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  • Google puts virtual reality in reach with cardboard AFP - 10 hours ago
    Google puts virtual reality in reach with cardboard

    Google said this week one of its least expensive innovations -- virtual reality headgear made of cardboard -- has become a huge hit. Playfully named Google Cardboard debuted last year at the Internet giant's annual developers conference. One simply folds the cardboard into goggles of a sort that have eye holes opening into a slot designed to hold smartphones that serve as display screens for immersive videos.

  • Cash-strapped Ukraine inches toward crucial debt deal AFP - 10 hours ago
    Cash-strapped Ukraine inches toward crucial debt deal

    Ukraine's finance minister on Friday said Kiev and its private creditors would next week launch direct debt restructuring talks that could save the war-torn country from a devastating default. Natalie Jaresko's announcement came as the ex-Soviet state's pro-Western leadership races to meet a late June deadline by which it must find a way to save $15 billion (13.7 billion euros) over four years. A watertight debt relief plan would allow the International Monetary Fund to hand over the next slice of a $17.5-billion loan at the core of a $40-billion global aid package.

  • Small businesses back budget AAP - 11 hours ago
    Small businesses back budget

    Treasurer Joe Hockey's second budget has gone over well with small businesses, with close to 60 per cent backing the government's $5.5 billion support package. The package was predictably most popular with businesses that will reap the benefits of the government's tax cuts and incentives, though larger businesses were less enthusiastic. Under the small business package, businesses with turnover of less than $2 million will be able to immediately write off the value of assets worth less than $20,000.

  • Snapchat gets $537 million in fresh funding AFP - 11 hours ago
    Snapchat gets $537 million in fresh funding

    Snapchat on Friday informed US regulators that it has raised $537 million in a new round of equity funding that could climb as high as $650 million. The vanishing-message service did not disclose who bought stakes in the Los Angeles-based company, which came at a price estimated to give Snapchat a value of more than $15 billion, according to media reports. US media reports indicated that Snapchat investors in this latest round of fund raising included Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba.

  • Oil slides on strong dollar, supply glut worries AFP - 12 hours ago
    Oil slides on strong dollar, supply glut worries

    Oil prices sank this week to one-month lows on the back of the strong dollar and global supply glut fears, ahead of the OPEC cartel output meeting next week. Meanwhile the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which pumps about 30 percent of global crude, meets on June 5 for a production gathering in Vienna. OIL: London Brent oil dived to a six-week low and New York crude to a four-week trough on Thursday, as the market was shaken once more by the rebounding dollar and stubborn jitters over the global supply glut.

  • Russia to ban fish imports from Latvia, Estonia AFP - 12 hours ago
    Russia to ban fish imports from Latvia, Estonia

    Russia is to ban fish imports from the Baltic states of Latvia and Estonia, its food safety watchdog said Friday, citing violations. Officials from Russia's food safety regulator Rosselkhoznadzor met veterinary officials from the Baltic states on Friday and told them "imports of fish products from Latvia and Estonia to Russia will be halted shortly," the agency said in a statement on its website.

  • Aussie dollar's fall eases AAP - 12 hours ago

    The Australian dollar's slide on weaker than expected business investment figures has eased after the currency hit a six week low. It fell as low as 76.18 US cents in the early hours of Friday, its weakest level since April 15, due to Thursday's surprisingly soft business investment figures. The Australian dollar steadied during Friday's local session as traders wait for more key figures next week, including economic growth, National Australia Bank senior currency strategist Emma Lawson said.

  • $A falls' eases ahead of big data week AAP - 13 hours ago

    The Australian dollar's slide on weaker than expected business investment figures has eased ahead of more key economic readings. At 1700 AEST on Friday, the local currency was trading at 76.53 US cents, ...

  • Hungary PM wants to make EU 'better', but not leave it AFP - 13 hours ago
    Hungary PM wants to make EU 'better', but not leave it

    Hungary's prime minister said on Friday he wanted to improve the European Union but not leave the bloc, as his British counterpart David Cameron courted European capitals for EU reform. "I am ready to criticise the EU on any issue, and I am ready to debate with European bureaucrats, but I am firmly opposed to, and we should fight, anybody who would steer the country in a direction of exiting the EU or NATO," Viktor Orban said in a speech marking his five years in government. During his time in office, Orban has had numerous disputes with Brussels, most recently over his suggestion to hold a debate on the reintroduction of the death penalty.

  • Aust market up more than 1pc AAP - 13 hours ago

    The Australian share market has made its best single-day gain in a month as investors snapped up beaten-down stocks. CMC Markets chief market analyst Ric Spooner said the jump in the market was surprising given that there was no obvious driver or news when the session started. Mr Spooner said Friday's rally may have been driven by significant interest from overseas investors.

  • US says all parties need to move on Greece AFP - 13 hours ago
    US says all parties need to move on Greece

    Greece and its creditors need to move if the debt-wracked country is to remain in the eurozone, the United States said Friday, as Athens' European partners insisted there was still a lot of work to do. "All parties need to move," US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew told a briefing after a meeting of Group of Seven finance ministers and central bank chiefs wrapped up in Dresden. After four months of negotiating to unlock some 7.2 billion euros ($7.9 billion) in bailout cash, Athens' coffers are near empty and officials have indicated they might not be able to make a payment due next week, an event that might trigger a chain of events that could lead to a messy exit from the euro.

  • G7 nations push for 'code of conduct' for bankers AFP - 13 hours ago
    G7 nations push for 'code of conduct' for bankers

    The finance ministers and central bank chiefs of the world's wealthiest nations are pushing for a "code of conduct" for banking professionals, the head of the German central bank, Jens Weidmann, said Friday. It is based in the Swiss city of Basel and headed by Bank of England governor Mark Carney. Speaking at a news conference following a meeting of G7 finance ministers and central bank governors, Weidmann said the code would have it limits and would remain a voluntary one.

