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Cubans Aghast at Car Prices as New Law Kicks in

Cubans are eagerly flocking to Havana car dealerships as a new law takes effect eliminating a special permit requirement that has greatly restricted vehicle ownership in the country. To their dismay on Friday, the first day the law was in force, they found sharply hiked prices, some of them light years beyond all but the most well-heeled islanders.

A new Kia Rio hatchback that starts at $13,600 in the United States sells for $42,000 here, while a fresh-off-the-lot Peugeot 508 family car, the most luxurious of which lists for the equivalent of about $53,000 in the U.K., will set you back a cool $262,000.

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Turkish Inflation Rate Rises on Plunging Lira

Turkey's year-end inflation rate increased to 7.4 percent in December, official statistics showed on Friday, as the effects of a plunging lire began to take effect on household prices.

The rate was considerably higher that central bank forecast of 6.8 percent for 2013 and came a day after the Turkish currency touched a new low against the dollar.

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Spain December Jobless Dip Best on Record for the Month

The Labor Ministry says the number of people registered as unemployed in Spain fell by 107,570 in December, the best drop on record for the month and welcome news for an economy struggling to emerge from more than two years of recession.

The ministry said Friday the decrease left the country's total number of unemployed at about 4.7 million.

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Company Leaving U.S. State over Gun Laws

One of the largest producers of ammunition magazines for guns in the U.S. is leaving Colorado and moving operations to Wyoming and Texas because of new state laws that include restrictions on how many cartridges a magazine can hold.

Erie, Colorado-based Magpul Industries Corp. announced Thursday that it was moving its production, distribution and shipping operations to Cheyenne and its headquarters to Texas, making good on a vow it made to leave Colorado during last year's gun control debate.

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U.S. Dollar Eases against Yen, Retreats from 5-Year High

The dollar fell against the yen in Asia Friday, extending losses seen in New York, as the unit retreated from a five-year high despite a broadly upbeat set of U.S. economic data.

The greenback bought 104.13 yen in Singapore afternoon trade, compared with 104.69 yen in New York on Thursday and well down from the 105.41 yen mark touched earlier this week, which was the highest since October 2008.

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Panama President Warns Spain and Italy over Canal Row

Panama's president warned Thursday he would visit Europe to force a consortium to drop a threat to suspend expansion work on the Panama Canal, as a row over a $1.6 billion cost overrun escalated.

A Spanish-led construction group has threatened to halt the massive project within three weeks if the Panama Canal Authority fails to pay for the extra costs.

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China Loans Pakistan $6.5 Billion for Nuclear Plants

China has agreed to lend Pakistan $6.5 billion to help build nuclear power stations including a 2,200-megawatt plant in Karachi, as Beijing increases its involvement in the cash-strapped country.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced the package at a briefing on Wednesday, saying it would help ensure an uninterrupted power supply.

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Turkish Lira Hits New Record Low amid Political Crisis

The Turkish lira plunged Thursday to a new low against the dollar and shares also dropped, pressured by a corruption scandal roiling the government.

The lira fell to 2.1778 to the dollar while the main Istanbul stock exchange index lost 1.91 percent to 66,503.69 points.

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Thai Stocks, Currency Slide on Political Turmoil

Thai stocks plunged more than five percent Thursday and the baht hit a near four-year low as investors took fright at the kingdom's deepening political crisis.

Anti-government protesters have vowed to "shut down" Bangkok on January 13 as part of efforts to oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and thwart elections scheduled for early February.

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Repsol Sells LNG Assets to Shell for $4.1 Billion

Spanish oil group Repsol announced Thursday it has sold liquefied natural assets to Royal Dutch Shell for $4.1 billion (3 billion euros), slashing its heavy debt load.

Repsol handed over its LNG assets in Peru and Trinidad and Tobago to Shell, the world's biggest LNG supplier, as part of a huge debt-reduction plan.

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