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Kuwait Airways Grounds Aging Planes

Kuwait Airways Corp. has decided to ground several ageing planes for repeated malfunctions, KAC chief Salem al-Othaina was quoted as saying in report on Sunday.

Othaina told Al-Rai newspaper that "initially three to five planes" would be grounded this week "in prelude to take new decisions to ground further aircraft."

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Donors to Pledge over $16 Bn for Afghanistan

Donors at a major development conference for Afghanistan will pledge total aid of more than $16 billion for four years to 2015, Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said Saturday.

Japan, which will co-chair the one-day conference on Sunday with Afghanistan, will provide up to $3 billion for the five years to 2016, in addition to $1 billion for the war-torn nation's neighboring states, he said.

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IMF Urges Ukraine to Hike Gas Prices For Consumers

The International Monetary Fund again urged Ukraine Friday to raise gas prices for consumers, a sticking point in the resumption of an IMF bailout.

Ukraine's strong economic recovery in 2010-2011, following a global crisis, was slowing under pressure from lower demand for its exports and slow credit growth, the IMF said in an annual review of the economy.

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Pro-Romney Group in $25 mn Ad Buy on Day of Jobs Report

Crossroads GPS has purchased a $25 million ad blitz in nine battleground states to attack President Barack Obama's record on jobs and the debt, the advocacy group supporting Republican Mitt Romney said Friday.

The wave of advertisements, which roll out on July 10 and run through early August, begins with a spot called "Excuses," which focuses on the disappointing report released Friday that shows poorer-than-expected U.S. jobs growth and a stagnant unemployment rate of 8.2 percent.

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Japan Considers Buying Disputed Islands

Japan is considering buying a chain of islands at the center of a bitter territorial dispute with China and Taiwan, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said Saturday.

The move could potentially reignite tensions with both Beijing and Taipei, which also claim the islands in the East China Sea, called Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese.

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Russia Receives 5.0-Bn-Euro Cyprus Loan Request

Russia said Friday it was studying a new five-billion-euro ($6.2-billion) loan request from Cyprus that it needs to shore up its struggling banks from financial turmoil rocking nearby Greece.

Finance Minister Anton Siluanov confirmed that the assistance package was separate from one he said the Mediterranean island nation had also made from the European Union in hopes of injecting its finance system with cash.

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Aviva Raises £318 mln from Delta Lloyd Shares Sale

British insurer Aviva said on Friday it had sold another 21 percent of shares in Dutch unit Delta Lloyd for £318 million ($493 million, 398 million euros), one day after unveiling a large restructuring.

Aviva said it has placed 37 million Delta Lloyd shares at 10.75 euros per share, in a deal which slashes its holding from 41 percent to about 20 percent.

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Crude Prices Down in Asia on ECB, China Rate Cuts

Crude prices slipped in Asia Friday as worries over the global economy were rekindled following interest rate cuts by central banks in Europe and China, analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for August delivery shed 37 cents to $86.85 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for delivery in August slid 69 cents to $100.01.

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IMF Chief Hails 'Significant Steps' on Eurozone Crisis

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde on Friday hailed recent "significant steps" to contain the Eurozone crisis but warned that "more needs to be done".

During a speech in Tokyo, Lagarde cited measures adopted after a European leaders' meeting in Brussels last week and the European Central Bank's move on Thursday to cut interest rates to historic lows as proof of progress.

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Moody's Cuts Barclays Outlook to 'Negative'

Moody's on Thursday cut its outlook on Barclays' financial strength rating to "negative" from "stable" after the British bank's top executives resigned this week over an interest rate rigging scandal.

"Moody's Investors Service has today changed the outlook on the C-/baa2 standalone bank financial strength rating (BFSR) of Barclays Bank Plc to negative from stable," the ratings agency said in a statement.

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