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BMW Hits New 1st-Quarter Sales Record

Luxury automaker BMW AG says its worldwide sales rose to a new record for the first quarter, fueled by rising deliveries in China and the United States.

The company said Wednesday that January-March deliveries by the BMW Group — which also includes the Mini and Rolls-Royce brands — were 11.2 percent higher than a year earlier at 425,528 vehicles.

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Putin Says Russia over Economic Crisis, Calls for Unity

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday Russia has beaten the economic crisis and called on political forces to unite as he prepares to return to the Kremlin next month.

Putin said in a keynote speech to the State Duma lower house of parliament that the 2008-2009 economic crisis was so serious it could have endangered Russia's sovereignty but added that the country had now fully recovered.

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Sands Opens New Casino Resort in Asian Gaming Hub

Las Vegas Sands Corp. opened its fourth casino in the booming Asian gaming capital of Macau on Wednesday, transforming a "swamp" earmarked for a fireworks factory into a $5 billion resort.

The Sands Cotai Central features three hotels, high-end retail stores, ballrooms, convention halls and of course casinos in what amounts to a double-down bet on the spending power of China's burgeoning middle class.

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Oil Up in Asia, but Europe Woes Cap Gains

Oil prices edged higher in Asian trade Wednesday after heavy losses in New York but sentiment was dampened by renewed jitters over European debt and weak economic data from China, analysts said.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in May was up 29 cents to $101.31 per barrel while Brent North Sea crude for May gained 30 cents to $120.18 in the afternoon.

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OECD: After Arab Spring, Reform State Firms

State-owned companies wield huge influence in Middle East and North African economies but many are subject to undue political influence and conflicts of interest, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said on Tuesday.

It said that "improved corporate governance is key to reducing corruption and restoring confidence in public institutions in the aftermath of the Arab Spring."

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Iran Says Not Selling Any More Oil to Greece

Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said on Tuesday that his country was no longer supplying any oil to Greece, which is observing an EU embargo on Iranian oil to be fully implemented in July.

"Right now, Iran is not selling any more oil to Greece," Qasemi was quoted as saying on the oil ministry's official website, Shana.

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Nissan Announces New Hatchback for Sunderland Plant

Japanese automaker Nissan said Tuesday it will start making a new midsize hatchback at its huge plant in Sunderland in the north of England from 2014.

The move will come with a fresh investment of 127 million pounds ($200 million) from Nissan, along with an 8.2 million pound grant from the British government's Regional Growth Fund.

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Sharp Likely to Report $4.9 bln Annual Net Loss

Japanese electronics giant Sharp is likely to report a net loss of nearly 400 billion yen ($4.9 billion) for the business year that ended in March, according to a report.

Slackness in its mainstay liquid crystal display (LCD) television business will drag the numbers below the earlier forecast loss of 290 billion yen, Jiji Press reported, without naming its sources.

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Facebook Buying Photo-Share App Instagram for $1B

Facebook is spending $1 billion to buy the photo-sharing company Instagram in the social network's largest acquisition ever.

On the surface, that's a huge sum for a tiny startup that has a handful of employees and no way to make money.

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Greek Official Inflation Drops Sharply to 1.7% in March

Inflation in Greece fell to 1.7 percent in March from 2.1 percent in February on a 12-month basis, the Greek statistics authority said on Monday.

In March of last year inflation was 4.5 percent, reflecting a sharp rise in prices because of tax increases required by the European Union and International Monetary Fund under a program to rescue Greece from its debt crisis.

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