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Luxury Cars and Trucks Boost Daimler's Profit

German luxury car maker Daimler said Friday that its first-quarter net profit nearly doubled, and maintained a rosy outlook for the year amid strong demand for its Mercedes-Benz cars and also heavy trucks.

Daimler said net profit jumped to 1.18 billion euros ($1.75 billion) in the three months from January to the end of March, from 612 million euros in the same period of 2010.

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World Bank to Give Palestinians $10 mln in Aid

The World Bank said Thursday it would provide $10 million in aid to needy Palestinian families as a new unity deal between Fatah and Hamas raised questions about continued Western assistance, Agence France Presse reported.

The international body said the funds would go to 5,500 families in the occupied West Bank and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, following a similar program in 2009 and 2010 that provided direct aid to some 25,000 families.

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Oil Prices Stable, Brent Above $125

World oil prices steadied on Thursday ahead of growth data in the United States, the biggest crude-consuming nation.

Brent North Sea crude for delivery in June gained 10 cents to $125.23 a barrel in London deals.

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Russia to Ban Gasoline Exports Amid Shortages

Russia decided to halt exports of gasoline and switch the flow to the home market to fight shortages and a price rise, in a statement on Thursday taking effect in a few days' time in May.

The sudden announcement from the world's biggest oil producer came after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered his government to tackle an issue that has been gaining increasing attention ahead of upcoming elections.

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Total, Tecpetrol, Make Major Bolivian Natural Gas Discovery

The French energy giant Total and its Argentinian partner, Tecpetrol, announced the discovery of a major natural gas find in Aquio in southeast Bolivia.

The find, which contains some three trillion cubic feet (84 billion cubic meters), will boost natural gas reserves in this Andean country by nearly one third, Bolivian energy officials said Wednesday.

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Billionaire Carlos Slim Appeals Record Fine

Telcel, the Mexican cell phone company led by the world's richest man of Lebanese origin Carlos Slim, announced Tuesday it will appeal a record one billion dollar fine imposed by the anti-trust regulator.

"Telcel will use the legal means at its disposal to defend itself," faced with the "opportunistic and excessive" fine, imposed April 15 by the Federal Competition Commission (Cofeco), a statement said.

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Aramco Says to Boost Refining Capacity By 50%

Saudi Arabia's state oil giant Aramco will raise its refining capacity by 50 percent to above six million barrels a day by expanding at home and abroad, chief executive Khalid al Falih said Tuesday.

Work was progressing on two new refineries in the kingdom, he told a meeting in Seoul.

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Nintendo Announces New Console But Profit Dives

Nintendo said Monday it would release a new console next year to succeed its popular Wii, as it reported earnings slumped due to the strong yen and its 3D handheld player came too late to give a lift.

The video game giant said the new machine would be showcased at E3 Expo in Los Angeles in June. The move comes as Nintendo has struggled to reverse its sliding fortunes in an increasingly crowded market.

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Asian Oil Prices Soar amid Arab Chaos

Oil was up in Asian trade as escalating tensions in Libya, Syria, and Yemen heightened fears of supply disruption in the Middle East and North African region Agence France Presse reported on Monday.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in June, rose 36 cents to $112.65 a barrel, while Brent North Sea crude for June gained 24 cents to $124.23 in the afternoon.

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Groupon Bargain Service Appoints Ex-Google Execuctive

Online bargain hunter Groupon announced the appointment of former Google executive Margo Georgiadis on Thursday, saying she would oversee global sales, marketing and operations.

"Margo is a strong leader with a passion for helping small business owners and consumers," Groupon CEO Andrew Mason said in a statement. "We’re thrilled to have her on our team."

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