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U.S. Trade Deficit Widens in January as Exports Slump

The U.S. trade deficit grew more than expected in January as exports slumped, outpacing the fall in imports amid a slowing global economy, Commerce Department data released Friday showed. 

The trade gap increased 2.2 percent to $45.7 billion in January, the largest shortfall in five months and well above the analyst estimate of $44.0 billion.

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Scandal-hit VW Gives New Dates for 2015 Results, Shareholders' Meet

Beleaguered German auto giant Volkswagen Friday announced new dates for its 2015 annual results and shareholder meeting after postponing them over the a massive probe into its global emissions-cheating scandal. 

The earnings news conference, which had been scheduled for March 10, will now be held on April 28 at its headquarters in the northern town of Wolfsburg, the carmaker said in a statement.

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Samsonite to Buy U.S. Luxury Baggage Maker Tumi for $1.8 bn

Luggage giant Samsonite said Friday it would buy U.S. luxury bag maker Tumi in a deal worth $1.8 billion that analysts said would give the firm a foothold in the lucrative Chinese high-end market.

In a statement to the Hong Kong exchange, where it listed five years ago, Samsonite said it would pay $26.75 a share for the firm -- a third more than its value on Wednesday before the likely buyout was sounded.

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EU Referendum Battle Divides UK Businesses

Britain's car industry on Thursday backed the campaign to stay in the EU, but pro-Brexit supporters warned over red tape costs as the membership referendum battle shakes up the business community.

With less than four months until the vote, car industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) revealed three quarters of its members believed staying in Europe was best for business.

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Starbucks to Open in South Africa

Starbucks coffee chain will open its first two cafes in South Africa in April, the company announced Thursday, marking its entry into sub-Saharan Africa.

The coffee shops will be located in upmarket shopping malls in and near the financial capital Johannesburg, catering for South Africa's growing urban coffee market.

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Emirates Postpones Launch of World's Longest Flight

Emirates Airline, which was scheduled to launch what it called the world's longest non-stop flight this month  between Dubai and Panama City, said Wednesday it was postponing those plans for around a year.

The launch, which had been slated for March 31, will now occur in late 2016 or early 2017 due to "operational factors," the Dubai airline said in a statement released in Panama.

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Putin Says Agreement Sealed with Russian Oil Firms to Freeze Output

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that he had sealed a pact with the country's oil majors to freeze production as proposed last month by Moscow and Saudi Arabia to curb slumping prices. 

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Oil Prices Fall before U.S. Energy Report

Oil prices fell Wednesday as traders awaited the release of U.S. crude inventory data, which are expected to show a further rise in stockpiles.

At around 1100 GMT, the U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in April slid 74 cents to stand at $33.66 a barrel. 

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Australia's Economy Expands Faster than Expected

Australia's economy strengthened last year supported by consumer and government spending, data showed Wednesday, with the better-than-expected figures raising hopes the resources-dependent nation is emerging out of a recent slump.

Economic growth expanded by 0.6 percent in October to December to take the annual rate of expansion to a surprise 3.0 percent, figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed.

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Debt Collectors Strike Fear in Recession-Hit Russia

"If you don't die by yourself, we'll help you," threaten the phone messages that Natalya, a 69-year-old Russian pensioner, has been receiving for months after falling further behind on her credit card payments.

Resorting to harassment and threats of violence, debt collectors sent out by banks to recover money have become notorious in Russia and, many complain, usually face no punishment.

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