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(MENAFN - AFP) Japan and the European Union on Friday agreed to speed up talks over a long-stalled Free Trade Agreement, while voicing concerns over China's territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk in the latest annual get-together between the ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) South Korea confirmed three more MERS cases Friday, bringing the total number of patients infected with the potentially deadly virus to 10, including a man who defied a quarantine protocol and travelled to China, health officials said.

The infections were all traced to the original case of a 68-year-old man diagnosed on May 20 after returning from a trip to ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) German retail sales, a closely watched measure of household confidence, bounced back strongly in April after falling the previous month, official data released Friday showed.

Retailers' sales in Europe's top economy rose 1.7 percent in April on a month-on-month basis, after falling 1.4 percent in March, the federal statistics office Destatis said in a statement.

It ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Greece's fate in the euro area continued to cast a shadow over the second and final day of a Group of Seven finance ministers meeting in Dresden Friday with still no sign of a deal in sight.

The governor of the Bank of Japan Haruhiko Kuroda -- who is attending the meeting -- warned of the consequences of a possible "Grexit" or Greek exit from the euro.

"If ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) The Swiss economy contracted by 0.2 percent in the first quarter of this year, the national statistics agency said Friday, as the sharp appreciation of the franc hammered the country's key export sector.

"The trade balance in goods and services in particular delivered negative growth contributions," said SECO in a statement.

Exports of goods fell by 2.3 ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) In the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, a chef in a tall white toque bobs between great bushes of herbs as busy as the bees buzzing through beds of strawberries and tomatoes.

Even slap bang in the middle of Paris, chefs are taking the slogan "eat local" to heart, planting kitchen gardens on the roofs of their restaurants.

Ogier Pottiez, 30, of the Frame restaurant ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) As sunset falls on his private island in the South China Sea, entrepreneur Lin Dong likes few things better than to lounge on a hammock strung between two trees as waves lap the shore.

"I don't like noise, and I'm not a fan of the pollution in crowded cities," he said. "The island life suits me much better".

Lin made his fortune after founding a medical ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) With most of its natural and mineral resources having fallen under rebel control, Syrian state revenues have shrunk, leaving the government dependent on unstable sources of income for its survival.

Four years of conflict have decimated the state coffers.

Now the government's only revenues are drawn from dwindling customs and income taxes, heavily bolstered ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) Japan's Nikkei chalked up an eleventh straight gain Friday as the yen sat around 12-year lows against the dollar, while Shanghai extended losses following the previous day's hefty plunge.

The euro continues to face downside pressure over concerns that Greece and its creditors will not reach an agreement on reforming its bailout, with the head of the IMF warning ...

 
(MENAFN - AFP) South Korea's industrial output declined for a second straight month in April, reflecting weak exports, government data showed Friday.

Production in the mining, manufacturing, gas and electricity industries fell by a seasonally adjusted 1.2 percent following a revised 0.3 percent fall in March, Statistics Korea said.

Compared with a year earlier, industrial ...

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