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Hyundai Unveils New Three-Door Compact Car

South Korea's top automaker Hyundai Motor on Thursday unveiled a three-door compact car aimed at younger customers, after a 40-month development program costing 270 billion won (US$242 million).

The Veloster is the company's first vehicle with an odd number of side doors -- one on the driver's side and two on the passenger side.

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German Luxury Car Makers Report Strong February Sales

German luxury car maker BMW said Wednesday that strong demand in all major regions pushed February group sales up by 21.7 percent to 111,720 vehicles, a trend reported by major German rivals as well.

BMW "is currently doing exceptionally well from the recovery of the car markets in many regions of the world," sales director Ian Robertson said in a statement.

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Nokia Siemens Delays Motorola Purchase Indefinitely

Finnish-German giant Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) said Wednesday its purchase of Motorola's wireless network infrastructure assets would be delayed again, with no timeline specified for completion of the deal.

"Nokia Siemens Networks remains committed to the acquisition but will provide no further guidance on when it is likely to be completed," the company said in a statement, adding it was still waiting for approval from Chinese regulatory authorities.

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AUB Signs Student Loan Deals with Fransabank, BLOM

The American University of Beirut has signed multi-year cooperation agreements with two leading banks to provide students with low-rate loans, AUB said in a statement.

AUB President Peter Dorman signed the agreements with Fransabank CEO Adel Qassar and with BLOM Bank Chairman Saad Azhari, it said.

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Euro Retreats From Four-Month Dollar High

The euro fell against the dollar Tuesday, one day after reaching four-month highs versus the U.S. currency, and ahead of this week's key EU summit to further tackle the Eurozone debt crisis.

In late morning London deals, the shared Eurozone unit dropped to $1.3918 from $1.3971 in New York late on Monday.

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OPEC to Discuss Impact of Libyan Unrest on Oil

Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries are holding consultations over the oil market in light of the Libyan turmoil, the Kuwaiti oil minister said on Tuesday.

"We are in consultation but have not yet decided which direction," we are heading, Sheikh Ahmad Abdullah al-Sabah told reporters when asked if OPEC was discussing whether to raise crude production.

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Oil Price Spikes to 2.5 Year-High on Libya Unrest

World oil prices shot higher Monday, striking 2.5 year highs on the turmoil in Libya and the Middle East, analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April, hit $106.45 a barrel -- the highest level since September 2008.

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Arab Unrest Sends Oil Higher

Crude prices pushed higher in Asian trade Thursday as unrest in the Middle East and North Africa continued to weigh on markets, analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for April delivery, rose 33 cents to $102.56 and Brent North Sea crude for April was up 30 cents at $116.65 in the afternoon.

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S&P Warns of Downgrades on Portugal and Greece

Leading credit rating agency Standard & Poor's has warned that it could further downgrade both Portugal and Greece's debt in the coming two months, depending on the outcome of a crucial European leaders' summit later this month.

The agency said in a report Wednesday that it is maintaining its A- rating on Portugal and its BB+ rating on Greece but has kept both countries on so-called "CreditWatch with negative implications."

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Carmakers Bet on Green Tech to Offset Costly Fuel

Mass-market automakers like Toyota, Fiat and Ford say green technologies on display at the Geneva Auto Show will help them weather the impact of skyrocketing fuel prices — while less humble sports car makers like Lamborghini flaunted their gas guzzlers.

Companies rolled out a raft of new models — including many electric, hybrid and more efficient conventional engines — in a sign of renewed confidence following the economic crisis that bottomed out auto sales and put a freeze on new models.

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