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Israel Economy Hard Pressed, Not Crushed over Gaza Rockets

The cancellation of European and U.S. flights to Israel due to rocket fire is further harming tourism in a region already paying for fierce fighting in Gaza, experts say.

But while the hospitality trade and small businesses are suffering, the broader Israeli economy is unlikely to be affected by the conflict with Hamas, in which more than 1,700 rockets and mortar shells fired from the Palestinian territory have so far hit southern and central Israel, they say.

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EU Says Ryanair Must Repay 9.6 mn euros in Illegal State Aid

The European Commission said on Wednesday that low-fare airline Ryanair must repay about 9.6 million euros in illegal state aid it received for its operations in several French regional airports.

The Commission, the European Union's executive arm, said Ryanair would have to repay 868,000 euros related to rebates and marketing arrangements negotiated at Angouleme airport in central France.

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Russia Turns Olympic Site, Crimea into Casino Zones

Russia has designated Sochi's Olympic site and the annexed Crimean peninsula as gambling areas on Wednesday, in a bid that casino revenues will boost their development.

Under the law signed by President Vladimir Putin casinos will be legal in some areas of the former Olympic park in Sochi, where Russia hosted the Winter Games in February.

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Euro at Multi-Year Lows against Dollar, Yen

The euro touched multi-month lows against the dollar and yen on Wednesday as investors fret about the impact on the eurozone economy of possible fresh sanctions against Russia following the downing of Flight MH17.

In afternoon Tokyo trade, the single currency bought $1.3464 and 136.54 yen, down from $1.3465 and 136.62 yen in New York late Tuesday.

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Australian Inflation Gives RBA Room to Keep Rates Low

Australian inflation came in at 0.5 percent in the three months to June, official figures showed Wednesday, giving the country's central bank room to keep interest rates at a record-low to support the economy.

The consumer price index (CPI) had lifted 0.6 percent in the previous quarter, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said.

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Syria War Causes $21.4 bn Losses to Oil Industry

Syria's oil and gas industries have suffered total losses of $21.4 billion since the outbreak of the country's war three years ago, Oil Minister Suleiman Abbas said Tuesday.

"The circumstances the country is going through have caused considerable losses to the oil and gas sectors," said Abbas in a statement.

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Bank Crisis Further Rattles Portugal Economy

Portuguese Economy Minister Antonio Pires de Lima admitted on Monday that a crisis engulfing the giant Banco Espirito Santo group could affect the country's recovery, but insisted Portugal's "upturn is stronger".

"The crisis in the Espirito Santo group will not do us good, but the recovery is stronger and it is there to stay," he told journalists.

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Yen Dips as Stocks Rally and Ukraine Tensions Ease

The yen eased in Asia Tuesday as news that pro-Russian rebels had handed over the black boxes of Flight MH17 eased concerns about the Ukraine crisis.

The losses in the Japanese unit, which is considered a safe bet in times of economic and political uncertainty, were in line with a regional stock market rally as confidence returned to financial markets.

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Credit Suisse Posts Heavy Loss after U.S. Tax Fine

Credit Suisse Tuesday posted a net second-quarter loss of 700 million Swiss francs (576 million euros, $778 million) as a multi-billion-euro U.S. tax evasion fine sent it deep into the red.

The Swiss banking giant paid a $2.6 billion settlement to U.S. authorities in May over tax evasion charges -- helping thousands of wealthy Americans hide money in offshore accounts to avoid taxes. 

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Australian Mogul Packer Gives away $188 Million

Billionaire James Packer, one of Australia's richest men, on Tuesday announced he was setting up a philanthropic foundation to give away Aus$200 million (US$188 million).

The casino tycoon, who runs worldwide gambling empire Crown, said the cash would go to charities promoting the arts and those supporting the broader community, particularly indigenous education.

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