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EMERGING MARKETS-Brazil markets slump as pension reform odds fade

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By Bruno Federowski SAO PAULO, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Brazilian markets plummeted on Thursday after President Michel Temer's administration failed to gather enough support from lawmakers to put a pension overhaul plan to a vote. A senior lawmaker said on Wednesday that the government's coalition expected to have enough votes later that day to pass the bill, which investors see as crucial to curbing public debt. But a failure to do so led policymakers to put off a decision, originally [Source]

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'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' scores $450 mln in global opening weekend

LOS ANGELES, Dec 17 (Reuters) - "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" debuted with a massive $450 million in global ticket sales over the weekend, distributor Walt Disney Co said on Sunday.

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Majority of Peruvians want president ousted, poll finds

LIMA (Reuters) - A majority of Peruvians want embattled President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski to leave office, a poll showed on Sunday, as his approval ratings plummeted to new lows following revelations that businesses tied to him received payments from Brazilian builder Odebrecht.

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UPDATE 2-Strike over Teva Pharm job cuts briefly shuts down Israel

JERUSALEM, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Israel's main public-sector labour union staged a half-day strike on Sunday, closing the airport, stock exchange, banks and all government ministries to protest at mass layoffs planned by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.

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Chile choosing between billionaire and ex-journalist for president

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chileans voted in a runoff presidential election on Sunday that will determine if the world's top copper producer stays on its center-left course or joins a tide of Latin American nations turning to the right in recent years.

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UPDATE 1-Venezuela gives Russia's Rosneft gas field concessions - Rosneft

MOSCOW, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Venezuela has awarded licences to a unit of Russian oil major Rosneft to develop two offshore gas fields, Rosneft said in a statement.

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Region edges up, building-related shares boost Saudi before budget

* Saudi 2018 budget seen hiking infrastructure spending a bit

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Venezuela gives Russia's Rosneft gas field concessions - Rosneft

MOSCOW, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Venezuela has awarded licences to a unit of Russian oil major Rosneft to develop two offshore gas fields, Rosneft said in a statement.

Politics and Government nytimes.com

Chile Votes in Bitterly Divisive Presidential Election

Voters will decide whether to build on President Michelle Bachelet’s agenda or give power to a right-wing billionaire and former president.

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UPDATE 1-Strike briefly shuts down Israel over Teva Pharm job cuts

JERUSALEM, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Israel's main public-sector labour union went on a half-day strike on Sunday, closing the airport, the stock exchange, banks and all government ministries as part of a protest against mass layoffs planned by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.

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U.S. employers say CVS-Aetna deal would affect health-benefits decisions -survey

NEW YORK, Dec 17 (Reuters) - CVS Corp’s proposed purchase of Aetna Inc will affect decision-making by a majority of large and mid-size U.S. corporations on employee health benefits, a survey by benefits consultant Aon Plc found.

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UPDATE 1-Thai Bev's unit seeks to buy a near $5 bln stake in Sabeco

* Ministry set to conduct auction on Monday (Recasts, adds details of Thai Bev's unit seeking to buy all Sabeco shares)

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Strike briefly shuts down Israel over Teva Pharm job cuts

JERUSALEM, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Israel's main public-sector labour union went on a half-day strike on Sunday, closing the airport, the stock exchange, banks and all government ministries as part of a protest against mass layoffs planned by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.

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Vietnam to name buyer of up to $5 bln stake in top brewer Sabeco

Ho CHI MINH CITY/SINGAPORE, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Vietnam is set to auction an up to $5 billion stake in top brewer Sabeco on Monday, with Thai Beverage the only potential bidder to have expressed interest in a majority stake.

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RPT-Wall St Week Ahead-Healthcare draws election-year worry, but 2016 repeat not seen

NEW YORK, Dec 15 (Reuters) - With another election year looming, investors in the healthcare sector are wary the coming months could reopen wounds suffered during the 2016 U.S. presidential race.

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Honduran helicopter crash kills six, including president's sister

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - The sister of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez and five others died when the helicopter they were traveling in crashed on Saturday, the Honduran military said.

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Brazil's Workers Party formalizes support for ex-president Lula

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil's leftist Workers Party (PT) approved a resolution on Saturday formally supporting the candidacy of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, as the nation's left continues to rally around the leader despite a corruption conviction.

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GM offers a sneak peek at new Chevy truck, loaded with profits

DETROIT, Dec 16 (Reuters) - General Motors Co offered a sneak peek on Saturday of the next generation Chevrolet Silverado pickup, designed to haul big payloads of profits for the automaker when it launches next year.

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Odebrecht says dealings with Peru president were legitimate

LIMA, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Brazilian builder Odebrecht said Saturday that its recently-disclosed business ties to embattled Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski were not part of the corrupt deals it struck with politicians that it has acknowledged to prosecutors.

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Brazilian prosecutors ask state bank Caixa to remove vice presidents

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazilian prosecutors have asked that all the vice presidents of Caixa Economica Federal be replaced for what officials suspect are "irregularities" at the state bank, according to a document made public late on Friday.

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UPDATE 3-Palestinian billionaire Masri detained in Saudi Arabia - sources

AMMAN, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Sabih al-Masri, Jordan's most influential businessman and the chairman of its largest lender Arab Bank, was detained in Saudi Arabia for questioning after a business trip to Riyadh, family sources and friends said on Saturday.

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Turner wins broadcast rights to Chilean soccer

SANTIAGO, Dec 16 (Reuters) - U.S. media company Turner Broadcasting has won exclusive rights to broadcast Chilean soccer matches, edging out competitor Fox Sports for the 15-year contract, the local soccer association said late on Friday.

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UPDATE 3-Luxottica CEO exits eyewear giant ahead of Essilor merger

* Milleri would replace Del Vecchio at merged group if he died (Adds comment from Luxottica's spokesman)

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Egyptian presidential hopeful apologizes to arrested supporters

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian presidential hopeful Ahmed Shafik apologized on Saturday to supporters who were arrested this week and called on authorities to resolve the situation.

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Austria's conservative-far right government says will be reliable EU partner

VIENNA, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Austria's newly formed conservative far-right coalition government said on Saturday it would be a reliable partner in a European Union it seeks to reform to return more power to national governments.

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REFILE-UPDATE 2-Palestinian billionaire Masri detained in Saudi Arabia - sources

AMMAN, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Sabih al-Masri, Jordan's most influential businessman and the chairman of its largest lender Arab Bank, was detained in Saudi Arabia for questioning after a business trip to Riyadh, family sources and friends said on Saturday.

