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Oil Rises on Hopes of More U.S. Jobs, Ukraine Crisis

Oil prices rose Friday as the Ukraine crisis took a new twist and expectations rose for a solid increase in U.S. employment.

Benchmark U.S. crude for April delivery was up 31 cents to $101.87 per barrel at 0720 GMT in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Thursday, the contract rose 11 cents to close at $101.56. Brent crude, used to set prices for international varieties of crude, was up 21 cents to $108.31 per barrel on the ICE exchange in London.

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Man Said to Create Bitcoin Denies It

Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto said Thursday that he is not the creator of bitcoin, adding further mystery to the story of how the world's most popular digital currency came to be.

The denial came after Newsweek published a 4,500-word cover story claiming Nakamoto is the person who wrote the computer code underpinnings of bitcoin.

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Official: Greece Seeks More Time to Shore up Ailing Banks

Greece wants more time to shore up its crisis-hit banks, a government source said Thursday, as the authorities were locked in a dispute with EU-IMF creditors on how much it would cost to do so.

"We are asking for more time for the banks," a finance ministry source told Agence France Presse.

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China's Growth Target Flexible

China's finance minister suggested Thursday that a growth rate of "7.2 percent or 7.3 percent" would be acceptable, a day after the country announced a 2014 target of "around 7.5 percent".

China is the world's second-largest economy and a key driver of global growth, with its expansion goals closely watched.

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Oil Prices Mixed in Asian Trade as Ukraine Crisis Spurs

Oil prices were mixed in Asian trade Thursday on data showing weaker U.S. energy demand as Russia comes under international pressure following its seizure of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for April delivery, fell 33 cents to $101.12 in mid-morning trade, while Brent North Sea crude for April rose 20 cents to $107.96.

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World Bank in Loan Talks with DRCongo for Hydroelectric Plant

The World Bank announced Wednesday it was resuming talks with the Democratic Republic of Congo on funding for a major hydroelectric power plant.

The talks were suspended in mid-February due to unrest in the Central African nation.

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Russia Sold Record $11.3 bn to Support Ruble Monday

Russia sold a record $11.3 billion in foreign currency to support the ruble on March 3, when the ruble came under unprecedented pressure due to concerns about conflict in Ukraine, central bank data showed Wednesday.

The Russian central bank sold foreign currency to buy rubles and prevent the Russian currency from falling further in value, after the market reacted with panic to parliamentary approval for President Vladimir Putin's request to allow military action in Ukraine on what has been dubbed "Black Monday".

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Reports: Facebook Looks to Buy Solar Drone Company

Facebook is in talks to buy Titan Aerospace, a maker of solar-powered drones, to step up its efforts to provide Internet access to remote parts of the world, according to reports from technology blog Techcrunch and financial news outlet CNBC.

Both websites cited anonymous sources who are familiar with the deal and put a purchase price at $60 million.

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China Premier Promises to Advance Economy Reforms

China's government promised sweeping reforms Wednesday to promote sustainable growth in its slowing economy by opening state-dominated industries to private investment, making its banks more market-oriented and encouraging consumer spending.

In his first annual policy speech as China's top economic official, Premier Li Keqiang said Beijing will encourage competition, ease exchange rate controls and improve access to credit for productive businesses.

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Australia Rejected Qantas Request for $2.7 B Loan

Australia's government rejected a request from Qantas Airways for a $2.7 billion unsecured loan to help the national carrier return to profitability, deciding instead to abolish foreign ownership restrictions, the prime minister said Wednesday.

In the wake of Monday's decision to allow greater foreign ownership of Qantas, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said his ministers had acted on expert advice from accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers to decide that Qantas did not need the line of credit.

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