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Vodafone Launches Bid for Kabel Deutschland

Britain's Vodafone PLC has launched a takeover bid for Germany's biggest cable operator, Kabel Deutschland, which values the German company at 7.7 billion euros ($10.2 billion).

Kabel Deutschland Holding AG, which has more than 8 million customers, said Monday that its management and supervisory boards "welcome this announcement."

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As Banks Eye Iraq, Citi Plans Office in Baghdad

Citigroup Inc. is set to become the first American bank to open an office of its own in Baghdad, highlighting financial firms' growing interest in Iraq a decade after the U.S.-led 2003 invasion.

Executives say the representative office Citi has received preliminary approval for will help support its corporate customers in Iraq and act as a liaison for companies looking to do business there.

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German Business Sentiment up Slightly

Germany's Ifo index of business sentiment rose slightly in June, suggesting the eurozone's largest economy remains on track for a return to stronger growth after a weak stretch.

The closely-watched index came in Monday at 105.9 points, up from 105.7 the month before and in line with analysts' expectations.

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Rio Tinto to Hold On to Diamond Businesses

Mining giant Rio Tinto said Monday it had decided to retain its diamond interests, which include operations in Canada, Australia and Zimbabwe, after a strategic review which considered a range of options, including divestment.

Rio, one of the world's major diamond producers, raised the prospect of selling the businesses in March last year, to see if more value could be created through a different ownership structure.

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EU Socialists to Push for More Youth Jobs, Industry

The European Union's Socialists agreed to push for more incentives to battle youth unemployment across Europe and revitalize the bloc's industry during a party council in Sofia on Saturday.

"Our job is to create jobs for the people and especially for the younger generation... This is our big fight and this will be the fight in the coming months concerning the European budget," the leader of the Socialists and Social Democrats group in the European parliament, Hannes Swoboda, said.

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Rome Protesters Call on Government to Create New Jobs

Tens of thousands of people rallied in Rome on Saturday, calling on the government to do more to create new jobs and to boost the spending power of workers.

The protest comes less than two months after Italy's new right-left coalition government came to power under Prime Minister Enrico Letta following a long-drawn political squabble on the back of February's inconclusive elections.

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EU Finance Minister Talks Break Down on Bank Closure Regime

European Union finance ministers failed early Saturday to reach an agreement on how to close down failing banks before they can do too much damage to the wider economy.

This resolution mechanism would have marked another important step toward a 'banking union,' the new overall EU regulatory framework meant to restore the banking sector to health and so prevent any repeat of the bloc's debt crisis.

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Chinese Buy Up Canada Farms; is Beijing Behind it?

With too few farms in China to feed a burgeoning population, Chinese immigrants have started buying up agricultural lands in Canada and shipping produce to Asia.

But with new investment comes fears that a generation of young Canadian would-be farmers are being squeezed out of the market by newcomers that some suspect are being bankrolled by the government in Beijing.

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Report: Environment Holds Business Risks and Chances

Rising temperatures, storms linked to climate change and growing competition for water and land point to tough times ahead for the business sector, but also a chance for profitable innovation, the U.N. said Friday.

Citing the ravages of floods in Australia in 2010-11 which cost insurer Munich Re $350 million (265 million euros) and mining group Rio Tinto another $245 million, the report said companies had no choice but to adapt.

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Eurozone Finance Ministers Agree ESM Direct Bank Funding

Eurozone finance ministers agreed Thursday how the single currency's rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism, will be able to inject funds directly into failing banks so as to minimize the risk posed to the financial system.

"The main guidelines of how the ESM will operate have been agreed," Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan said.

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