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Australia Keeps Interest Rates Steady at 4.25%

Australia's central bank kept interest rates steady at 4.25 percent Tuesday, saying growth was close to trend and inflation near target while the world economy was not experiencing a deep downturn, the Agence France Presse said Tuesday.

It is the third straight month that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has kept rates on hold, after easing the official cash rate by 25 basis points in both November and December.

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Eurozone Unemployment Hits Record as Debt Crisis Bites

Eurozone unemployment jumped to an all-time high in February, hitting southern nations the hardest as the social toll from the debt crisis grips the 17-nation bloc, official figures showed Monday.

The jobless rate rose for the 10th consecutive month, hitting 10.8 percent to set a 15-year record for the 17 nations sharing the single currency, according to the Eurostat agency.

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MEVP Adds Five Investments to its Portfolio

The Middle East Venture Partners capital firm announced Monday that it has added new rounds of investments to its portfolio in five different companies.

In a press release, MEVP declared investment in which provides mobile music and web music streaming service targeting the Arab World, with premium Arabic and foreign music content. A Turkey based VC is investing alongside MEVP in this round.

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Red Cross Sends Emergency Diesel to Gaza

The International Committee of the Red Cross on Monday began transferring emergency supplies of fuel to the Gaza Strip where an electricity crisis has hit medical services hard, the Agence France Presse said.

"This morning we began distributing 150,000 liters of diesel to Gaza's hospitals and we will have completed the distribution by the end of the day," ICRC Gaza spokesman Ayman al-Shehabi told AFP.

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Oil Prices Hike Above $103 Amid Signs China Economy Improving

Oil prices rose slightly above $103 a barrel in Asia amid signs that China's economic growth remains strong, the Agence Presse said Monday.

Benchmark oil for May delivery was up 22 cents to $103.24 a barrel at midday Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 24 cents to settle at $103.02 per barrel in New York on Friday.

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Opel Workers Ready to Talk but Fight Plant Closures

Employees of U.S. auto giant General Motors' loss-making Opel unit in Germany are prepared to negotiate with management but will fight plant closures, a workers' leader said Saturday.

Rainer Einekel, head of the works council at the Bochum factory in western Germany, said a meeting of Opel's supervisory board on Wednesday had come up with nothing new.

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Europe Inches towards Finance Tax Compromise

Europe's finance ministers crawled towards a compromise on a disputed financial transactions tax Saturday, after a German plan to break a months-long deadlock on the issue won cautious support.

Ministers effectively agreed to park a European Commission proposal for a wide-ranging EU-wide levy on the financial sector and consider Berlin's plan to tax trades on company stocks and shares.

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Obama Calls for Higher Tax Rates for the Rich

U.S. President Barack Obama called Saturday for higher tax rates on wealthy Americans, saying the current system of tax breaks for top income earners was unfair.

"Today, the wealthiest Americans are paying taxes at one of the lowest rates in 50 years," the president said in his weekly radio and Internet address.

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In Canada, the Penny's about to Drop into History

They clutter your dresser and cost too much to make. They're a nuisance and have outlived their purpose.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty was talking about the Canadian penny and why the Royal Canadian Mint will end its production this fall as part of his austerity budget.

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Asian Markets Lower on Global Growth Fears

Asian markets mostly fell on Friday on growing concerns over the global economy after an unimpressive set of U.S. data, while weak Japanese figures and a stronger yen weighed on Tokyo.

Trade was also subdued as investors balanced their books on the last day of the quarter, which saw a rally at the start of the year subside in the final few weeks.

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