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U.S. Congress Rebuffs Easing of Iran Sanctions

Republicans and Democrats determined to look tough on Iran and avoid any election-year challenges to their pro-Israel bona fides are rebuffing Obama administration pleas to ease proposed penalties on Iran's central bank.

The administration argues that the crippling penalties would undercut a carefully calibrated international effort targeting Tehran and would drive up oil prices, a potential economic boon that would help finance Iran's suspected pursuit of a nuclear weapon while hitting cash-strapped Americans at the gas pump.

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Toyota Cuts Full-Year Profit Forecast by 54%

Toyota slashed its full-year net profit forecast on Friday by more than half as Japan's biggest automaker grapples with a strong yen, the impact of the March earthquake and record flooding in Thailand.

The company cut its profit outlook to 180 billion yen ($2.3 billion), well down from its August estimate of a 390 billion yen net profit, which was pared after the Thai floods forced plant closures and caused supply-chain problems.

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Nokia to Sell Luxury Phone Unit Vertu

Nokia, facing fierce competition to remain the world's top mobile phone maker, plans to sell its luxury unit Vertu that makes niche handsets, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.

No buyer was mentioned and the sale is still in the early stages, the newspaper said, noting that Vertu has yet to be given a value though annual revenue is estimated to be between 200 and 300 million euros ($268-402 million).

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Letter Bomb Sent to Deutsche Bank CEO

A letter bomb sent to Deutsche Bank Chief Josef Ackermann was "operational" and could have exploded, German state police said Thursday after the envelope was intercepted.

"Preliminary investigations show it is an operational letter bomb," police in Hesse, the western state where Deutsche Bank's Frankfurt headquarters is located, said in a statement.

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Geithner: U.S. has 'Very Strong Interest' in EU Summit Succes

The United States has a "very strong interest" in a successful outcome from the European Union summit starting later on Thursday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said during a visit to Italy.

"The U.S. and the world economy as a whole has a very strong interest in the success" of the summit, Geithner said following talks with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti in Milan and after visits to France and Germany.

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Dubai Will Not Restructure Debt, Refinance a Possibility

The government of Dubai has quashed reports that it plans to restructure billions of dollars of maturing debt next year, but said that "refinancing" part of the debt was a "possibility."

"Reports about a plan by Dubai to restructure part of debt maturing in 2012 on government-related companies are untrue," head of the higher committee for financial policies Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed al-Maktoum said in a statement released late on Wednesday.

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U.S. Hits BP with Five Gulf Spill Violation Charges

U.S. regulators on Wednesday hit British oil giant BP with five more citations for violations of rules that led to the catastrophic Gulf oil spill.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) issued a second list of violations regarding BP's operation of the Macondo well that blew out in April 2010, causing the worst maritime environmental disaster in history.

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IATA Says Airline Profits Set to Fall Sharply Next Year

Profits by airlines around the world are set to be far lower than previously forecast next year, the International Air Transport Association IATA said on Wednesday.

IATA, based in Geneva, said in a statement that it still estimated that airlines would make a total profit of $6.9 billion (5.1 billion euros) this year.

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OPEC Urges EU Not to Target Iran Oil, Says Libya Back to Full Production Soon

The head of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said on Wednesday he hoped the EU would not press sanctions on Iran's "difficult to replace" oil exports, as he expected Libya to return to full pre-war oil production levels by mid-2012.

"I really hope there will not be an EU embargo on Iranian oil," OPEC Secretary General Abdullah El-Badri said at the World Petroleum Congress in Doha.

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Asian Markets Rise on Optimism over Europe Summit

Markets rose in Asia Wednesday on hopes that a meeting of European leaders will finally lead to a plan that will bring an end to the crippling Eurozone debt crisis.

Investors are holding their breath ahead of the two-day summit that starts on Thursday, with investors optimistic after France and Germany on Monday agreed a deal for further integration, which many see as the best solution.

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