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U.S. Tightens Libya Sanctions, Targets Banks in Turkey, Tunisia, Lebanon

The U.S. government tightened sanctions against three Libya-controlled banks in Turkey, Tunisia and Lebanon on Tuesday, ratcheting up the pressure on leader Moammer Gadhafi's support.

The U.S. Treasury Department said it had targeted three foreign Libyan-owned banks, identified six additional companies subject to sanctions, and lifted sanctions against a former Libyan oil minister who defected from the Gadhafi regime last month.

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IHOP to Expand in The Middle East, Including Lebanon

DineEquity Inc., which owns the IHOP chain of restaurants, said Monday it plans to open 40 new IHOP stores in the Middle East with Kuwait-based franchiser M.H. Alshaya Co. in its first major expansion outside of the U.S.

The restaurants will begin to open over the next 12 months in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain and Egypt.

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Oil Down on Eurozone, U.S. Fears

Oil fell sharply on Monday because of continuing fears over Greece's debt crisis and concerns over the U.S. economy, analysts said.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) light sweet crude for July delivery, dropped $1.35 to $91.66 a barrel.

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Paris Airshow Opens with Promise of Soaring Sales

The world's plane makers set out their stalls alongside an airfield outside Paris on Monday hoping the biggest event in the aviation calendar will confirm their industry is again ready for takeoff.

Duelling giants Boeing and Airbus and around 2,000 smaller aerospace suppliers, came to the first Paris International Airshow since the end of the global financial crisis eyeing possible massive new airline orders.

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Greece Faces Power Outages Due to Austerity Strike

Greece faced power outages on Monday as employees at the main power utility began 48-hour rolling strikes to protest the company's privatization, part of austerity plans needed to avoid a national debt default.

The sell-off of state assets in the power company is a major step in a €50 billion ($71 billion) privatization drive that must be completed by 2015. It is part of highly unpopular austerity plans, including more tax hikes and spending cuts, that must be passed by Parliament by the end of the month if Greece is to get the next €12 billion installment of its €110 billion bailout next month.

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Oil Falls Below $93 Amid Stronger U.S. Dollar

Oil prices tumbled to below $93 a barrel Friday in Asia amid a stronger dollar and mixed signs about the U.S. economy.

Benchmark oil for July delivery was down $2.36 to $92.59 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 14 cents to settle at $94.95 on Thursday.

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U.S. Government Boosts Local Economic Development

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) held a conference on Thursday to present the best practices and lessons learned under the Municipal Capacity Building and Service Delivery - EMLED program.

USAID/Lebanon Economic Growth Office Director Heath Cosgrove stressed during the conference the “importance of municipalities and local economic development (LED) committees in stimulating local economic development.”

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Swiss Big Banks Risk Substantial Losses

Swiss banking giants Credit Suisse and UBS have relatively low exposure to indebted Euro zone states but risk substantial losses if the economy were to deteriorate, the Swiss central bank warned Thursday.

"Compared to last year, there has been no notable decrease in the level of risk at the big banks," said the central bank in its annual financial stability report.

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Mulberry Bags Surging Profits, Eyes International Expansion

British luxury handbag maker Mulberry said Thursday that annual profits more than quadrupled, as the group celebrated its 40th anniversary with stunning sales growth and eyed more global expansion.

Pre-tax earnings rocketed by a staggering 358 percent to £23.3 million ($37.6 million, 26.6 million Euros) in the 12 months to the end of March, Mulberry said in a results statement.

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Asian Bank Head Says Lagarde 'Perfect' for IMF

The president of the Asian Development Bank on Thursday backed French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde to take over as head of the IMF global lender.

"Personally I think she is a perfect candidate," said the ADB's president, Haruhiko Kuroda of Japan, hailing "her capacity and talent" which he said had impressed Asian ministers and bank governors at an ADB meeting in May.

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