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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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European Labour Market Opens for Romanians, Bulgarians

Romanians and Bulgarians will have the right to work in any of the European Union's 28 countries from Wednesday, sparking fears of mass invasion and benefits tourism in Britain and Germany.

Britain rushed through a series of measures to ban EU migrants from claiming unemployment handouts from the moment they arrive, while German lawmakers raised concerns about social benefits fraud.

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Taiwan President Calls for Further Market-Opening

Taiwan must open its markets wider to secure free trade deals which are badly needed in the face of stiff regional competition, President Ma Ying-jeou said Wednesday.

His appeal came as a controversial services sector trade agreement with China is stalled in parliament.

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Chinese Tycoon Says he is in Talks to Buy New York Times

First he handed out cash to victims of China's 2008 earthquake. Then he sold "canned fresh air" to residents of smog-ridden Beijing.

Now Chen Guangbiao, listed as one of China's 400 richest people and a man known as much for his publicity stunts as his wealth, claims he is in talks to buy the New York Times.

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South Sudan Oil Production down at Least 15 Percent

Oil production in South Sudan has slumped by about 15 percent since fighting erupted more than two weeks ago, industry sources said Tuesday.

South Sudan, whose economy is almost entirely dependent on oil, plunged into chaos on December 15 when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of mounting a coup, sparking deadly violence believed to have left thousands dead.

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Turkey Says Corruption Probe Will Not Impact Growth Forecast

Turkey's deputy prime minister said on Tuesday the political turmoil sparked by a high-level corruption probe would not impact the government's forecast for economic growth.

Ali Babacan said in a television interview the projection for 2014 was for a 4.0 percent rise in gross domestic product, adding: "We have no reason to revise this target."

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