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France's New Economy Minister Sparks Storm over '35-Hour' Law

France's new economy minister touched off a political storm Thursday, only one day into the job, with comments made before he was appointed about the controversial "35-hour" labor law.

Emmanuel Macron, a former Rothschild banker and ex-adviser to President Francois Hollande, told Le Point weekly he was open to allowing companies and sectors of the economy to "depart from" the law limiting French employees to a maximum 35 hours of work per week.

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Dubai Port Operator H1 Profits up 26 Percent

Dubai-based port operator DP World said Thursday its profit rose 26 percent in the first half of the year as it was able to process more cargo thanks to new capacity and a pick-up in global trade.

The government-backed cargo handler said it earned $332 million in profit attributable to its owners during the first six months of 2014, up from $264 million during the same period a year earlier.

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Qantas Slumps to Record Loss of U.S. $2.65 Billion

Australian flag carrier Qantas on Thursday posted a record annual net loss of Aus$2.84 billion (U.S.$2.65 billion), but chief executive Alan Joyce insisted clearer skies lie ahead after aggressively cutting costs.

The worse-than-expected result compared with a wafer-thin profit in the previous year, with one-off restructuring and redundancy payouts hammering the bottom line.

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Philippine Economy Rebounds, Joins Asia Top Performers

The Philippine economy rebounded to post 6.4-percent growth in the second quarter and regain its status as one of the strongest in Asia, authorities said Thursday.

The private sector took the lead as the economy recovered from a relatively modest expansion of 5.6 percent in the first quarter, which was partly due to the impact of devastating natural disasters, economic chiefs said.

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Survey: Americans' Pessimism on Economy has Grown

Americans are more anxious about the economy now than they were right after the Great Recession ended despite stock market gains, falling unemployment and growth moving closer to full health.

Seventy-one percent of Americans say they think the recession exerted a permanent drag on the economy, according to a survey being released Thursday by Rutgers University. By contrast, in November 2009, five months after the recession officially ended, the Rutgers researchers found that only 49 percent thought the downturn would have lasting damage.

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Study: German Women Earn Half that of Male Counterparts

The average income of German women is around half that of their male counterparts, a new study showed on Wednesday.

In the first-ever gender-specific analysis of income and tax distribution in Germany, the DIW think tank found that the average income of women "is only half that of men".

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India Faces Huge Job in Giving Bank Accounts to All

Premier Narendra Modi has put a pledge to give bank accounts to all Indians on a war footing, but experts say taking banking to rural areas where many people have no identity papers will be a huge challenge.

In developed nations, bank branches are everywhere. But banking services in India leave out nearly half the 1.2 billion population, putting poor people at the mercy of moneylenders who charge usurious interest for emergency loans for sickness or routine purchases such as buying seeds.

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Ryanair Launches New Service for Business Customers

Irish budget airline Ryanair has launched a new business service targeting companies wanting to cut costs, it said on Wednesday.

The Dublin-based airline announced in a statement that its new Ryanair Business Plus would offer business travelers various benefits including ticket change flexibility, greater baggage allowance, priority boarding and premium seats.

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Asian Stocks Mostly Higher Following S&P Record

Asian stock markets were mostly higher Wednesday after the latest record close for the Standard & Poor's 500, though gains were modest and Japan and Hong Kong lost ground after early advances.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.3 percent to 15,480.72 by early afternoon and Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost a smidgen to 25,067.18. South Korea's Kospi added 0.2 percent to 2,071.53 while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was steady at 5,638.10. Benchmarks in mainland China, India, Taiwan and Southeast Asia were higher.

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Afghanistan's One-Time Booming War Economy Slows

Rows of dusty trucks and used cars sit unsold in Afghanistan's capital, where real estate agents bemoan a lack of sales and international businessmen no longer frequent top hotels. Even government employees nervously await each payday, worried the next might be delayed.

Afghanistan's economy, vastly supported by international military spending and aid since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion to topple the Taliban, finds itself struggling on the precipice of what could be an uncertain future. NATO forces plan to pull out at the end of the year, insecurity is rising as international aid falls and a drawn-out election battle threatens to destabilize the country.

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