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Motorcycle Maker Yamaha to Launch Small Cars in Europe

Japanese motorcycle giant Yamaha will join the four-wheel market by launching small cars in Europe as early as 2019 to meet rising demand for energy-efficient vehicles, a company official said Friday.

The firm has been mulling manufacturing four-wheel vehicles for years, exhibiting a prototype 1,000 cc engine car and an electric-car battery at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show.

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EU Invites Russia, Ukraine to Fresh Gas Talks

The EU said it has invited the Russian and Ukrainian energy ministers to Brussels on Monday for talks on resolving a bitter gas supply dispute which threatens deliveries to Europe.

Russia's state-owned gas giant Gazprom threatened on Tuesday to cut off deliveries to Ukraine, diverting deliveries instead to eastern parts of the country controlled by pro-Kremlin rebels.

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UAE Etisalat Telecom's Profit up 26% in 2014

UAE telecom giant Etisalat said Thursday its net profit surged 26 percent last year to reach $2.43 billion as the company saw a hike in subscribers after acquiring a Morocco operator stake.

The company said its net profit in 2014 after deducting royalty reached 8.9 billion dirhams, while revenues for the whole year surged also 26 percent to 48.8 billion dirhams.

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Oil Prices Down in Asian Trade

Oil prices fell in Asia Thursday but losses were curtailed as dealers focused on positive elements of a mixed U.S. energy stockpiles report, analysts said. 

West Texas Intermediate for April eased 43 cents to $50.56 while Brent crude for April tumbled 31 cents to $61.32 in afternoon trade.

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Eurozone Loans to Private Sector Still Contracting

Loans to the private sector in the euro area, a gauge of economic health, fell year-on-year in January, but by less than in December, the European Central Bank said Thursday.

The volume of loans to private businesses and households declined by just 0.1 percent in January compared with the same month in 2014, a  lower rate than the drop of 0.5 percent recorded in December, the ECB said in a statement. 

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Greece Hails 'Turn in the Tide' but Debt Problems Loom

Greece's finance minister hailed Thursday a "turn in the tide" following an extension of the stricken eurozone country's bailout but warned of problems ahead in meeting billions of euros in debt repayments.

Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis told Bloomberg TV in an interview that 700 million euros ($795 million) was deposited at Greek banks on Tuesday, when Greece's creditors approved the four-month extension.

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Survey: German Consumer Confidence Hits 13-Year High

Consumer confidence in Germany is at its highest since late 2001, as rising optimism about the economy and income expectations persuade German shoppers to open their wallets, a poll found on Thursday.

"The escalation of the situation in east Ukraine, the ongoing tensions between the West and Russia and events in Greece are not leaving much of an impression on German consumers, who are increasingly optimistic," market research company GfK said in a statement.

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USAID-Funded Olive Oil Mechanical Harvesting Program Draws to a Close - 1,000 Olive Oil Producers Benefited

The Lebanon Industry Value Chain Development (LIVCD) project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), organized a closing workshop of the Mechanical Harvesting Program within the Olive Oil Value Chain.

The goal of the Mechanical Harvesting Program was to improve olive oil productivity at the orchard level, and decrease harvest and production costs for 1,000 olive oil producers across Lebanon.

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Moody's Downgrades Ratings for Scandal-hit Petrobras

International ratings agency Moody's said Tuesday it had downgraded all ratings for scandal-plagued Brazilian oil giant Petrobras.

Until recently, Petrobras had been considered one of the best and most prestigious businesses in Brazil. But Moody's dropped its unsecured debt rating from Baa3 to Ba2.

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Tough Road for Greece after Bailout Extension

The hard work for Greece's new anti-austerity government began Wednesday of living up to promises made not only to international creditors but also to voters expecting relief from years of painful cuts.

On Tuesday Athens secured -- but only just -- a four-month extension to its lifeline bailout programme, although the German and Greek parliaments still have to give the green light.

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