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Oil Approaches Key $40 Level in Asian Trade

Oil prices slid to a fresh six and a half year low in Asia Thursday, approaching the key $40 a barrel level after a surprise rise in U.S. inventories added to concerns of a supply glut.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in September, which expires Thursday, dipped 26 cents to $40.54 in midday trade after falling sharply in New York to its lowest level since March 2009.

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Media: Bitcoin Exchange CEO to Face New Criminal Allegations

Japanese police will re-arrest the CEO of collapsed Bitcoin exchange MtGox on theft allegations, reports said Thursday, as he faces questions over the disappearance of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of the virtual currency.

France-born Mark Karpeles, 30, was taken into custody in Tokyo this month over claims he manipulated data to artificially create about $1.0 million worth of the digital money.

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Greek PM Puzzling over Snap Election Date

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was mulling Wednesday when to call early elections, with a decision expected next week according to the government.

Tsipras has to implement a third austerity bailout that has split his radical left Syriza party, rendering him powerless to push further reform bills through parliament in the fall.

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German Parliament Backs Greek Bailout with Large Majority

The German parliament voted by an overwhelming majority Wednesday to back a third bailout for Greece, with Chancellor Angela Merkel spared a major rebellion of deputies opposing the aid.

Interrupting their holidays for the second time this summer to cast ballots on a Greek rescue, lawmakers in the Bundestag lower house approved the 86-billion-euro ($95-billion) rescue by 454 votes to 113.

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Merkel Girds for Right-Wing Revolt in Greece Bailout Vote

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will call on the country's parliament to approve a third bailout for debt-mired Greece on Wednesday, but could face a rebellion from lawmakers within her own conservative ranks.

Approval of the latest 86 billion euro ($95 billion) emergency rescue plan for Athens is seen as assured given the 504 seats Merkel's left-right "grand coalition" holds in the 631-seat Bundestag lower house.

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China Injects Nearly $100 bn into Banks for Economy Lift

China has injected nearly $100 billion from its foreign exchange reserves into two policy banks, which lend based on government directives, to help spur the country's sluggish economy, state media reported.

The central bank on Tuesday completed putting $48 billion into the China Development Bank and $45 billion into the Export-Import Bank of China, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

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Oil Prices Fall ahead of U.S. Inventory Data

Oil prices fell in Asia Wednesday, giving up meagre gains in the previous session as investors await a U.S. inventory report to gauge demand in the world's top economy. 

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate for September delivery fell 24 cents to $42.38 a barrel and Brent crude for October dipped 26 cents to $48.55 a barrel in afternoon Asian trade.

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Fraud Scandal around Ex-IMF Head Deepens with Spain Arrest

A fraud probe into former IMF head Rodrigo Rato, which has embarrassed Spain's conservative government, made headlines again Tuesday following the arrest of a suspect in the case as he was about to board a plane for Mexico.

Rato, a former finance minister with the ruling Popular Party, has become a symbol of corruption among Spain's elites which has fuelled the rise of new parties ahead of a general election later this year.

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Greece Approves Deal for German Firm to Run 14 Regional Airports

The Greek government on Tuesday approved a 1.23 billion euro ($1.36 billion) deal for Germany's Fraport-Slentel consortium to run 14 regional airports, publishing the decision in its official gazette. 

The concessions, ranging in duration from 40 to 50 years, had been approved by the previous Greek government but were put on hold after the far-left Syriza party of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras came to power in January.

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Merkel Battles Worries about IMF Involvement in Greek Bailout

German Chancellor Angela Merkel insists the International Monetary Fund must participate in Greece's new bailout, but doubts about IMF involvement are complicating her bid to sell MPs the deal ahead of Wednesday's key parliamentary vote.

Monday's front page of mass-circulation daily Bild accused Merkel of breaking her promise that the IMF would be party to the new 86 billion euro ($95 billion) Greek bailout approved by eurozone finance ministers Friday.

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