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IMF Urges EU to Open Jobs Market Quickly to Refugees

The tide of Middle East refugees should boost European economic growth over the short term, but their longer-term impact will depend on efforts to integrate them, the IMF said Wednesday.

In a new study to be presented at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this week, the International Monetary Fund said that governments making strong efforts to bring refugees into the workforce can lessen the chance that they will become a burden on the state budget.

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Slowing Growth and Jihadist Threat Worry the Elite at Davos

Rising risks to the global economy and a string of jihadist attacks around the world overshadowed Wednesday's opening of an annual meeting of the rich and powerful in a snow-blanketed Swiss ski resort.

The Taliban assault on a university in Pakistan that left at least 21 dead was a jolt to the billionaires, business titans and leaders, including Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, gathering in the Swiss Alpine village of Davos.

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Italian Group to Build Five Hospitals in Iran

An Italian construction group said Tuesday it had signed a preliminary agreement with Iran to build five hospitals, just after the lifting of economic sanctions against Tehran in a deal over its nuclear program.

Pessina Costruzioni will build the first three 1,000-bed hospitals in Tehran.

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U.S. Crude Heads Towards $27 as IEA Warns Market could 'Drown in Oil'

U.S. crude prices extended losses Wednesday, heading towards $27 a barrel, as the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned that the oil market could "drown in oversupply".

West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the U.S. benchmark, fell to levels last seen in September 2003, touching $27.49 at one point.

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Adidas' New 'Mr. Perfect' Faces Hurdles in Race against Nike

Adidas' incoming chief Kasper Rorsted faces major challenges when he takes over as the global sports brand's new CEO later this year as the company struggles to catch up with arch-rival Nike, analysts said.

Investors feted the announcement on Monday that Adidas had successfully poached the 53-year-old Dane from consumer chemicals giant Henkel, with the group's shares the biggest gainers on the Frankfurt stock exchange. 

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Amnesty Links Child Labor in Cobalt Mines to Smartphone Batteries Business

Cobalt mined dangerously by children in the Democratic Republic of Congo could end up in the lithium batteries of smartphones and electric cars made by Apple, Samsung or Sony, Amnesty International said Tuesday.

After questioning 16 multinationals, the human rights watchdog said world-class electronics brands are failing to ensure that no child miners were involved in lithium-ion batteries used in their products, according to a joint report released with Afrewatch.

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Gulf States Unlikely to Drop Dollar Peg

Gulf states are not expected to drop their long-term monetary link to the U.S. dollar after the sharp drop in oil prices and fiscal reserves, Standard and Poor's said Tuesday.

"We expect (Gulf Cooperation Council) GCC countries to maintain the exchange rate peg over the medium term, mainly because we assess GCC states as having sufficient funds available to defend their currencies," the ratings agency said.

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IMF Cuts Saudi Growth Forecast on Oil Slide

Growth in OPEC heavyweight Saudi Arabia will slow to its lowest rate in seven years, the International Monetary Fund said Tuesday, as oil prices continue their dramatic fall. 

Revising down its last forecast, the IMF predicted that the Saudi economy will grow by just 1.2 percent in 2016 -- compared with the 2.2 percent it estimated in October.

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Russia's Gazprom Demands $2.5 Billion from Ukraine

Russian gas giant Gazprom on Tuesday fired off a new salvo in Moscow's feud with Ukraine by demanding some $2.5 billion for Kiev allegedly breaching its supply contract. 

Gazprom said in a statement that under the terms of its deal with Ukraine state firm Naftogaz, Kiev had to buy a minimum annual amount of gas from them or face a penalty and that supplies had fallen short of the required level in the third quarter of last year. 

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Oil Prices Stuck Below $30 on Worsening Glut Fears

Oil prices recovered from 12-year lows in Asia Tuesday but remained below $30 a barrel, as Iran ordered a boost to crude production after the West lifted sanctions, exacerbating an already oversupplied global market.

Prices sank to depths not seen since 2003 on Monday, a day after the United States and Europe lifted the crippling economic sanctions in exchange for Tehran's compliance with a deal to curb the country's nuclear ambitions.

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