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Oil Prices Shed Gains before Fed Move

Oil prices began shedding gains in late Asian trade on Tuesday after rebounding from sub-$35 levels in New York ahead of an expected hike in U.S. interest rates.

With global oversupply still dictating price trends, U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in January dipped 11 cents to $36.20 at 0615 GMT, while Brent crude for January was 16 cents lower at $37.76. 

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Greece Sells 14 Airports in Privatization Drive

Greece said Monday it agreed to sell 14 regional airports to a German operator, the first major privatization move for the country's left-wing government.

The Greek privatization agency said it was selling the airports to German airport operator Fraport for 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion).

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Lithuania Launches Power Lines Cutting Reliance on Russia

Lithuania on Monday introduced new power lines to Sweden and Poland connecting the EU-member Baltic states to the western energy market while reducing their dependence on imports from Russia.

Vilnius hopes its new 700-megawatt undersea power link to Sweden will bring in cheaper energy while its 500-megawatt line to Poland should help integrate the Baltic states into the European power grid.

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Israel Lawmakers Snub Netanyahu Plan to Tap Major Gas Field

An Israeli parliamentary committee refused to give its blessing Monday to a natural gas deal aimed at tapping a huge field in the Mediterranean despite a strong push by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The 7-6 vote against the deal by the Knesset's economics committee was however non-binding and Netanyahu is expected to seek to move ahead anyway, with a court battle likely to result.

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Alibaba to Pay U.S.$266 Million for Hong Kong's SCMP Newspaper

Chinese Internet giant Alibaba will pay U.S.$266 million for Hong Kong's South China Morning Post, the newspaper said Monday, far higher than analysts' estimates in a deal that has sparked fears the paper will lose its independent voice.

The business had been valued at half that amount, and some observers said the hefty price tag reflects Alibaba's desire to control media in the semi-autonomous territory.

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Oil Prices Slip Further in Asia on Supply Woes

Oil prices extended losses in Asia on Monday on fears that a global supply glut will last another year, with analysts saying the Paris climate deal likely will have no near-term effect on the commodity.

The OPEC cartel's refusal to cut production as Iran prepares for the lifting of sanctions on its oil exports have brought the price of crude down to levels not seen since early 2009 during the global financial crisis.

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EU Bailout Chief Says IMF Must Stay, Grexit Risk Not Over

Greece cannot remove the IMF from its economic bailout, the head of the EU's rescue fund said Sunday, adding that the possibility of a Greek eurozone exit remains if reforms are neglected.

"There has to be a financial contribution because the IMF, according to the ESM Treaty and to the agreement in the July summit, should be part of the program also financially," Klaus Regling, head of the European Stability Mechanism, told To Vima weekly.

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Turkmenistan, Afghanistan Pakistan, India Launch Major Pipeline

Leaders of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India during a ceremony in the Turkmen desert broke ground Sunday on a major pipeline that could help ease energy deficits in South Asia.

Presidents Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov of Turkmenistan and Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan were on hand for the ceremony outside the city of Mary in the Karakum Desert, marking the beginning of work on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) link.

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Gulf Stocks Dive to Multi-Year Lows on Oil Slump

Share prices in the energy-rich Gulf states tumbled to multi-year lows on Sunday after oil prices closed the week below $38 a barrel, the lowest in seven years.

The slide was led by markets in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, which plunged below key resistance points amid a sell-off by concerned investors.

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U.S. Federal Reserve Expected to Hike Rates amid Nagging Worries

After a long buildup that stirred waves of turbulence in global markets, the Federal Reserve finally is expected to end its seven-year crisis stance with an interest rate increase on Wednesday.

Most bets are that the Fed will increase the benchmark federal funds rate for the first time in nearly a decade, signaling confidence in U.S. economic growth even as the rest of the world sags.

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