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China's October Exports Rise Better-than-Expected 5.6%

Chinese exports grew faster than expected in October, data showed Friday, adding to signs the economy is picking up but analysts cautioned that global headwinds could still block any further improvement.

The General Administration of Customs said overseas shipments expanded 5.6 percent year-on-year to $185.4 billion last month, reversing a 0.3-percent fall in September. It is also ahead of a median forecast of 1.5 percent in a poll of economists by the Wall Street Journal.

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Saudis Bemoan Soaring Labour Costs after Migrant Exodus

Saudis have begun complaining of surging labor costs following the exodus of a million foreign workers, although economists insist there will be long-term planning benefits from fully regulating the market.

Professionals in the kingdom, both Saudi and expatriate, say the freelance tradesmen who used to queue for odd jobs in public squares have virtually disappeared since police patrols began the strict enforcement of tough labor laws this week, rounding up thousands of illegals for deportation.

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Russia Slashes Growth Forecast Through 2030

The Russian economy ministry on Thursday significantly cut the country's growth forecast through 2030 due to falling investment and exports as well as an expected slowdown in retail trade.

Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev's announcement came just two weeks after Russia reported a disappointing 1.2-percent third-quarter growth figure that meant the economy would have a tough time expanding beyond two percent in 2013.

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Taiwan Signs Free Trade Deal with Singapore

Taiwan signed a free trade deal with Singapore on Thursday, its first with a Southeast Asian country, as the diplomatically isolated island steps up efforts to join regional economic blocs.

The "economic partnership agreement" was signed in Singapore just months after Taiwan struck a similar deal with New Zealand, its first with a country that has diplomatic ties with China.

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Twitter Sets IPO Price at $26, Will Raise $1.8B

Twitter has set a price of $26 per share for its initial public offering, which means the company's stock can begin trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange in the most highly anticipated IPO since Facebook's 2012 debut.

The price values Twitter at more than $18 billion based on its outstanding stock, options and restricted stock that'll be available after the IPO. That's more than Macy's, which has a market capitalization of $17 billion, and Bed Bath & Beyond, which is around $16 billion.

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Drive Dentsu Beirut does it again!

Drive Dentsu Beirut has proven that creativity and simplicity can go a long way… all the way to the esteemed Cresta International Advertising Awards.

Further to being named finalists at the competition, the MoneyGram “Flags” campaign managed to nail a bronze in the toughest and most coveted categories: outdoor, leaving the agency as the sole winner from Lebanon.

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Kentucky Fried Chicken Shuts its Doors in Syria

U.S. fast-food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken has closed the doors of its last remaining branch in Syria due to economic and supply problems, shopkeepers in Damascus told Agence France Presse.

The branch in the upscale Abu Rummaneh neighborhood of Damascus is the last of seven KFCs in Syria to have shuttered.

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German Industrial Orders Rise in September

German industrial orders, a key measure of demand for German-made goods both at home and abroad, rose sharply in September, data showed on Wednesday.

Industrial orders rose by 3.3 percent in September compared with the level in August, buoyed by a disproportionately large number of big-ticket orders, the economy ministry said in a statement.

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China Seeks World Role for 'People's Money'

With deals from London to Singapore, China is seeking a greater role for its yuan currency in global markets to challenge the hegemony of the almighty dollar.

The most attention-grabbing reform planned for Shanghai's new free trade zone is free convertibility of the yuan -- also known as the renminbi, or "people's money" -- an unprecedented change which would allow greater use of the currency.

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Japan Mob Loans Scandal Claims another Lender

A major Japanese credit company said Wednesday it had lent money to yakuza gangsters in a widening scandal that is sweeping through the country's banking system.

The admission by JACCS, a unit of Japan's largest lender Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, is the latest in a growing line and comes as a government agency says it will buy shady loans to help companies keep their balance sheets clean.

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