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Metlife says it failed to pay some pensions, flags hit to reserves

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Metlife Inc failed to pay pensions to potentially tens of thousands of people and will have to strengthen its reserves because of the costs of finding and repaying them, the New York insurer said. Metlife said in a filing on Friday that it believed the group missing out on the payments represented less than 5 percent of about 600,000 people who receive benefits from the company via its retirement business. Those affected generally have average benefits of le

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UPDATE 2-Palestinian billionaire Masri detained in Saudi Arabia - sources

AMMAN, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Sabih al-Masri, Jordan's most influential businessman and the chairman of its largest lender Arab Bank, was detained in Saudi Arabia for questioning after a business trip to Riyadh, family sources and friends said on Saturday.

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UPDATE 2-Luxottica CEO exits eyewear giant ahead of Essilor merger

* Milleri would replace Del Vecchio at merged group if he died (Adds Del Vecchio's comments)

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NEWSMAKER-South Africa's nearly man Ramaphosa may lead country at last

JOHANNESBURG, Dec 16 (Reuters) - The nearly man of South African politics, Cyril Ramaphosa, is at last in with a chance of becoming president after being overlooked for years.

Presidential Election of 2016 nytimes.com

‘Trump, Trump, Trump!’ How a President’s Name Became a Racial Jeer

President Trump’s surname has become a racially charged taunt, or a braying assertion that the country is being taken back from forces that threaten it.

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Roche, Shire court fight escalates over haemophilia drug

ZURICH, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Roche's patent dispute with London-listed Shire over the Swiss drugmaker's new haemophilia drug Hemlibra has escalated, with Shire filing a new motion in a U.S. court that Roche says aims to stop some patients from getting its medicine.

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Peru's Congress prepares to oust President Kuczynski

LIMA (Reuters) - President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski's chances of surviving the political crisis gripping Peru faded on Friday after Congress passed a motion to start "presidential vacancy" procedures with enough votes to unseat him within a week.

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Peru's President to face impeachment proceedings

Peruvian lawmakers decided to move forward with proceedings to impeach President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski amid allegations of bribery in connection to one of the largest corruption scandals in Latin America.

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Britian eyes bespoke trade arrangement with EU - UK fin min

BEIJING, Dec 16 (Reuters) - British finance minister Philip Hammond said it is likely Britain will want to negotiate a bespoke arrangement for future trade deals with the European Union.

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Alaska oil companies settle dispute over Trans-Alaska Pipeline tariff charges

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Dec 15 (Reuters) - The state of Alaska will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in a settlement with oil companies over the value of North Slope crude oil shipped through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline (TAP), officials announced.

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BRIEF-Primero Extends Revolving Credit Facility To Dec. 22, 2017

* PRIMERO EXTENDS REVOLVING CREDIT FACILITY TO DECEMBER 22, 2017 Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

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Mexico presidential race roiled as leftist front-runner embraces right wing party

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The front-runner in Mexico's 2018 election has embraced a small, socially conservative party in his bid for the presidency, sparking criticism among progressives that could splinter his support in what is expected to be a tight race.

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REFILE-UPDATE 2-Elliott takes stake in Akamai Tech, says shares undervalued

Dec 15 (Reuters) - Hedge fund Elliott Management disclosed a 6.5 percent stake in Akamai Technologies on Friday, and said the company's $9.7 billion market value did not reflect the uses of its platform, which speeds up content delivery over the internet.

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UPDATE 3-Unilever to sell spreads business to KKR for $8 billion

* Co to return cash to shareholders barring other M&A (Adds Breakingviews link)

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BRIEF-Centene's Washington Subsidiary Reaches Agreement With State Of Washington

* CENTENE'S WASHINGTON SUBSIDIARY REACHES AGREEMENT WITH STATE OF WASHINGTON

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UPDATE 1-U.S. Senate Democrats to force vote on FCC net neutrality repeal

WASHINGTON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - The top U.S. Senate Democrat said on Friday he would force a vote on the Federal Communications Commission's decision to repeal landmark net neutrality rules, but the move was unlikely to block a ruling that could reshape the digital landscape.

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Republican tax bill retains U.S. electric vehicle tax credit

WASHINGTON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - A compromise Republican tax bill released late Friday does not eliminate a $7,500 electric vehicle tax credit as Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives had previously proposed.

Bribery and Kickbacks nytimes.com

Peru’s President Faces Possible Ouster Over Links to Odebrecht

Lawmakers called President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski “morally handicapped” and set the stage for a vote that could lead to his removal.

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BRIEF-Alaska Communications Comments On Schedule 13D Filing By Karen Singer Group

* ALASKA COMMUNICATIONS COMMENTS ON SCHEDULE 13D FILING BY KAREN SINGER GROUP

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BRIEF-WOW Unlimited Media Closes Private Placement Of Convertible Debentures

* WOW UNLIMITED MEDIA INC. CLOSES PRIVATE PLACEMENT OF CONVERTIBLE DEBENTURES Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

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UPDATE 1-P&G appoints Peltz to board despite losing proxy battle

Dec 15 (Reuters) - Procter & Gamble Co said it appointed Nelson Peltz to its board despite the activist investor narrowly losing a months-long proxy fight, the biggest ever involving a U.S. company.

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Fashion house Camuto Group taps turnaround advisor -source

Dec 15 (Reuters) - Camuto Group, the U.S. footwear, clothing and accessories wholesaler known for its Vince Camuto shoes, has hired a turnaround consultant after a deal to sell itself to Aldo Group Inc fell through, according to a person familiar with the matter.

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BRIEF-Mountain Boy Minerals Board Has Appointed Mark Brown As CEO

* MOUNTAIN BOY MINERALS - BOARD HAS APPOINTED MARK BROWN AS PRESIDENT & CEO, AND WINNIE WONG, AS CFO AND CORPORATE SECRETARY Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

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BRIEF-Steel Dynamics Q3 Adjusted Earnings Per Share $0.66 Excluding Items

* Q3 EARNINGS PER SHARE VIEW $0.65 -- THOMSON REUTERS I/B/E/S

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N.J. nuclear power subsidy bill could cost $320 mln per year

Dec 15 (Reuters) - Three state senators in New Jersey sponsored a bill that could cost electric ratepayers about $320 million a year to subsidize nuclear reactors that could otherwise be closed.

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TD Ameritrade to start bitcoin futures trading on Monday

Dec 15 (Reuters) - Retail brokerage TD Ameritrade Holding Corp said on Friday it will allow clients to trade bitcoin futures on the newly minted CBOE Futures Exchange from Dec. 18.

