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India Faces Huge Job in Giving Bank Accounts to All

Premier Narendra Modi has put a pledge to give bank accounts to all Indians on a war footing, but experts say taking banking to rural areas where many people have no identity papers will be a huge challenge.

In developed nations, bank branches are everywhere. But banking services in India leave out nearly half the 1.2 billion population, putting poor people at the mercy of moneylenders who charge usurious interest for emergency loans for sickness or routine purchases such as buying seeds.

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Ryanair Launches New Service for Business Customers

Irish budget airline Ryanair has launched a new business service targeting companies wanting to cut costs, it said on Wednesday.

The Dublin-based airline announced in a statement that its new Ryanair Business Plus would offer business travelers various benefits including ticket change flexibility, greater baggage allowance, priority boarding and premium seats.

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Asian Stocks Mostly Higher Following S&P Record

Asian stock markets were mostly higher Wednesday after the latest record close for the Standard & Poor's 500, though gains were modest and Japan and Hong Kong lost ground after early advances.

KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 fell 0.3 percent to 15,480.72 by early afternoon and Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost a smidgen to 25,067.18. South Korea's Kospi added 0.2 percent to 2,071.53 while Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was steady at 5,638.10. Benchmarks in mainland China, India, Taiwan and Southeast Asia were higher.

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Afghanistan's One-Time Booming War Economy Slows

Rows of dusty trucks and used cars sit unsold in Afghanistan's capital, where real estate agents bemoan a lack of sales and international businessmen no longer frequent top hotels. Even government employees nervously await each payday, worried the next might be delayed.

Afghanistan's economy, vastly supported by international military spending and aid since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion to topple the Taliban, finds itself struggling on the precipice of what could be an uncertain future. NATO forces plan to pull out at the end of the year, insecurity is rising as international aid falls and a drawn-out election battle threatens to destabilize the country.

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What Currency Would an Independent Scotland Use?

The leaders of the "Yes" and "No" campaigns clashed over what currency an independent Scotland would use in the final TV debate of the referendum campaign on Monday.

The question of whether Scotland could keep the pound if it voted for a split on September 18 has been one of the key issues.

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Oettinger: EU Should Ensure Ukraine's Gas Supply

Europe should ensure Ukraine's gas supply if Russia cuts off deliveries, EU energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger said in a newspaper interview Tuesday ahead of key talks on the raging crisis.

"In a case of emergency, it must be possible to divert gas from EU countries to Ukraine," Oettinger told the mass-circulation daily Bild.

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Swiss Private Banks to Release First-Ever Results

The elite of Swiss private banks will Tuesday begin lifting the veil on their books after a radical shift in their business model, amid tougher international regulations and crackdowns on tax dodgers.

Geneva's Bank Pictet opens the way with an unprecedented release of its first-half results, followed on Thursday by crosstown rival Lombard Odier.

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Australia Follows EU, U.S. in Allowing Mobile Devices in-Flight

Passengers on Qantas and Virgin Australia from Tuesday were allowed to use mobile electronic devices in-flight with limited restrictions after a relaxation of the rules by the country's aviation authority.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) move, which followed similar decisions by the U.S. and European Union last year, allows passengers to have their devices on "flight mode" during taxiing, take-off and landing.

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Euro under Pressure after Weak German Data

The euro was stuck around $1.32 in Asia Tuesday after falling to an 11-month low against the dollar on a weak batch of German data and hints the European Central Bank could unveil easing measures to fight off deflation.

The common European currency was at $1.3201 in Tokyo afternoon trade compared with $1.3193 in New York on Monday afternoon. The unit at one point Tuesday tumbled to as low as $1.3178 -- its lowest since September.

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Turkey's Erdogan Risks Bumpier Economic Ride during Presidency

President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan has based his political success on a strong Turkish economy, but a tricky external environment and concerns about the wisdom of some policies means he may have a bumpier ride ahead.

The domination of Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP), which came to power in 2002, was built out of the ruins of Turkey's economic crisis in 2001 when the stock market crashed and inflation soared.

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