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Asia-Focused ANZ Books 11% Profit Boost to $6.0 Bln

The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) on Tuesday announced a record annual net profit of Aus$6.3 billion (U.S.$6.0 billion) -- up 11 percent -- citing a successful Asia-focused growth strategy.

ANZ, one of Australia's four major banks, said an 18 percent reduction in bad debts and a 10 percent cut in costs had helped it to a consensus-beating result.

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Oil-Rich Kuwait Warns Welfare State Unsustainable

Oil-rich Kuwait said Monday that the generous cradle-to-grave welfare system provided to its 1.2 million citizens was "unsustainable" and it was time for change.

"The fact everyone must be aware of ... is that the existing welfare state system that Kuwaitis are used to is unsustainable," Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Sabah said, presenting his government's four-year program to parliament.

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Emirates Negotiates Big Deal with Boeing

Emirates Airline is negotiating over a potentially "substantive" order for U.S. Boeing's B777 new-generation airliner, the airline's chief executive Tim Clark said on Monday.

Clark told the Financial Times newspaper: "We are in a relatively advanced stage of commercial negotiations... I think whatever happens there will be a substantive order for the new 777."

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Japan Bank Executives Knew about Gangster Loans

Mizuho Financial Group executives knew the firm was doing business with gangsters but failed to stop it, a panel said Monday, as Japan's finance minister slammed the banking giant over the affair.

Mizuho, one of Japan's biggest banks, has been under fire since it emerged last month that it processed hundreds of loans worth about $2 million for the country's notorious yakuza crime syndicates.

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Report: China State Think Tank Lays out Reform Roadmap

China should dismantle its widely loathed residency registration system, which restricts access to medical insurance and other benefits for hundreds of millions of migrants, a government-affiliated think tank said, according to reports Monday.

The Development Research Center (DRC) of the State Council, or cabinet, issued a list of far-reaching reform proposals ahead of a key meeting of the ruling Communist party due next month, when changes are expected to be approved.

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Hamas Says Tunnel Closure Costs Gaza $230M Monthly

Egypt's closure of tunnels used to smuggle goods into the Gaza strip has caused monthly losses of $230 million (170 million euros) to its economy, a Hamas official said Sunday.

The "closure of the tunnels caused heavy losses to the industry, commerce, agriculture, transport and construction sectors" of around $230 million monthly, said Hatem Oweida, deputy economy minister for the Islamist movement Hamas that governs the strip.

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UAE to Give $3.9 Billion to Egypt's Military-Installed Govt

The United Arab Emirates agreed Saturday to give Egypt's military-installed government another $3.9 billion in aid after transferring $1 billion in July, the official WAM news agency said.

The UAE and other Gulf monarchies were staunch supporters of the July 3 overthrow of Egypt's first Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, and have vowed to help the interim government address the economic devastation wrought by two years of political turmoil.

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McDonald's Drops Heinz Ketchup

McDonald's said Friday it was dropping ketchup king Heinz as a supplier of the key hamburger condiment, citing management changes at Heinz that put the company closer to rival Burger King.

McDonald's said it was ending a relationship of over 40 years as it axed Heinz from its supplier list.

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JPMorgan's $5B Settlement Doesn't End its Troubles

The $5.1 billion that JPMorgan Chase has agreed to pay hardly ends its legal troubles over mortgage securities it sold.

It's merely a down payment.

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Newest Indian Airline Expects to Take Flight by Mid-2014

India's newest planned airline, a joint venture of the Tata Group and Singapore Airlines, expects to win swift regulatory clearance and be able to start flying by mid-next year, the carrier's chairman said.

Indian tea-to-steel conglomerate Tata will hold a 51 percent stake and Singapore Airlines Ltd 49 percent in the new venture, which was announced last month, as they seek to exploit one of the world's fastest-growing aviation markets.

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