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Islamic Banks Set to Boost Gulf Market Share

Islamic banks are set to boost their market share in the energy-rich Gulf states to nearly 30 percent in the next five years, ratings agency Standard & Poor's said on Monday.

"We think Islamic banks' market share of overall banking system assets in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries could gradually inch closer to 30 percent over the next five to six years, from just under 25 percent currently," Standard & Poor's credit analyst Timucin Engin said.

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Britain Launches Process to Sell Eurostar Stake

Britain's government officially launched on Monday an attempt to sell its 40-percent stake in Eurostar, the high-speed rail service connecting London with Paris and Brussels.

It forms part the state's plan to recoup £20 billion ($32.2 billion, 25.4 billion euros) from asset sales by 2020 to help bring down the country's debt pile.

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Singapore Transport Firm SMRT Shuns Bid for Addison Lee

Singapore public transport operator SMRT said Monday it has decided not to make a bid for Addison Lee, London's biggest minicab firm.

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China Exports and Imports Surge Ahead of Expectations

China's exports and imports both rose more than expected in September, Customs data showed Monday in a positive signal for the world's second-largest economy, but analysts warned that fundamentals remained weak.

The country's trade surplus more than doubled year-on-year to $31.0 billion as exports rose 15.3 percent to $213.7 billion, the General Administration of Customs announced, while imports climbed 7.0 percent to $182.7 billion.

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China Urges Corruption Fugitives Abroad to Return

Chinese authorities are urging officials who have fled abroad to avoid corruption charges to turn themselves in before Dec. 1 in exchange for leniency or face stiffer punishment.

Corruption is rampant in China, and a large number of government officials and executives of state-owned companies have absconded overseas for safer havens of their ill-gained wealth because China lacks extradition treaties.

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International Groups Compete for Greek Airports

Multinational companies from Argentina, France and Germany are competing to buy 14 Greek airports put up for sale to boost Athens' depleted cash reserves, its privatization agency said on Friday. 

Argentina's Corporacion America, France's Vinci and Germany's Fraport have all placed fixed bids for the airports, which are being auctioned in two lots. 

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Eurozone Pressed over Growth at IMF, World Bank Meet

The world's economic policy elite kept up pressure on the eurozone Friday to fight off stagnation, with Germany under the gun to support more spending to spark growth.

But Berlin continued to fend off pressure to allow a loosening of budget constraints across the struggling euro area, saying it would be "foolish" to sacrifice the gains made in improving government finances.

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Virtual Currency Founder Extradited to Face U.S. Charges

The founder of virtual currency firm Liberty Reserve, Arthur Budovsky, was extradited Friday from Spain to face U.S. criminal charges for operating what officials called a massive money-laundering scheme.

Budovsky, a 40-year-old Costa Rican national and former U.S. citizen, will be tried in the U.S. on charges related to setting up the alternative digital currency used by criminals around the world to launder illegal profits, federal prosecutors said.

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Global Growth Fears Weigh on U.S. Stocks

Wall Street stocks suffered one of the worst weeks of 2014 as global growth fears overwhelmed some positive economic news and pushed the Dow into negative territory for the year.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 465.59 points (2.74 percent) at 16,544.10, leaving the index about 30 points below the closing level of 2013.

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OPEC Keeps Oil Demand Growth Unchanged, as Price Falls

Oil cartel OPEC kept its world oil demand growth projections unchanged for 2014 and 2015 on Friday, as global economy forecasts remained stable going into next year.

The estimates were issued as the price of oil continues to fall because of gloomy sentiment on the market about prospects for economic growth, notably in the eurozone.

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