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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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Spain Exits Eurozone Bank Support Program

The eurozone aid program for struggling Spanish banks closed as scheduled on Tuesday after providing some 41 billion euros ($55 billion) to get them through the debt crisis, a statement said.

The support "has proven instrumental in recapitalizing and restructuring Spain's troubled banks, which are today on a sound footing," said Klaus Regling, head of the European Stability Mechanism, the fund set up to help eurozone countries at the height of the crisis.

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Kuwait Budget Surplus Drops as Spending Soars

Kuwait's provisional budget surplus shrank 15 percent in the first six months of the current fiscal year mainly due to a sharp jump in expenditures, the finance ministry said Tuesday.

The OPEC member posted a preliminary budget windfall of 10.7 billion dinars ($37.8 billion, 27.5 billion euros) in the period ending September 30, compared to 12.6 billion dinars in the corresponding period last year, according to figures posted on the ministry website.

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Turkey Markets Rebound as Cabinet Meets amid Crisis

Turkey's battered financial markets bounced back on Monday as the cabinet met for the first time since a major reshuffle by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, battling a damaging political crisis over a high-profile graft probe.

The lira rallied to 2.1396 against the US dollar in morning trading after it touched a record low of 2.17 last week as Erdogan, who has dominated Turkish politics for 11 years, faced mass protests and growing calls to resign.

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Slovenian Inflation Drops in December

Slovenian 12-month inflation dropped in December to 0.7 percent from 1.3 percent in November pulled down by seasonal discounts, official data showed Monday.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices also fell by 0.9 percent from November, after dropping by 0.1 percent from the previous month, the statistics office said.

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