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European Equities Climb on Fed Hopes

European stock markets rose Thursday after strong gains in Asia and overnight on Wall Street, on hopes that the U.S. Federal Reserve could soon unveil new economy-boosting plans, dealers said.

In midday trade, London's FTSE 100 index of leading shares added 0.11 percent to 5,211.49 points, Frankfurt's DAX 30 index gained 0.80 percent to 5,726.65 points and in Paris the CAC 40 was up 0.87 percent to 3,166.99 points.

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Sarkozy Says China's Role in Economy Talks 'Essential'

China has an "essential role" to play in efforts to boost the global economy at the next G20 meeting in November, French President Nicolas Sarkozy told his Chinese counterpart in Beijing on Thursday.

Sarkozy made the comments to President Hu Jintao during a brief stopover in China, the world's second largest economy, amid growing concern over the debt crises in the Eurozone and the United States.

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Samsung Boosted as Jobs Steps Down at Apple

Shares in Samsung jumped on Thursday and other competitors also benefited as Apple chief Steve Jobs stepped down, with analysts seeing a window of opportunity for rivals of the trailblazing U.S. firm.

The cancer-stricken Jobs -- the driving force behind iconic products such as the Mac computer, iPhone and iPad -- said Wednesday he would step down as chief executive and retreat to the back seat as chairman.

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U.S. Regulator Says Gold Scams Rise with Gold Prices

A U.S. financial regulator warned Wednesday of multiplying scams involving investing in gold stocks as the price of gold has skyrocketed in recent months.

As gold prices sank for a second day from the record $1,913.50 an ounce, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority said that investors were being caught out by both listed mining companies that overstate their gold reserves and private investment schemes that directly steal their money.

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Payments with Visa Cards Stop in Syria as Sanctions Bite

Visa credit cards issued in Syria, by Syrian banks or those with branches in the country, have stopped working from Wednesday, bank officials and users told Agence France Presse.

"Clients were sent SMS messages Tuesday evening informing them they could no longer use their Visa cards in Syria, or even abroad if it was issued in Syria," said Wissam Abu Ghazala, director of a branch of Lebanon's Byblos in Damascus.

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Fiat Boss Says Eurobonds only Solution to Debt Crisis

The head of Italian auto giant Fiat, Sergio Marchionne, said Wednesday that issuing Eurobonds is the only solution to the looming Eurozone debt crisis -- following Italy's lead on supporting the idea.

"I do not believe that there are any other solutions to the problem," he said on the sidelines of a conference in Rimini.

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Kuwait Port Plans Stir Tension with Old Enemy Iraq

Iraq and Kuwait, two countries that share a small border and big history of mutual suspicion and war, are at it again. This time they are arguing about Kuwaiti plans to build a mammoth port that Iraq claims interferes with its shipping lanes in the Gulf.

Although it seems unlikely the tiff could escalate into another conflict, the remarks are disturbingly reminiscent of the recriminations that preceded Saddam Hussein's invasion of Iraq in 1990 and point to the uneasy relationship that has persisted long after Saddam's ouster.

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Dubai Developer Nakheel Completes Restructuring

The indebted state developer behind Dubai's man-made islands says it has completed a long-awaited financial restructuring and will issue over $1 billion in Islamic bonds to some of its creditors.

Nakheel said Wednesday that the Islamic bonds, known as sukuk, would be issued on Thursday.

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Hertz, GE Partner in China Electric Autos Venture

Rental car company Hertz Global Holdings says it plans to partner with General Electric in offering electric vehicles in China and expanding the charging networks needed to run them.

An agreement to be signed in Shanghai's "Auto City" of Anting on Wednesday calls for building 770 charging stations in major Chinese cities including Shanghai and Beijing, said Richard Broome, Hertz's senior vice president for corporate affairs.

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Eurozone Survey Shows Stagnant August Growth

Private sector economic activity in the Eurozone stagnated in August, with a closely-watched survey showing only marginal growth overall and a switch into negative territory for manufacturing.

Eurozone growth remained stuck at two-year low, with the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) leading indicator, compiled by London-based researchers Markit, logging 51.1 points, unchanged from July.

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