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Tokyo to Launch $53.8 bn Stimulus Package

Tokyo will announce a spending package worth almost $54 billion on Thursday, media reports said, in a bid to offset a tax hike that comes into effect next year and which critics fear will derail Japan's economic recovery.

The 5.5-trillion-yen ($53.8 billion) stimulus will reportedly be loaded with public works spending, including construction projects for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,rebuilding coastal communities shattered by the 2011 quake-tsunami and updating the country's ageing infrastructure.

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Samsung Floats World's Largest Vessel

South Korean shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries has floated a tanker-shaped vessel tagged as the world's largest "floating facility" with a length greater than the height of the Empire State Building in New York.

A Samsung spokeswoman said Thursday that the 488 meters (1,601 feet) long floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) platform -- named "Prelude" -- was set in the water at its southern shipyard in Geoje on November 30.

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Deutsche Bank Unit in Tokyo Hit by Wining and Dining Scandal

Japanese police Thursday arrested a salesman at a Deutsche Bank unit on suspicion of bribery over claims he lavishly wined and dined a senior pension fund manager, officials and reports said.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department arrested Shigeru Echigo, a 36-year-old employee at Deutsche Securities, the investment banking arm in Tokyo of Germany's biggest lender.

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Swiss Money Pool Goes on Sale

Fancy taking a dip in a sea of Swiss francs, or scooping up fistfuls of coins? Your wildest dreams could come true thanks to a sale with a political edge.

Would-be buyers have a chance to snap up a century-old huge safe deposit vault containing eight million five centime coins, or 400,000 Swiss francs (325,000 euros, $441,000).

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EU Fines Eight Banks Record 1.7 bn Euros for Rate Fixing

The European Union fined eight finance groups a record 1.7 billion euros ($2.3 billion) on Wednesday for rigging the Euribor and Japanese yen Tibor interest rates.

German Deutsche Bank, involved in rigging both rates, was fined a total of 725 million euros, and French Societe Generale was fined 446 million euros for manipulating the European Euribor rate.

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Iran: OPEC Agrees to Maintain Oil Output Ceiling

OPEC has agreed to maintain its oil production ceiling at 30 million barrels per day, Iran's oil minister said on Wednesday.

"Thirty million barrels per day is the approved total output for OPEC for 2014," Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh told journalists in Vienna.

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Russia Slashes 2013 Growth Forecast Yet again

Russia on Tuesday once again sharply lowered its growth forecast amid fresh indications that the resource-rich nation would remain one of the emerging world's worst performers for years to come.

Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said factors ranging from disappointing investment levels to slowing consumer demand and industrial production meant Russia would achieve 1.4-percent growth this year instead of the 1.8 envisioned just weeks ago.

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Spain's Bankruptcy Epidemic Slays Giants, Dwarfs

Washing machines, fish fingers and football teams: not even household names are safe from a Spanish bankruptcy epidemic ravaging big and small businesses alike.

The number of companies filing for bankruptcy in Spain rose from 1,147 in 2007, the year before Spain's real estate bubble disastrously burst, to nearly 6,200 in 2009, according to the National Statistics Institute.

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Iraq Says 'Optimistic' over Kurd Oil Deal

Iraq is optimistic about resolving a long-running dispute over plans by the country's autonomous Kurdish region to export oil to international markets through Turkey, its oil minister said on Tuesday.

Asked by reporters if he was optimistic about a deal to enable the Kurdish exports, Iraqi Oil Minister Abdelkarim al-Luaybi told reporters: "Yes."

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Report: Apple Buys Analytics Firm for $200 mn

Apple has acquired social media analytics firm Topsy for more than $200 million, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

The newspaper, citing sources familiar with the deal, said it was unclear how Apple planned to use the firm but that it could be related to Apple's new streaming music service.

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