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Asia's Travel and Tourism Industry 'to Face Talent Crisis'

Asia's travel and tourism sector is booming but will face a severe shortage of skilled workers in the next 10 years, a top industry executive said Wednesday.

Investments in human capital have lagged behind spending on infrastructure such as airports and hotels, said David Scowsill, president and chief executive of the London-based World Travel and Tourism Council.

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French Firm Total's 3Q Profits Down

French energy firm Total, reeling under the death of its chief in a plane crash, said Wednesday that its net profits had fallen in the third quarter due to a slump in the production of hydrocarbons.

The company's net profits fell 6 percent between July and September to $3.4 billion, compared to the same quarter last year. Turnover also declined by 2 percent to $60.36 billion, a statement said.

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Air France Results Hit by Record Pilots' Strike

Air France on Wednesday said its third quarter results had taken a bashing due to a record pilots' strike, with turnover falling by 416 million euros ($530 million).

The Air France-KLM group, Europe's second-biggest airline, was already in difficulty when the pilots went on strike between September 15 and 28 in protest at the group's plans to expand its low-cost subsidiary Transavia France.

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Sour on Economy, More Americans Back Republicans

Seven in 10 Americans rate the economy poorly and nearly as many distrust government, giving Republicans the upper hand in the final week before midterm elections, a poll showed Tuesday.

An overwhelming majority of respondents in an ABC News-Washington Post poll see the country as severely off track.

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Kuwait Emir Says Falling Oil Price Hurting Economy

Kuwait's ruler warned Tuesday that declines in the oil price were damaging the economy of the energy-rich Gulf state, urging lawmakers to "stop squandering resources" and to diversify revenues.

"We are witnessing a new cycle of low oil prices as a result of economic and political factors that have hit the global economy and started to negatively impact our national economy," Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah said in a speech to open the new parliamentary term.

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Britain's Lloyds Banking Group Says to Cut 9,000 Jobs

Britain's state-rescued Lloyds Banking Group announced on Tuesday that it intends to cut 9,000 jobs by the end of 2017 to reduce costs on its road to full recovery.

LBG, which passed EU-wide bank stress tests at the weekend, is to shed about one-tenth of its workforce and shutting about 150 branches over the next three years, it said in a statement.

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Virgin Australia Chairman to Step Down

Virgin Australia chairman Neil Chatfield said Tuesday he would leave after seven years spent guiding the airline through a turbulent time in the challenging domestic market.

Chatfield, who joined the board of Australia's second largest carrier in May 2006 and became the firm's chairman in 2007, said he believed it was the right time to step down.

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Forbes: Alibaba's Jack Ma Tops China Rich List

Jack Ma, founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba, is China's richest person with a fortune of nearly $20 billion, as billionaires increase despite a slowdown in the country's economy, Forbes magazine said Tuesday.

The number of Chinese billionaires surged to 242 this year from 168 in 2013, Forbes said in its annual "China Rich List", which ranks the wealthy.

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Syria's 3 ½-Year Conflict Roiling the Economy

The middle-aged salesman sat glumly among an array of shorts, khaki leisure suits bedecked with gold belts and dresses with plunging necklines in the ancient Damascus bazaar — luxuries few can afford in today's Syria.

He, like many traders, lost most of his customers when Syria's uprising erupted in 2011 against the rule of President Bashar Assad, and his new clientele is far poorer: Syrians fleeing the fighting with barely any possessions.

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Donors Pledge $8 Billion for Horn of Africa

International donors pledged $8 billion in development aid Monday for projects across eight countries in the Horn of Africa, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon announced at the start of a visit to the region.

The aid, from organisations including the World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB), European Union and Islamic Development Bank (IDB), will support efforts to boost economies and stem conflict and hunger across the volatile region.

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