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UPDATE 1-Embraer sees 2024 commercial launch for Uber flying cabs

SAO PAULO, Dec 15 (Reuters) - A network of electric aircraft Uber Technologies Inc is developing with Embraer SA is likely to launch commercially in 2024, the Brazilian planemaker's chief executive said on Friday, adding a year to the latest forecast from the ride-hailing company.

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BRIEF-Quartz Mountain Says Robert Dickinson Named CEO And Executive Chairman

* QUARTZ MOUNTAIN ANNOUNCES MANAGEMENT CHANGES, PRIVATE PLACEMENT AND SHARE CONSOLIDATION

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BRIEF-Merit Medical Entered Into Third Amendment To Second Amended & Restated Credit Agreement & Incremental Increase Agreement

* MERIT MEDICAL SYSTEMS - ON DEC 13, MERIT ENTERED INTO THIRD AMENDMENT TO SECOND AMENDED & RESTATED CREDIT AGREEMENT & INCREMENTAL INCREASE AGREEMENT

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BRIEF-Applied DNA Q4 Loss Per Share $0.10

* APPLIED DNA ANNOUNCES SELECTED PRELIMINARY UNAUDITED FISCAL FOURTH QUARTER AND YEAR END RESULTS

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BRIEF-Baker Hughes A Ge Co Files For Debt Shelf Of Up To $3 Bln

* BAKER HUGHES A GE CO FILES FOR DEBT SHELF OF UP TO $3.0 BILLION - SEC FILING Source text for Eikon: (http://bit.ly/2kykFeR) Further company coverage:

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UPDATE 1-Leading U.S. antitrust senator urges hearing on Disney, Fox deal

WASHINGTON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Senator Amy Klobuchar, the top Democrat on the Senate antitrust panel, urged the subcommittee on Friday to hold a hearing on Walt Disney Co's plan to buy a number of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc businesses.

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Argentine Congress to make fresh attempt at pension debate on Monday

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina's lower house of Congress will try on Monday to debate the government's pension bill, lawmakers said on Friday, after the first attempt at discussing it this week ended with violent protests that forced the legislature to suspend session.

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UPDATE 1-Turkish banker on trial denies helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions

NEW YORK, Dec 15 (Reuters) - An executive at Turkey's majority state-owned Halkbank took the witness stand in a New York courtroom on Friday and denied charges that he participated in a scheme to help Iran evade U.S. sanctions.

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BRIEF-Discovery Air Announces Extension Of Operating Credit Facility With CIBC

* DISCOVERY AIR INC. ANNOUNCES EXTENSION OF OPERATING CREDIT FACILITY WITH CIBC

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BRIEF-P&G Says About 972.8 Mln Shares Were Cast In Favor Of Nelson Peltz's Election To Board

* P&G SAYS ABOUT 972.8 MILLION SHARES WERE CAST IN FAVOR OF NELSON PELTZ'S ELECTION TO BOARD, WHILE ABOUT 16.4 MILLION SHARES WERE WITHHELD - SEC FILING Source: (http://bit.ly/2zfyTtB) Further company coverage:

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BRIEF-P&G Says Board Increased Size To Thirteen From Eleven

* P&G SAYS ON DEC 15, BOARD OF PROCTER & GAMBLE COMPANY INCREASED SIZE OF BOARD FROM ELEVEN TO THIRTEEN DIRECTORS - SEC FILING Source:(http://bit.ly/2AByDUc) Further company coverage:

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Procter & Gamble appoints Nelson Peltz to board

Dec 15 (Reuters) - Procter & Gamble Co said it appointed activist investor Nelson Peltz to its board following a certified recount of shareholder votes cast at its annual meeting in October.

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UPDATE 1-Facebook defends itself against critics of social media

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Facebook Inc on Friday struck back against scientific researchers and tech industry insiders who have criticized the world's biggest social media network and its competitors for transforming how people behave and express emotion.

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BRIEF-Sino-Global Shipping America Files For Mixed Shelf Of Up to $50 Mln

* SINO-GLOBAL SHIPPING AMERICA LTD FILES FOR MIXED SHELF OF UPTO $50 MILLION - SEC FILING Source: (http://bit.ly/2Ck0nx8) Further company coverage:

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BRIEF-MDC Partners Files For Mixed Shelf Of Up to $1 Bln

* MDC PARTNERS INC FILES FOR MIXED SHELF OF UPTO $1.0 BILLION - SEC FILING Source: (http://bit.ly/2zfQ924) Further company coverage:

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BRIEF-American Lorain Says Has Regained Compliance With Requirements For Continued Listing On NYSE American

* AMERICAN LORAIN CORPORATION HAS REGAINED COMPLIANCE WITH THE REQUIREMENTS FOR CONTINUED LISTING ON THE NYSE AMERICAN Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

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US STOCKS-Wall St closes at records with tax overhaul in sight

* Indexes up: Dow 0.58 pct, S&P 0.9 pct, Nasdaq 1.17 pct (Updates to close, adds commentary, volume numbers)

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BRIEF-Perma-Pipe International Qtrly Loss Per Share $0.43

* PERMA-PIPE INTERNATIONAL HOLDINGS ANNOUNCES THIRD QUARTER FINANCIAL RESULTS

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BRIEF-Visteon To Transfer Stock Listing To Nasdaq

* VISTEON CORP - WILL TRANSFER ITS STOCK LISTING FROM NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE TO NASDAQ GLOBAL SELECT MARKET (NASDAQ), COMMENCING DEC. 27, 2017

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BRIEF-Merrimack Pharmaceuticals Files For Mixed Shelf Of Upto $150 Mln

* MERRIMACK PHARMACEUTICALS INC FILES FOR MIXED SHELF OF UPTO $150 MILLION - SEC FILING Source text :[http://bit.ly/2yGsbJv] Further company coverage:

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BRIEF-Calpine Corp Announces Closings Of Senior Secured Notes Offering And Term Loan Facility

* CALPINE CORPORATION ANNOUNCES CLOSINGS OF SENIOR SECURED NOTES OFFERING AND TERM LOAN FACILITY Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

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BRIEF-Metlife Says In 2018 Baseline Capital Management Plan Would See Return Close To $5 Bln To Common Shareholders

* METLIFE INC - EXPECT TO HAVE CASH COMMITMENTS OF BETWEEN $2.0 BILLION & $3.0 BILLION OVER 2017 AND 2018 RELATING TO LIABILITY MANAGEMENT TRANSACTIONS

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BRIEF-Navidea Biopharmaceuticals Files For Mixed Shelf Of Upto $100 Mln

* NAVIDEA BIOPHARMACEUTICALS INC FILES FOR MIXED SHELF OF UPTO $100 MILLION - SEC FILING Source text :[http://bit.ly/2BdXkXV] Further company coverage:

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Peru president fights for political life as impeachment looms

LIMA (Reuters) - Lawmakers in Peru's opposition-ruled Congress filed a motion on Friday to impeach center-right President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski on grounds he was morally unfit to lead after he resisted calls to resign over alleged corruption.

