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Brax Criticizes Bassil as Oil Prices Continue to Rise

Gasoline Station Owners Syndicate President Sami Brax criticized on Wednesday Energy Minister Jebran Bassil for releasing this week’s fuel prices update.

“Minister Bassil has previously pledged to abstain from signing the weekly fuel prices update if they witnessed any rise,” Brax told Voice of Lebanon radio.

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EDL: 1,612 Cases of Power Theft in June

State-run Electricite du Liban announced on Tuesday that it discovered 1,612 cases of power theft in different areas during the month of June.

The power company said in a statement that its staff tasked with ending the violations was facing difficulties in some regions and mainly the Bekaa valley.

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Nissan and China Partner Dongfeng to Invest $8 Billion

Nissan and its Chinese partner Dongfeng Motor Co. will invest 50 billion Yuan ($8 billion) and launch around 30 models in China over the next five years, the Japanese auto giant said Tuesday.

The two firms -- through their Dongfeng Motor Co. Ltd. (DFL) tie-up -- also plan to nearly double annual sales and launch a zero-emission electric car, in a bid to increase DFL's share in the world's largest auto market.

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Spain Pays Higher Rates to Borrow Money

Spain was forced to offer sharply higher returns on Tuesday to sell 2.885 billion euros ($4.17 billion) in short-term bonds as investors worried over sovereign debt burdens in the Eurozone.

The Spanish treasury had to offer a rate of 1.899 percent to borrow money for three months, up from 1.568 percent at the last such auction on June 21.

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Oil Rises to Near $100 as U.S. Debt Talks Drag On

Oil prices rose to near $100 a barrel Tuesday in Asia, boosted by a weaker dollar as talks among U.S. leaders made little progress ahead of next week's deadline to raise the government debt limit.

Benchmark oil for September delivery was up 42 cents to $99.62 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Crude lost 67 cents to settle at $99.20 on Monday.

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U.S. Default Prospects Stalk Global Stock Markets

Global stock markets fell on Monday amid growing concern about a potential U.S. default if lawmakers fail to agree a crucial deficit-cutting budget, dealers said.

Investor sentiment was also shaken after Moody's ratings agency sharply downgraded Greek debt -- and warned that the Eurozone rescue was almost certain to trigger another one-notch cut to default status.

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HSBC Left Red-Faced by Flawed Hong Kong Dollar Notes

HSBC Hong Kong on Monday apologized for printing a batch of flawed HK$100 ($12.8) notes depicting the petals of the Bauhinia flower -- the city's emblem -- pointing in the wrong direction.

HSBC is the largest banknote issuer in the southern Chinese city accounting for around 65 percent of those in circulation, according to the Hong Kong unit of the giant British banking group.

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Honda to Recall 200,000 Cars Globally

Japan's Honda Motor said Monday it would recall about 200,000 passenger cars globally due to defective engine parts.

The company said it had received 63 customer reports in Japan of engine malfunctions as a result of the defect, but said none had led to accidents.

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Iran Inks Gas Pipeline Deal with Iraq and Syria

Iran, Iraq and Syria inked on Monday a Memorandum of Understanding for the construction of pipelines designed to deliver Iran's natural gas to the two Arab nations, local media reported.

"The overall cost of the project is estimated around $10 billion," deputy oil minister and chairman of the Iranian National Gas Company (NIGC), Javad Ouji, was quoted by the Mehr news agency as saying after the signing ceremony.

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World Bank Pledges $500 Million for Drought-stricken Horn of Africa

The World Bank on Monday pledged more than $500 million (348 million euros) to aid the drought-stricken Horn of Africa region, as United Nations aid chiefs met in Rome to discuss ramping up relief efforts.

The bulk of the money will go towards long-term projects to aid livestock farmers while $12 million will be for immediate assistance to those worst hit by the crisis and facing starvation, the World Bank said in a statement.

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