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ECB to Begin QE Stimulus Program

The European Central Bank on Monday is set to begin its long-awaited 1.1 trillion euro ($1.2 trillion) quantitative easing program to stimulate growth and ward off deflation across the eurozone.

The program calls for the eurozone central bank to buy around 60 billion euros of public and private bonds each month -- a policy it will apply until at least September 2016.

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African Tourism Acts to Shake Off Ebola Stigma

The impact of the deadly Ebola virus fell mainly on three African countries but tourism has taken a hit across the continent of more than 50 nations as fear has kept many visitors away, tourism chiefs say.

Some 56 million tourists visited Africa in 2014, a two-percent rise from the previous year, according to UNWTO figures, but growth in Africa lagged behind that in Europe, Asia or the Americas.

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France Pledges 8.0 Billion Euros to Juncker Growth Plan

France will commit 8.0 billion euros ($8.7 billion) as part of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker's plan to boost economic growth, President Francois Hollande said on Friday.

"To create an effect of leverage, the Juncker plan must attract other contributions -- public contributions and private contributions -- and I have announced that France, through the Caisse des depots and the Public Investment Bank, will put in eight billion euros," Hollande said on a visit to Luxembourg.

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Poland: Russia's Exclusion from SWIFT a Last Resort 'Nuclear Weapon'

Excluding Russia from the SWIFT banking system would be a measure of last resort if the crisis in Ukraine escalates, the British and Polish foreign ministers said Friday. 

"When it comes to sanctions, SWIFT is the nuclear weapon. It is the last resort and we are all aware of that," Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna said at a joint press conference in Warsaw with British counterpart Philip Hammond.

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China's 2015 Budget Deficit Rate Higher than Declared

China's budget deficit this year will be higher than previously declared as the government boosts fiscal spending in a bid to bolster economic growth, the finance minister said Friday.

Premier Li Keqiang said Thursday in his "work report" to the National People's Congress (NPC), the country's Communist-controlled parliament, that the deficit would amount to 2.3 percent of gross domestic product, up from 2.1 percent in 2014.

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Greek PM Seeks EU Talks after ECB Snub

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has requested a meeting with European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, a government source said Friday, after Athens got no help from the European Central Bank to address a cash squeeze.

"The prime minister called Mr Juncker to arrange a meeting next week," a government source said.

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U.S. Airlines Attack UAE, Qatar Airline Subsidies

Three top U.S. airlines groups accused Qatar and the United Arab Emirates Thursday of lavishing $42 billion in subsidies on their airlines to wrest business from competitors.

The U.S. carriers together with workers' groups issued a 55 page report detailing how "unfair" subsidies given to Gulf rivals Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and Emirates have allowed them to wrest market share from the U.S. industry.

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Report: Britain Seeking Quick Sale of RBS Bank

Britain is looking to sell the Royal Bank of Scotland as quickly as possible, Chancellor George Osborne told the Financial Times on Thursday.

Osborne told the newspaper he hoped to sell the bank "as quickly as we can get rid of it" after the May general election, and that the public "want to see they get their money back" but that it could take years.

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Jewish Tradition to See Israel Helping Gaza Farmers

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish prohibition on agricultural work every seventh year could be a boon to struggling farmers in the Gaza Strip, Israel's defense ministry announced Thursday.

Israel will import produce from the besieged Palestinian territory for the first time in seven years, the body responsible for coordinating Israeli government activity in the Palestinian territories (COGAT) said.

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Euro Slumps to 11-Year-Low against the Dollar

The euro slumped to an 11-year-low against the dollar and stocks finished up on Thursday after the European Central Bank said it will begin a 1.1-trillion-euro bond buying program next week.

The euro sank to $1.0988 -- Its weakest level since September 2003 -- after trading at $1.1080 late in New York on Wednesday.

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