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Strike of Kuwait Customs Officers Brings Country to a Halt

More than 3,000 customs employees in the oil-rich Gulf state of Kuwait went on strike on Monday demanding better pay and paralyzing exports and imports, a trade union official said.

"The strike is total as all of the more than 3,000 customs employees have stopped work. We are on an indefinite strike until our demands are met," Fahhad al-Ajmi, board member of the customs trade union, told Agence France Presse.

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Qatar to Acquire Luxembourg's KBL Bank for 1.05 bn Euros

Belgian bank KBC announced on Monday a deal to sell Luxembourg unit KBL to a Qatar investment group for 1.05 billion euros ($1.41 billion), finding a new buyer after a deal with India's Hinduja group fell through.

KBC group chief executive Jan Vanhevel said the sale will allow the Belgian bank to release capital, reduce its risk profile and further focus on its core markets in Belgian and Central and Eastern Europe.

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Paris, Berlin Agree on Banks' Recapitalization

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday that Paris and Berlin were agreed on a recapitalization of banks, at a joint news conference with President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Merkel said the two capitals were "decided on doing what is necessary to recapitalize (the) banks in order to assure the granting of credit to the economy". Sarkozy said the "agreement was complete".

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Israeli Cabinet Approves Economic Reforms

Israel's cabinet on Sunday approved the outline of economic reforms intended to address rising frustrations about the cost of living and income disparity in the Jewish state.

The proposals, which passed 21-8, were laid out by a committee appointed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this year, as Israelis took to the streets in record-breaking numbers to express their frustration about the economic situation.

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Leaders Meet on Crunch Weekend for European Banking

International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde was due in Paris on Saturday for talks with President Nicolas Sarkozy on a crunch weekend for the European debt crisis.

After his talks with Lagarde, Sarkozy was due to head to Berlin on Sunday to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel, as eurozone leaders cobble together a plan to recapitalize banks overexposed to risky sovereign debt.

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Disney CEO Iger Renewed through March 2015

Disney CEO Robert Iger will remain in his job through March 2015 and then serve as executive chairman for another 15 months to help break in a new chief executive, the company said Friday.

The definite end to what will be a decade-long tenure suggests the eventual promotion of one of his two closest lieutenants, either Jay Rasulo, 55, the chief financial officer, or Tom Staggs, 50, chairman of the parks division.

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Chinese Automaker Confirms Brazil Factory Plan

Chinese automaker JAC Motors said Friday it will invest $500 million to build a factory in Brazil's northeastern Bahia state, its first outside China.

The factory, slated to open in 2014, will have the capacity to produce 100,000 units, Jianghuai Automobile Co. said in a statement. A total of 3,500 jobs are expected to be created.

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U.S. Business Leaders Call for More Foreign Investment

U.S. officials and business leaders stressed the need Friday to encourage China, India, Brazil and other countries to increase their investments in the United States as a means to create U.S. jobs.

"In 2009 the United States attracted 12 percent of total global investment, down from 25 percent over a decade ago," Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank told President Barack Obama's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

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Euro Leaders Race to Shore up Banks

Europe's leaders scrambled Friday to reassure investors the continent's banks were safe, stepping up calls for fresh cash injections as Paris played down reported differences with Germany over the crisis.

While EU leaders agree on the need for action to shore up over-exposed banks, a division of opinion reportedly emerged between France and Germany on how to proceed, two days before their leaders are due to meet in Berlin.

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Venezuela's Chavez Secures $4 bn Russian Loan

Russia has granted Venezuela a new $4-billion line of credit for "military and technical cooperation," the South American nation's leader Hugo Chavez said.

The two countries also signed accords late Thursday to accelerate oil production in Colombia's Orinoco belt and explore for offshore gas.

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