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Cisco, EIB, Riyada Enterprise Development Launch $50 Million Lebanon Growth Capital Fund

Under the patronage of Prime Minister Najib Miqati, Cisco, the European Investment Bank (EIB), and Riyada Enterprise Development (a member of the Abraaj group) jointly announced Thursday the launch of the US$ 50 million Lebanon Growth Capital Fund which will provide long-term capital and institutional support to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Lebanon.

The announcement was made at a high-profile ceremony in Beirut attended by the business community, investors, government, entrepreneurs and the media.

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Global Market Euphoria Runs Out of Steam

A rally on global markets stalled Thursday as euphoria over major central banks' coordinated cut to borrowing costs wore off and investors sought confirmation that European leaders will next week deliver a long-term solution to the debt crisis.

Markets had jumped on Wednesday when the central banks of Europe, the U.S., Britain, Canada, Japan and Switzerland made it cheaper for banks to borrow dollars, helping them to operate smoothly at a time of tight credit. China's central bank also acted to release money for lending and shore up growth by lowering bank reserve levels for the first time in three years.

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TVs are Hot Sellers This Holiday Season

In an unexpected twist, TVs are topping many Christmas shopping lists this year.

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EU on Brink of Rebirth or Breakup, ECB Sees No Magic Wand

The European Union began a nine-day battle over federal-style changes to save the Eurozone on Thursday with France presenting its policy on common budget control.

The European Central Bank cooled the air after shock action by central banks boosted markets, sending a strong message to EU leaders that it has no magic wand to shore up the Eurozone.

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BP Sells Canadian Gas Unit for US$1.67 Billion

British energy group BP said on Thursday that it had agreed to sell its Canadian natural gas liquids business to Plains Midstream Canada ULC for U.S.$1.67 billion in cash.

The deal, equivalent to 1.24 billion Euros, comes as BP seeks to unlock US$30 billion to meet compensation costs linked to last year's Gulf of Mexico oil spill caused by a blast on the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon platform.

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Lebanese Banks Tighten Control on Syrian Account Holders

Lebanese banks have adopted strict measures to ensure compliance with international sanctions against neighboring Syria and are scrutinizing transfers of existing Syrian clients, banking officials said on Thursday.

"Banks are taking extremely strong precautions to avoid bad surprises regarding people or institutions under sanctions," said one official who works at one of Lebanon's top banks. "No one wants to expose himself to pressure or problems.

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Want to Own Part of The Empire State Building?

Investors worldwide could soon be able to own a piece of New York City's most famous landmark, the legendary Empire State Building.

According to documents made public Tuesday, the owners of the 80-year-old skyscraper, which reigned as the world's tallest for more than four decades, are planning to list it on the stock market together with other properties.

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Indian Growth Slows to 6.9%, Lowest in Two Years

India's economic growth slumped to a two-year-low 6.9 percent in the second quarter, data showed Wednesday, as it was hit by a string of rate hikes and a stumbling global economy.

The expansion in July-September was the weakest since the three months to June 2009 when the economy grew just 6.0 percent year-on-year as Western economies were emerging from the global financial crisis.

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Eurozone Turns to IMF for More Help in Debt Crisis

Eurozone finance ministers turned to the IMF for more help to keep the monetary union together late Tuesday after they missed their goal of boosting their own bailout fund to one trillion Euros.

With fears rising that Italy will need a bailout after its borrowing costs soared to record heights, ministers scrambled to tame a debt crisis threatening to break apart the 17-nation Eurozone.

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Prada Defies Financial Crisis, Sales up Thanks to Asia

Italy's fashion brand Prada saw sales increase 25 percent over the first nine months of the year, with Asia reconfirming itself as the main market for luxury goods, the group said Tuesday.

Prada Spa, which floated on the Hong Kong stock exchange in June, announced net profit soared 75 percent to 273.2 million Euros ($364.3 million) compared to the same period in 2010.

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