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Speculators raise net-short dollar bets to $7.81 bln -CFTC, Reuters

Dec 15 (Reuters) - Speculators raised their net-short bets on the U.S. dollar to $7.81 billion in the latest week, the 22nd straight week of bearish bets against the U.S. currency, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commision calculated by Reuters.

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Chile stocks mark highest weekly gain in 8 years

SANTIAGO, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Chile's IPSA stock index ended up 7 percent on the week on Friday, its highest weekly gain in eight years and coming ahead of Sunday's presidential election, as the price of copper, the country's main export, rose.

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BRIEF-Eric Watson Reports 15.1 Pct Stake In Long Island Iced Tea

* ERIC J. WATSON REPORTS A 15.1 PERCENT STAKE IN LONG ISLAND ICED TEA CORP AS OF DECEMBER 6, 2017 - SEC FILING

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Pennsylvania man admits to trading on tips about drug company

Dec 15 (Reuters) - A Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty on Friday to charges that he traded on confidential, inside information that a former Celator Pharmaceuticals Inc employee supplied him, including that the company now owned by Jazz Pharmaceuticals Plc was planning to be acquired.

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Chef Batali fired from 'The Chew' after sex harassment accusations

NEW YORK, Dec 15 (Reuters) - ABC Television Network said on Friday that it fired celebrity chef Mario Batali from its daytime cooking show, "The Chew," after he was accused of sexual misconduct.

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Italy's CDP, Intesa set for role in ArcelorMittal bid for Ilva -source

ROME, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Italy's state holding company CDP and Intesa Sanpaolo have signed a non-binding agreement to join ArcelorMittal's bid to buy Italian steelmaker Ilva, a source close to the matter said on Friday.

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UPDATE 1-Lockheed to partner with Aerion to develop supersonic business jet

WASHINGTON Dec 15 (Reuters) - Lockheed Martin Corp, the maker of the F-35 and F-22 fighter jets, is partnering with plane maker Aerion Corp to develop the world's first supersonic business jet.

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Blockchain consortium Hyperledger loses members, funding -documents

NEW YORK, Dec 15 (Reuters) - More than 15 members of blockchain consortium Hyperledger have either cut their financial support for the project or quit the group over the past few months, according to documents seen by Reuters.

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GLOBAL MARKETS-World shares gain; U.S. yield curve flattest in decade

* Dollar index firmer on tax bill optimism (Updates to Europe close, adds commentary)

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UPDATE 1-Luxottica CEO exits eyewear giant ahead of Essilor merger

* Move comes as proposed merger approaches (Adds details, comment)

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Onex-backed Canadian renewables firm Pinnacle set to list -sources

TORONTO, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Wood pellets producer Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc, owned by Canadian private equity firm Onex Corp, wants to raise about C$175 million ($136 million) through a Toronto initial public offering (IPO), people familiar with the matter told Reuters this week.

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BRIEF-Trillium Therapeutics Inc Files For Mixed Shelf Of Upto $150 Mln

* TRILLIUM THERAPEUTICS INC FILES FOR MIXED SHELF OF UPTO $150 MILLION - SEC FILING Source text : http://bit.ly/2jZxGi0 Further company coverage:

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Conn. Millstone nuclear plant seen profitable for years -report

Dec 15 (Reuters) - Dominion Energy Inc's Millstone nuclear power plant is expected to remain profitable through 2035, according to a study released by Connecticut energy regulators on Thursday, making it less likely the company will shut the reactors early.

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BRIEF-Sonic Director Frank Richardson Reports Sale Of 50,000 Shares At $28-$28.39/Share

* SONIC CORP DIRECTOR FRANK RICHARDSON REPORTS OPEN MARKET SALE OF 50,000 SHARES PRICED BETWEEN $28.00 TO $28.39/SHARE- SEC FILING Source text : ( http://bit.ly/2CixX6F ) Further company coverage:

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UPDATE 4-CSX shares derail after CEO takes unexpected medical leave

Dec 15 (Reuters) - CSX Corp shares skidded as much as 10 percent on Friday, wiping out $4 billion in market value, as the No. 3 U.S. railroad by revenue sought to assure investors its turnaround would progress despite the unexpected medical leave of its chief executive officer.

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BRIEF-Freddie Mac Prices $1.3 Billion Multifamily K-Deal, K-071

* FREDDIE MAC - EXPECTS TO ISSUE APPROXIMATELY $1.3 BILLION IN K CERTIFICATES WHICH ARE EXPECTED TO SETTLE ON OR ABOUT DECEMBER 22, 2017 Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

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UPDATE 1-Fed's Quarles to recuse himself from Wells Fargo matters

WASHINGTON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Randal Quarles, the top Federal Reserve official tasked with policing Wall Street, said on Friday that he would recuse himself from any matters concerning Wells Fargo & Co, the nation's third largest bank.

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BRIEF-Azimut Announces $1.55 Million Flow-Through Private Placement Financing

* AZIMUT ANNOUNCES $1.55 MILLION FLOW-THROUGH PRIVATE PLACEMENT FINANCING

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BRIEF-Citigroup Inc credit card delinquency and charge-offs for November

* CITIGROUP INC - CREDIT CARD CHARGE-OFFS 2.49 PERCENT IN NOVEMBER VERSUS 2.38 PERCENT IN OCTOBER - SEC FILING

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UPDATE 8-Oil holds below 2-year highs with focus on U.S. output

* U.S. drillers cut rigs for first week in six - Baker Hughes (Updates prices, adds Baker Hughes data)

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Brazil's Temer says pension bill 2 to 3 dozen votes short

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil's government has secured between 270 and 280 of the 308 votes needed to approve a bill to overhaul the country's bloated social security system in February, President Michel Temer said on Friday.

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Peru lawmakers file motion to impeach president Kuczynski

LIMA (Reuters) - Opposition lawmakers in Peru's Congress presented a motion on Friday seeking to impeach President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski for "moral incapacity" due to his ties to Brazil's Odebrecht, a company that has admitted to paying bribes across Latin America.

