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Banks Cry Foul at New Hungary Debt Relief Plan

Hungarian lawmakers approved Friday a set of radical measures to ease household mortgage debt despite criticism from banks, which expect to foot a bill of several billion euros.

The changes are the latest attempt by Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government to help around a million Hungarians whose repayment rates on foreign currency mortgages rocketed after the 2008-09 financial crisis.

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Greece Orders Striking Power Employees Back to Work

Greece's government said Saturday it was ordering striking electricity workers back to their posts to ensure a vital public service, after an Athens court ruled their industrial action "illegal".

The demand sought to end a rolling stoppage launched Thursday by employees of the state-controlled Public Power Corporation (PPC) in anger at government plans to break up the country's main electricity provider.

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Egypt's Sisi Slashes Fuel Subsidies in Risky Move

Egypt has drastically raised fuel prices overnight to tackle a bloated subsidy system, in a potentially unpopular move that might blow back on newly elected President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

With the economy battered by three years of unrest, successive governments have said the subsidies that allowed Egyptians to buy gasoline at some of the world's cheapest prices must be lifted.

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'Steve Jobs Took Our Jobs', Says Finnish Prime Minister

Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb on Friday accused Apple's late founder Steve Jobs of crushing his Nordic country's job market by selling innovations that caught Finland's companies off guard.

"We had two pillars we stood on: one was the IT industry, the other one was the paper industry," Stubb told Swedish financial newspaper Dagens Industri.

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China Sets Yuan Clearing Bank in Seoul

China designated a clearing bank in Seoul for yuan transactions in South Korea on Friday, coinciding with a visit by President Xi Jinping, as Beijing promotes greater use of its currency overseas.

China's central bank has authorised the Bank of Communications, the country's fifth largest lender, to undertake yuan clearing business in the South Korean capital, the People's Bank of China (PBoC) said in a statement.

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China to Try Foreign Investigators Linked to GSK

China will next month put on trial two foreign investigators linked to drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which is facing allegations of bribery, in a closed trial shut to relatives and diplomats, people familiar with the case said.

British national Peter Humphrey and his wife Yu Yingzeng, an American citizen, will on August 7 face charges of illegally obtaining personal information, a family friend who asked not to be identified told Agence France Presse.

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GM Worker Warned Company of Switch Problem in 2005

General Motors recalled 3.4 million large cars last month after finding a 9-year-old email from an employee in its files warning of trouble, according to documents released by the government.

The 2005 email, unearthed in April during a company wide review of ignition-switch problems, is more evidence that GM knew about safety problems for years but failed to recall troubled cars until recently.

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IMF Urges Israel to Lift Restrictions on Palestinian Economy

The International Monetary Fund on Thursday said the economy in the West Bank and Gaza is weakening and urged Israel to lift restrictions on the Palestinians.

After briefing the international donor community and the Palestinian Authority, IMF mission chief Christoph Duenwald said in a statement that the authority is "doing a commendable job" managing the economy in difficult circumstances.

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Venture Capitalist Snaps up Bitcoins Worth $19M

Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper is betting that bitcoins will bring more financial stability to countries with shaky economies, even though the digital currency faces an uncertain future itself.

The financier revealed Wednesday that he snapped up nearly 30,000 bitcoins in a recent U.S. government auction and plans to trade them on a platform catering to markets looking for alternatives to their own volatile currencies.

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ECB to Keep Rates on Hold, Gauge Impact of Latest Cut

The European Central Bank is unlikely to make new policy moves at its monthly meeting on Thursday, focusing instead on assessing the impact of last month's unprecedented package of measures.

After cutting rates last month and unveiling new liquidity measures in its battle to prevent the single currency area from slipping into deflation, the ECB will "sit tight" at its meeting on Thursday, central bank watchers predicted.

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