  • Turnaround as Bank of Cyprus sees 29-mln-euro Q1 profit AFP - 13 hours ago
    Turnaround as Bank of Cyprus sees 29-mln-euro Q1 profit

    Bank of Cyprus, the east Mediterranean island's largest lender, on Friday posted a 29-million-euro ($32-million) post-tax profit in the first quarter. BoC said it had reduced emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) in Q1 by 500 million euros to 6.9 billion euros at March 31 2015, with a further reduction to 6.4 billion euros as of May 29. "Depending on market conditions and investor appetite, the bank will assess the possibility of raising wholesale funding, with the proceeds of such funding used to reduce ELA," CEO John Patrick Hourican said in a statement.

  • Aussie bonds rise on recession talk AAP - 13 hours ago

    Australian bond futures prices have firmed on fears the nation is heading into a recession. Investors are still reacting to Thursday's poor business investment figures, UBS interest rate strategist Matthew ...

  • Cyprus tourism income rises 15% with surge in arrivals AFP - 13 hours ago
    Cyprus tourism income rises 15% with surge in arrivals

    Recession-hit Cyprus recorded a 15 percent hike in key tourism revenue in March, the first rise in income this year, official data showed on Friday. Tourism income on the Mediterranean holiday island reached 65 million euros ($71 million) from 56.5 million euros in the same month last year. Last year, Cyprus tourism generated 2.02 billion euros, a 2.8 percent drop from 2013's 2.08 billion euros.

  • EU targets France in Uber fight AFP - 13 hours ago
    EU targets France in Uber fight

    European regulators are pressuring France over a new law designed to halt the meteoric rise of Uber, the popular taxi app that is facing fierce opposition from traditional cabs. The European Commission, the EU's powerful executive, confirmed to AFP on Friday that it had sent a letter to the French government, seeking clarification on a law that puts clear limits on the way Uber can do business in France. The letter, dated earlier this month, launches the EU's so-called infringement process, which can potentially lead to official charges at the European Court of Justice, the bloc's highest court.

  • Greece rattles European stocks AFP - 14 hours ago
    Greece rattles European stocks

    Europe's equity markets slumped Friday on the final day of a Group of Seven finance meeting, dominated by festering concerns over Greece and pressure from the US and Japan to resolve the debt crisis. Investors are increasingly worried that Greece and its creditors could fail to reach an agreement on reforms tied to its bailout and Athens could struggle to meet looming debt repayments next week. "European equity markets remained under pressure during the last trading session of the month, as persistent concerns regarding Greece?s economic stability and future weighed on market sentiment." said Myrto Sokou, senior research analyst at Sucden Financial Research.

  • Evolution raises $172m for Cowal mine AAP - 14 hours ago

    Evolution Mining is set to become Australia's second largest gold producer after successfully raising funds to buy a NSW gold mine. Evolution has raised $172 million from institutional investors to help fund the acquisition of Cowal mine, in central NSW, from the world's largest gold miner, Barrick Gold. Evolution is buying Cowal for $US550 million ($A702.74 million) in a deal that will significantly lift its gold production.

  • Stocks to watch on Friday AAP - 14 hours ago

    Stocks to watch on the Australian stock exchange at the close on Friday: CBA - COMMONWEALTH BANK - up $1.59, or 1.9 per cent, to $85.09 WBC - WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION - up 44 cents, or 1.33 per cent, ...

  • Aussie shares close higher AAP - 14 hours ago

    The Australian share market closed higher on Thursday, with positive manufacturing data out of the US overnight and China during the day promoting positive investor sentiment.

  • Brazil's economy kicks off rough year shrinking 0.2% AFP - 14 hours ago
    Brazil's economy kicks off rough year shrinking 0.2%

    Brazil's economy, the world's seventh largest, contracted by 0.2 percent in the first quarter of 2015, the government said Friday, kicking off a rough year in which it is expected to continue shrinking. It is also reeling from the impact of a massive corruption scandal at its largest company, state-owned oil giant Petrobras, which has stained the ruling Workers' Party and key Rousseff allies.

  • Oil Search says low prices to stay AAP - 14 hours ago

    Oil Search boss Peter Botten has warned oil prices are likely to stay low for the next five years, putting up to $5.5 trillion worth of projects around the world at risk. Mr Botten said the rise of US shale producers, combined with OPEC countries' determination to preserve their market share meant it would be difficult for oil prices to rise significantly above their current levels. "There are market forces that mean the oil price is not going to rise massively over the next five or so years," he said.

  • European stocks close lower AFP - 14 hours ago
    European stocks close lower

    Europe's main markets closed lower on Friday, with London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of top companies finishing down 0.80 percent at 6,984.43 points. In the eurozone, the CAC 40 in Paris plunged 2.53 percent ...

  • Virgin boss rubbishes open skies plan AAP - 14 hours ago
    Virgin boss rubbishes open skies plan

    Virgin Australia boss John Borghetti has rubbished a federal government plan to allow foreign airlines to fly domestic routes in the country's north, saying it simply wont work. The Abbott government is reportedly considering a so-called "open skies" plan to open routes in northern Australia to foreign carriers in order to increase competition, bring down prices and stimulate local economies.

  • US economy shrank 0.7% in first quarter AFP - 14 hours ago
    US economy shrank 0.7% in first quarter

    The US economy contracted 0.7 percent in the first quarter of 2015, with the impact of a ports slowdown and cautious consumer spending worse than originally estimated. The Commerce Department's revised estimate of gross domestic product Friday confirmed the stall in the first three months of the year, which had raised worries about the underlying strength of the world's largest economy six years after the Great Recession.