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Surprise Rise in German Industrial Output in March

German industrial output saw a surprisingly robust rise in March driven by a sharp increase in the energy sector, official data showed Wednesday.

Industrial production in Europe's largest economy rose by 1.2 percent in March compared with the previous month, according to provisional seasonally adjusted figures released by the economy ministry.

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UN: World Youth Unemployment Still Growing

More than 73 million young people are unemployed around the world and the situation is expected to only get worse, the International Labor Organization said on Wednesday.

"The weakening of the global recovery in 2012 and 2013 has further aggravated the youth jobs crisis and the queues for available jobs have become longer and longer for some unfortunate young job seekers," the U.N.'s labor agency said.

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Indian Banks Suspend Staff in Money Laundering Probe

Leading Indian banks have suspended staff on government orders after a media sting operation revealed suspected money laundering at more than 20 financial institutions, reports said Wednesday.

Indian news outlet Cobrapost made the allegations on Monday based on two undercover investigations carried out by its team, leading the finance ministry to call for immediate action against any staff involved.

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China Swings Back to Trade Surplus in April

China swung back to trade surplus in April after posting a rare deficit the previous month, official data showed Wednesday, but analysts cautioned the better-than-expected figures may not reflect reality.

The world's second-largest economy recorded an $18.2 billion trade surplus last month, Customs said in a statement, higher than the median forecast of $15.6 billion in a poll of 12 economists by Dow Jones Newswires.

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Top China Bank Shuts Key N. Korea Account

The state-owned Bank of China has shut the account of a North Korean bank the U.S. accuses of backing Pyongyang's nuclear program, Dow Jones said Tuesday, citing a statement from the Chinese entity.

"The Foreign Trade Bank of North Korea, the country's main foreign-exchange bank, has been told its account has been closed," Dow Jones reported. It would be the first openly acknowledged move by a Chinese institution against North Korean interests in the current stand-off.

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Van Rompuy: French Deficit Respite Tied to Reform

A decision by the European Commission to give France two more years to meet its deficit target of three percent will not come "for free", EU President Herman Van Rompuy said on Tuesday.

"The decision is not (formally) taken, neither by the commission nor by the council," he told reporters at a press conference in Stockholm.

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EU Pushes for Universal Bank Account Access

The European Commission will set out on Wednesday plans for universal access to current accounts with banks -- seeking to remedy an exclusion that Brussels calculates affects nearly 60 million adults across the European Union.

Legislative proposals on payment accounts also aim to make it easier to switch banks, similar to EU measures to open up utility markets in recent years.

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Australia Cuts Interest Rate to Record Low 2.75 pct

Australia's central bank cut interest rates to a record low 2.75 percent Tuesday as investment in the Asia-driven mining sector hits its peak and the persistently high dollar squeezes local industry.

The Reserve Bank of Australia's shock decision to slash 25 basis points takes the official cash rate to never-before-seen lows, and is aimed at priming those areas struggling as the economy transforms away from mining.

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South African Airways Keeps Flying on $170mln Loan

South Africa's embattled state airline has borrowed about $170 million to cover operating costs amid crippling financial trouble, a spokesman said on Monday.

National carrier South African Airways (SAA) raised the 1.5 billion rand ($167 million, 128 million euro), a company spokesman told AFP.

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Spain Says Headline Jobless Queue Shrinks

The masses of people registered at unemployment offices in Spain shrank slightly in April to fewer than five million, raw data showed Monday, a result hailed by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government.

The number of job seekers registered as unemployed in April fell from the previous month by 46,050 people, or 0.91 percent, dipping below the five-million mark to 4.989 million, according to raw figures released in a monthly report by the Labor Ministry.

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