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China Annual Growth Hits 13-Year Low

China's economy grew at its slowest pace in 13 years in 2012, the government said Friday, but an uptick in the final quarter pointed to better news ahead for a prime driver of the tepid global recovery.

Gross domestic product (GDP) in the world's second-largest economy expanded 7.8 percent last year in the face of weakness at home and in key overseas markets, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced.

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U.S. Experts Join Japan Probe as Dreamliners Grounded

U.S. and Japanese experts on Friday joined forces to investigate an ANA Dreamliner whose emergency landing has provoked the grounding of the world's entire 787 fleet and embroiled Boeing in crisis.

The risk of fire from overheating batteries has emerged as a major concern for Boeing's cutting-edge new planes since the incident on the domestic flight in Japan, prompting airlines to ground all 50 of the world's operational 787s.

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U.S. Jobless Claims Drop to Five-Year Low

New U.S. jobless claims dropped last week to the lowest level in five years as the ailing jobs market slowly improves, official data released Thursday showed.

Initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits totaled 335,000 in the week ending January 12, down a hefty 37,000, or almost 10 percent, from the prior week's revised level, the Labor Department reported.

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Nokia Sheds 300 IT Jobs, Transfers 820 Workers

Struggling Nokia Corp. is downsizing by more than 1,000 jobs, part of a wide-ranging plan to cut costs and streamline operations.

The Finnish firm says it will lay off 300 workers in its IT sector and transfer "some activities and up to 820 employees to strategic partners," India-based HCL Technologies and TATA Consultancy Services, which have operations in Finland.

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Saudi to Send Cash-Strapped Palestinians $100 Million

Saudi Arabia will send the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority $100 million to help alleviate its financial crisis, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

In a report late Wednesday, the agency said that president Mahmud Abbas received a call from Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf who "informed him of a decision by King Abdullah... to transfer $100 million (75 million euros) to the budget of the state of Palestine."

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Swiss Central Bank Eyes 2012 Profit of 6.0 bn Swiss Francs

The Swiss National Bank said on Thursday it expected to post a profit of about 6.0 billion Swiss francs ($6.4 billion, 4.8 billion euros) for 2012 -- less than half of what it made in 2011.

In 2011, Switzerland's central bank, SNB, posted a profit of 13.5 billion Swiss francs.

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U.S. Economy Picks up Since November

The U.S. economy has picked up pace since November, with Christmas sales modestly stronger and New York and New Jersey rebounding from Hurricane Sandy, the Federal Reserve's Beige Book showed Wednesday.

But the survey of regional economic activity, important to setting monetary policy, showed manufacturing still sluggish, hiring and inflation still subdued and the stifling effect of the fiscal cliff fight still lingering.

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Boeing Crisis Deepens as Dreamliners Grounded Worldwide

Aviation regulators on Thursday grounded most of the world's 787 Dreamliner fleet until a fire risk linked to the plane's batteries can been fixed, deepening a crisis for its U.S. manufacturer Boeing.

Regulators in Japan, India and Chile followed the lead of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in ordering an indefinite halt to all operations, after a Japanese Dreamliner on Wednesday was forced into an emergency landing.

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IMF Releases 3.2 Billion Euro Aid Payment to Greece

The International Monetary Fund said Wednesday it would release 3.2 billion euros ($4.3 billion) in aid to Greece that had been frozen for months amid fears about the country's ability to surmount its debt crisis.

The IMF executive board approved release of the funds after completing two reviews of Greece's economic performance under an IMF loan program that is part of an international rescue also supported by the European Union, the institution said.

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Egypt's Mubarak to Pay Back Gifts

Egypt's prosecution on Wednesday accepted an offer by ousted president Hosni Mubarak and his family to pay back gifts from the country's flagship newspaper worth millions of Egyptian pounds.

Mubarak, his wife Suzanne, his two sons Alaa and Gamal and their wives allegedly accepted gifts from al-Ahram worth 18 million Egyptian pounds (around $2.7 million) between 2006 and 2011.

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