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Russia to Join China-led Development Bank

Russia is to sign up to the Chinese-led development bank AIIB, first deputy prime minister Igor Shuvalov said Saturday at an international forum in China, cited by Russian news agencies.

"I'd like to inform you that Russian President Vladimir Putin has taken the decision that Russia will participate in the capital of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)," Shuvalov said at China's Boao Forum, quoted by RIA Novosti state news agency.

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Fitch Cuts Greece's Rating amid Default Worries

Ratings firm Fitch cut Greece's credit rating Friday amid worries that the eurozone country is running perilously close to defaulting on its sovereign debt.

Fitch lowered Greece's rating by two notches to the high-risk level of "CCC" from "B," but said that nevertheless it expected the government would survive its cash squeeze.

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Yellen: Fed Weighs Rate Hike 'this Year'

The Federal Reserve is considering raising near-zero interest rates this year even though this may slow the U.S. recovery, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said Friday.

The Federal Open Market Committee is now "giving serious consideration to beginning to reduce later this year some of the extraordinary monetary policy accommodation currently in place," Yellen said in a speech in San Francisco, according to the prepared text.

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Microsoft Buys Office Collaborator App LiveLoop

Microsoft said Friday it has purchased the office mobile app LiveLoop, which allows multiple users to collaborate on PowerPoint presentations simultaneously.

The purchase is the latest by tech giant Microsoft, after recent acquisitions of other mobile apps for professional use. 

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Oil Drops after Yemen-inspired Gains

Oil prices fell Friday after spiking the previous day as Saudi Arabian jets struck rebel targets in Yemen, sparking supply fears in the crude-rich Middle East.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in May sank 63 cents to $58.56 a barrel in London midday deals.

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Bundesbank Opposes More Emergency Funding for Greece

Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann says he is opposed to giving Greece more emergency loans, charging the new government in Athens with frittering away a lot of trust.

"Until the autumn, an improvement in the economy had been discernible. But the new government has gambled away a lot of trust," Weidmann said in an interview with the weekly Focus that was released on Friday.

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U.S. Senate Passes Budget, with 2016 Jockeying on Display

The Republican-led U.S. Senate approved a 2016 budget blueprint early Friday, one that would balance federal spending in 10 years without raising taxes, trim trillions of spending dollars and repeal "Obamacare."

The process, in which several dozen politically-charged amendments were offered, saw Democrats and Republicans stake out their positions ahead of the 2016 presidential election as potential candidates prepare to battle over who will succeed Barack Obama in the White House.

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Ukraine's Russia Debt Threatens IMF Rescue

A default by Ukraine on $3 billion in debt to Russia this year could threaten the International Monetary Fund's lifeline to the embattled country, an IMF spokesman said Thursday.

The Ukrainian government has begun negotiations with creditors for $15 billion in debt relief, part of a $40 billion, four-year financial rescue envisioned by the IMF.

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Borse Dubai Sells Key Stake in London Stock Exchange

Borse Dubai has sold its significant stake in the London Stock Exchange, sending the British group's share price plunging on Thursday.

"Borse Dubai has today sold its shareholding in London Stock Exchange Group plc, representing approximately 17.4 percent of the share capital in the company," said a statement issued by the Gulf group, which was the biggest single shareholder in the LSE.

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French 2014 Deficit Smaller than Expected, Growth at 0.4%

France's public deficit increased by slightly less than expected in 2014, while growth in the eurozone's second biggest economy was confirmed at 0.4 percent, the same as in 2013, the Insee statistics agency said Thursday.

Last year, France's deficit was equivalent to 4.0 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), smaller than the 4.4 percent originally projected, and compared with 4.1 percent in 2013, Insee said in a statement.

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