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Report Wants Europe's Banks to Wall off Risky Ops

Europe's banks should create a firewall between their traditional retail banking operations and more risky investment banking ones and force executives to personally take losses when their banks fail, a new expert report suggested Tuesday.

The continent's banks are in trouble: Government and real estate debt taken on in boom times — when both were considered safe — have plummeted in value. That's left many banks going hat in hand to their governments for rescue loans. But European governments are themselves struggling with high debt and are in many cases having difficulty helping their banks.

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Crises Strengthen Spain-Morocco Ties

The economic crises rocking Spain and Morocco may favor stronger ties between the neighboring kingdoms ahead of a top-level Spanish delegation's visit to Rabat, despite their historic differences.

Prime ministers Abdelilah Benkirane of Morocco and Spain's Mariano Rajoy are to meet on Wednesday in the Moroccan capital for the first such high-level encounter in four years.

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Australia Bank Cuts Interest Rates to 3.25%

Australia's central bank on Tuesday cut interest rates to 3.25 percent, their lowest level since the global financial crisis, warning that the growth outlook for next year had weakened.

The Reserve Bank of Australia slashed 25 basis points off the cash rate, taking it to lows not seen since October 2009, when it first resumed hiking them following the world downturn.

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Arab Economy Hit Hard by Revolts, Global Crisis

The head of the Arab Monetary Fund said Monday that the Arab Spring uprisings and the global financial crisis have hit hard the economies of countries struck by revolts over the past years.

"These countries have started to suffer from severe contraction in growth, an alarming rise in unemployment rates ... a deterioration in foreign reserves and a hike in inflation," Jassem al-Mannai told an Arab meeting in Kuwait.

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Iran Currency Tumbles 17% in One Day to New Low

Iran's currency plummeted at least 17 percent in trading on Monday, according to media and an online exchange website, severely adding to strains on the Islamic republic's sanctions-hit economy.

The currency, the rial, weakened to 34,700 to the dollar by the end of the day's trading, according to the website, a drop of 17 percent compared to the previous day's rate of 29,600.

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Eurozone Unemployment Steady at Record 11.4 Pct

Official data show that unemployment in the 17 countries that use the euro remained at its record high of 11.4 percent in August.

While European leaders have managed to calm financial markets in recent months with promises to cut spending and build a tighter union, they have been unable to halt the rising tide of joblessness.

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Moody's: Spain Bank Recapitalization Insufficient

A planned recapitalization of struggling Spanish banks will help shore up confidence but the amount in rescue funds sought by Madrid is not enough to keep the banks stable in stress situations, Moody's said Monday.

"Recapitalization will materially enhance the solvency of affected institutions and help restore market confidence in Spain's banking system as a whole," said the ratings agency.

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Thousands in Paris Denounce EU 'Austerity' Pact

Tens of thousands of left-wing protesters took to the streets of Paris on Sunday to denounce EU-driven austerity measures being pushed on member states, a day after similar protests in Spain and Portugal.

Chanting "Resistance!" protesters marched through central Paris in a rally organizers said was aimed at fighting EU-imposed austerity, not at criticizing the government of Socialist President Francois Hollande.

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U.N.: World Must Work Out How to Grey Gracefully

Governments around the world must work out how to cope with ageing, a U.N. report said on Monday, warning that developing nations with lots of young workers may one day find their elderly populations a burden.

The study by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and HelpAge International also urged countries to improve medical provision to extend the years of health that older people can enjoy.

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Iran's Rial Dives 6% to New Record Low

Iran's currency, the rial, dived six percent to a new low of around 28,600 to the dollar in open trading on Saturday, deepening a month-long sell-off, according to exchange tracking websites.

The new rate was sharply lower than the 26,900 rials per dollar fetched on Thursday, the last day of trading.

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