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Oil Below $86 Amid Weak Indicators, Earnings

Oil prices hovered below $86 a barrel Friday in Asia, dragged lower by weak economic and earnings news.

Benchmark crude for March delivery was down 7 cents at $85.57 a barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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Abboud Urges Tourists to Visit Lebanon as Sector Suffers over Political Crisis

Caretaker Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud has urged Arab and western tourists to visit Lebanon after the tourism sector was directly affected by the political crisis which led several countries to raise concerns over stability in Beirut.

Calls by some countries on their citizens “to refrain from visiting Lebanon during this period are surprising, particularly since this request came after protests ended and security was restored,” Abboud said in a statement on Thursday.

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Eurisko Mobility Wins Exclusive Right to Develop Multi-Platform Mobile Applications for MTV

MTV Lebanon, a leading independent media station in Lebanon and the MENA region, has selected Eurisko Mobility to develop various mobile applications for all major platforms (iPhone / iPad, BlackBerry, Android, Symbian, Windows Mobile).

Eurisko Mobility, (, will combine a wide range of advanced mobile techniques to develop a unique concept to be introduced by MTV for the first time in the Middle East and the world. The exact details of the application are being kept under a shroud of secrecy.

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Arab World Experts at Economy Forum Call for Reform

The head of the Arab League said Wednesday that Arabs were angry and frustrated and "the name of the game is reform" — a call lent urgency by turmoil of recent days, when a corrupt regime was overthrown in Tunisia and several people died in anti-government riots in Egypt.

Arab League's Secretary-General Amr Moussa, who is Egyptian, spoke to reporters at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, where a panel of Mideast economic experts convened separately to tackle the same question — and generally agreed the region needs better education, more transparent regimes, and cleverer business strategies.

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BBC World Service Closes Five Languages, 650 Jobs

The BBC World Service said Wednesday it would close five of its language services and cut 650 jobs as it seeks to make deep savings.

The Albanian, Macedonian, Portuguese for Africa and Serbian languages services as well as the English for the Caribbean regional service will all be shut down.

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Oil Consolidates Losses Near $86 a Barrel in Asia

Oil prices hovered near $86 a barrel Wednesday in Asia, consolidating losses after falling more than 4 percent in less than a week on mixed economic news and the possibility of increased OPEC production.

Benchmark crude for March delivery was up 26 cents at $86.45 a barrel at early afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost $1.68 to settle at $86.19 on Tuesday.

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Dubai Port Firm Says 2010 Business Rose 14 Percent

DP World said Tuesday business rose 14 percent last year, reflecting the expansion of the Dubai port operator's global network and a resurgence in trade as the world economy picks up steam.

The world's third-largest seaport operator said its ports handled the equivalent of 49.6 million standard 20-foot cargo containers, up from 43.4 million in 2009.

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Oil-Rich Abu Dhabi Champions Ecological Cause

It floats on a sea of oil in a country that has the largest ecological footprint, yet Abu Dhabi aims to convince the world of its environmental credentials through its futuristic Masdar initiative.

On the ground, there are few signs of the will to combat climate change in Abu Dhabi, where even simple solar heaters are seldom spotted on the rooftops of the parched emirate.

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Toyota Still Biggest Automaker Despite Recalls

Toyota Motor said Monday its group sales in 2010 rose despite a global recall that damaged its brand image, enabling the firm to keep its top spot as world's biggest automaker.

Toyota's global sales rose eight percent on-year to 8.418 million vehicles, beating the 8.39 million vehicles sold by General Motors in 2010.

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Political Crisis Threatens Economic Gains

The political crisis in Lebanon is threatening to derail economic progress after a year that saw 7 percent economic growth, a record number of tourists and bank deposits among the highest in the Middle East.

Lebanon's government collapsed Jan. 12 after Hizbullah and its allies resigned from the Cabinet in a dispute over a U.N. court investigating the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

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