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Qatar Airways Takes 10% Stake in BA-owner IAG

Qatar Airways on Friday said it had purchased almost 10 percent of IAG, parent of British Airways and Spanish carrier Iberia, the second European entry by a Gulf carrier.

"As part of efforts to enhance operations and strengthen existing commercial ties... Qatar Airways has acquired a 9.99 percent stake in IAG," the company said in a statement.

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Greek Government Set for First Talks with Eurozone Partners

Greece's new anti-austerity government is set to hold its first talks Friday with its eurozone partners about its ambitions to secure a reduction in the massive debts linked to its 240-billion-euro ($269 billion) international bailout.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is due to meet Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the current head of the eurozone group of finance ministers in an encounter that Athens said would mark the start of Greece's negotiations on revising the conditions of its massive bailout.

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Dollar Edges Down after U.S. Jobs Rally

The dollar edged down against other major currencies on Friday as investors adjusted their positions ahead of key US economic growth data later in the day.

In Tokyo, the greenback slipped to 117.83 yen, down from 118.34 yen in New York, but still up from 117.70 yen in Asia earlier Thursday.

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IMF: Gaza War Pushed Palestinian Economy into Recession

The war between Israel and Gaza drove the Palestinian economy of Gaza and the West Bank into its first contraction since 2006, the International Monetary Fund said Thursday.

While the West Bank managed a 4.5 percent expansion last year, Gaza's economic activity declined by about 15 percent, the IMF said, linking it to Israel's harsh bombing and shelling of the Gaza enclave and slow progress on rebuilding.

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Iraq Cuts Budget Due to Falling Oil Prices

Iraq cut its 2015 budget Thursday by nearly $3 billion (2.7 billion euros) due to the falling price of oil, on which its government is almost entirely dependent for revenue.

MPs approved a budget of $99.6 billion, down from the $102.5 billion the cabinet proposed last month.

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Israel Reduces Electricity to Indebted Palestinians

Israel's state-run electricity company is to reduce energy supplies to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank because of a debt of more than $450 million, an official said Thursday.

The move comes at a time of diplomatic tensions, weeks after Israel froze the Palestinian Authority's (PA) tax revenues in retaliation for joining the International Criminal Court (ICC).

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Obama Bids to Thwart Automatic Spending Cuts

U.S. President Barack Obama will on Thursday unveil plans to forestall automatic budget cuts, increasing spending $74 billion above a cap for 2016.

Rolling out budget proposals for the coming year, White House officials said that Obama will seek to freeze the so-called sequester, which would automatically trim spending by about $1 trillion by 2021.

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Economic Powers Warn Greece not to Renege on Reforms

Economic powerhouses Germany and China warned Greece on Thursday against reneging on reforms tied to its massive international bailout, with markets still jittery over fears Athens could default on its debt.

Germany, which has shouldered most of the multi-billion-euro EU rescue plan for Greece, said the country's new anti-austerity government could not make changes "to the detriment" of other European citizens.

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Eurozone Faces 'Another Lost Decade': Bank of England Governor

Bank of England governor Mark Carney has warned that the eurozone faces "another lost decade", urging more solidarity in what is being seen as a thinly-veiled reprimand to Germany after elections in Greece.

Carney started off his speech in Dublin late on Wednesday saying he intended "to reflect on how the euro area could act to avoid another lost decade".

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Deutsche Bank Posts Better-than-Expected Profit Jump

Deutsche Bank, Germany's biggest lender, said Thursday that its net profit for 2014 more than doubled from the previous year, to a better-than-expected 1.7 billion euros ($1.9 billion).

The bank's bosses, who introduced a drive to reduce costs and boost profitability when they took over in 2012, said they were "encouraged" by the group's results but would not take their foot off the pedal.

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