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BRIEF-D.R. Horton says Chairman Donald Horton's 2017 Total Compensation Was $19.3 Mln

* D.R. HORTON INC - CHAIRMAN DONALD R. HORTON'S 2017 TOTAL COMPENSATION WAS $19.3 MILLION VERSUS $17.8 MILLION - SEC FILING‍​

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Fed's Quarles to recuse himself from Wells Fargo matters

WASHINGTON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Federal Reserve Governor Randal Quarles on Friday said he would recuse himself from any Fed matters concerning Wells Fargo & Co.

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BRIEF-Verifone Systems Unit Enters Asset Purchase Agreement With Curb Technologies

* VERIFONE SYSTEMS SAYS ON DEC 11, UNIT ENTERED INTO ASSET PURCHASE AGREEMENT WITH CURB TECHNOLOGIES - SEC FILING

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US STOCKS-Wall St at record on rising hopes of tax overhaul

* Indexes up: Dow 0.6 pct, S&P 0.84 pct, Nasdaq 0.99 pct (Updates to early afternoon trading)

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Amazon becomes Mexico's top online retailer in 2017 -report

MEXICO CITY, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc likely doubled its sales to become the biggest internet retailer in Mexico this year, helping to grow the country's nascent e-commerce market by a third, according to a report by market research firm Euromonitor International.

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U.S. oil drillers cut rigs for first week in six -Baker Hughes

By Scott DiSavino Dec 15 (Reuters) - U.S. energy companies this week cut oil rigs for the first time in six weeks in spite of prices rising close to their highest in over two years and drillers starting to boost spending plans for next year. The oil rig count fell by four to 747 in the week to Dec. 15, General Electric Co's Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its closely followed report on Friday. The U.S. rig count, an early indicator of future

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GRAPHIC-Wall St rally sets the stage for big IPO year in 2018

Dec 15 (Reuters) - A relentless bull-run in U.S. stock indexes this year has set the stage for a strong IPO market in 2018, with several multi-billion dollar firms including Airbnb and Spotify widely expected to grab headlines with their offerings.

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BRIEF-Hive Blockchain Announces Upsize Of Financing To $115 Mln

* HIVE BLOCKCHAIN ANNOUNCES UPSIZE OF FINANCING TO $115 MILLION INCLUDING MINIMUM INVESTMENT OF $3 MILLION BY GENESIS MINING

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UPDATE 2-Unilever to sell spreads business to KKR for $8 billion

* Co to return cash to shareholders barring other M&A (Updates with Unilever confirmation)

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UPDATE 7-Oil holds below 2-year highs as focus turns to U.S. output

* Coming Up: Baker Hughes U.S. oil rig count at 1 p.m./1800 GMT (Adds quote, updates prices)

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LPC: Petsmart's loan under pressure after weak 3Q earnings

NEW YORK, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Pet supplies retailer Petsmart’s US$4.2bn leveraged loan has fallen in the US secondary market after the company reported sluggish third quarter results on Monday and investors anticipate a weak fourth quarter, two sources close to the matter said.

cnn.com

Trump called Putin yesterday to thank him after the Russian president praised him

President Donald Trump said Friday that he spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday to thank him for comments he made about the President's efforts to grow the American economy.

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Brazil telecoms regulator Anatel still against Oi restructuring plan

BRASILIA, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Brazilian telecoms regulator Anatel still plans to vote against a plan put forth by carrier Oi SA to exit bankruptcy protection, the body's president, Juarez Quadros, said on Friday.

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BRIEF-NGEx Announces Increase In Private Placement To C$12.5 Mln

* NGEX ANNOUNCES INCREASE IN PRIVATE PLACEMENT TO CDN $12.5 MILLION

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UPDATE 1-Tobacco industry trumps as India court cancels stringent health labelling rules

* Court said federal rule on bigger tobacco warnings arbitrary

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BRIEF-American Express reports card member loans stats for November

* AMERICAN EXPRESS-USCS CARD MEMBER LOANS NET WRITE-OFF RATE – PRINCIPAL ONLY 1.9 PERCENT AT NOV END VERSUS 1.8 PERCENT AT OCT END

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UPDATE 4-Russia hit by $3.4 bln Promsvyazbank bailout in latest bank blow

* Trio of failures biggest upset in 20 years (Adds details, quotes, background)

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BRIEF-Maxar Technologies Says Unit Signed 4 Contracts With Canadian Space Agency

* MAXAR TECHNOLOGIES LTD - UNIT SIGNED 4 CONTRACTS WITH CANADIAN SPACE AGENCY WITH A TOTAL VALUE AT ABOUT C$53.75 MILLION Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

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CORRECTED-Tesla largely responsible for slide in U.S. home solar sales

Dec 15 (Reuters) - After years of double-digit growth, home solar installations in the United States are poised to fall for the first time this year, according to a report released on Thursday by GTM Research.

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BRIEF-Teamsters, Expressjet ERJ Reach Tentative Agreement

* REACHED TENTATIVE AGREEMENT WITH EXPRESSJET ERJ, COVERING ABOUT 500 EMPLOYEES

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UPDATE 3-CSX shares derail after CEO takes unexpected medical leave

Dec 15 (Reuters) - CSX Corp shares slid as much as 10 percent on Friday, wiping out $4 billion in market value, as the No. 3 U.S. railroad sought to assure investors its turnaround would progress despite the unexpected medical leave of its chief executive officer.

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Wall St Week Ahead-Healthcare draws election-year worry, but 2016 repeat not seen

NEW YORK, Dec 15 (Reuters) - With another election year looming, investors in the healthcare sector are wary the coming months could reopen wounds suffered during the 2016 U.S. presidential race.

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Unilever to sell margarine and spreads unit to KKR for $8 bln

LONDON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Unilever has agreed to sell its margarine and spreads business to KKR for 6.8 billion euros ($8 billion), it said on Friday, confirming an earlier report by Reuters saying the U.S. private equity fund had made it into exclusive talks to buy the shrinking business. ($1 = 0.8498 euros) (Reporting by Martinne Geller; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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BRIEF-Alliant Energy Corp Files For Potential Mixed Shelf Offering; Size Not Disclosed

* ALLIANT ENERGY CORP FILES FOR POTENTIAL MIXED SHELF OFFERING; SIZE NOT DISCLOSED - SEC FILING Source text for Eikon: [ID: http://bit.ly/2jYvF5S Further company coverage:

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US STOCKS-Wall St rises as bank, healthcare stocks gain

* Indexes up: Dow 0.51 pct, S&P 500 0.65 pct, Nasdaq 0.57 pct (Changes comment, adds details, updates prices)

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France moves to rein in corporate borrowing binge

PARIS, Dec 15 (Reuters) - France's financial stability council said on Friday that it planned to set a cap on large banks' exposure to highly indebted companies after big French firms binged on cheap debt in recent years amid record low interest rates.

