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Total Launches Gas Project in Britain's Shetlands

French oil and gas company Total officially launched a project off Britain's remote Shetland Islands on Monday, hailed by London as a "vote of confidence" in the flagging Scottish North Sea oil and gas industry.

The Laggan-Tormore fields are located 600 meters (1,970 feet) under water off Britain's northernmost outpost. They began production on February 7 and have since ramped up to 90,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

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Oil at Fresh 2016 Highs on Hopes of Supply Glut Easing

Oil rose to fresh 2016 highs in Asia Monday as a slowdown in U.S. drilling and increase in Chinese crude refinery processing bolstered hopes a supply glut would ease sooner than expected.

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Trade to Resume at Main Tunisia-Libya Crossing

Cross-border trade between Tunisia and Libya resumes on Monday after the two countries reached a deal to lift a trade blockade at the main frontier crossing following angry street protests.

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Iran Says European Banks still Wary of U.S. Sanctions Threat

Big European banks remain reluctant to work in Iran four months after the lifting of international sanctions under a landmark nuclear deal with world powers, an Iranian official said Sunday.

"Major European banks have not yet started their interactions with Iranian banks, but some medium- and small-sized financial institutions have established relations, including opening letters of credit," deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi told state broadcaster IRIB.

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India Eases Red Tape but Foreign Firms still Struggle

Narendra Modi was elected two years ago this week promising to ease India's notorious red tape and unpack regulatory tangles, but for foreign firms, doing business in the world's fastest-growing large economy can still be a costly headache.

With a billion consumers and rising middle class, India holds dazzling potential -- yet despite signs of change on the ground, high-profile corporate tussles continue to bamboozle investors.

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Saudi Arabia Hit by New Credit Rating Downgrade

Saudi Arabia suffered another cut to its credit rating on Saturday as Moody's Investors Service downgraded the kingdom along with Bahrain and Oman because of the slump in oil prices.

Moody's lowered its long-term rating for Saudi Arabia to A1, which denotes low credit risk, down from Aa3, saying lower energy prices "have led to a material deterioration" in the profile of the top oil exporter.

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Moody's Lifts Ireland Credit Rating on Political Deal

Credit rating agency Moody's raised Ireland's sovereign debt rating on Saturday, citing confidence in the eurozone member's ability to further cut its deficit after finally forming a government.

Moody's, which pointed also to a strong economic recovery in Ireland, raised its key rating for the country's sovereign debt by one notch to A3 from Baa1, adding that the outlook on the long-term rating remains "positive".

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Moody's Cuts Poland Outlook to Negative over 'Fiscal Risks'

Global ratings agency Moody's on Saturday cut Poland's outlook from stable to negative over "fiscal risks" posed by its rightwing government, but left its investment grade unchanged.

Moody's change in outlook is its first in over a decade and comes after a deeper ratings cut in January by Standard and Poor's, which blamed the Law and Justice (PiS) government for "weakening institutions."

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Venezuela's Maduro Extends Economic Emergency Measures

Embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro declared a three-month state of emergency late Friday to face "threats from abroad," as his emboldened opposition geared for a vote to oust him from office.

In an address to the nation, Maduro said he had signed a new state of emergency decree "to neutralize and defeat foreign aggression," which he says is closing in on the country.

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Report: Japan PM to Delay Tax Hike over Economy Fears

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to postpone a sales tax hike a second time, judging that boosting the tariff could hurt the world's third-largest economy, a newspaper said Saturday.

Abe has already informed senior government officials he plans delay the consumption tax hike, scheduled for next April, that would raise levy from eight to 10 percent, the Nikkei business daily said.

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