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USAID to Renovate 38 Schools, Helps Establish Local Factory

The U.S. Embassy hosted on Thursday a round table meeting with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Middle East Hady Amr.

Of Lebanese origin, Amr briefly explained about the projects which the U.S. is currently funding to further promote agricultural and educational growth.

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Goldman Sachs Tips Oil to Hit $130 in 12 Months

Oil prices will likely rise to about $130 a barrel in the next 12 months as demand in emerging markets such as China and India make up for weak developed world growth, Goldman Sachs said Thursday.

Despite concerns about the U.S. economy and Eurozone sovereign debt, which have hit crude prices due to an expected fall in demand, the Wall Street giant forecast commodity prices to remain buoyant.

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Hong Kong Says it Will Not Drop U.S. Dollar Peg

Hong Kong said Thursday it had no plans to get rid of its currency's peg to the U.S. dollar, despite growing calls to end the 28-year link as the world's largest economy falters.

The southern Chinese city has come under pressure in recent weeks to allow the Hong Kong dollar to appreciate against the greenback, against the backdrop of rising inflation in the city of seven million.

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France Says Helping Greece on Tax Net 'Worthy of The Name'

France's budget minister said on Thursday that Paris would send experts to debt-wracked Eurozone partner Greece to help it set up a "tax administration worthy of the name."

In undiplomatic language reflecting northern Europe's frustration over Greece's struggle to control its debt, Valerie Pecresse said Athens must meet its promise to carry out "privatizations and very tough spending cuts."

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EU Says Eurozone Outlook 'Deteriorates' as Growth Slows

Europe's economic outlook has "deteriorated" with the Eurozone debt crisis contributing to slowing growth in the second half of the year, the European Commission said on Thursday.

The economy in the single currency area is still expected to expand by 1.6 percent in 2011 despite the slowdown, thanks to stronger-than-expected growth in the first half of the year, the EU's executive arm said.

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Ahmadinejad Urges 'Honest' Probe into Massive Scam

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday asked the judiciary to launch an "honest" probe into a massive $2.6 billion scam, while brushing aside claims that members of his inner circle are involved.

Enemies of the government "launch accusations against us through a massive amount of propaganda, so the real thieves can get away," Ahmadinejad said in a speech in the northwestern city of Ardabil, broadcast on the presidency website.

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Asian Markets Fall Amid European Debt Fears

Asian stock markets fell Wednesday despite gains on Wall Street and in Europe the day before as simmering worries over Europe's debt crisis cast a pall over trading.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index, Asia's largest stock market, extended earlier losses to fall 1.1 percent to 8,524.12, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng declined 1.3 percent to 18,775.39.

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Oil Prices Drop Before U.S. Energy Data

Oil prices fell on Wednesday before the release of government data expected to reveal falling crude supplies in the United States, and as markets awaited steps to avert a Greek debt default.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in October, shed $1.04 to $89.17 a barrel.

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German Coalition Government Squabbles Over Euro Crisis

Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right coalition is squabbling so much over the eurozone debt crisis that even the opposition is urging her to quash the infighting — raising new questions about whether the government might collapse before its term ends.

A new poll underlined the government's woes, showing support for the main opposition party at its highest in 3 1/2 years and dismal ratings for Merkel's junior coalition partner, the Free Democratic Party.

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Europe's Biggest Shopping Mall Opens in London

Europe's biggest urban shopping centre opened on Tuesday in a deprived area of east London where it will act as the gateway to the 2012 Olympics.

Westfield Stratford City, which has risen from derelict wasteland in one of the poorest areas in Britain, houses more than 300 shops, 70 restaurants, a 14-screen cinema, three hotels and Britain's largest casino.

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