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Wall Street Tries to Reset Debate on Activism

Wall Street is hoping to reset the debate on U.S. corporate governance following a wave of shareholder activism that has challenged many of the biggest companies.

Since August, JPMorgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon has been working with leaders in finance and investing to hash out guidelines on best practices for corporate governance, according to people familiar with the talks.

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In Crisis-Ridden Venezuela, Electricity is also Scarce

Venezuelans are accustomed to severe shortages of oil, diapers and other staple products. But those hoping to buy what they could find got a new unpleasant surprise this week.

They found malls dark and shuttered on the first day of a government electricity rationing regime.

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How Impoverished but Nuclear-Armed North Korea Earns Money

The closure of a factory park in North Korea jointly run by both Koreas has cost the impoverished North a rare source of legitimate hard currency. Seoul says it shut the Kaesong complex in response to the North's recent long-range rocket launch to keep its impoverished neighbor from using the money factories provided to fund its nuclear and missile programs.

With that hit to Pyongyang's already shaky finances gone, at least for now, here's a look at the North's economy and the external sources of income it maintains despite a raft of heavy international sanctions over its nuclear and ballistic missiles program.

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Italy Recovery Stalls, Threatening Debt Plan

Italy's recovery from recession virtually stalled towards the end of 2015, complicating Italian efforts at debt reduction, worse-than-anticipated growth figures indicated Friday.

National statistics body Istat said total GDP for 2015 was up 0.7 percent on the previous year.

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Venezuela High Court Gives Maduro Economic Crisis Powers

Venezuela's Supreme Court has approved President Nicolas Maduro's request for special powers to tackle a deepening economic crisis, overriding opposition from lawmakers to place the oil giant in a 60-day state of emergency.

In a ruling late Thursday, the court said the decree issued by the socialist president last month had entered into force, granting him expanded authority over the moribund economy of the oil-rich, cash-poor South American country for two months.

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Oil Prices Rally after Plumbing New Depths

Oil surged more than five percent in Asia Friday, a day after tanking towards 13-year lows and following a report suggesting the OPEC producers' club was open to working towards cutting output to stabilize volatile crude markets.

Prices for both key contracts dived Thursday in line with a sell-off across on markets worldwide as traders grow increasingly concerned about the state of the global economy, and the possibility of a return to recession.

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German Economy Expands by 0.3% in Q4 2015

The German economy, Europe's biggest, grew by 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter, driven primarily by robust domestic demand, the federal statistics office Destatis said on Friday.

Germany's gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 0.3 percent in the period from October to December, the same rate of growth as in the preceding three months, Destatis said in a statement.

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India and UAE Sign String of Deals on Crown Prince Visit

India and the United Arab Emirates on Thursday signed deals in fields ranging from space technology to renewable energy during a visit to New Delhi by Abu Dhabi's crown prince, the Indian foreign ministry said.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed the deals following talks in the Indian capital New Delhi.

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Lagarde is Only Candidate to Head IMF

The International Monetary Fund said Thursday that its managing director, Christine Lagarde, is the sole candidate for the new term that begins in July.

Named to head the IMF in July 2011 for five years, Lagarde officially entered her nomination for a second term on January 22. She has received numerous expressions of support from officials in Europe, the United States and Latin America.

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Tunisia Sacks Governor of Neglected Phosphate-Rich Gafsa

Tunisia said on Thursday it had fired the governor of the neglected but phosphate-rich Gafsa region, with an official citing "failings" in the management of labor relations in the mining sector.

The decision comes after protests spread across Tunisia last month, including in Gafsa, in some of the worst social unrest since the 2011 revolution.

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