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Top Lebanese Banks Make Profits in 1st Half of 2011

Top Lebanese banks have announced that they made good profits in the first six months of 2011 despite slow economic growth in Lebanon.

BankMed said in a statement Thursday that net profit for the first half of this year increased by 13% to reach $59.4 million compared to $52.6 million for the corresponding period last year.

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CCC Hosts Meeting for Lebanese Business Leaders to Support Entrepreneurship in Lebanon

Nineteen Lebanese business leaders representing different firms in Lebanon met at a lunch hosted by Mr. Yusuf Kan’an Country Manager of CCC (Consolidated Contractors Company), and Board Member of INJAZ Lebanon, at Eau de Vie Phoenicia for the purpose of supporting entrepreneurship among youth in Lebanon.

The meeting included Fadi Yarak, the general director of the Ministry of Education and member of INJAZ Lebanon’s Advisory Board, INJAZ Board of Directors Raymond Audi, Michel Fattal, Ronald Farra, Kamal Katra, Ramzi Abou Samah, Joseph Maalouf, and Melek al-Nimr.

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Dollar Steadies Against Euro After Slump

The dollar steadied against the euro on Wednesday as investors paused for breath after the greenback had sunk to a three-week low point against the single currency on U.S. debt strains.

In London deals, the European single currency stood at $1.4495 after earlier striking $1.4536, the highest level since July 5. The euro had traded at $1.4509 late in New York on Tuesday.

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Iraq-Italy Sign Preliminary Refinery Agreement

Iraq's oil ministry has inked a preliminary pact with an Italian group for a refinery to produce 200,000 barrels per day of gasoline and diesel fuel for the domestic market, an official said.

"This is a six-month contract with the Karbala Refinery Corporation (KRC) during which the consortium must complete procedures ahead of starting the project," Ahmed Shamaa, Deputy Oil Minister in charge of refineries, said in a statement late Tuesday.

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Drugmaker Merck Reports Loss, Lowers Outlook

German drug and chemicals company Merck KgaA on Wednesday lowered its earnings outlook after reporting a loss for the second quarter, when it wrote down the value of its acquisitions Serono and Millipore.

The net loss of €86 million ($125 million) compared with a net profit of €183 million in the second quarter of 2010. Revenues rose 16 percent to €2.55 billion.

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LG Electronics 2Q Net Profit Plunges, Sales Fall

LG Electronics, a top global manufacturer of mobile phones and flat-screen TVs, said second-quarter net profit plunged as sales declined and its mobile phone business remained in the red.

LG earned 108.4 billion won ($103.3 million) in the three months ended June 30, the company said Wednesday. That was down 87.3 percent from net profit of 856.4 billion won a year earlier.

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Brax Criticizes Bassil as Oil Prices Continue to Rise

Gasoline Station Owners Syndicate President Sami Brax criticized on Wednesday Energy Minister Jebran Bassil for releasing this week’s fuel prices update.

“Minister Bassil has previously pledged to abstain from signing the weekly fuel prices update if they witnessed any rise,” Brax told Voice of Lebanon radio.

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EDL: 1,612 Cases of Power Theft in June

State-run Electricite du Liban announced on Tuesday that it discovered 1,612 cases of power theft in different areas during the month of June.

The power company said in a statement that its staff tasked with ending the violations was facing difficulties in some regions and mainly the Bekaa valley.

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Nissan and China Partner Dongfeng to Invest $8 Billion

Nissan and its Chinese partner Dongfeng Motor Co. will invest 50 billion Yuan ($8 billion) and launch around 30 models in China over the next five years, the Japanese auto giant said Tuesday.

The two firms -- through their Dongfeng Motor Co. Ltd. (DFL) tie-up -- also plan to nearly double annual sales and launch a zero-emission electric car, in a bid to increase DFL's share in the world's largest auto market.

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Spain Pays Higher Rates to Borrow Money

Spain was forced to offer sharply higher returns on Tuesday to sell 2.885 billion euros ($4.17 billion) in short-term bonds as investors worried over sovereign debt burdens in the Eurozone.

The Spanish treasury had to offer a rate of 1.899 percent to borrow money for three months, up from 1.568 percent at the last such auction on June 21.

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