON, Feb 19- Oil prices hit their highest level in nearly two weeks on Monday, lifted by a global equity market recovery and tensions in the Middle East, although concerns of rising U.S. production tempered gains. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel could act against Iran itself, not just...