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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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World Trade Chief Upbeat on Doha Deal Prospects

World Trade Organization Chief Pascal Lamy said Saturday that the chances of closing the long-delayed Doha round of talks on a new free trade pact are much better than a year ago.

"We are now in a go period after two years of stop, or at least of very slow progress," Lamy said at a meeting of agriculture ministers in Berlin.

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Report says Toshiba to Build Huge Solar Plant in Bulgaria

Toshiba and Tokyo Electric Power will team up with the Japanese government to build one of the world's largest solar power stations in Bulgaria, a report said Friday.

The plant will be built in the eastern city of Yambol by March 2012 at a cost of more than 100 billion yen ($1.2 billion), Japan's Nikkei daily said.

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eBay Earnings Rise on PayPal Performance

Online auction house eBay on Wednesday reported better than expected earnings driven by the success of its online financial transactions service PayPal.

EBay revenue for the quarter ending December 31 was slightly less than $2.5 billion and its net profit was $559.2 million dollars.

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Oil Rises to Near $92 a Barrel in Asia

Oil prices rose to near $92 a barrel Wednesday in Asia, underpinned by a rise in regional stock markets and increases to demand forecasts for this year.

Benchmark crude for February delivery was up 34 cents at $91.72 a barrel at late afternoon Bangkok time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract, which expires this week, fell 16 cents to settle at $91.38 on Tuesday.

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