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Luxury Brands Riding High on Stock Market

Purveyors of luxury and indulgence flirted with record stock market valuations this week as investors looked past a litany of bad economic figures and the eurozone debt crisis to focus on the fundamentals.

Dealers said successful share floats for such fashion icons as Prada in Hong Kong -- a key market for investors and buyers alike -- and Salvatore Ferragamo in Milan boosted interest and offered the prospect of further gains.

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Taiwan's Textile Firms Wake Up and Smell The Coffee

Taiwan's once-booming textile industry entered this decade in need of a wake-up call, with global competition having reduced exports by over a third. But one firm has received a boost from a surprising source: coffee.

The S. Cafe fabric, made by small firm Singtex Industrial, incorporates recycled coffee grounds from Starbucks and 7-Eleven, and has proved a hit with heavyweight international brands including Nike and North Face.

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Back to Square One on Eurozone Debt Crisis

After a glimmer of hope in the Greek debt crisis, is it back to the drawing board for Eurozone leaders as they struggle to protect the single currency and its 17-nation economy?

"That's for sure ... that's why the ECB has probably always had the position that having talks about private sector involvement was not a particularly brilliant idea," UniCredit chief Eurozone economist Maro Valli told Agence France Presse.

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Obama Urges 'Balanced Approach' in Deficit Talks

U.S. President Barack Obama urged Democrats and Republicans Saturday to take a "balanced approach" to cutting deficit before a new round of key talks aimed at averting a debt default.

Obama said the two parties must address challenges like the solvency of Medicare, a government-run health insurance program for seniors and also insisted on closing tax loopholes and deductions for the wealthiest Americans.

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Berlusconi Firm Fined 560 Million Euros in Bribery Appeal

A Milan court ordered Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi's Fininvest company Saturday to pay rival media group CIR 560 million euros after it bribed a judge to approve a company takeover.

The Milan appeals court reduced by a quarter the original 750-million-Euro ($1-billion) damages claim that a civil court had ordered the holding company to pay in October 2009.

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Rising Twitter Valued at $8 Billion

The U.S. micro-blogging website Twitter is gaining value and is now worth an estimated $8 billion, the New York Times reported Friday.

The newspaper, citing two people briefed on the matter, said the popular website is in the process of raising $400 million in a deal that has provided the latest estimation of its value.

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Pfizer May Sell Animal Health, Nutrition Units

Pfizer says it may sell its animal health and nutrition business in the next two years so it can focus on expanding its low-cost pharmaceuticals unit.

Pfizer says it will also consider transactions including spinoffs and may pursue different strategies for each business. It said any transactions could take one to two years to complete.

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German Exports Resume Growth

Exports from Germany, Europe's biggest economy, bounced back in May, helping the country's trade surplus to widen, official figures showed Friday.

Germany exported goods and services worth €92.1 billion ($132 billion) in May, the Federal Statistical Office said. That was up 4.3 percent from the previous month and 19.9 percent in year-on-year terms.

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U.S. telecom Titan Verizon Drops Unlimited Data Plans

The leading provider of service for Smartphones in the United States on Thursday stopped offering new customers "all-you-can-eat" data plans.

Verizon Wireless joined AT&T and T-Mobile USA in a shift away from plans that allow Smartphone or tablet computer users to stream unlimited amounts of digital data for fixed prices.

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Saab Gets Official Approval to Sell Property for Quick Cash

The Swedish government on Wednesday gave the green light for troubled automaker Saab to sell its real estate and lease it back, handing it the last approval needed to sell its plant and get access to much needed cash.

Saab welcomed the deal and said in a statement it planned to restart its production, which has been repeatedly stalled since April and last stopped on June 8, on August 9.

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