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EU Ukraine Sanctions to Target up to 30 Political Figures

European Union sanctions over Russia's intervention in Ukraine will likely target up to 30 politically significant figures, EU diplomatic sources said Friday.

The list being discussed counts "between 25 and 30 names", one source said, adding that members of the Russian government would not be included.

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Moscow Stocks at Four-Year Low Ahead of Crimea Referendum

Moscow stocks plunged to a four-year low Friday as jittery investors dumped their holdings ahead of a referendum in Crimea over its bid to break away from Ukraine and join Russia.

The capital's two main indices MICEX and RTS opened down, but losses accelerated to more than 5.0 percent by midday before recovering to 4.37 percent and 4.82 percent, respectively.

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Confusion in Crimea Sparks Run on Banks

Crowds in Crimea queued outside banks as the countdown to this weekend's referendum to break away from Ukraine and join Russia sowed panic, confusion and fear of a looming legal vacuum.

Local pro-Moscow officials have tried to reassure locals, saying there will be no problem with pensions or salaries and that the banks have sufficient cash for everyone.

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Sudan Isolation Mounts as Europe, Saudi Banks Stop Dealings

Major European and Saudi banks have stopped dealing with Sudan, diplomatic and other sources say, adding to the sanctions-hit country's isolation and further straining its indebted, cash-starved economy.

While Khartoum blames increased "pressure" from a U.S. trade embargo first imposed 17 years ago, a U.S. official said there had been no change in policy from Washington.

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Asian Shares Follow Global Sell-off on China, Ukraine Woes

Asian markets extended the week's losses on Friday, following a heavy sell-off in New York and Europe in reaction to another batch of poor Chinese data and flaring tensions in Ukraine.

Traders scurried into lower-risk assets such as the yen owing to growing economic uncertainty and geopolitical fears.

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German Central Bank Reports 4.6-bn-Euro Profit in 2013

The German central bank or Bundesbank clocked up profit of 4.6 billion euros ($6.4 billion) in 2013, all of which would be transferred to government coffers, it said on Thursday.

"The Deutsche Bundesbank posted profit to 4.6 billion euros in 2013 after 664 million euros a year earlier, which, according to Bundesbank law, was transferred in full to the federal government," the central bank said in a statement.

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Candy Crush Maker Sees IPO Valuation Up to $7.6 bn

The maker of the addictive mobile game Candy Crush hopes to raise as much as $532.8 million in a New York IPO that would value the company at up to $7.6 billion.

King Digital Entertainment, the British developer behind the hit game, filed new documents on its much-awaited initial public offering that showed plans to sell 22.2 million shares at between $21 and $24 a share.

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New Zealand Break Ranks to Hike Interest Rates

New Zealand on Thursday became first advanced economy to raise interest rates since 2012, ending a three-year freeze imposed after the devastating Christchurch earthquake.

In a widely anticipated move, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand lifted the official cash rate (OCR) 0.25 points to 2.75 percent and said it planned more hikes in an economy that was growing with "considerable momentum".

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U.S. Gas Boom: A Tool against Russian Coercion

The United States, with its abundant supplies of natural gas, would seem to have an easy answer to Europe's fears that a strong response to Russia's rapid takeover of Ukraine's Crimea region could prompt Vladimir Putin to shut down gas lines that keep European homes warm, factories humming and electricity flowing.

Trouble is: Right now there's no way to get meaningful American supplies across the Atlantic Ocean.

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Thailand Cuts Interest Rate Due to Protests

Thailand reduced its official interest rate to the lowest level in three years on Wednesday to boost the economy in the face of a protracted political crisis.

The Bank of Thailand lowered its policy rate by 0.25 percentage points, to 2.00 percent -- a level last seen in January 2011.

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