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Qatar Fund Buys a Fifth of Hong Kong Retailer

Qatar's sovereign wealth fund said Monday it had bought a 19.9 percent stake in Hong Kong-based retail operator Lifestyle International Holdings for $600 million (470 million euros).

The Qatar Investment Authority said the acquisition was part of its strategy in "diversifying" its investments and "expanding into new markets in Asia", according to a statement published on the official QNA news agency.

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France Steps up Calls for Germany to Boost Investment

French and German ministers met in Berlin on Monday, amid calls on Germany to do more to boost growth in Europe, while France faces a battle in Brussels over its budget.

The meeting comes at a crucial time for Paris, which is at loggerheads with Brussels over its 2015 budget as it is likely to overshoot targets once again.

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BIS Chief Economist Warns of Dangers of Easy Money

The current ultra-expansive monetary policy around the world could pose a threat to financial stability, the chief economist of the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) in Basel warned on Monday.

In an interview with the German daily Die Welt, the chief economist of the Basel-based BIS, Claudio Borio, warned of the dangers of easy money.

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Medibank Private Sale Could Reap Australia US$4.8 bn

Australia hopes to raise up to Aus$5.51 billion (US$4.82 billion) through the sale of the country's largest health insurer in an initial public offering, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said Monday.

The conservative government confirmed in March that Medibank Private would be sold as it seeks to offload assets to raise funds to reinvest in infrastructure.

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Franco-German Mini-Summit to Tackle Growth, Budget

French and German ministers are due to meet Monday to discuss ways of boosting growth in Europe's two biggest economies, as Paris called on Berlin to step up investment.

After a massive sell-off on European stock markets last week triggered by a flurry of disappointing economic data, French Finance Minister Michel Sapin and Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron are to meet German counterparts Wolfgang Schaeuble and Sigmar Gabriel in Berlin.

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Moody's Downgrades Russia's Credit Rating to Baa2

Ratings agency Moody's Friday downgraded Russia's credit rating to Baa2 from Baa1 citing poor growth prospects, the Ukraine crisis and sanctions as well as capital flight.

"The first driver for the downgrade ...relates to the longer term damage the already weak Russian economy is likely to incur as a result of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and, relatedly, the additional sanctions imposed against Russia," the agency said in a statement, adding that it was maintaining Russia's outlook at "negative".

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Dollar Gains as Eurozone Concerns Linger

The dollar Friday climbed against other currencies following dovish comments from U.S. and British central bankers and continued concern about the eurozone.

The dollar rose against the euro and yen for a second day running as global financial markets steadied, in part in response to soothing commentary from central bankers.

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Ukraine-Russia Peace Hopes Rise as Gas Deal Edges Closer

Ukraine and Russia both signaled progress towards settling their festering row over gas Friday, raising hopes of an EU-backed resolution of the broader conflict embroiling the Soviet-era allies.

Russian President Vladimir Putin met his Ukrainian counterpart three times in the space of ten hours in Milan Friday, twice in the company of various European Union leaders then, finally, in their first private meeting since late August.

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Japan to Unveil First Passenger Jet in Four Decades

The first made-in-Japan passenger aircraft in nearly four decades is being unveiled Saturday as its maker pushes into the booming regional jet sector with an eye to taking on industry giants Embraer and Bombardier.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, a military contractor best known for its "Zero" World War II fighter, is set to pull back the curtain on its new Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), a fuel-efficient, next-generation aircraft that claims to offer more passenger comfort with lower operating costs.

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Virgin Takes Full Control of Tigerair Australia for Aus$1

Virgin on Friday took full control of budget carrier Tigerair Australia, buying the remaining 40 percent it did not already own for Aus$1 (88 U.S. cents) from its Singapore-listed parent.

The deal was revealed as it was announced that Singapore Airlines (SIA) would take majority control of Tiger Airways -- of which Tigerair Australia was a subsidiary -- as part of a turnaround plan for the loss-making budget firm.

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