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U.S. internet rule change leaves major streaming companies unscathed for now

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Behind your video stream of a hit like "Stranger Things" is a complicated array of technology and business relationships that will not change very much, at least in the short term, as a result of this week's repeal of U.S. regulations on internet traffic, industry insiders say.

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'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' opens with $45 mln at domestic theaters

LOS ANGELES, Dec 15 (Reuters) - New movie "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" brought in $45 million on its opening night on Thursday at U.S. and Canadian theaters as fans rushed to see the latest installment in the blockbuster franchise, distributor Walt Disney Co said on Friday.

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BRIEF-Blackhawk Network Announces Sale Of Grass Roots Meetings & Events

* BLACKHAWK NETWORK ANNOUNCES SALE OF GRASS ROOTS MEETINGS & EVENTS

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BRIEF-Kingold Jewelry Inc's Unit Enters Trust Loan Agreement

* SAYS ON DEC 1, CO'S UNIT ENTERED INTO A TRUST LOAN AGREEMENT OF RMB 1 BILLION WITH ZHESHANG JINHUI TRUST

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CORRECTED-BRIEF-METLIFE EXPECTS CORPORATE, OTHER OPERATING LOSS OF $450-650 MLN AFTER-TAX IN 2018

* EXPECTS GROUP BENEFIT UNIT PREMIUMS, FEES, OTHER REVENUE TO GROW 3 TO 5 PERCENT - OUTLOOK CALL

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Engie, Elecnor win licenses to build power lines in Brazil

SAO PAULO, Dec 15 (Reuters) - French energy group Engie SA and Celeo Redes, a firm controlled by Spain's Elecnor , won licenses on Friday to build and operate power transmission lines in Brazil for 30 years during a government-sponsored auction in Sao Paulo.

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Suspected N. Korean cyber group seeks to woo bitcoin job seekers

FRANKFURT, Dec 15 (Reuters) - The surging price of cryptocurrencies in global markets is catching the eye not just of ordinary retail investors but a cybercrime gang with links to the North Korean government, according to cyber researchers tracing the group's activities.

Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates nytimes.com

President Trump Escalates Criticism of F.B.I. Role in Russia Inquiry

President Trump stepped up his criticism of some F.B.I. agents helping to investigate possible Russian involvement in his campaign, calling it a “very sad thing to watch.”

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BRIEF-Hanesbrands Amends Senior Secured Credit Facility

* SENIOR SECURED CREDIT FACILITY INCREASED TO $2.25 BILLION FROM $1.925 BILLION Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

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BRIEF-BofA Credit Card Charge-Off, Delinquency Rates for November

* BANK OF AMERICA CORP - CREDIT CARD CHARGE-OFF RATE WAS 2.74 PERCENT IN NOVEMBER VERSUS 2.39 PERCENT IN OCTOBER

PersonalFinance reuters.com

Votorantim Energia, Canada pension board form JV to invest in power

(Reuters) - Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and Brazil's Votorantim Group's energy unit Votorantim Energia have formed a joint venture that will buy two operational wind parks in...

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CANADA STOCKS-TSX broadly rallies, Linamar jumps on acquisition

TORONTO, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index rose on Friday, helped by a sharp jump in auto parts maker Linamar Corp after it announced plans to buy an agricultural equipment maker, while natural resources stocks also boosted the move higher.

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US STOCKS-Wall Street up as gains in consumer staples power recovery

* Indexes up: Dow 0.53 pct, S&P 500 0.51 pct, Nasdaq 0.35 pct (Updates to open)

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UPDATE 2-CSX shares derail after CEO takes medical leave

Dec 15 (Reuters) - CSX Corp shares slid on Friday as the No. 3 U.S. railroad sought to assure investors its turnaround would progress full steam ahead despite the unexpected medical leave of chief executive officer Hunter Harrison.

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BRIEF-Moody's Says Stable U.S. Retail Outlook In 2018, Reflective Of Higher Operating Income, Sales

* MOODY'S SAYS STABLE U.S. RETAIL OUTLOOK IN 2018, REFLECTIVE OF HIGHER OPERATING INCOME AND SALES

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UPDATE 1-Icahn steps up fight against SandRidge's plan to buy Bonanza Creek

Dec 15 (Reuters) - Activist investor Carl Icahn on Friday stepped up its fight against SandRidge Energy Inc's plan to buy a rival, urging fellow stockholders to vote against the oil and gas company's plan to issue shares for the $746 million deal.

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BRIEF-Renren Reports Qtrly ‍Net Loss Per Ads $0.33​

* RENREN ANNOUNCES UNAUDITED THIRD QUARTER 2017 FINANCIAL RESULTS AND UPDATES ON PROPOSED TRANSACTION

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BRIEF-Ardshinbank Signs $25 Mln Trade Finance Facility With Citi And ADB

* ARDSHINBANK SIGNS $25 MILLION TRADE FINANCE FACILITY WITH CITI AND ADB

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BRIEF-Eros International Says Eros Now Forms Strategic Partnership With Foxxum

* EROS INTERNATIONAL SAYS EROS NOW FORMS STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP WITH FOXXUM TO PROVIDE ITS LIBRARY OF PREMIUM CONTENT ON FOXXUM TV APP STORE WORLDWIDE Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

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BRIEF-Nomad Foods Announces Successful Repricing And Increase Of Term Loan Facility

* NOMAD FOODS ANNOUNCES SUCCESSFUL REPRICING AND INCREASE OF TERM LOAN FACILITY

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GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares limp toward third week of gains, Bitcoin roars to new high

* Wall Street set to rebound after concerns about U.S. tax reforms

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CANADA STOCKS-TSX rises, boosted by Linamar on acquisition news

TORONTO, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index gained in early trading on Friday, as auto parts maker Linamar Corp jumped on news of a C$1.2 billion deal to buy an agricultural equipment maker, and heavyweight energy and financial stocks also rose.

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BRIEF-FDA Lifts Clinical Hold On Fitusiran

* ALNYLAM PHARMACEUTICALS INC - CLINICAL TRIAL DOSING TO RESUME AROUND YEAR-END 2017

cnn.com

Analysis: Joe Biden sure looks like he is running for president

The biggest tell to date of Joe Biden's 2020 plans came this week, when he apologized to Anita Hill.

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MOVES-Insurance broker Marsh names Paul Moody CEO of UK specialties division

Dec 15 (Reuters) - Marsh, the insurance broker arm of Marsh & McLennan Cos Inc, appointed Paul Moody chief executive officer of its UK specialties division, effective Jan. 1.

