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Hyundai Motor Q2 Profit Buffeted by Strong Won

South Korea's largest automaker, Hyundai Motor Co. said Thursday its second-quarter net profit slumped 6.9 percent from a year earlier, mainly due to a stronger won.

The April-June figure came to 2.35 trillion won (2.29 billion dollars), on sales of 22.75 trillion won, down 1.9 percent year-on-year.

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Japan Trade Deficit Surges to Record on Weak Exports

Japan's trade deficit ballooned to a record in the first half of the year as exports fell further in June, data showed Thursday, ramping up pressure on the central bank to unveil fresh measures to boost the economy.

The figures come days after the government cut its fiscal year growth forecasts, blaming weak exports and a jump in imports as well as the negative impact of an April sales tax hike on consumer spending and business confidence.

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Facebook Profit Story Pushes Shares to New High

Facebook shares on Wednesday soared to a new high on word that the social network's quarterly profit and user numbers jumped as it thrives in a world gone mobile.

Net income leaped to $791 million during the three months ended June 30 in a 138 percent increase from the $333 million made during the same period a year earlier, the world's biggest social network said.

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Boeing in Deal to Provide Plane Parts to Iran

Boeing has struck a deal with Iran Air to provide plane parts, the first time the U.S. firm will be doing business with Iran since the U.S. embargo of 1979.

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Israel Economy Hard Pressed, Not Crushed over Gaza Rockets

The cancellation of European and U.S. flights to Israel due to rocket fire is further harming tourism in a region already paying for fierce fighting in Gaza, experts say.

But while the hospitality trade and small businesses are suffering, the broader Israeli economy is unlikely to be affected by the conflict with Hamas, in which more than 1,700 rockets and mortar shells fired from the Palestinian territory have so far hit southern and central Israel, they say.

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EU Says Ryanair Must Repay 9.6 mn euros in Illegal State Aid

The European Commission said on Wednesday that low-fare airline Ryanair must repay about 9.6 million euros in illegal state aid it received for its operations in several French regional airports.

The Commission, the European Union's executive arm, said Ryanair would have to repay 868,000 euros related to rebates and marketing arrangements negotiated at Angouleme airport in central France.

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Russia Turns Olympic Site, Crimea into Casino Zones

Russia has designated Sochi's Olympic site and the annexed Crimean peninsula as gambling areas on Wednesday, in a bid that casino revenues will boost their development.

Under the law signed by President Vladimir Putin casinos will be legal in some areas of the former Olympic park in Sochi, where Russia hosted the Winter Games in February.

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Euro at Multi-Year Lows against Dollar, Yen

The euro touched multi-month lows against the dollar and yen on Wednesday as investors fret about the impact on the eurozone economy of possible fresh sanctions against Russia following the downing of Flight MH17.

In afternoon Tokyo trade, the single currency bought $1.3464 and 136.54 yen, down from $1.3465 and 136.62 yen in New York late Tuesday.

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Australian Inflation Gives RBA Room to Keep Rates Low

Australian inflation came in at 0.5 percent in the three months to June, official figures showed Wednesday, giving the country's central bank room to keep interest rates at a record-low to support the economy.

The consumer price index (CPI) had lifted 0.6 percent in the previous quarter, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said.

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Syria War Causes $21.4 bn Losses to Oil Industry

Syria's oil and gas industries have suffered total losses of $21.4 billion since the outbreak of the country's war three years ago, Oil Minister Suleiman Abbas said Tuesday.

"The circumstances the country is going through have caused considerable losses to the oil and gas sectors," said Abbas in a statement.

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