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Ukraine-Russia Peace Hopes Rise as Gas Deal Edges Closer

Ukraine and Russia both signaled progress towards settling their festering row over gas Friday, raising hopes of an EU-backed resolution of the broader conflict embroiling the Soviet-era allies.

Russian President Vladimir Putin met his Ukrainian counterpart three times in the space of ten hours in Milan Friday, twice in the company of various European Union leaders then, finally, in their first private meeting since late August.

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Japan to Unveil First Passenger Jet in Four Decades

The first made-in-Japan passenger aircraft in nearly four decades is being unveiled Saturday as its maker pushes into the booming regional jet sector with an eye to taking on industry giants Embraer and Bombardier.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, a military contractor best known for its "Zero" World War II fighter, is set to pull back the curtain on its new Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), a fuel-efficient, next-generation aircraft that claims to offer more passenger comfort with lower operating costs.

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Virgin Takes Full Control of Tigerair Australia for Aus$1

Virgin on Friday took full control of budget carrier Tigerair Australia, buying the remaining 40 percent it did not already own for Aus$1 (88 U.S. cents) from its Singapore-listed parent.

The deal was revealed as it was announced that Singapore Airlines (SIA) would take majority control of Tiger Airways -- of which Tigerair Australia was a subsidiary -- as part of a turnaround plan for the loss-making budget firm.

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Minister: Bailed-Out Cyprus' Economy on the Mend

Cyprus' finance minister says the bailed-out country will manage to keep its debt well below projections by its international creditors.

Harris Georgiades says debt will peak this year at 105 percent of gross domestic product and will show a modest 2-percentage-point drop in 2015.

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Google Shares Hit as Profit Dips

Google said Thursday its profit in the past quarter dipped slightly from a year earlier, even as revenues for the technology giant showed a sharp increase.

Net third quarter profit fell five percent from the same period a year ago to $2.8 billion, while revenue grew 20 percent to $16.5 billion.

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Falling Oil Prices Shake Up Global Economies

A sudden plunge in the price of oil is sending economic and political shockwaves around the world. Oil exporting countries are bracing for potentially crippling budget shortfalls and importing nations are benefiting from the lowest prices in four years.

The global price of oil is $84 per barrel, down $31, or 27 percent, from its high point for the year. Oil consumption globally is 91 million barrels per day. That means the world's oil producing countries and companies are bringing in as much as $2.8 billion less in revenue every day — and consumers, shippers and airlines are saving a comparable amount on gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

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Switzerland Lowers Growth Forecasts

Setbacks for recovery of the eurozone economy are affecting Switzerland which cut its own growth forecasts on Thursday.

The national statistics agency cut its growth outlook for 2014 from 2.0 to 1.8 percent.

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Merkel Says EU, 'all Members' Must Enforce Debt Rules

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday she was confident that the European Union would enforce its own budget rulebook with debt sinners, as France faced a reckoning in Brussels.

Speaking to parliament, Merkel noted the entire EU had signed up to the Stability and Growth Pact regulating fiscal discipline.

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Central Bank: China Bank Lending Picks up in September

China's banks stepped up their lending in September, the central bank announced Thursday, but analysts said more monetary easing was needed to bolster the weakening economy.

Domestic banks extended 857.2 billion yuan ($139.9 billion) in new loans, the People's Bank of China (PBoC) said in a statement, up more than a fifth from the 702.5 billion yuan lent in August.

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Cash-Strapped France Announces Major Defence Cuts

France on Wednesday announced major cuts in defense spending, including the scrapping of an artillery regiment and the loss of 7,500 jobs, as the country battles a ballooning budget deficit.

"In 2015, 7,500 jobs will be cut. The defense ministry will take part in the nation's efforts to improve its budgetary position," Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said

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