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World - Former Slovenian finance minister Mramor set to return

By Marja Novak LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - Slovenia`s next ruling party picked former finance minister Dusan Mramor on Thursday to head the finance ministry in a new centre-left coalition that aims to steer the euro zone member out of its economic crisis. Mramor is a 60-year-old economics professor who presided over tax hikes in 2002-2004 as finance minister in a previous centre-left government. He faces the tough task of cutting Slovenia`s budget deficit to 3 percent of national output in 2015 from about 4.2 percent this year, under a plan agreed with the European Union after the tiny ex-Yugoslav republic narrowly avoided seeking an international bailout for its debt-laden banks late last year.

Thursday, August 21, 2014  12:47


World - Former Slovenian finance minister Mramor set for return

The party of Slovenia`s next prime minister said on Thursday it would nominate economics professor and former finance minister Dusan Mramor to head the finance ministry in a new government due to be formed within weeks. Mramor served as finance minister in a center-left government from 2002 to 2004, a period of significant tax increases. Miro Cerar, whose center-left SMC party won a July snap election, was nominated as prime minister on Tuesday and parliament is expected to endorse him on Monday next week.

Thursday, August 21, 2014  10:59


World - Scottish nationalists seek to broaden independence debate beyond currency

By Alistair Smout EDINBURGH (Reuters) - With less than a month to go until Scotland votes on independence, nationalists are seeking to broaden the debate away from a difficult focus on what currency would be used after breaking from the United Kingdom. Health care and other social issues such as justice and equality are likely to get a bigger airing if pro-independence First Minister Alex Salmond has his way in a second televised debate on Aug 25. The question of whether Scotland could keep the pound if it voted on Sept. 18 to leave the United Kingdom has hampered independence campaigners. As a result, uncertainty over the currency dogged the normally fiery Salmond in the first TV debate two weeks ago when he was unexpectedly outshone by the more reserved head of the campaign to keep Scotland in the UK, former finance minister Alistair Darling.

Thursday, August 21, 2014  16:37


Business - Exclusive: France forced to import wheat as rain hits crop quality

By Valerie Parent PARIS (Reuters) - France`s rain-hit wheat crop has delivered the first shock of the 2014/15 season: the EU`s top grower and exporter is buying Lithuanian and British milling wheat to mix with its unusually poor-grade crop to meet contracts signed before the harvest. French exports exceed those of Britain and Lithuania on the world market, but a wet summer has meant France is set to produce more wheat for animal feed and less higher grade bread-making grain this year. The imports are the latest signal that France might struggle to retain its market share of milling wheat exports this season because a large part of its crop is failing to live up to its traditional clients` criteria. During the past 13 years for which Reuters has records, France has only once imported significant amounts of Lithuanian wheat.

Thursday, August 21, 2014  15:56


Market - Investors cheer: S&P 500 hits all-time high

The August stock market rebound is in full effect. It`s been nearly a month since the last S&P 500 record.

Thursday, August 21, 2014  15:42


World - Saudi court sentences 18 to prison for terrorism

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced 18 people to prison on charges of financing terrorism, collecting information about compounds where foreigners reside, providing hideouts for fugitives and possessing unlicensed weapons.

Thursday, August 21, 2014  15:42


Business - Honda to modify Fit to boost test score, calls back 12,000 cars

Honda said it would inform the affected 12,000 Fit owners late in September to bring the cars to dealers for the retrofit. Seven months ago, the IIHS said the 2013 model Honda Fit was one of the poorest performers among 11 subcompact cars tested to simulate what happens when the front corner of a vehicle hits another car, a utility pole or tree.

Thursday, August 21, 2014  15:29


Business - U.S. existing home sales rise at fastest pace in 10 months

The National Association of Realtors said on Thursday existing home sales increased 2.4 percent to an annual rate of 5.15 million units. Home resales dropped in the summer of 2013 after the Federal Reserve signaled it would dial back its monetary stimulus for the economy, pushing mortgage interest rates higher.

Thursday, August 21, 2014  15:15


World - Indonesia court upholds Widodo presidential victory

By Kanupriya Kapoor and Fransiska Nangoy JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia`s highest court on Thursday unanimously upheld last month`s presidential election result, paving the way for Joko Widodo to take over as leader of the world`s third largest democracy. The Constitutional Court, as expected, rejected a last-ditch attempt by losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto to overturn the election result that he believed was tainted by widespread cheating. With the legal hurdles out of the way, president-elect Widodo will be able to speed up his preparations ahead of taking office on Oct. 20. The administration of outgoing President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had delayed meeting with Widodo`s transition team about pressing economic issues, such as ballooning fuel subsidy costs and a widening current account deficit, until after the verdict.

Thursday, August 21, 2014  15:15


Business - U.S. factory activity expands at fastest pace in over four years in Aug: Markit

Financial data firm Markit said its preliminary or `flash` U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index rose to 58 in August, which was its highest since April 2010, from 55.8 in July. `It seems US manufacturers are increasingly confident that the recovery is firmly back on track and are gearing up for a sustained rebound in production schedules over the months ahead.` Markit`s gauge of employment in the manufacturing sector rose to 54.6 from 51.2, and was at its highest since a matching 54.6 in March 2013. Markit`s `flash` reading is based on replies from about 85 percent of the U.S.

Thursday, August 21, 2014  15:01

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