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UNDP Calls for Currency Tax to Help Poor with Climate Change

The U.N. development agency called Wednesday for a currency transaction tax to help the world's poorest countries deal with the effects of climate change.

"In updated analysis prepared for this report, the North-South Institute estimates that a tax of 0.005 percent would yield around $40 billion a year," said the UNDP's annual Human Development Report.

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Lloyds Bank Boss Temporarily Steps Down due to Illness

Britain's state-rescued Lloyds Banking Group said on Wednesday its chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio had temporarily stepped down due to illness and was being replaced by its chief financial officer.

Horta-Osorio, 47, who became chief executive in March, is understood to be suffering from fatigue, according to sources.

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Wall Street Fears U.S. Debt Crisis as Europe Reels

Even as Europe's debt crisis spirals out of control, Wall Street is casting an eye on a fast-approaching congressional deadline that could spark a debt crisis this side of the Atlantic.

U.S. investors -- for weeks preoccupied with the tumult raging in Greece and the broader Eurozone -- are starting to look with trepidation at the November 23 deadline for a Congressional committee to agree to $1.2 trillion in deficit cuts.

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Kuwait's Top Islamic Bank Profits Fall

Kuwait Finance House, the emirate's leading Islamic bank, said Wednesday its net profits dropped in the third quarter and first nine months of 2011.

KFH's third quarter net profit fell 4.5 percent from the same period a year ago to $92.1 million, the bank said in a statement posted on the Kuwait Stock Exchange website.

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London Anti-Capitalist Protesters Face Legal Action

British authorities were Tuesday to tell anti-capitalist protesters camped by St. Paul's Cathedral to remove their tents from outside the London landmark within 48 hours or face legal action.

The City of London Corporation local authority was to hand a letter to demonstrators who have turned the churchyard into a sprawling campsite and triggered turmoil in the cathedral hierarchy.

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Japan's Hitachi Half-Year Net Profit Down 67.8%

Japanese high-tech firm Hitachi on Tuesday said its net profit fell 67.8 percent in the six months to September, hit by the impact of the March earthquake and a strong yen.

Hitachi's net profit came to 50.9 billion yen ($652 million) in the April-September first half, which was still slightly higher than a recently upgraded profit forecast of 50.0 billion yen.

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U.S. Advises Turkey: Strong Democracy Will Help Economy

Turkey's economic development and its role as a regional power will be reinforced by a strengthening of its democracy and peace with its neighbors, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday.

"Turkey’s ability to realize its full potential depends upon its resolve to strengthen democracy at home and promote peace in the neighborhood," Clinton said in a speech at the American-Turkish Council.

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Report: Lebanese Banks Freeze Dollar Accounts of Syrians

Lebanese banks have been ordered by the Central Bank to freeze the accounts in dollars of Syrians residing in their country, banking sources told al-Liwaa daily published Tuesday.

But a lot of Syrians, who have accounts in dollars, converted them to other currencies to avoid the pressure of international sanctions, the sources said.

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Qantas Gets Back to Normal as Fallout Ramps Up

Qantas services began returning to normal Tuesday after days of chaos, as the airline began the task of winning back the hearts and minds of passengers and a furious government.

In a statement on its website, the carrier said domestic routes were scheduled as usual with all international flights returning to business by late in the day.

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Honda's Profit Sinks, Thai Flooding Clouds Outlook

Honda's quarterly profit tumbled 56 percent, battered by the strong yen and production disruptions from the March tsunami disaster that are likely to be compounded by flooding in Thailand.

The automaker, which makes the Accord sedan and Odyssey minivan, said Monday that net profit for the July-September fiscal second quarter fell to 60.4 billion yen ($788 million).

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