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Iraq Demands Exxon Choose on Kurdistan Oil Contract

Iraq demanded Saturday that oil giant ExxonMobil choose between a new contract it has signed with the Kurdistan regional government and its existing contract for the huge West Qurna-1 field in the south.

"We categorically deny the reports carried by some media that the deputy prime minister for energy affairs (Hussein al-Shahristani) has agreed that a U.S. firm working in the south of Iraq can sign exploration contracts with Kurdistan," said a statement released by Shahristani's office.

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Universal, Sony/ATV to Buy EMI for $4.1 Billion

EMI Group Ltd., home of The Beatles, Coldplay and Katy Perry, is being sold in two parts for $4.1 billion.

Universal Music Group said Friday that it has agreed to buy the recording division of EMI for 1.2 billion pounds ($1.9 billion).

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Global Market Tensions Ease as Italy Backs Reforms

Global market tensions eased on Friday as Italian lawmakers gave initial approval to a package of key economic reforms that Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has set as the precondition for his resignation.

The wide-ranging measures including privatizations and boosting competition in the labor market were adopted by the Senate and will now go before the Chamber of Deputies, or lower house, for a vote expected on Saturday.

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Japan Says to Join Pacific Free Trade Talks

Japan said Friday it would enter talks towards an Asia-Pacific free trade deal, a move that threatens to deepen rifts in the ruling party amid opposition from a farm industry fearing cheap imports.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said he made the decision to take part in talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), as Japan looks to boost its fragile economy and continue growing as a trading nation.

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Jaguar Land Rover to create over 1,000 jobs

Luxury carmaker Jaguar Land Rover, owned by India's Tata Motors, has announced plans to create more than 1,000 jobs at a plant near Birmingham, in a boost for Britain's struggling economy.

"The company has announced plans to recruit more than 1,000 members of staff at its advanced manufacturing plant in Solihull," JLR said in a statement Thursday.

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Oil Price Surge on Jitters over Iran

World oil prices shot higher on Thursday as traders weighed rising tensions in the Middle East and a slight easing of worries over Europe.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for December, gained $2.04 to $97.78, while Brent North Sea crude for delivery in December added $1.40 cents to $113.71 a barrel in London.

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FTSE Slides on Italy Debt Fears

London equities plunged Thursday in early morning deals on deepening fears that debt-plagued Italy could fall victim to the eurozone debt crisis and threaten the entire euro project.

The FTSE 100 index sank 1.27 percent to 5,391.01 points in opening trade.

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Toyota, Mitsubishi to Resume Thailand Production

Japanese auto giants Toyota and Mitsubishi Motor have said they will resume production in Thailand after the country's flood disaster closed factories for more than a month.

Toyota said it would resume production from November 21 at its three Thai plants, which were forced to halt operations on October 10.

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Greece Tries to Forge Unity Deal as Bankruptcy Looms

Greece's bickering politicians were to resume talks Thursday on a unity government to take the crisis-hit country out of economic paralysis as global pressure for a deal mounted to avert bankruptcy.

Greek President Carolos Papoulias has called a meeting of party chiefs for 0800 GMT with reports indicating that former European Central Bank vice-president Lucas Papademos would be given the reins of government.

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Air France-KLM Warns of 2011 Operating Loss

Air France-KLM announced Wednesday it would not be able to meet its targets and expects to post a loss this year, with the turbulent market forcing it to plan further cost-cutting measures.

The difficult economic climate is being exacerbated by volatile currency movements and high fuel prices.

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