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Qatar in Labor Rights Storm amid FIFA Talks

Claims that migrant workers are treated like slaves in 2022 World Cup host Qatar were center stage on Thursday as global football's governing body FIFA met behind closed doors.

Already scheduled to debate shifting the 2022 edition from the World Cup's traditional June and July slot in order to escape the stifling Gulf heat -- a plan which has angered European leagues that fear mid-season havoc -- FIFA found the spotlight shifting to alleged human rights abuses against the workers paving the pay for the tournament.

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Brazil Economy in Need of Reforms, Reduced State Bloat

Brazil, Latin America's economic behemoth, is in dire need of structural reforms and reduced government bloat to fuel sustainable growth, analysts say.

This, they add, will not happen overnight and will take massive political will.

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Survey: French Business Activity Picking Up

French business activity expanded in September to a 20-month high in September, according to final survey data released on Thursday, an indication that recovery may be picking up steam.

Markit said its composite Purchasing Managers Index for France came in at 50.5 percent, above the 50 point level that indicates growth.

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U.S. Shutdown Prompts Global Trepidation, Bemusement

From Chinese bloggers to European central bankers, the world is watching the U.S. government shutdown with a mixture of bewilderment and growing nervousness that any debt default could hit struggling economies.

The effects of the dramatic spending freeze have rippled around the globe, paralyzing a leading earthquake alert system, forcing American scientists to pull out of international conferences and leading an embarrassed President Barack Obama to postpone visits to two Asian countries.

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Moody's Grants Philippines Investment-Grade Status

The Philippines on Thursday completed its transformation from one of Asia's weaker economies after Moody's became the third and final ratings agency to grant the country investment-grade status.

The decision to give Manila a Baa3 rating with a "positive outlook" follows similar moves by Standard & Poor's and Fitch earlier this year.

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Thomson Reuters CEO Warns of 'Tough Decisions' Ahead

Thomson Reuters chief executive Tuesday warned employees of "tough decisions" ahead for the media and financial information group, which has already announced 2,500 layoffs since the beginning of the year.

CEO James Smith announced the appointment of a new "chief transformation officer," Neil Masterson, to help direct the shifts planned for the British-Canadian company.

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Spain's Jobless Queues Grow as Summer Jobs End

Spain's jobless queues grew in September as a summer jobs boom ended, breaking a six-month run of shrinking unemployment lines, government figures showed Wednesday.

The number of people registered as unemployed rose by 25,572 people from the previous month to 4.72 million, the first increase since February, the Labor Ministry said.

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Oil Falls Below $102 on Partial U.S. Govt Shutdown

The price of oil dropped below $102 a barrel Wednesday after scores of U.S. government workers were ordered off the job because of a budget impasse in Washington.

Benchmark oil for November delivery fell 44 cents to $101.60 per barrel at midday Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell 29 cents to close at $102.04 a barrel in New York.

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British PM Offers Vision beyond Austerity

British Prime Minister David Cameron will on Wednesday seek to convince voters that he has more to offer than austerity, promising a "land of opportunity" built on pro-business values.

In his keynote speech to his Conservative party's annual conference, Cameron will draw clear dividing lines with the opposition Labor party as he sets out his goal for a majority in the 2015 election.

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Cameron Warns U.S. Government Shutdown is Risk to World Economy

The United States' federal government shutdown could endanger the fragile world economy, British Prime Minister David Cameron warned on Tuesday.

"It is a risk to the world economy if the United States can't properly sort out its spending plans and its deficit reduction plans," Cameron told BBC radio after the U.S. Congress failed to agree a budget, forcing the first federal government shutdown in 17 years.

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