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Russia Unveils 'Anti-Crisis' Plan to Cut Spending, Boost Banks

Russia on Wednesday unveiled an anti-crisis plan for an economy battered by low oil prices and sanctions, promising some spending cuts but also boosts for retirees and billions of dollars worth of support for top banks.

The plan, published on the government's website on Wednesday morning, foresees 10 percent reduction in "most categories of budget spending" but, increases on welfare, which was the cornerstone of Putin's election campaign in 2012.

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Qatar Set to Buy London's Canary Wharf District

Qatar looked to have won a drawn-out bid to buy London's Canary Wharf on Wednesday after the owner of the landmark office quarter said its main shareholders favored a sale.

The board of Songbird, which controls 69 percent of Canary Wharf Group, appeared to concede defeat despite stressing that the offer worth £2.6 billion ($4.0 billion, 3.5 billion euros) remained undervalued.

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SWIFT: China's Yuan Now World's 5th Payments Currency

China's yuan has become the world's fifth most widely used payments currency, with the value of cross-border deals settled in it more than doubling in 2014, data from transactions organisation SWIFT showed Wednesday.

The data comes as China looks to make the yuan used more internationally in line with its standing as the world's second-largest economy, while at the same time keeping its value tightly controlled. 

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Report: Whisky Industry Worth Billions to British Economy

Britain's whisky trade is worth over £5 billion ($7.6 billion, 6.7 billion euros) to the economy each year and provides over 40,000 jobs, according to a study released on Wednesday.

The report by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) found that despite a slowdown in exports, billions of bottles of whisky were sold globally each year.

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Greek Cabinet Set for First Meeting Since Poll Upset

Greece's new radical left-led government prepared to meet Wednesday for the first time to hammer out a strategy for renegotiating the country's giant bailout, after storming to power on a promise to reject years of harsh austerity policies.

The coalition cabinet, made up of poll winners Syriza and the nationalist Independent Greeks (ANEL), was set to convene at 10:30 am (0830 GMT), three days after Sunday's electoral upset that saw the architects of Greece's sweeping budget cutbacks thrown out of office.

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Oil Prices Down ahead of Fed Meet Outcome, Supply Report

Oil prices fell in Asia Wednesday as dealers await the outcome of a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting and the release of a U.S. supply report expected to show a surge in crude stockpiles, analysts said.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate for March delivery fell 70 cents to $45.53 while Brent for March eased 60 cents to $49.00 in afternoon trade.

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Dubai Overtakes Heathrow as Top International Airport

Dubai International has overtaken London's Heathrow Airport to become the world's top hub in international travel after handling 70.47 million passengers in 2014, its authority said on Tuesday.

Traffic at the airport increased 6.1 percent last year, Dubai Airports said, and it expects the number of travelers passing through the hub to surge in 2015 to 79 million.

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New Greek Leader set to Unveil Anti-Austerity Government

Greece's new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is set to unveil his anti-austerity coalition government Tuesday, bringing together his radical left-wing party with the nationalist right, after a stunning election win that sent shockwaves through Europe.

With the new cabinet expected to be announced and sworn in on Tuesday, the world will get a closer glimpse at Greece's Syriza-led administration, now on a collision course with international creditors over plans to renegotiate its massive bailout deal.

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Russian Stocks Slide 3 Pct after S&P Downgrade

Russia's RTS index fell three percent at opening on Tuesday, a day after the Standard and Poor's ratings agency stripped the country of its investment-grade rating, cutting it to "junk" status.

The plunge in oil prices and Western sanctions over Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis have pummelled the Russian economy in recent months, with the ruble collapsing in value.

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Irish Carrier Aer Lingus Accepts IAG Takeover Bid

Irish carrier Aer Lingus on Tuesday backed a 1.35-billion-euro ($1.51-billion) takeover offer from International Airlines Group, parent of British Airways and Iberia.

Aer Lingus announced in a statement that its board was "willing to recommend" IAG's improved proposal -- its third since December -- subject to certain conditions.

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