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Ford to Invest $773 mn in U.S., Create 2,350 Jobs

U.S. auto giant Ford said Thursday it will invest $773 million to expand factories across its home state of Michigan, generating 2,350 new jobs, part of a plan to add 12,000 jobs by 2015.

The investment will help save an additional 3,240 jobs, it said.

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Ireland's EU Presidency Hoping for Growth but Trouble Persists

Bailed-out Ireland hopes to use the momentum of its presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2013 to push through measures to boost growth and create jobs.

Ireland is the first country to take on the six-month rotating presidency of the 27-nation bloc while being propped up by money from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

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Spain Reveals Sea of Red Ink at Bankia

Spain revealed Wednesday an ocean of red ink in its bailed-out Bankia group at the heart of the nation's banking crisis.

The lender Bankia had a negative value of 4.148 billion euros ($5.5 billion) and its parent group BFA 10.444 billion euros, the state-backed Fund for Orderly Bank Restructuring, or FROB, said in a statement.

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New Turmoil Hits Egypt's Tourism

At Egypt's Pyramids, the desperation of vendors to sell can be a little frightening for some tourists.

Young men descend on any car with foreigners in it blocks before it reaches the more than 4,500 year-old Wonder of the World. They bang on car doors and hoods, some waving the sticks and whips they use for driving camels, demanding the tourists come to their shop or ride their camel or just give money.

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Starbucks Boss: 'Come Together' on Fiscal Deal already

Starbucks stirred the political pot Wednesday by urging its baristas to write "come together" on its cups as a way to pressure U.S. lawmakers to compromise on a deal to avert a year-end fiscal crisis.

Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz said the American coffee giant was recommending its first-ever message on the side of tall, grande and venti (small, medium and large) drinks sold at its Washington stores as a way to help break the capital's gridlock on the so-called "fiscal cliff."

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Minister Says Turkey Will Keep Buying Gas from Iran

Turkey will keep buying natural gas from neighboring Iran as Western allies raise pressure over Tehran's disputed nuclear program, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said on Wednesday.

"It is out of question for us to take a step backward," Yildiz was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency. "Furthermore, we have not been asked to take such a step."

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IMF Says Jordan Price Hike 'Important Step'

The IMF said on Wednesday Jordan's decision to raise fuel prices by up to 53 percent last month was "an important step," despite violent protests in which three were killed and more than 70 injured.

"Despite this challenging environment, the authorities have been implementing sound macroeconomic policies aimed at reducing fiscal and external imbalances in a socially acceptable way. The removal of general subsidies on all fuel products ... was an important step," it said in a statement.

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Turkey Willing to Export Electricity to Syria Again

Turkey will provide neighboring Syria with electricity if asked but the deteriorating situation there makes such a move unlikely, the energy minister said on Wednesday.

"We'll give electricity to Syria if they want," Taner Yildiz was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency.

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Shoppers Disappoint Retailers this Holiday Season

U.S. shoppers spent cautiously this holiday season, a disappointment for retailers who slashed prices to lure people into stores and now must hope for a post-Christmas burst of spending.

Sales of electronics, clothing, jewelry and home goods in the two months before Christmas increased 0.7 percent compared with last year, according to the MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse report.

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China Warns of Rising Financial Risks

China's financial system is facing increasing risks due to soaring bank loans, with lending to the property sector and local governments a particular concern, the finance ministry warned Wednesday.

Bank lending has been rising "at a high speed" in recent years and the quality is yet to be tested, Li Yong, vice finance minister, was quoted in a statement as saying.

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