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U.S. Oil Prices Rise above $100 a Barrel

U.S. oil prices Friday rose above $100 a barrel ahead of the Department of Energy's weekly release on the nation's oil inventories.

At around 1525 GMT, U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in February rose 68 cents to $100.23 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. WTI last traded above $100 on October 21.

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Turkish Lira Hits Record Low amid Political Crisis

The Turkish lira plunged Friday to a new historic low against the dollar and the stock market also slumped as the political crisis in the country deepened.

The lira fell to 2.1467 to the dollar while the Istanbul stock exchange's BIST 100 index dropped by 3.76 percent around 0910 GMT Friday, after having fallen 2.33 percent Thursday and 4.2 percent Wednesday.

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Lack of Customers Dooms Many Cuban Businesses

The dented metal pizza trays are packed away, so too the old blender that never worked when it was needed. Gone is the sweet smell of rising dough that infused Julio Cesar Hidalgo's Havana apartment when he and his girlfriend were in business for themselves, churning out cheesy pies for hungry costumers.

Two years on the front lines of Cuba's experiment with limited free market capitalism has left Hidalgo broke, out of work and facing a possible crushing fine. But the 33-year-old known for his wide smile and sunny disposition says the biggest loss is harder to define.

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Fireworks But No Joy as Latvia Joins Eurozone

Fireworks will light up the skies above Riga when Latvia adopts the euro on January 1, but on the ground the feeling will be far from festive among those fearing the impact of the switch.

Polls show just a fifth of people in the austerity-weary nation favor the changeover while nearly 60 percent are opposed.

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Report: Britain to Become Europe's Biggest Economy by 2030

Britain will surpass France and Germany to become Europe's biggest economy by 2030, according to a study released on Thursday.

British research group the Center for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) predicts that Britain's output will outstrip France's by 2018 before displacing Germany by around 2030.

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Obama Signs Budget Bill into Law

President Barack Obama Thursday signed into law the compromise U.S. budget bill recently negotiated by feuding lawmakers and a massive defense bill that takes a step toward ultimate closure of Guantanamo.

After signing the legislation while vacationing in Hawaii with his family, Obama praised the National Defense Authorization Act for allowing accelerated repatriation of detainees from the U.S. naval facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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U.S. Jobless Claims Tumble

U.S. weekly jobless claims fell more than expected for the week ending December 21, the government said on Thursday.

First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits fell 42,000 to 338,000 from an adjusted 380,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said. Analysts had projected that 350,000 claims would be filed.

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Turkish Lira Hits Record Low after Cabinet Reshuffle

The Turkish lira hit a fresh record low on Thursday following a cabinet reshuffle by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan amid a huge graft scandal.

The lira fell to 2.1035 against the dollar on Thursday, after starting the day at 2.0914.

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S&P Says Ukraine Outlook Brightens after Russia Bailout

Ratings agency Standard and Poor's on Thursday raised its outlook for Ukraine to stable from negative, saying a multi-billion dollar bailout deal from Russia should mean Kiev meets its external financing needs over the next year.

The outlook change means that Standard and Poor's is now less likely to further downgrade its 'B- /B' assessment of Ukraine's creditworthiness on its sovereign debt, which remains deep into junk status.

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Dollar Rises to Five-Year High against Yen in Asia

The dollar rose to a five-year high against the yen in Asian trading Thursday on the back of strong Japanese share prices in a thin holiday market.

The greenback rose to 104.85 yen in early trade, its highest since October 2008, before settling at 104.71 yen.

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