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Panama President Warns Spain and Italy over Canal Row

Panama's president warned Thursday he would visit Europe to force a consortium to drop a threat to suspend expansion work on the Panama Canal, as a row over a $1.6 billion cost overrun escalated.

A Spanish-led construction group has threatened to halt the massive project within three weeks if the Panama Canal Authority fails to pay for the extra costs.

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China Loans Pakistan $6.5 Billion for Nuclear Plants

China has agreed to lend Pakistan $6.5 billion to help build nuclear power stations including a 2,200-megawatt plant in Karachi, as Beijing increases its involvement in the cash-strapped country.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced the package at a briefing on Wednesday, saying it would help ensure an uninterrupted power supply.

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Turkish Lira Hits New Record Low amid Political Crisis

The Turkish lira plunged Thursday to a new low against the dollar and shares also dropped, pressured by a corruption scandal roiling the government.

The lira fell to 2.1778 to the dollar while the main Istanbul stock exchange index lost 1.91 percent to 66,503.69 points.

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Thai Stocks, Currency Slide on Political Turmoil

Thai stocks plunged more than five percent Thursday and the baht hit a near four-year low as investors took fright at the kingdom's deepening political crisis.

Anti-government protesters have vowed to "shut down" Bangkok on January 13 as part of efforts to oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and thwart elections scheduled for early February.

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Repsol Sells LNG Assets to Shell for $4.1 Billion

Spanish oil group Repsol announced Thursday it has sold liquefied natural assets to Royal Dutch Shell for $4.1 billion (3 billion euros), slashing its heavy debt load.

Repsol handed over its LNG assets in Peru and Trinidad and Tobago to Shell, the world's biggest LNG supplier, as part of a huge debt-reduction plan.

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Asian Shares Mixed at Start of New Year

Asian share markets began the new year mixed on Thursday, with another record-breaking close on Wall Street offset by a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing growth.

Trading across the region was quiet after the break. The dollar held on to its recent gains against the yen, sitting just below five-year highs.

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Fiat to Pay $3.65B for Remaining Chrysler Shares

Italian automaker Fiat SpA announced that it reached an agreement to acquire the remaining shares of Chrysler for $3.65 billion in payments to a union-controlled trust fund.

Fiat already owns 58.5 percent of Chrysler's shares, with the remaining 41.5 percent held by a United Auto Workers union trust fund that pays health care bills for retirees.

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India Aims to Throw Open Doors Wider to Foreign Investors

India aims to throw open its doors wider to overseas investors in coming weeks, a minister said Wednesday, as it seeks to spur a weak economy before the general election.

The government has already relaxed foreign direct investment (FDI) rules in such sectors as civil aviation, retail, telecommunications, defense and state-owned oil refineries as it tries to loosen the shackles on the still mainly inward-looking economy.

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2013 was the Year of Unstoppable Stocks

The stock market was unstoppable in 2013.

A U.S. government shutdown, fear of a default, the threat of military action in Syria, big budget cuts, and a European country looking for a bailout — any number of events might have derailed the stock market. But they didn't.

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N. Korea Vows to Build 'World-Class' Structures

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un on Wednesday called for the construction of "world-class" structures, praising the speedy completion of his pet ski resort project.

"The construction sector should set up world-class structures ... and build many other structures that could contribute to improving the people's living conditions," Kim said in a New Year message broadcast on state TV.

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