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U.S. MasterCards Will Soon Work in Cuba

MasterCard in March will begin processing transactions made on U.S.-issued cards in Cuba, becoming the first major credit card company to do so since Cuba and the United States started to normalize relations.

MasterCard said in a statement Friday that the move, effective March 1, follows renewed guidance from the U.S. Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.

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Box Hits Wall Street with a Bang after IPO

Cloud storage startup Box soared in its Wall Street debut Friday after a public share offering, pushing its market value to $2.7 billion.

Trading under the symbol "BOX," the shares jumped 66 percent to close at $23.23 on the New York Stock Exchange from the offering price of $14 announced Thursday.

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Tsipras Promises to Restore 'Dignity' to Greece

The leader of Greece's left-wing Syriza party vowed Friday to restore "dignity" to the hugely-indebted country if they win Sunday's general election as expected.

Alexis Tsipras, 40, has campaigned on a pledge to renegotiate Greece's 318 billion euro ($357 billion) debt mountain and said he was steeling himself for a "major confrontation" with the country's international creditors.

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China's Use of Yuan for Cross-Border Business Growing

China's use of its own yuan currency for cross-border transactions has increased "notably" to 9.95 trillion yuan ($1.63 trillion) last year, the central bank said Friday, without giving a comparative figure.

China is seeking to make the yuan -- also known as the renminbi (RMB) -- used more internationally in line with its standing as the world's second-largest economy. Some analysts predict the unit will one day rival the U.S. dollar.

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IEA: No 'Significant' Change in Saudi oil Policy after King's Death

The chief economist of the International Energy Agency said Friday there would be no "significant" changes to Saudi oil policy following the death of King Abdullah.

"With the death of the king, with the changes (in government), I do not expect any significant change in the oil policy of Saudi Arabia and I expect and hope that they will continue to be a stabilization factor in the oil markets," Fatih Birol told Agence France Presse on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

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HSBC: China Manufacturing Index Edges Up in January

Chinese manufacturing activity picked up marginally in January but still contracted, a closely watched gauge indicated Friday, as growth in the world's number two economy slows down.

British banking giant HSBC said a preliminary reading of its purchasing managers' index (PMI) showed it had edged up to 49.8 this month from a final reading of 49.6 in December.

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Oil Surges after Saudi King's Death

Oil prices surged Friday following the death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, with investors watching to see if his successor will maintain output in the face of a global supply glut that had sent crude to six-year lows.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for March delivery soared as much as 3.1 percent in New York after the Saudi royal court announced the death.

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Ukraine Requests Fresh IMF Bailout

Ukraine has asked the IMF for a new and broader rescue package, and will seek to renegotiate its debt with bond holders, officials said on Wednesday as the war-torn country fights to save its reeling economy.

IMF chief Christine Lagarde met Ukrainian Petro Poroshenko on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos and said Ukraine requested that the Washington-based IMF deepen its relationship with Kiev.

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Official Data: Spain Jobless Rate Falls to 23.7% in 2014

Spain's unemployment rate fell in 2014 for the second straight year, dropping by just over two points to 23.7 percent, but still remains at one of the highest levels in the European Union, official data showed on Thursday.

The fall was greater than what had been expected by the government, which had forecast the country would end 2014 with a jobless rate of 24.2 percent as en economic recovery gains pace.

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Oil Prices Fall ahead of ECB Meeting, U.S. Supply Report

Oil prices edged lower in Asia Thursday as dealers await a much-anticipated European Central Bank (ECB) policy meeting and the release of the latest U.S. supply report, analysts said. 

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in March fell 29 cents to $47.49 while Brent for March eased 10 cents to $48.93 in afternoon trade. 

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