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  • BERLIN, Dec 19- Germany has lowered the threshold for launching security probes of stake purchases by non-European entities to protect critical infrastructure, a government official said on Wednesday, in a push to fend off unwanted takeovers by Chinese investors. Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet agreed to lower the shareholding threshold at which...

  • TALLINN, Dec 19- Estonia has made the first arrests in a money laundering scandal involving Denmark's Danske Bank, detaining 10 former employees at the bank's Estonian branch, the state prosecutor said Wednesday. Authorities in Denmark, Estonia, Britain and the United States are investigating payments totalling 200 billion euros made through the Danish...

  • Dec 19- Facebook Inc said it did not give some companies access to people's data without their permission, after the New York Times reported on Tuesday that the social network allowed some large technology companies greater access to user data. The paper reported https://nyti.ms/2GveLcR that Facebook allowed Microsoft's Bing search engine to see the names...

  • Benchmark Brent crude oil was up 30 cents at $56.56 a barrel by 0840 GMT, after dropping 5.6 percent on Tuesday and at one point hitting a 14- month low. U.S. light crude was 20 cents higher at $46.44, after plunging 7.3 percent in the previous session when it touched its lowest since August 2017. Both benchmarks have fallen more than 30 percent since the beginning of...

  • SEOUL, Dec 19- U.S. officials will try to expedite humanitarian aid to North Korea, a U.S. envoy said on Wednesday, as Washington and Pyongyang struggle to find a breakthrough in stalled talks aimed at ending the North's nuclear programme. Stephen Biegun, the U.S. special representative for North Korea, made the announcement as he arrived in Seoul for four days of...

  • LONDON, Dec 19- The dollar fell on Wednesday as investors bet that the Federal Reserve would signal plans to slow its pace of interest rate raises at a keenly-watched meeting later in the day. Expectations of a pause from the Fed amid a U.S.- China trade conflict and global financial market volatility has led some investors to question if the dollar's stellar run...

  • *China Enterprises index HSCE falls 0.3 percent. Dec 19- Shares in Hong Kong closed cautiously higher on Wednesday amid market expectations that the U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned the Federal Reserve not to "make yet another mistake" in tightening monetary policy, while a Wall Street Journal editorial called for a pause.

  • *FTSE 100 up 0.4 pct. *FTSE mid-caps down 0.4 pct. Dec 19- Pharmaceuticals giant GSK led the FTSE 100 higher on Wednesday, helping the index snap a three-day losing streak ahead of a key Fed meeting that will indicate the course of interest-rate hikes in the world's largest economy.

  • SoftBank Corp's shares tumbled more than 14 percent on debut on Wednesday, as investor appetite for Japan's biggest ever IPO was hurt by a recent service outage at the company and worries over its exposure to Huawei. Huawei has already been virtually locked out of the U.S. market and prohibited by Australia and New Zealand from building 5 G networks amid...

  • LONDON, Dec 19- European shares rose cautiously at the open with gains in the banking and the pharmaceutical sectors lifting the market amid speculation the U.S. Italian banks jumped 3.7 percent after the country's government struck a deal with the European Commission over its contested 2019 budget and seemed to be on track to put an end to weeks of wrangling...

  • BEIJING, Dec 19- A third Canadian citizen has been detained in China, Canada's National Post newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing the Canadian foreign ministry. China's foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, told a daily news briefing in Beijing that she was unaware of the report. Canada's Global Affairs office told the National Post that they were...

  • *Samples seized from northern Indian plant on Tuesday- source. NEW DELHI, Dec 19- Drug inspectors have seized samples of Johnson& Johnson Baby Powder from a factory in northern India, an industry source said on Wednesday, following a Reuters report that the firm knew for decades that cancer-causing asbestos lurked in the product. The person, who was not authorised...

  • LONDON, Dec 19- GlaxoSmithKline plans to split into two businesses-- one for prescription drugs and vaccines, the other for over-the-counter products-- after forming a new joint venture with Pfizer's consumer health division. The revamp is the boldest move yet by Chief Executive Emma Walmsley, who took over last year. GSK said the deal laid the foundation for the...

  • BEIJING, Dec 19- Shanghai copper hit a three-month nadir and led most China base metals lower on Wednesday, as investors concerned about global economic growth waited to see whether the U.S. *SHFE COPPER: The most-traded February copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell for a fifth straight session. It slid as much as 2 percent to 48,010 yuan a tonne,...

  • BERLIN, Dec 19- Germany's Office for Information Security has issued warnings to several German firms named by the United States as possible victims of hacking attacks, a newspaper reported, adding that Chinese activity against German firms had increased. The United States is embroiled in a trade conflict with China and a senior U.S. intelligence official...

  • BEIJING/ SINGAPORE, Dec 19- Oil prices clawed back some ground on Wednesday as global equity markets showed signs of stabilizing, but crude was still under pressure from worries about oversupply and a slowing global economy that had driven sharp losses in the last three sessions. West Texas Intermediate futures had climbed 7 cents, or 0.15 percent, to $46.31 per...

  • *SoftBank Corp slides on debut after country's biggest IPO. TOKYO, Dec 19- Japan's Nikkei fell to a nine-month low on Wednesday amid caution ahead of the U.S. "The market is caught between two opposing forces due to varying expectations towards the FOMC meeting," said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst with Mizuho Securities.

  • GSK said on Wednesday the deal laid the foundation for the creation of two new UK- based global companies focused on Pharmaceuticals/Vaccines and Consumer Healthcare.

  • Dec 19- Hackers accessed the European Union's diplomatic communications network for years, downloading cables that reveal concerns about the Trump administration, struggles to deal with Russia and China and the risk of Iran reviving its nuclear program, the New York Times reported late on Tuesday. The cables include memorandums of conversations with...

  • NEW DELHI, Dec 19- Indian drug inspectors have seized samples of Johnson& Johnson's baby powder from a plant in a northern state, an industry source said on Wednesday, following a Reuters report the company knew for decades that cancer-causing asbestos lurked in the product. The source, who declined to be named, said the samples were taken from the Baddi plant in...