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BRIEF-Wabash National Corporation Announces New Board Member

* WABASH NATIONAL CORP- APPOINTMENT OF JOHN BOSS BRINGS CO'S BOARD TO EIGHT MEMBERS Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

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UPDATE 1-Brazil's Petrobras to announce revised capex plan next week -CEO

SAO PAULO, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Brazil's state-run oil company Petróleo Brasileiro SA will announce a revision to its investment plan next week, Chief Executive Officer Pedro Parente said on Friday.

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BRIEF-Dick Giromini, Wabash National CEO, To Step Down In June

* - RICHARD GIROMINI WILL REMAIN WITH COMPANY, SERVING IN ROLE OF EXECUTIVE ADVISOR THROUGH JUNE 1, 2019 Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

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BRIEF-Power Corporation Announces The Retirement Of Henri-Paul Rousseau

* POWER CORPORATION ANNOUNCES THE RETIREMENT OF HENRI-PAUL ROUSSEAU

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BRIEF-Ultragenyx And Kyowa Kirin Announce Burosumab Receives Positive CHMP Opinion For Treatment Of X-Linked Hypophosphatemia In Children

* ULTRAGENYX AND KYOWA KIRIN ANNOUNCE BUROSUMAB RECEIVES POSITIVE CHMP OPINION FOR THE TREATMENT OF X-LINKED HYPOPHOSPHATEMIA IN CHILDREN

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BRIEF-Valley National Bancorp Announces Receipt Of Regulatory And Shareholder Approvals

* VALLEY NATIONAL BANCORP ANNOUNCES THE RECEIPT OF REGULATORY AND SHAREHOLDER APPROVALS FOR THE ACQUISITION OF USAMERIBANCORP, INC. Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

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BRIEF-China Biologic Receives Operating Permit For New Collection Facility In Ju County In Shandong Province

* CHINA BIOLOGIC RECEIVES OPERATING PERMIT FOR NEW COLLECTION FACILITY IN JU COUNTY IN SHANDONG PROVINCE Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

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BRIEF-Arrow Electronics Names Steven H. Gunby As A New Director To Its Board

* ARROW ELECTRONICS NAMES STEVEN H. GUNBY AS A NEW DIRECTOR TO ITS BOARD

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Barclays upgrades trading platform to comply with EU rules

LONDON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Barclays will upgrade its trading platform for all financial products traded on exchanges on Jan. 3, taking on more trade reporting duties on behalf of its clients ahead of new European market reforms, a spokesman for the bank said.

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UPDATE 1-FDA allows Alnylam to restart hemophilia treatment trials

Dec 15 (Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has allowed Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc to restart clinical trials on a drug to treat patients with a rare bleeding disorder, the company said on Friday.

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UPDATE 1-Novo Nordisk wins EU panel's backing for key diabetes drug

COPENHAGEN, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk came closer to winning European approval for diabetes drug Ozempic, its biggest growth prospect, when a European Medicines Agency (EMA) experts' panel issued a positive recommendation on Friday.

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CANADA STOCKS-TSX futures point to flat opening

Dec 15 (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index futures were little changed on Friday even as oil prices rose amid ongoing OPEC-led production cuts and a pipeline outage in the North Sea.

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UPDATE 1-Let board do its job finding successor, Airbus CEO urges staff

PARIS, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Airbus Chief Executive Tom Enders, who is stepping down in 2019, urged employees on Friday to allow the board to pick his successor without being distracted by speculation about who would replace him.

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UPDATE 1-Aclaris's drug to treat common skin growth gets FDA nod

Dec 15 (Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Aclaris Therapeutics Inc's topical drug to treat a common kind of skin growth called seborrheic keratoses, the company said on Friday.

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BRIEF-Rigel Announces Resignation Of Ryan Maynard, Executive Vice President And CFO Effective December 31, 2017

* RESIGNATION OF RYAN MAYNARD, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER, EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 31, 2017

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UPDATE 2-Russia moves to save Promsvyazbank in third bailout this year

* Trio of failures biggest upset in 20 years (Adds details, quotes, background)

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US STOCKS-Futures recover from tax bill concerns

Dec 15 (Reuters) - U.S. stock markets were set to open higher on Friday, recovering from a bout of uncertainty surrounding the passage of the Republicans' much-awaited tax overhaul bill.

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BRIEF-Quebecor Inc Amends Its Normal Course Issuer Bid

* QUEBECOR INC - RECEIVED APPROVAL FROM TORONTO STOCK EXCHANGE TO AMEND ITS NCIB TO INCREASE MAXIMUM NUMBER CLASS B SHARES THAT MAY BE REPURCHASED

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Chinese tourists raid Danish supermarkets for infant milk powder

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Following a string of food safety scandals, Chinese tourists visiting Copenhagen have this year stocked up on Danish-made organic infant milk formula, prompting some supermarkets to limit the number of cans each customer can buy.

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BRIEF-GSV Capital Commences Cash Tender Offer To Purchase Any And All Of $69 Mln Of Outstanding 5.25% Convertible Senior Notes Due 2018

* GSV CAPITAL - COMMENCEMENT OF CASH TENDER OFFER TO PURCHASE ANY AND ALL OF $69 MILLION OF OUTSTANDING 5.25% CONVERTIBLE SENIOR NOTES DUE 2018

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BRIEF-Jeld-Wen Says Co, Units Entered Into Amendment To Term Loan Credit Agreement

* JELD-WEN SAYS ON DEC 14, CO, UNITS ENTERED INTO AMENDMENT TO TERM LOAN CREDIT AGREEMENT - SEC FILING

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BRIEF-Scandium International Mining Revises Renewed Existing Scandium Product Offtake Sales Agreement

* SCANDIUM INTERNATIONAL MINING- ON DEC 14, 2017 HAS REVISED, RENEWED EXISTING SCANDIUM PRODUCT OFFTAKE SALES AGREEMENT ENTERED IN 2015 WITH ALCERECO INC

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BRIEF-Capital One Financial Says Nov Domestic Credit Card Net Charge-Offs Rate 5.16 Pct Vs 4.7 Pct In Oct

* CAPITAL ONE FINANCIAL-NOVEMBER DOMESTIC CREDIT CARD NET CHARGE-OFFS RATE 5.16 PERCENT VERSUS 4.70 PERCENT IN OCTOBER

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BRIEF-Torex Gold Resources Majority Of Employees Have Voted To Return To Work Immediately

* MAJORITY OF EMPLOYEES HAVE VOTED TO RETURN TO WORK IMMEDIATELY

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BRIEF-Acorn International Reports Q3 Revenue $6.1 Million

