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Royal Bank of Scotland Chair Moving to Drugs Firm GSK

Royal Bank of Scotland chairman Philip Hampton is stepping down to take up the same position at British pharmaceutical group GlaxoSmithKline, the companies announced on Thursday.

Hampton, who during his more than five years as chairman has helped to guide the bailed-out bank through its recovery following a government rescue, will join GSK in the wake of a Chinese corruption scandal at the drugs firm.

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ECB: Eurozone Loans to Private Sector Still Contracting

Loans to the private sector in the euro area, a gauge of economic health, fell year-on-year in August, but by slightly less than in July, the European Central Bank said on Thursday.

The volume of loans to private businesses and households declined by 1.5 percent in August compared with the same month in 2013, a slightly lower rate than the minus 1.6 percent recorded in July, the ECB said in a statement.

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Argentina Exits Recession in Second Quarter

Argentina exited recession with 0.9-percent economic growth in the second quarter, national statistics institute INDEC said Wednesday, a rare bit of good news amid the country's new debt default.

But with inflation estimated at more than 30 percent and the value of the peso tumbling, Latin America's third-largest economy is still mired in a slowdown after averaging 7.8-percent annual growth from 2003 to 2011.

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German Business Confidence Index Ifo Falls in September

Germany's Ifo business confidence indicator fell to its lowest level in 17 months in September, data showed on Wednesday, as Europe's biggest economy continues to run out of steam.

The Ifo economic institute's closely watched business climate index fell to 104.7 points in September, from 106.3 points in August, the think-tank said in a statement.

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Confusion Swirls over Air France Budget Plans as Strike Deepens

Confusion reigned Wednesday over Air France's plan for its budget subsidiary that has been at the heart of a bitter and costly strike, as the government and management contradicted each other.

Transport secretary Alain Vidalies told French radio that the airline had scrapped plans to expand its Transavia subsidiary, but Air France management denied that within minutes.

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IMF Says No New Cash until Zimbabwe Pays Debts

The International Monetary Fund has scotched suggestions that cash-strapped Zimbabwe could get fresh financial aid, saying it must first service old debts.

Domenico Fanizza, a senior official from the IMF's Africa department, said the Washington-based lender "by its law" could not give more support until Robert Mugabe's government makes up missed repayments.

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Starbucks to Buy up Japan Unit for $900 mn

Starbucks will take full ownership of its Japanese operations for more than $900 million, a move it said was aimed at further tapping its second-largest market.

The Seattle-based company said it would buy a 60.5 percent stake that it does not already own as part of a two-step tender process expected to be completed by the first half of 2015.

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French PM Says Pilot Strike 'Real Danger' for Air France

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned of a "real danger" for Air France as a pilot strike that has grounded more than half its fleet deepened Tuesday after talks hit an impasse.

The strike over plans to expand the company's budget airline Transavia in Europe entered its ninth day at a cost of 20 million euros ($25.7 million) daily.

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Pay Up or Return Money, Argentina Tells Debt Row Banks

Argentina told Citibank and Bank of New York Mellon on Monday to either execute its debt payments or give it back money frozen in its dispute with two creditors.

A U.S. federal judge has ordered the banks not to transfer payments on the debt Argentina restructured after its 2001 economic crisis until the country settles a $1.3-billion dispute with the two "holdout" creditors, hedge funds NML Capital and Aurelius Capital Management.

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Sri Lanka Restricts 6.5% Deposit Rate to Boost Lending

Sri Lanka on Tuesday unveiled tough new restrictions on deposits as it looks to encourage commercial banks to boost lending and help sustain the country's healthy economic growth.

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka's monetary board said after its monthly review it would keep its key repurchase rate at 6.5 percent to lenders, but slashed it to 5.0 percent for any more than three deposits a month.

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