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Oil Price Shoots Above $103 on Egypt Crisis

Brent crude rallied to a 28-month high above $103 on Thursday as the political crisis in Egypt erupted into violence, sparking fresh concern over energy supplies in the crude-rich Middle East.

"The continued unrest in Egypt has prompted Brent oil prices to climb overnight to $103 a barrel, the highest level since September 2008," said Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch.

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Lebanon Economy to Weather Political Storm

Lebanon's economy should be able to survive the political turmoil that has seen the appointment of a Hizbullah-backed premier due to the strength of the country's banking system and replete foreign currency reserves, analysts say.

"The financial defense lines are currently the strongest in Lebanon's history," said Marwan Barakat, chief economist at Bank Audi, one of the leading banks in the country.

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Emirates Airlines Launches Service to Iraq

Dubai's Emirates Airlines said on Wednesday it launched service to Basra in southern Iraq, its first destination in the war-torn country.

"Emirates has marked its 110th international destination today with its inaugural flight to Basra, the airline's first service into Iraq," a statement said.

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Fransabank to Boost Stakes in Syria

Lebanon’s Fransabank won regulatory approval to raise the stakes in its Syrian unit from the current 49 percent, Syria’s state-run news agency, SANA, reported.

Fransabank SAL, with headquarters in Beirut, will boost the stake in its local business to 59.7 percent, SANA said.

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Oil Spikes Above $102

World oil prices crept higher on Wednesday, after spiking above $102 on the back of stubborn fears about political turmoil in Egypt and potential knock-on effects in the oil-rich Middle East.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in March delivery rose by just three cents to $101.77 a barrel, one day after spiking to $102.08 -- which was the highest level since September 29, 2008.

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Samsung Offers Full Refund for Intel Chip

Samsung Electronics, the world's largest maker of memory chips, said Tuesday it would fully refund customers who had bought its personal computers built with a flawed chipset from Intel Corp.

U.S. giant Intel said recently it had discovered a design problem in the new chipset that is expected to cost it $1 billion in repairs and lost revenue while also delaying the release of computers using its new microprocessors.

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BP Posts 3.1 Billion Pounds Annual Loss

BP on Tuesday posted a loss of $4.914 billion (£3.1 billion) for 2010, the group's first annual shortfall since 1992, and raised its estimate of costs arising from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to $40.9 billion (£25.5 billion).

The loss compared with a profit of $13.955 (£8.7 billion) in 2009, while the costs estimate was lifted from the previous forecast of $40 billion (£24.9 billion).

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Report: Travel to Lebanon, Israel to Be Hurt Over Regional Turmoil

Lebanon's recent political turmoil is likely to scare off Western travelers although Beirut has repeatedly proven its resilience, emerging from civil war and conflict with Israel to rebuild and live up to its image as the "Switzerland of the Middle East," the Associated Press reported.

"People's memories are surprisingly short," says Janet Moore, owner of Distant Horizons, a Long Beach, California, travel agency specializing in the Middle East.

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Kingdom Offers to Buy Zain Telecom Saudi Stake

Kingdom Holding said Monday it has offered to buy the Saudi operations of Zain, opening a way for the UAE's Etisalat to acquire a majority stake in the Kuwaiti-based mobile telecoms operator.

The Saudi investment group said it has sent the board of directors of Mobile Telecommunications Company K.S.C (Zain) a "non-binding offer and a preliminary expression of interest" to acquire the Saudi side of Zain's business.

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World Stocks Fall Amid Concerns Over Egypt Unrest

World stock markets sank Monday as investors sought less risky investments amid anti-government riots in Egypt that are damaging the economy of the Arab world's most populous country and threaten to spread instability elsewhere in region.

Oil prices rose to near $90 a barrel as fears escalated that protests in the city of Suez at the mouth of the strategic waterway — a key route for oil tankers and cargo ships — could interrupt the flow of oil. In currencies, the dollar was higher against the yen but lower against the euro.

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