* ACORN INTERNATIONAL REPORTS FINANCIAL RESULTS FOR THE THIRD QUARTER OF 2017 AND ANNOUNCES $2.0 MILLION SHARE BUYBACK PLAN

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BRIEF-China Finance Online And China Investment Securities Sign Strategic Cooperation

* CHINA FINANCE ONLINE AND CHINA INVESTMENT SECURITIES SIGN STRATEGIC COOPERATION TO DEVELOP INTELLIGENT FINANCE TECHNOLOGY TO EMPOWER INVESTMENT ADVISORY SERVICES

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BRIEF-Univar Announces Pricing Of Sale Of 10 Mln Shares Of Common Stock By Clayton, Dubilier & Rice Llc

* UNIVAR ANNOUNCES PRICING OF SALE OF 10,000,000 SHARES OF COMMON STOCK BY CLAYTON, DUBILIER & RICE LLC

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UPDATE 3-Hong Kong to push ahead with controversial dual-class shares

* HKEX drafting specific rule changes to allow dual-class shares

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BRIEF-Trovagene Prices $4.5 Million Public Offering

* PRICING OF PUBLIC OFFERING OF 15 MILLION SHARES OF ITS COMMON STOCK, COMMON WARRANTS TO PURCHASE UP TO 15 MILLION SHARES OF COMMON STOCK

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Airbus, Thai Airways to set up aircraft maintenance hub in Thailand

BANGKOK, Dec 15 (Reuters) - National carrier Thai Airways International and Airbus plan to jointly open an aircraft maintenance and repair operations (MRO) hub in Thailand, a Thai Airways official said on Friday.

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London-based investment banks to face closer EU scrutiny- documents

* Move aimed at closing loopholes for large firms after Brexit

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UPDATE 1-Boehringer CFO Menne quits in differences over strategy

FRANKFURT, Dec 15 (Reuters) - The chief financial officer of unlisted Boehringer Ingelheim, Simone Menne, will quit Germany's second-largest pharmaceuticals company at year-end after just 16 months in office because of differences over strategy.

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EMERGING MARKETS-Emerging currencies digest central bank decisions

LONDON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Emerging currencies strengthened on Friday but some eyed weekly losses as investors digested a deluge of central bank decisions.

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UPDATE 2-Hong Kong to push ahead with controversial dual-class shares

* HKEX drafting specific rule changes to allow dual-class shares

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UPDATE 1-India raises import tax on cellphones, move to hurt Apple

* India's April-Oct goods imports up 22 pct y/y to $256.4 bln (Adds details, quote)

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UPDATE 2-D.Telekom, Tele2 join forces to challenge Dutch duopoly

* Tele2 to receive 190 mln euros, 25 pct stake in T-Mobile NL

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GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares limp toward third week of gains, dollar hobbles

LONDON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - World shares fell on Friday and the dollar slipped against major and heavyweight emerging market currencies, as nagging uncertainty about a U.S. tax cuts package dovetailed with broad-based end-of-year caution.

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BMW to build Czech test track for self-driving cars

BERLIN, Dec 15 (Reuters) - German luxury automaker BMW said on Friday it will spend over 100 million euros ($118 million) on a test track for self-driving and electric cars in the Czech Republic, as it expands its foray into alternative driving technologies.

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UPDATE 1-Hong Kong to push ahead with controversial dual-class shares

* HKEX drafting specific rule changes to allow dual-class shares

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Banco do Brasil unit keeps Neoenergia stake after failed IPO

SAO PAULO, Dec 15 (Reuters) - BB Banco de Investimento SA, a wholly owned subsidiary of state-run Banco do Brasil, will keep its 9.35 percent ownership of electricity company Neoenergia SA after the utility canceled plans for an initial public offering, the bank said in a securities filing late on Thursday.

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Hong Kong gearing up to allow controversial dual-class shares

HONG KONG, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Hong Kong is set to allow controversial dual-class shares under rule changes to be proposed by the city's stock exchange as it raises the stakes in its battle against New York for blockbuster Chinese initial public offerings (IPOs).

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BRIEF-Siemens Healthineers Buys Fast Track Diagnostics

* SIEMENS HEALTHINEERS ANNOUNCES ACQUISITION OF FAST TRACK DIAGNOSTICS Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

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BRIEF-Nanya Technology sells 2 mln shares in Micron Technology for $86.9 mln

* Says it sells 2 million shares in Micron Technology Inc for $86.9 million

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Russian court rules ex-minister Ulyukayev extorted bribe

MOSCOW, Dec 15 (Reuters) - A Russian court has established that former Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev had extorted a $2 million bribe from Igor Sechin, the CEO of oil company Rosneft , judge Larisa Semyonova said on Friday.

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UPDATE 1-Russian ex-minister Ulyukayev found guilty of bribe-taking

MOSCOW, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Former Russian economy minister Alexei Ulyukayev was found guilty on Friday of soliciting a $2 million bribe from Rosneft chief executive Igor Sechin in a court case that has shone a rare light on infighting among the Russian elite.

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Russian court finds ex-minister Ulyukayev guilty of taking a bribe - judge

MOSCOW, Dec 15 (Reuters) - A Russian court on Friday found ex-economy minister Alexei Ulyukayev guilty of taking a bribe.

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UPDATE 1-Votorantim Energia, Canada pension board form JV to invest in power

Dec 15 (Reuters) - Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) and Brazil's Votorantim Group's energy unit Votorantim Energia have formed a joint venture that will buy two operational wind parks in northeastern Brazil, they said.

companyNews reuters.com

Russia's Promsvyazbank says its bail-out due to new cenbank demands

MOSCOW, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Russia's Promsvyazbank said on Friday that its bail-out was a result of a decision by the central bank to ask for additional provisions.

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Hungary courts Tesla with tax breaks, incentives -MTI

BUDAPEST, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Hungary's foreign minister has met executives of electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla during a tour of Silicon Valley, extolling tax breaks and other incentives offered to car makers, national news agency MTI reported on Friday.

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BRIEF-TSMC Orders Equipment From Applied Materials, Li Jie Industrial, Tun Yi Industrial

Dec 15 (Reuters) - Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd :

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UPDATE 3-Oil prices rise on North Sea pipeline outage, but growing US output looms

* IEA says oil market could be in surplus in H1 2018 (Updates prices)

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CORRECTED-METALS-Copper, aluminium top Shanghai gainers on China data

SYDNEY, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Copper and aluminium led gainers in Shanghai base metals futures on Friday, helped by overnight increases in the London market on the back of upbeat China manufacturing data.