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Golan Apples Shipped to Syria

This year's first shipment of apples grown in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights has entered Syria via the town of Kuneitra, crossing the armistice line, a Syrian official said on Wednesday.

"International Committee of the Red Cross trucks delivered the first shipments of Syrian apples (grown) by our relatives in the Golan," said Medhat Saleh, who runs the Syrian cabinet's Golan bureau.

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Drive Dentsu Beirut Ranks 4th

Drive Dentsu Beirut proved their creative prowess at the MENA Cristal Festival this year. Ranking 4th among the local agencies on the Festival’s Advertising Agency of the Year list, Drive Dentsu left their mark through their impressive wins and secured their place on the advertising map both locally and regionally.

A super simple, visual-only ad for MoneyGram (MG) was a big winner at the Festival, reaping 5 awards in 5 different categories. An impressive two Golds were awarded this campaign in the prestigious Outdoor and Press categories. Another two Silvers went to the same MG Flags ad in the Ambient and In-Store Posters category, and finally a Bronze in the Corporate and PR category.

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Qatar Officials in Greece for Investment Talks

Officials from Qatar's global investment arm will hold talks in crisis-hit Greece on Wednesday, the development ministry said.

Greece has long sought to entice Qatari investment in real estate development to jumpstart its flagging construction industry, traditionally one of the main engines of its economy.

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Oil Prices Rise on Uncertainty after Chavez Death

Oil prices climbed in Asian trade Wednesday on uncertainty following the death of Hugo Chavez, the president of major Latin American crude producer Venezuela, analysts said.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in April, added 26 cents to $91.08 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for April delivery rose 32 cents to $111.93 in mid-afternoon trade.

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Japan, U.S. Agree Free Trade Auto Exception

Tokyo and Washington have agreed on exemptions for the auto industry in a mooted Pacific-wide free trade pact, as Japan readies to announce its entry into negotiations, reports said Wednesday.

The two Pacific powers agreed in principle that the United States will be able to keep tariffs on car imports -- 2.5 percent for passenger cars and 25 percent on trucks -- for at least five to 10 years under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Mainichi Shimbun and other media reported.

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Bank of England to Decide over Stimulus

The Bank of England must decide this week whether to pump out more cash stimulus to boost a British economy at risk of its third recession since the 2008 global financial crisis.

BoE policymakers holding a regular monthly meeting that concludes on Thursday will also vote on whether to change the level of its main interest rate, which has remained at a record-low 0.5 percent for four years.

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Bulgarian Who Set Himself on Fire New Symbol of Protests

A hundred flickering candles and mountains of flowers block the entrance to Varna's city hall, surrounding a picture of a smiling young man with long hair who has become a symbol of anti-corruption protests that have swept Bulgaria.

Plamen Goranov, a 36-year-old amateur photographer and avid rock climber whose name came from the Bulgarian word for "flame", died Sunday after setting himself on fire in the country's first self-immolation in decades.

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Prince Alwalid bin Talal Accuses Forbes of Undervaluing Fortune

Saudi tycoon Prince Alwalid bin Talal has severed his ties with Forbes magazine's annual billionaires' list, which he accused of undervaluing his fortune, his office said Tuesday.

In its 2013 list published on Monday, Forbes ranked Alwalid 26th in the world with a fortune it estimated at $20 billion (15.4 billion euros).

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From Worst Internet Speed in the World to Capital of Creativity: Lebanon’s Leap Towards Digital Development

March 4th, Beirut:

Lebanon, a country that suffered the indignity of being ranked ‘worst internet speed in the world’ in 2011, has spent the past year focusing its energy on digital initiatives that aim to transform the nation into a vibrant technological hub for businesses in the Middle East. Through the efforts of some of the country’s biggest companies and digital advocates, Lebanon is gradually emerging as a thriving capital for young entrepreneurs, innovators and creative professionals in the region.

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Standard Chartered 2012 Profit Steady Despite U.S. Fine

Standard Chartered on Tuesday said its net profit was flat in 2012, even after the British lender was hit by huge fines for violating U.S. sanctions on Iran and other countries.

Net profit came in at U.S.$4.79 billion, compared to $4.75 billion in 2011, the London-based, Asia-focused lender said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange. Pre-tax profit rose one percent to $6.9 billion.

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