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World Oil Prices Drop Slightly

The crude oil market drifted lower on Thursday as traders banked their profits after two straight days of gains.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in July, dipped 17 cents to $101.15 per barrel.

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China's Baidu Eyes Foreign Expansion

Chinese search engine Baidu said Thursday it was thinking about expanding into more overseas markets and expected its share of the booming domestic mobile search market to grow rapidly.

The company, which has already launched a Japanese-language search engine in Japan, is currently determining which markets to target next, senior vice president Shen Haoyu told a technology forum in Beijing.

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Revolt Batters Syria's Already-Struggling Economy

The uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad is eviscerating the country's economy, threatening to hit hard at the business community and prosperous merchant classes, which the embattled regime relies on to help retain its grip on power.

About two months of violent protests around the country have shuttered businesses, driven away tourists and thrust Assad's regime into an unprecedented political quagmire that found its roots in the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. Economic growth rates that had hit around 3.5 percent in fiscal 2010, are seen, according to some estimates, contracting by 3 percent in fiscal 2011.

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Europe Eyes 1.2 Bln Euros to Boost Democracy in Its Backyard

Europe is looking to pump 1.2 billion euros of extra aid into fledgling democracies spawned by the Arab Spring as well as those on its eastern flank, according to a policy U-turn unveiled Wednesday.

Slammed for propping up despots and turning a blind eye to rights abuses in the past, the "top to toe" revamp of European Union policy to its neighbours aims to link aid to political and economic reform.

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Japan's Softbank to Back Solar Plan

Japanese telecom company Softbank Corp. plans to take part in a project promoted by its CEO and president Masayoshi Son to build about 10 large solar power plants, a financial daily reported Wednesday.

Since Japan's March 11 earthquake and tsunami sparked a nuclear emergency, Son, Japan's richest man, has been a high-profile advocate for a shift away from atomic power and toward renewables such as solar, wind and geothermal.

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Bahraini Group Cuts Ties with Lebanon for ‘Meddling in the Kingdom’s Affairs’

An influential Bahraini business group decided Tuesday to freeze ties with Iran, Iraq and Lebanon in response to what it claims is foreign meddling during Shiite-led protests in the Gulf kingdom.

The move by the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry is likely to ratchet up tensions between the small island nation — which is ruled by a Sunni monarchy and is home to the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet — and Shiite powerhouse Iran and its allies.

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Naharnet Launches its New Website

This week marks a new decade for Naharnet as it bids farewell to its 10-year-old website and enters a new era with a groundbreaking Content Management Platform completely built in-house.

The initial Naharnet 2.0 website will slowly develop into a new environment that will redefine Naharnet as a digital and social media destination for the Lebanese and Arabs across the world.

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MEA to Buy New Aircraft with Fransabank Funding

Middle East Airlines (MEA) will purchase an Airbus A320-232 airplane for $32 million through a 10-year financing deal with Fransabank.

MEA President Mohammed Hout signed the agreement with the bank’s chairman Adel al-Kassar at Fransabank’s headquarters in Beirut’s Hamra street.

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Sarkozy Kicks Off First 'E-G8' Internet Summmit

French President Nicolas Sarkozy kicked off a summit of the world's most powerful Internet barons in Paris early on Tuesday at the first "e-G8" gathering.

Launching the gathering of heads of online giants such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft, Sarkozy hailed the leaders of the "Internet revolution", but warned the industry that with their power came great responsibility.

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Threat of Volcano Ash Cloud Hits Airline Shares

The threat of ash from an Icelandic volcano shutting European airspace hit airline shares on Monday.

Shares in German airline Lufthansa plunged by 4.56 percent while the DAX slid 1.5 percent.

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