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Germans Against Increasing Euro Rescue Fund

Nearly three-quarters of Germans oppose putting more money into the eurozone's rescue fund, according to a new poll.

The International Monetary Fund is among those advocating an increase in the €500 billion ($650 billion) European Stability Mechanism, which is to start work in July. Chancellor Angela Merkel is already holding out against the idea.

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European Leaders Stress The Positive at Davos

Europe's financial chiefs tried Friday to soothe the fears of global chief executives and other political leaders, insisting they have a handle on the eurozone's troubles.

European Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said Friday he hopes a Greek debt restructuring deal would be reached "if not today maybe by the weekend."

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UAE's Etihad Buys Two Airbus A330 Freighters

Abu Dhabi-owned carrier Etihad Airways said on Thursday it has ordered two more Airbus A330-200Fs in a deal worth $423 million at list prices.

"We are strongly committed to building our presence in the cargo sector with the platform of Abu Dhabi as our hub to connect global trade lanes," Etihad Airways chief James Hogan said in a statement.

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Iran to Enforce Single Exchange Rate

The central bank of sanctions-hit Iran is to enforce a single exchange rate after a dramatic slide in the value of the Iranian rial on the open market, state television reported on Thursday.

"From Saturday, there will be a single fixed rate for the dollar which will be 12,260 rials," central bank governor Mahmoud Bahmani announced on television.

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Greece Resumes Talks on Debt Writedown

Greece resumed talks Thursday with banks and insurers on an elusive deal for a major writedown of its debt in order to escape a looming default.

Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos met Thursday evening with the lead negotiators of the private creditors, Charles Dallara and Jean Lemierre, for what was described as "informal discussions".

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Algeria Says No Extra Crude if Iran Cuts Europe Supplies

Algeria said Thursday it will not boost crude oil exports in the event Iran suddenly cuts supplies to Europe after the EU imposed new sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear drive.

"We have a program in place that won't be modified," Energy Minister Youcef Yousfi told Algerian news service APS.

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West Urged Not to Turn Back on Hungry during Austerity

Leaders of the war against hunger said Thursday the financial crisis must not be used as an excuse by the richer world to renege on commitments, warning a failure to act would fuel unrest and immigration.

Ministers, business leaders and U.N. officials gathered at the annual Davos forum said that while the world was now producing more food than ever, there were also more mouths to feed and that a billion people were afflicted by hunger.

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Cameron Denounces 'Mad' Tax in Attack on Europe

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron launched a stinging attack on his European partners Thursday, slamming the Eurozone as uncompetitive and branding a planned transaction tax "madness".

The British premier took the stage on the second day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, the annual get-together for the global business elite, and revived his simmering feud with the ailing single-currency bloc.

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Kuwait's NBK Posts Record Profit of $1 bn in 2011

The National Bank of Kuwait, the emirate's top lender, said Thursday it posted a record net profit of 302.4 million dinars ($1.087 billion) in 2011 despite difficult challenges and Middle East unrest.

NBK's net profit is only 0.2 percent higher than the 301.7 million dinars for 2010, the bank said in a statement.

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Israel Seeks to Turn Gas to Gold

Israel is putting together a plan for a national investment fund that would tap an anticipated natural gas bonanza to fuel both an export-geared economy and provide a nest egg of $10 billion in under a decade for future generations.

The proposed Israeli sovereign wealth fund is still in the planning phase, but officials have said some of the revenues would be invested in strategically critical targets such as education and health.

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