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G7 Agrees Chinese Yuan Should be in IMF Currency Basket

The Group of Seven countries are in fundamental agreement that the Chinese yuan should be part of the IMF's international basket of reference currencies, but there is no need to rush it, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Friday.

"There are technical issues and not just technical ones" to sort out, Schaeuble told a news conference concluding a meeting of G7 finance ministers and central bank governors. "We are in full agreement on the goal, but it would not be good to rush it," he added.

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Losses on Resources Front Pressure Syrian Regime on Revenues

With most of its natural and mineral resources having fallen under rebel control, Syrian state revenues have shrunk, leaving the government dependent on unstable sources of income for its survival.

Four years of conflict have decimated the state coffers.

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Far from the Madding Crowd: China's Rich Seek Own Islands

As sunset falls on his private island in the South China Sea, entrepreneur Lin Dong likes few things better than to lounge on a hammock strung between two trees as waves lap the shore.

"I don't like noise, and I'm not a fan of the pollution in crowded cities," he said. "The island life suits me much better".

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Japan-EU Summit to Discuss Stalled Free Trade Deal

Japan and the European Union will hold summit talks later Friday, with a long-stalled Free Trade Agreement expected to be on the agenda.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will meet with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk in the latest annual get-together between the leaders of the two big trading partners.

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Sri Lanka Raises $1 bn Abroad after Parliament Snub

Sri Lanka's new government raised nearly a billion dollars through its first overseas bond issue after parliament shot down plans to increase local borrowings, the country's central bank said Friday.

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka said $650 million was raised Thursday through a 10-year bond at an annual interest rate of 6.125 percent while the rest was through shorter tenure.

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G7 Ministers Meet on Global Growth Overshadowed by Greek Crisis

Finance ministers and central bank governors of the Group of Seven wealthiest nations gathered in Dresden Thursday to seek ways of boosting global growth, while the Greek crisis also cast its shadow over the talks. 

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble had invited his counterparts from Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Japan and the United States for an "in-depth exchange of views" on a wide range of subjects, from the state of the global economy, to financial regulation, tax evasion, and ways of starving terror groups like the Islamic State of funding.

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UK Economic Growth Slows Sharply in Q1

Britain's economy faced a sharp slowdown in the first quarter of 2015, halving its growth rate from the previous three months, unrevised official data showed Thursday.

Gross domestic product expanded by 0.3 percent between January and March, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirmed in a second estimate. That compared with 0.6 percent in the final quarter of 2014

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Greek Pro-EU Party Pledges to Back Loan Deal

Greece's fourth-largest party, pro-EU To Potami, on Thursday pledged to back a new deal between the country and its creditors that could face a rocky ride through parliament.

"Whichever agreement comes to parliament, all To Potami lawmakers will vote for it, without haggling, because the country needs oxygen," party leader Stavros Theodorakis told Skai TV.

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Dollar Soars to More than 12-Year High against Yen

The dollar soared to its highest level against the yen in more than 12 years on Thursday, powered by expectations for a U.S. interest rate hike and more monetary easing from Japan's central bank.

The greenback briefly touched 124.30 yen in Tokyo midday trading, its highest level since late 2002, before settling back to 123.82 yen. That compares with 123.63 yen in New York late Wednesday.

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Etihad Profits up 52 Percent in 2014

Etihad Airways net profits surged by more than half in 2014 to $73 million, the Abu Dhabi-based carrier said Thursday, buoyed by increased passenger numbers and further expansion into the European market.

Revenue for the fast-growing carrier rose 26.7 percent to $7.6 billion, with net profits increasing 52.1 percent from $48 million in 2013, Etihad said in a statement.

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