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Europe stocks rise on eve of US payrolls; gold shines

European equities rose Thursday on the eve of key U.S. data, while gold set another record peak on haven demand and hopes of interest-rate cuts.

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NYC's AI chatbot was caught telling businesses to break the law. The city isn't taking it down

An artificial intelligence-powered chatbot created by New York City to help small business owners is under criticism for dispensing bizarre advice that misstates local policies and advises companies to violate the law.

But days after the issues were first reported last week by tech news outlet The Markup, the city has opted to leave the tool on its official government website. Mayor Eric Adams defended the decision this week even as he acknowledged the chatbot's answers were "wrong in some areas."

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US Treasury secretary heads to China to talk trade, anti-money laundering and Chinese 'overproduction'

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is headed to a China determined to avoid open conflict with the United States, yet the world's two largest economies still appear to be hashing out the rules on how to compete against each other.

There are tensions over Chinese government support for the manufacturing of electric vehicles and solar panels, just as the U.S. government ramps up its own aid for those tech sectors. There are differences in trade, ownership of TikTok, access to computer chips and national security — all of them a risk to what has become a carefully managed relationship.

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Global shares drop after Wall Street sinks on rate worries

Global shares mostly declined Wednesday after Wall Street broke its record-breaking bull run with its worst day in weeks.

France's CAC 40 edged up 0.1% in early trading to 8,139.15, while Germany's DAX rose 0.3% to 18,331.04. Britain's FTSE 100 dropped 0.6% to 7,887.60. U.S. shares were set to drift lower with Dow futures down 0.1% to 39,475.00. S&P 500 futures fell 0.2% to 5,251.50.

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Inflation slides again in Europe. Here's what that means for interest rates

The inflation that has squeezed European shoppers fell more than expected in March to 2.4%, as cost spikes in the grocery aisle eased and overall price rises headed down in the two biggest economies, Germany and France.

The annual figure for the 20 countries that use the euro currency came in below the 2.5% predicted by financial markets and brings the European Central Bank ever closer to its inflation goal of 2%.

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AUB and UNIDO: Empowering Lebanon's transition to a circular economy

In a significant stride towards advancing sustainable practices in Lebanon's food industry, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the American University of Beirut (AUB) embarked on a pioneering collaboration, marked by the launch of the Private Sector Transition to Green and Circular Economy in Lebanon project.

"This underscores a shared commitment to fostering resource efficiency, cleaner production, and ultimately, a circular economy in Lebanon," the American University of Beirut said in a statement.

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Sugar shortage darkens Tunisian Eid festivities

In downtown Tunis, dozens of customers stand in a long queue snaking out of a supermarket to buy sugar, essential for the end of Ramadan celebrations eight days away.

The key ingredient for traditional sweets served to mark the end of the Muslim holy month is now being rationed to one to two kilograms per customer per week.

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Two go on trial in Switzerland over 'kleptocracy' scandal involving Saudi oil firm, Malaysian bank

Two managers of a Saudi oil exploration company went on trial in Switzerland on Tuesday for alleged fraud and money laundering over a scandal years ago linked to a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund that the U.S. Justice Department once described as the "biggest kleptocracy case" ever.

The defendants from PetroSaudi — a Swiss Saudi citizen and a Swiss British national who were not identified by name for privacy reasons — are accused of having created a scheme in 2009 under which 1 Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB, would set up a joint venture based on false premises.

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On French Riviera hillsides, high-end Menton lemon gets squeezed by development

When the French Riviera town of Menton prepares to host its lemon festival each year, it assembles more than 140 tons of citrus to build the ornate floats and showy park displays that attract thousands to the Fete du Citron. But none of it is the actual Menton lemon, a prized variety whose fans included King Louis XIV, who enjoyed drinking its juice and bathing in its essential oils.

They're too precious — and there aren't enough of them, either.

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Gold hits record peak, Europe stocks wobble

Gold prices nailed another historic peak Tuesday over the growing prospect of interest rate cuts later this year, while European equity markets wobbled as traders returned following the long Easter holiday weekend.

The haven precious metal advanced as high as $2,266.85 per ounce in morning London deals to extend its blistering record-breaking run, driven also by geopolitical tensions in Europe and the Middle East.

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