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Flydubai's 2014 Profits Up 12.3% at $68 mn

Dubai's no-frills carrier flydubai said Tuesday that 2014 net profit rose 12.3 percent to $68 million (60.7 million euros), as it expanded its routes and number of flights. 

Revenues at state-owned flydubai hit 4.4 billion dirhams ($1.2 billion), up 19.1 percent, a statement said.

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Debt-Wracked France Sells Stake in Defence Group Safran

Cash-strapped France, desperate to cut its budget deficit in line with EU rules, said Tuesday it was selling part of its stake in defense group Safran for 1.0 billion euros.

Paris offloaded 16.5 million shares in the group, representing 3.96 percent of the firm's capital, the economy and finance ministries said in a statement.

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Barclays Bank Slides into Annual Net Loss

Barclays fell into a net loss last year, the British bank said Tuesday, hit by huge costs linked to its alleged role in the rigging of foreign exchange markets.

Barclays reported a loss after tax of £174 million ($268 million, 239 million euros) for 2014 compared with a net profit of £540 million the previous year.

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Indian Government, Central Bank Set Inflation Targets

India's government has signed a deal with the central bank to set formal inflation targets for the first time, seeking to end damaging price volatility in the country of 1.2 billion people.

Rising food prices cause huge hardship for India's millions of poor and central bank governor Raghuram Rajan has made controlling inflation a priority since taking the helm of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), resisting calls to reduce interest rates.

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Australia Orders China Group to Sell 'Illegal' Sydney Mansion

Australia on Tuesday ordered China's Evergrande Real Estate Group to sell a Sydney mansion worth Aus$39 million (U.S.$30 million), saying it was bought illegally under foreign investment rules.

Cashed-up foreigners, many from China, have been blamed for driving up prices in Australian property markets, particularly Sydney and Melbourne, and placing home ownership out of reach of many locals.

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Bill Gates Still World's Richest Man, Forbes Says

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates kept his spot as the world's richest man, a rank he has held for 16 of the past 21 years, Forbes magazine said Monday.

The Microsoft co-founder's fortune increased $3.2 billion since last year to $79.2 billion, the business magazine said, despite a $1.5 billion gift of Microsoft shares to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in November.

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French Firm Sets up Fund to Boost Energy Access in Africa

Electrical equipment giant Schneider has set up a fund to finance projects aimed at boosting access to energy in sub-Saharan Africa, the French group said Monday.

Some "625 million inhabitants of sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to electricity," Schneider said in a statement announcing the 54.5 million euro ($61 million) Energy Access Ventures Fund.

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Varoufakis Urges 'Intelligent' Debt Restructuring

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis called Monday for "intelligent" restructuring of Greece's debt, while acknowledging that a write-down would be unacceptable for the country's creditors.

"A 'haircut' is a dirty word. I've learned that," Varoufakis told the German business daily Handelsblatt. 

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EU Hopes for 'Positive Outcome' in Russia-Ukraine Gas Talks

The EU said it hoped for a "positive outcome" in talks in Brussels on Monday between the Russian and Ukrainian energy ministers aimed at resolving a gas supply dispute threatening deliveries to Europe.

Russian state-owned gas giant Gazprom threatened last week to cut deliveries to Ukraine and divert supplies instead to eastern parts of the country controlled by pro-Kremlin rebels.

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Oil Prices Stabilise in Asian Trade

Oil prices stabilized in Asia Monday following sharp gains in the previous session as dealers predicted the end of volatile trading and the beaten-down commodity bottoming out, analysts said. 

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for April delivery fell 36 cents to $49.40 while Brent crude eased 41 cents to $62.17 in afternoon trade. 

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