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Japan Steelmaker Ready to Ship World's Longest Rail Tracks

Japan's top steelmaker said Thursday it has built a system to make and ship the longest pieces of railway track in the world, extending to 150 meters (492 feet).

Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal said its extra-long rails are more durable than shorter ones that need to be welded together and can offer passengers a quieter, more comfortable ride.

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Govt: Jan-March Foreign Direct Investment in China up 5.5%

Foreign direct investment (FDI) into China increased 5.5 percent in the first three months of the year despite faltering in March, the government said Thursday, though outbound investment slumped. 

FDI, which excludes investment in financial sectors, totaled $31.55 billion in the March quarter, the commerce ministry said in a statement. However, investment in March declined 1.47 percent to $12.24 billion, it said. 

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CEO: Bitcoin Exchange MtGox Placed in Administration

Failed Bitcoin exchange MtGox was placed in administration by a Japanese court on Wednesday, with an order for bankruptcy expected to be issued soon, its administrator and chief executive said.

"The Tokyo District Court decided today to dismiss the application for commencement of a civil rehabilitation and at the same time, an order for Provisional Administration was issued," a statement from CEO Mark Karpeles said.

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Minister: Russian Sanctions would Destroy Cyprus Economy

Economic sanctions by Europe against Russia "would destroy Cyprus's economy," Nicosia's foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides said in a German newspaper interview Wednesday.

"There are very strong economic ties between Cyprus and Russia. If sanctions are really necessary, then every member state should decide for itself whether to take part," Kasoulides said.

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Credit Suisse Profits Down 34 Percent

Swiss bank Credit Suisse says net profit fell 34 percent in the first quarter as bond-market woes hurt earnings at its investment banking business.

Profit fell to 859 million Swiss francs ($979 million) from 1.303 billion francs in the same quarter a year ago. Group core revenues fell 8 percent to 6.469 billion francs ($7.375 billion).

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New Zealand Inflation Surprises on Downside

New Zealand's inflation rate rose just 0.3 percent quarter-on-quarter in January-March but the lower than expected figure is unlikely to stop the central bank raising interest rates again, analysts said Wednesday.

Statistics New Zealand said the rise, largely driven by an increase in tobacco tax and surging house prices, put the annual inflation rate at 1.5 percent, well within the central bank's 1.0-3.0 target.

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U.S. Treasury Warns China over Recent Yuan Fall

The U.S. Treasury said Tuesday that China cannot be ruled a manipulator of its currency despite the yuan's sharp slide since January.

But the Treasury warned that the recent fall could "raise particularly serious concerns" if it represents a reversal in Beijing's commitment to a more free-floating yuan.

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Report: Remittance 'Super Tax' Costs Africa $1.8 Billion a Year

Africans are losing $1.8 billion (1.3 billion euros) a year due to high fees levied on funds sent from abroad by relatives, Britain's leading think tank on development said Wednesday.

The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) found that Africans face some of the highest charges in the world for international transfers, but global leader Western Union insisted that the fees were down to a range of local factors.

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Imperial Tobacco Announces Closure of Factories in Britain, France

Imperial Tobacco on Tuesday announced the closure of factories in Britain and France with the loss of 900 jobs, citing declining sales in Europe, tougher anti-smoking measures and the growth of contraband sales.

The two factories concerned are at Carquefou, near Nantes in western France, where 327 people are employed, and  Nottingham in central England, which has 540 staff.

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Russia Could Be Hit by Zero Growth in 2014 amid Crisis

The Russian economy could be set back to zero growth this year, the finance minister warned on Tuesday amid growing spending on Crimea and capital flight.

Finance minister Anton Siluanov said at a government meeting that Russia's economy faced "the most difficult conditions since the 2008 crisis," Russian news agencies reported.

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