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Optimism for New Greek Bailout Deal despite German Misgivings

Debt-ridden Greece and its creditors appeared on track Monday to finalize the terms of a third bailout agreement despite the misgivings of EU paymaster Germany.

After Sunday's talks pushed on until 3:00 am Monday, negotiators were back at the table seven hours later, fine-tuning the list of new reform commitments to be required of the radical left Greek government in exchange for the 86 billion euro ($94 billion) lifeline.

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China's Alibaba to Take $4.6 Bn Stake in Retailer Suning

Chinese Internet giant Alibaba is to pay 28.3 billion yuan ($4.6 billion) for a nearly 20 percent stake in consumer electronics retailer Suning, the two companies said in a statement Monday.

At the same time, the Chinese shopping chain will invest up to 14 billion yuan for just over one percent of Alibaba, the statement said, bringing the total value of the deal to nearly $7.0 billion.

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Greece, Creditors Seen Closing in on Third Bailout Accord

Greece and its creditors were to resume talks in Athens on Sunday with both sides indicating that the terms of a third bailout will be finalized in short order.

The finance and economy ministers, Euclid Tsakalotos and Giorgos Stathakis, were to go back into the talks with the ECB, the International Monetary Fund and the European Stability Mechanism at 2:00 pm (1100 GMT).

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Athens in 'Intense' Talks to Avoid Another Loan Default

Greece and its creditors were involved in "intense talks" over the weekend to agree a new bailout before the debt-ridden country must repay 3.4 billion euros ($3.7 billion) to the European Central Bank on August 20.

European officials said sticking points still remain despite the progress being made, with a "generally positive reception... towards Greek readiness to vote on reforms this week.  

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Australia Probes Hundreds of Home Purchases by Foreigners

Australia is cracking down on foreigners who unlawfully own residential properties, investigating hundreds of cases ahead of the introduction of tougher penalties, Treasurer Joe Hockey said Saturday.

The government announced in May it would increase penalties for illegal purchases to rigorously enforce rules under which foreigners are only allowed to buy new dwellings, and not existing residential property.

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China July Exports, Imports Drop amid Worry for Economy

China's foreign trade performance worsened in July with both exports and imports falling on an annual basis, customs said on Saturday, spelling more worry for the world's second largest economy.

Exports plunged 8.3 percent year-on-year to $195.10 billion while imports dropped 8.1 percent to $152.07 billion, it said in a statement on its website.

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Report: Greek Police Find No Sign of Varoufakis Tax Hacking

Police in Greece have found no sign of electronic hacking into the tax files of millions of Greeks, which ex-finance minister Yanis Varoufakis claimed to have ordered as part of an emergency plan to deal with an exit from the euro, state agency ANA reported Saturday.

A police source told the agency that specialist officers had analyzed four finance ministry hard disks, and found no signs of tampering with the taxpayer registry database.

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Fitch Upgrades Ireland Outlook to 'Positive'

Rating firm Fitch raised its outlook on Ireland to 'positive' from 'stable', citing the eurozone country's strengthening economy after exiting an international bailout in 2013.

Fitch highlighted that tax revenues increased by 11.7 percent in the first half of 2015 compared with the same period a year ago, notably on strong corporate tax receipts. Revenues from VAT and personal income tax grew 8.0 percent and 6.0 percent, respectively.

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EU Offers More Help for Farmers Hurt by Russia Sanctions

The EU on Friday formally extended until next year a multi-million-euro aid package to help European fruit and vegetable growers hit by Russian sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.

The European Commission, the executive arm of the 28-nation European Union, said it "extended until the end of June 2016 the safety net measures for the European fruit and vegetables sector." 

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Taiwan's HTC Stocks Plunge to Lowest in Decade

Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC plunged to its lowest closing share price in more than a decade Friday, a day after it posted its biggest ever quarterly loss.

Stocks dropped by the daily limit of 10 percent to Tw$63 ($1.99) at closing in the wake of disastrous results which prompted the firm to say it would take some models off the market as it seeks to cut costs.  

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