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Report: Saudi Investments in Lebanon Reached $5.33 Billion

The head of the Saudi-Lebanese Business Council Abdul Mohsen al-Hukair has unveiled that Saudi investments in Lebanon reached 5.33 billion dollars mostly in the real estate sector.

The Saudi al-Riyadh daily quoted al-Hukair as saying that the investments are likely to increase.

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Syria Revolt Strains Lebanon's Economy

Lebanon's economy is feeling the strain of a seven-month uprising against Syria's Bashar al-Assad, as the increasingly violent revolt takes its toll on tourism, trade and capital inflows.

"The Arab Spring has not been remotely beneficial to the Lebanese economy. In fact, it's deprived us of two crucial markets -- Syria and Egypt -- at a time when all our drivers of growth over the past five years are on the decline," said Beirut-based economist Sami Nader.

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Angry at World Bank, Ecuador President Exits Summit

Ecuador's leftist president stormed out of a summit of leaders of Latin America, Spain and Portugal on Saturday, demanding apologies from a World Bank representative.

Leaders from Spanish and Portuguese-speaking nations were wrapping up a two-day event here on how to weather the effects of the global economic slowdown.

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Israeli Protests Return to Streets for Economic Justice

Activists and supporters angered over the spiraling cost of living in Israel are to take to the streets of several cities on Saturday following an eight-week break.

The largest protest is expected to take place in Tel Aviv from 9:00 pm (19:00 GMT) under the rallying call of "Return to the Streets", organizers said.

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Many U.S. Cities Leave Wall Street Protesters Alone

While more U.S. cities are resorting to force to break up the Wall Street protests, many others — Philadelphia, New York, Minneapolis and Portland, Oregon, among them — are content to let the demonstrations go on for now.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, for example, said Friday that the several hundred protesters sleeping in Zuccotti Park, the unofficial headquarters of the movement that began in mid-September, can stay as long as they obey the law.

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Americans Spending More with Income Almost Flat

Americans are making a little more money and spending a lot more.

Under normal circumstances, that would be a troubling sign for the economy. But a closer look at some new government figures suggests another possibility: People are saving less money because they're earning next to nothing in interest.

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Qantas Airways Grounds Global Fleet Due to Strikes

Qantas Airways grounded its global fleet indefinitely Saturday in a lockout of workers whose strikes have disrupted airline operations for weeks, and the government said it would seek arbitration.

Flights in the air were continuing to their destinations. Booked passengers were being rescheduled at Qantas' expense, chief executive Alan Joyce said.

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Italian Borrowing Costs Rise in Bond Auction

Italy saw its borrowing costs rise to a euro-era high on Friday in a sale of euro7.9 billion ($11.09 billion) in government debt, a sign that investors remain nervous about the country's prospects despite a grand European plan to fight the debt crisis.

The interest rate demanded by investors to lend the Italian government 10-year money topped 6 percent in Friday's auction, the highest level since the launch of the euro, and surpassing the 5.86 percent paid in a similar debt auction a month ago. Demand exceeded the amount on offer 1.27 times, a relatively weak outcome.

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U.S. Stocks Open Lower after Thursday's Big Rally

Stocks edged lower in early trading Friday after appliance maker Whirlpool Corp. said it will cut 5,000 jobs, citing weak demand and higher costs for materials. Whirlpool slumped 11 percent, the most in the Standard & Poor's 500 index.

The modest decline followed a surge Thursday that put the Dow Jones industrial average on track for its best month since 1987.

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U.S. Tech Firms Lead List of Best Multinational Workplaces

U.S. technology companies, led by Microsoft, topped a league table of the world's 25 best multinational workplaces released Thursday by a human resources consultancy.

"Microsoft is at the top of the list because it believes that spreading a trust-based culture is the right way to do business, independent of size, national culture or industry," said Jose Tolovi of Great Place to Work.

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