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Gold Prices Feed Fever on Philippine Mountain

As grime-covered men emerge from deep shafts on the Philippines' "golden mountain", Norie Palma eagerly prepares to haggle for her share of ore from the weary miners.

The former laundrywoman turned gold buyer directs the procession to her small milling shack amid grunts from the miners whose backs are stooped under the weight of their hauls from the dangerous honeycomb tunnels of Mount Diwata.

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Gadhafi's Death Eases Fears of Oil Disruption

The death of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi eases the specter of a fully fledged insurgency that could disrupt oil production for years to come, energy analysts said Thursday.

Experts said news of Gadhafi's death would have little immediate impact on the price of oil, but removed a threat that had been hanging over future prices.

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Eyeing Asian Market, LinkedIn Launches in Japanese

LinkedIn Corp. on Thursday launched its online professional networking service in Japanese, the first Asian language platform for the rapidly growing company as it pushes to expand in the region.

Mountain View, California-based LinkedIn also established a small Tokyo office, following the opening of its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore in May.

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U.S. Futures Edge Up as Unemployment Claims Dip

U.S. stock futures edged higher Thursday after the government said that the number of people who applied for unemployment benefits dipped slightly last week.

The Labor Department said that first-time applications for unemployment dropped 6,000 to a seasonally adjusted 403,000. The number was in line with Wall Street's estimates, but still above the 375,000 claims a week that economists say signals a healthy jobs market.

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Hyundai Unveils Revamped, Fuel-Efficient Hatchback

South Korea's Hyundai Motor on Thursday unveiled a revamped and fuel-efficient version of its i30 compact car to better compete with European models such as Volkswagen's Golf.

Hyundai said it aims to sell 215,000 units of the i30 hatchback next year, including 25,000 at home and 190,000 abroad, as part of its push to secure a bigger share of the premium sub-compact car market.

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Panasonic to Trim TV Side, Cut 1,000 Jobs

Japan's Panasonic is to sharply scale down its money-losing television business and cut more than 1,000 jobs, Japanese media reported on Thursday.

The leading electronics manufacturer plans to cease production of plasma panels at its No. 3 plant in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, by March, according to Jiji Press, Kyodo News, the Yomiuri Shimbun and NHK.

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U.S. Assists Lebanon’s WTO Accession Bid

The U.S. Embassy and the Lebanese Standards Institution (LIBNOR) on Wednesday celebrated the opening of the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) Enquiry Point for Lebanon at the Metropolitan Hotel in Sin-el-Fil.

The Enquiry Point, a prerequisite for World Trade Organization (WTO) accession, increases transparency and global accessibility to Lebanese trade regulations and facilitates trade operations.

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Italian Authorities Seize 245 Million Euros from Unicredit

Italian authorities seized 245 million Euros ($338.5 million) fromUnicredit, Italy's largest bank, on suspicion of tax evasion in 2007 and 2008, judicial and Unicredit sources said on Wednesday.

According to the sources, executives from Unicredit, including former head Alessandro Profumo, and British bank Barclays are under investigation in an operation dubbed "Brontos".

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Paris's Famed Hotel Ritz to Close for Two Years

Paris's Hotel Ritz, famed for generations as the city's highest-profile luxury hotel, said Tuesday it is to close for more than two years from next summer for an "unprecedented" renovation.

The move comes after the five-star hotel in central Paris, owned by billionaire Egyptian tycoon Mohamed Al Fayed, failed earlier this year to win France's coveted "palace" designation marking a top luxury destination.

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Two-Day Strike in Greece Against Austerity

Greek unions on Wednesday launched a two-day general strike in an all-out effort to block a new austerity bill that parliament must pass this week to forestall a state bankruptcy.

Most of the country's professional classes joined the walkout including civil servants, tax collectors, doctors, teachers, sailors and taxi owners while traders, petrol station operators and bakers also shut down their businesses in protest against the government's economic policies.

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